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Saturday, 21 February 2009


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And I thought driving while taking photos or listening to a cell phone was dangerous! :)

As a fellow Bay Area resident, I love the the photos. Mr. De Zan is damn right that the building near the bridge sends a message. It is totally out of place, being too large for its location, and it has an uninspired design. It dwarfs everything around it, including the Bay Bridge. It has ruined the view of the rest of San Francisco and its hills when driving into San Francisco from the Bay Bridge. The building is a condo which only very wealthy people can afford. It is like a giant middle finger sticking up. The message is that those people don't care if they ruin one of the most attractive skylines in the world for everyone else, as long as they have their view.

Fantastic series. I love that city.

As I looked at Vanessa Winship's photos, with their wonderful Tri-X look, I thought about what prints from my D90 look like. I think you are right about some sort of step change between film and the current digital. I don't think I know how to make my D90 produce the look she's getting.

Although I realize David's comment is largely in jest, let me get this out of the way for others: unlike a car which requires constant small corrections just to go straight down the freeway, a light airplane is dynamically stable until something upsets it. Properly trimmed on a windless day like yesterday, a Cessna 172 is about as stable as a heavy oak dining table. Add to that the wonderful radar traffic advisory service from ATC and the fact that nobody else thought to fly the Bay Tour during the hour I was up there, taking a bunch of pictures was not at all risky or reckless.

Now...let me tell you about the time I flew over the 4th of July fireworks display with more than 30 other airplanes within a mile of me...no pictures were taken on THAT occasion, believe me.

And Mr. Edelman: you divined my feelings exactly.

I just love it when my modest Nikon D40 gets some attention on a fancy photo blog. Go 6.1 M.P.!

I've flown the Bay Tour from San Carlos, as in these pictures. It's a wonderful experience, BUT I would feel safer with a right seat passenger also looking out. Or take two pilots, and photograph from the right seat.

Yes, airplanes are stable, but trusting ATC to spot conflicting traffic is not enough, and I can cite personal experience on this, where we both exchanged "where did he come from?" comments after I diverted.

The Crissy Field shot was interesting. Is it a muddy 2000 feet, or even less than that?


Scott...it's always best to have more eyes in the airplane, but Friday really was exceptionally quiet, otherwise I would have skipped the pictures and grabbed lunch in Half Moon Bay. I've flown the tour well over 50 times and I can't recall a better day for a solo flight. I always prefer to take others with me, if for no other reason than the "I can't believe you can do this!" reactions are so much fun.

Except when over the water, the entire flight was between 1800-2000 feet; I usually avoid being right at 2000 since round numbers are way too popular among small plane pilots.

I grew up across the Bay from S.F. in Hayward, and these wonderful images bring back so many memories! I left the Bay area in 1974 and moved to Los Angeles, and I am glad I did, for the Bay area is now so crowded that I don't think I could ever live there again.

Hi Paul, You took the bait vz flying & photography too easily. I fly too & do photography/flying and in the right conditions it's ok. As you and I know, Safety in flying always comes first. Nice pics.
regards dgs

As a regular TOP reader in the UK I was pleasantly surprised to see these aerial shots as I was in San Francisco only last week (for the first time) and did a similar flight tour around the Bay, albeit in a helicopter. Thankfully the pilot knew all the good photo opportunities so, despite the patchy cloud and shooting through a window, I still managed to get some great shots. I can see how it could be addictive!

Lovely pictures. For the ignorant non-US resident, who is the most obnoxious pilot in California, and why are his/her offices so large?

Hugh...said Mr. Pilot, well-known among certain Central Valley aviators for some of his...interesting runway exploits, has many, many employees who fill up those green glass canisters in the photo. He is the richest resident of California and you could look him up. Naturally, I personally have nothing but the very highest regard for him. :-)

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