Photographer's Note

There are several cities which are famous for their bridges. Lisbon, Istanbul, Copenhagen… but probably the most famous are bridges of San Francisco. Everybody has seen a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge. On TE itself every third photo from San Francisco presents the Golden Gate. While that bridge is indeed unique and there are many stunning facts about it, it is not the only impressive bridge in SF. The second most important bridge in the area is the Bay Bridge which connects San Francisco with Oakland. The funny thing is that many tourists are mixing up these two bridges and even locals have difficulty to recognize them in the photographs.

I have photographed Golden Gate at the blue hour before (pre-digital times, photo not shown on TE) so I decided this time to take a picture of the Bay Bridge. After a while of searching internet for a perfect POV, I found out that the best photos showing Bay Bridge with San Francisco downtown in the background say that they were taken from the Treasure Island. It appeared not to be very precise, as the famous viewpoint was actually not the Treasure Island but Yerba Buena Island. Anna, a friend of mine took me there just before the blue hour in the search of the classic POV. (Thank you so much!) After a while of driving on the Yerba Buena Island we figured out that the stunning POV is located in the Restricted Area which belongs to the Coast Guard. My friend took out a book (PhotoSecrets San Francisco & Northern California: The Best Sights and How to Photograph Them). She found the view we intended to photograph and read the first sentence: The most famous SF view which you will not be able to photograph… Indeed the area was restricted. It was getting dark. We decided to take the risk and we drove into the restricted area. We could spot the bridge but the POV was far from perfect. We needed to go far deeper into the park which belonged to the restricted area, but it was getting dark so further driving meant we will not manage to take any photo at the blue hour at all. We had a company: several possums were curiously running around us plus two junkies, straight from 1968, enjoyed the sunset.

In the end instead of photographing the part of the bridge which joins SF with Yerba Buena Island I decided to take a picture of the bridge which connects the island with Oakland. This part of the bridge is rarely photographed. I did like its nice curve. The tower on the left seems to be the part of the construction. You can read about it in the note below. As you see the bridge has two levels: upper deck goes direction Oakland > San Franciso (white car lights). If you have a good eye and you know what to look for, far in the distance you can spot the campanile of the University of California at Berkeley.

San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge is a pair of bridges spanning San Francisco Bay of California, in the United States. Forming part of Interstate 80 and of the direct road route between San Francisco and Oakland, it carries approximately 270,000 vehicles per day on its two decks. It has one of the longest spans in the world. Construction began in 1933. Designed by Charles H. Purcell, and built by American Bridge Company, it opened for traffic on November 12, 1936, six months before the Golden Gate Bridge.

The bridge consists of two major crossings connecting each shore with Yerba Buena Island, a natural outcropping located mid-bay. The Western crossing lies between Yerba Buena and San Francisco. It is composed of two complete suspension spans connected at a center anchorage. The top of the Rincon Hill neighborhood serves as the western anchorage and touch-down for the San Francisco landing of the bridge connected by three shorter truss spans. The eastern crossing, between Yerba Buena Island and Oakland, is a cantilever bridge that consists of a double-tower span, five medium truss spans, and a 14-section truss causeway. Due to earthquake concerns the eastern crossing is being replaced by an entirely new crossing, to be finished in late 2013. On Yerba Buena Island, the double-decked crossing consists of a 321 foot (98 m) concrete viaduct east of the west span's cable anchorage, a 540 foot (160 m) tunnel through the island's rocky central hill, another 790.8 foot (241.0 m) concrete viaduct, and a longer curved high-level steel truss viaduct that spans the final 1,169.7 feet (356.5 m) to the cantilever bridge. The viaduct sections east of the tunnel are at present being modified, bypassed and replaced as part of the seismic safety work that will eventually transition traffic onto and off of the self-anchored suspension (SAS) bridge of the new eastern bay crossing.

Photo Information
Viewed: 3419
Points: 90
Additional Photos by Mariusz Kamionka (mkamionka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7284 W: 106 N: 19181] (73500)
View More Pictures