Shipping Out!

The San Francisco Bay Area is pretty much a port area, with the ports of San misy1Francisco and Oakland serving the northern west coast of the US from around the world, there’s many opportunities to head out to the surrounding Ports to photograph. Photograph the ports? Sound boring doesn’t it? I’ll admit, it’s not quite a sunset or up in the Sierra’s, but as far as urbanscapes go, it can be sort of an eery experience. Unless you know someone, you can’t get inside the gates of the many shipping companies taking up port. Plus, it’s quite dangerous inside because the movement of these huge tractors moving 20 and 40′ containers around the yard like Legos. My Father used to work down on the docks, so I know firsthand what it’s like to be amongst these monstrous movers. Many have misy2been killed over the years from them.

This in mind, you have to either sneak over the fence or find one that isn’t so busy. We decided to go to one up in Mare Island, just 30 mins away from the larger ports. Mare Island is an old Military Base that was officially closed during the Clinton days and is slowly turning itself into many things from Osteopathic Med School to public golf course (formally only for the upper brass) and many other things. It’s amazing to see how very well the Military folk misy5lived back in the day. They’re like little cities within the city – totally self-contained and totally free for them! Not a bad gig … until you have to ship out for active duty. Close by, also, is the old factory where war planes were made during WWII and since deployment of soldiers was plentiful to fight the many campaigns, little (men) were left behind to make wartime essentials, so the employed women on many assembly lines affectionately called Rosie the Riveter’s. The Bay Area is so rich in Americanmisy4 history unlike a lost of cities.

Waiting for nightfall around the shipyards, the glow and mixture of light begins to shine. Since there’s nothing really going on at the ports, it’s dead silent. The only movement in the area are patrol cars buzzing about. While doing our thing, a few port cops slowed to see what we were doing and moved on about their business – as long as we stayed outside of the chained fences, we weren’t doing any harm. And since misy3there’s nothing sensitive or secretive, we were allowed to continue unabated. Brick buildings slowly weathered by the salty ocean, beams of green, orange, blue and every variation shot from nearby lamps posts giving an eery feeling – it was only enhanced with by the silence I mentioned before. There are a couple of abandoned Barracks still standing, but decaying pretty quickly not far from the docks, very worthy photo subject in the nighttime sky around us. The only thing that would’ve added to the overall experience was fog. There was none to be had on this clear blue night …




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