After a gig in the South Bay I made a few stops to the regular hotspots today. First stop was Intel in Santa Clara. They’re basically the visitor friendliest tech company in Silicon Valley. Just happened I was driving past and thought for lighting reasons and to test out one of my lenses it might make a good stop.
My day started out a bit earlier than usual, and due to the angle of the sun and slight overcast, I thought it would be a good day to revisit the “Birthplace of Silicon Valley”, the HP Garage in Palo Alto. And once again I looped by the Googleplex, and found the cute little autonomous car nearby. And as usual they didn’t like me photographing/filming. I find that whole bit kinda funny- one of the world’s richest companies, testing their new product in a public parking lot. And not just any product, but a self driving car, news about which would interest a substantial portion of the world’s readership. Ironically given all the controversy of the Google Buses, there was a sign (I wish I photographed) prohibiting them. And Imagine if you or I were to drive a car with no plates in a public lot to test out ____?! Guess if you have billions of dollars you can close off a disused public parking lot and do pretty much anything 😉
In any case (and pardon my rant), it seemed today they were testing the new Google X car for bike and pedestrian safety. A couple of young women were apparently pretending to text and ride a Gbike in the path of the car. Another young lady appeared to pretend to be texting as she crossed an imaginary intersection. I’d be very curious to hear how all that works, not that they’ll discuss any of it with me. Like how can the car can figure out how fast a bike’s trajectory could enter the path of the self driving car.
Next stop was Facebook. I wanted to get a few shots of the sign from a few different angles. Not too exiting, but that’s my life.
My first published travel writing piece was in the most recent Oakland/Alameda Magazine. It’s a short piece (with many thanks to Oakland Magazine peeps for their editing help) about tech tourism and Silicon Valley. Hope this is the beginning of more such work! The photo they choose for the article is of Hoover Tower on the Stanford Campus.
One of the sources for image requests I subscribe to was looking for a photo of a girl with a bike. They had a sample photo that looked promising: it was that of a girl, face not visible and a black English three speed bike almost identical to the one I had in storage. They wanted it to look like spring. The sample photo also showed blue skies and a patch of green sorrel in the foreground- something easily found at the park near me. As it happens I have a girl (my lovely 12 year old daughter Ella.) The request called for spring dresses, something Ella didn’t have, but my wife Bridget sent out an email to friends for said garments (ironically several of the mothers in our group wear the same size as my 12 y/o daughter!) And within a few hours we had a selection of spring dresses. Regrettably my seemingly perfect bike in storage turned out to be unacceptably rusty. I’ll have to have it fixed up, it’s my all time favorite bike. Fortunately I had yet another similar bike- a modern copy of a Dutch bike (made in Taiwan for what it’s worth.) Bridget did a little art directing, I think the photos turned out pretty well. We’ll see what happens!
Finding where my photos end up being used can be tricky. I license photos directly, but also through third parties. I found this photo used in the Swiss newspaper Der Bund. It’s a photo of a street sign that leads into Google in Mountain View.
The title of the article in English reads “Half of the Jobs Disappeared”. It is an article interviewing the German journalist Christoph Keese about a book he wrote about Silicon Valley. Interestingly he was an exchange student in Silicon Valley in the 1980’s- I grew up in Silicon Valley and was an exchange student in Germany in the same time frame. Small world 😉
I decided to ferry/bike to an appointment in San Francisco recently and take my camera with me. Last time I drove through SF I noticed Mozilla had an office in what back in my day in San Francisco was Gorden Biersch brewery and restaurant. And Adobe has a presence in my old neighborhood near the train station. Not the most interesting of subjects, but glad to add more to my library.
Turns out the ferry/bike combo works well for stock and hope to do more soon.
My plan for New Year’s Day was to drive down California’s Central Coast and meet a couple friends at Pfeiffer Beach. But after some strong weather hit, the beach was closed. The subject we were interested in was the “Keyhole Rock” – at this time of year the sun streams right through the center of the hole at sunset, a sort of au natural Stonehenge I suppose.
So, we drove the half hour of windy road to another part of California’s Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. I’m sure you’ve seen it. I remember it from zillions of photos modern back to the classics by f64 photographers. It’s a secluded cove and a desolate beach, so shallow that the water of the Pacific looks cyan.
Normally I’m in favor of all those European social welfare laws and such. But one aspect of those can be the frustration of being surrounded by zillions of krauts and frogs as happened this not-so-fateful New Year’s Day.
Fighting for a spot to place my tripod was hard enough. But I was also out gunned by my friends who own better gear than I do. I did my best to find a slightly different spot then theirs, but no doubt their photos will be better than mine none-the-less. And to add insult to injury, some schmuck had drawn a huge “I love XXX” in the sand near the waterfall. Oh well.
If nothing else, I stayed longer and got a few photos under the nearly full moon.
Get it…..? Ai Weiwei? Very punny….sorry couldn’t help it!
Years ago, I lived in “The City”, and did my best to avoid touristy destinations like Alcatraz. A photographer friend of mine got me a quick free (very short) trip once long ago, he used to supply postcards of his photos that they had in the gift shop. But until my most recent trip I’d seen nearly zero of the place except in the movies.
Thanks to my brother and his wife, I got a free most expenses paid trip to the Island people tried to escape from. Despite all the tourists, it really is pretty interesting. There are fantastic views of the city and East Bay. The prison itself is full of beautiful textures of institutional colored paint layered and cracked. And the Weiwei exhibits really pop cool monotone colored halls and rooms.
I liked it so much, I might even go back after the tourists go home!
In between two gigs in Fremont, I had some time to kill. So while eating lunch at California Craft Beer pouring room (with a sandwich from the Cheese Deli next door,) I opted to get a few stock photos in.
After a nice beer sampler, I got some exterior photos of the Mission San Jose across the street. After dropping $5 I got in and made some interior photos of the alter, chandeliers, and the cemetery in back.
The suburbs can be more interesting than we give them credit for.
I’m still working on my video skills, sorry they’re crap right now. But here’s a short snippet I caught of the new Google two seater self driving car in a Silicon Valley parking lot. Fortunately I did get some decent stills (see here.)