3rd Blog’s a Charm!

Oakland Museum of California (Michael Halberstadt)
Oakland Museum of California (Michael Halberstadt)

This is a new record here at SiliconValleyStock! I’ve photographed three separate times, then processed the images and now am blogging my third blog today.

Oakland Museum of California (Michael Halberstadt)
Oakland Museum of California (Michael Halberstadt)

Boy am I tired!

Oakland Museum of California (Michael Halberstadt)
Oakland Museum of California (Michael Halberstadt)

It started out with a visit to Old Oakland’s Farmers’ Market, then there was an unexpected detour after meeting some friends at Rockwall winery in Alameda and seeing Google’s Makani in action.

Lake Merritt, Oakland (Michael Halberstadt)
Lake Merritt, Oakland (Michael Halberstadt)

The third time that’s the charm was a stop at OMCA’s Friday Foodtruck Festivities- and a few night shots of Lake Merritt.

Lake Merritt, Oakland (Michael Halberstadt)
Lake Merritt, Oakland (Michael Halberstadt)

I won’t write much here, just enough to get a post up for the third time today!

Go Fly a Kite!

Makani, Alameda CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Makani, Alameda CA (Michael Halberstadt)

It’s no wonder Google is changed their name to Alphabet. Their business endeavors are a veritable alphabet-soup so as to have a hand in just about every subject under the sun. I’m a regular chaser of self-driving cars and do my share of stalking the Googleplex and document other Google’s fingers in various pies.

Makani, Alameda CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Makani, Alameda CA (Michael Halberstadt)

But Google also has a project within earshot of my house on my fair Island-city of Alameda. They bought out Makani- an alternative energy company that has an unusual way of generating wind energy. The concept basically is flying up a “wind kite” that once reaching a high-ish altitude where the wind is stronger and spins around sucking up more wind energy while tethered to the ground.

Makani, Alameda CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Makani, Alameda CA (Michael Halberstadt)

Today Makani was testing out one of their kites when I was driving back from a meeting at Rockwall. They even started up the engines- and I realized then the sound of which was one of the mysterious sounds we occasionally hear at our house!

Makani, Alameda CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Makani, Alameda CA (Michael Halberstadt)

I took the opportunity to get a few shots (and even some crappy stock video) of the tests in action. I spied a colorful Google bike way off in corner of the lot complete with a pirate flag and parked nearby to get a shot of the bike and kite together.

Google Mountain View (Michael Halberstadt)
Google Mountain View (Michael Halberstadt)

There I noticed a gal in a blue hardhat with a video camera and a dSLR pointed at the kite. She came over and we had a nice chat. I’m so used to the Google people shouting (figuratively) “get off my lawn!” So it was a pleasant change of events. In any case she introduced herself as Andrea and a quick search came up with her blog… check it out here.

Lofty Views of Old Oakland’s Farmers’ Market

Old Oakland Farmers' Market (Michael Halberstadt)
Old Oakland Farmers’ Market (Michael Halberstadt)

Continuing with my stock photography coverage, I headed to Old Oakland’s Farmers’ Market. Historic Old Oakland is picturesque already, but the Farmers’ Market added to the photographic appeal. There’s something nice about a city where there’s no car traffic. And that’s one nice aspect to urban farmers’ markets. There are all the colorful produce and flowers to brighten the place up. Pedestrians filling the streets add to the aesthetic charm. And best of all, I can photograph from right in the middle of the road!

Old Oakland Farmers' Market (Michael Halberstadt)
Old Oakland Farmers’ Market (Michael Halberstadt)

Back to Oakland

(with my apologies to Tower of Power)

Oakland, California (Michael Halberstadt)
Rooftop Garden- Oakland, California (Michael Halberstadt)

Living in Alameda as I do- I have a tricky relationship with Oakland. For those not familiar with Oakland and Alameda let me give you the Cliff Notes version.

Oakland, California (Michael Halberstadt)
Oakland, California (Michael Halberstadt)

Oakland is a city about half the size of, and located across the bay facing east from San Francisco. It’s a beautiful city, full of architectural treasures and bustling urban textures and cultures. Oakland also suffers from a very high crime rate. By contrast Alameda is sleepy suburban island city that was separated from Oakland artificially to make way for a shipping channel for the Port of Oakland. Alameda is known for being very different from Oakland, despite being minutes away from Oakland’s urban core.

Oakland, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Oakland Skyline, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

I really love Oakland, but am apprehensive of letting down my guard and drag my expensive camera gear along. Not in some areas- including some of the most beautiful: the hills, Mountain View Cemetery, Jack London Square. After signing up for a bunch of extra insurance and splitting up my camera kit, I’ve opted to venture into Oakland’s urban core and start documenting whatever we call the state of the city of Oakland now- between poverty and gentrification, dilapidation and renaissance, beauty and destruction.

Oakland, California (Michael Halberstadt)
Oakland, California (Michael Halberstadt)

A few areas I’ve covered thus far… the rooftop garden of the Kaiser building. Pretty cool having a tranquil garden and pond atop a large downtown building.

Oakland, California (Michael Halberstadt)
Oakland, California (Michael Halberstadt)

Another area I’d covered in the last few days is around Lake Merritt. I’d done some research to find there are a few points of interest I was unaware of. For example, there’s a bonsai garden there. It happened to be closed (despite the stated hours) the first day I went but open the next. Also around Lake Merritt is Children’s Fairyland and the WPA gem of a Alameda County Courthouse.

Oakland, California (Michael Halberstadt)
Oakland, California (Michael Halberstadt)

I’ve got plans to go back, there’s so much to cover!

From the Archive: San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge From the Middle Lane

Almost Impossible: Long Exposure from the Center Lane of the Bay Bridge
Almost Impossible: Long Exposure from the Center Lane of the Bay Bridge

I still have to pinch myself. Did this really happen? Right before the official opening of the new Eastern Span of the Oakland – San Francisco Bay Bridge a friend let me in with his special access.

Bay Bridge Stock Photo

We drove around on an almost empty bridge free of all but construction and CHP traffic. We stopped pretty much wherever we wanted. Nights we could even set up our tripods right in the middle lane of the bridge and make long exposures.

Bay Bridge Stock Photo

My friends at Oakland Magazine previously got me press access onto the Bay Bridge on a wet and windy night to document the LED art installation. We could setup our tripods for this access, which was nice. But since there was still auto traffic, the bridge shook and long exposures were fruitless.

San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge (Photographer: Michael Halberstadt/Michael Halberstadt)
San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge Press Event for LED Light Installtion (Photographer: Michael Halberstadt/Michael Halberstadt)

I could have kept shooting there for weeks if they let us. These are the views photographers like me find so beautifully frustrating: so beautiful, yet unattainable. It’s what we see stuck in traffic and think if only I could just park my car and pull out my camera.

Bay Bridge Stock Photo

My parting shot was a long exposure disturbed by a CHP call to “leave now” minutes before the official opening.

The CHP came by and said get off now- we're about to open to the public. I picked up my tripod and headed to the car while still exposing. (Photographer: Michael Halberstadt)
Parting Shot: The CHP came by and said get off now- we’re about to open to the public. I picked up my tripod and headed to the car while still exposing. (Photographer: Michael Halberstadt)