Soviet San Francisco

San Francisco, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
2016 Russian Victory in Europe celebration in San Francisco, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

I’d been meaning to get out and do something productive. This time I opted to head over to San Francisco. It was an overcast Sunday morning and I figured at least there’d be plenty of free parking. And in fact I found a decent spot right around from Google’s SF HQ (and Firefox that I actually photographed.)

Firefox, San Francisco, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Firefox, San Francisco, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

From the Embarcadero I headed toward the San Francisco Ferry Building. I think that’s still a popular spot and thought a few aerial shots were in order. I got a few verticals in – even managing to get a bunch of patrons at the Market Bar to comment on my rig.

San Francisco, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Cable Car turnabout from above San Francisco, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

From there I headed for a straight on view. I got a few good shots in – I think at least. But I noticed something odd. Off to my left I saw a few people in military garb and Soviet flags flying. At first I thought it was some hipster kids who think Communism is cool, yet know nothing about the subject at all. Boy was I wrong. On arriving I heard one of my favorite old pinko tunes: Katjuscha (I know the DDR version.) In addition to the Soviet red flag with hammer and sickle, there were modern red, white and blue Russian flags and a our very own stars and stripes in the mix as well. I asked one of the ladies what the occasion was. Turns out they were celebrating Victory in Europe day (a day early- not sure if it was because they could have the day off or that’s how Russia celebrates their victory.) It was cool none-the-less.

San Francisco, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Civic Center Farmer’s Market, San Francisco, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

The next aerial views I decided to try were the City Hall area. There was a movie being filmed there- adding lots of clutter and parking issues. But I did my best to hid that. There was also the Asian Art Museum and Library behind me that seemed stock photo worthy. And it turned out to be Farmer’s Market day at the United Nations Plaza. I got what I could.

San Francisco, CA (Michael Halberstadt)
Ferry Terminal from Above, San Francisco, CA (Michael Halberstadt)

For some reason I thought it was closer than it was, but I also thought the turn around for the cable cars area would be a good “from above” spot. And it was. I think these will sell- it’s a very common stock photo subject, but the aerial view is different enough I think to make my shots unique.

(this last photo is a link to my San Francisco gallery)


Silicon Valley Time Machine

Stock photograph by Hans Halberstadt.  Reproduction requires written permission from Hans Halberstadt, Military Stock Photography, or designated representative (Hans Halberstadt)
Aerial Photo of San Jose likely taken in the late 1980’s/Stock photograph by Hans Halberstadt.

We here at are constantly looking for ways to help you….the photo researcher, picture buyer, magazine, text book publisher or anybody else looking for photography of what the kids now refer to as Silicon Valley.

It so happens that not only am I a photographer, but so is my dad, Hans. Even my grandfather (Milton “Hal” Halberstadt) was a photographer. Must be in the genes I guess…… Hopefully my daughter Ella will escape the the creative occupation that has cursed our family for three generations and become a doctor or accountant!

In any case my dad has been digging through dusty old shoe-boxes full of slides. Somewhere between the photos of tanks and scantily clad maidens (eeew, TMI!) he’s found a vein of old photos of Silicon Valley and tech stuff. My guess is that the photos he’s digitized and given me are from the late 1980’s to the early 1990’s. In short these photos were most likely made while listening to Def Leopard on a cassette deck.

When I was a wee lad, my dad actually rented a small office at the (then domestic) San Jose Airport. The office was in the same building with Aris Helicopters, and he used to go up and shoot aerials on occasion. So there are quite a few aerials in the mix.

Stock photograph by Hans Halberstadt.  Reproduction requires written permission from Hans Halberstadt, Military Stock Photography, or designated representative (Hans Halberstadt)
Hey, where’s city hall?! San Jose from former San Jose Hospital Building ca. 1990

My dad also managed to gain access to some excellent vantage points. In fact the view above is from the form San Jose Medical Building on Santa Clara street (actually 25 North 14th Street). The building is now dubbed “San Jose Business Center” but seems to only have a pot dealer “medical” marijuana dispensary on the ground floor. I’ve been nagging the property management company (Chavez Management) trying to get access. Wouldn’t it be cool to have before and after photos?

From what I understand there are thousands and thousands of dusty slides just waiting to see the light of (the internet). Guess I better start digging around in and scanning!