The Federal Building occupies the entire north side of the 400 block of Golden Gate Avenue in San Francisco. Before the building itself, a rather uninteresting affair from an architect’s point of view, is a rather interesting plaza where the workers hang out for lunch, a smoke, or other private time. The park contains a lot of walls, benches, et alia arranged at odd angles to each other, and when you look at it “From Above,” it presents some interesting opportunities to photographers.
It also presents huge challenges. I like practicing photography from the 8th – 12th floors of San Francisco Public Utilities Commission HQ because the shots are always very difficult. Composing the shot, dealing with dark shadows and bright sunlight, tilting the camera at the right angle, and snapping a gaggle of pictures whilst your subjects move around–none of this is easy, all of this is hard. Here are four pictures of the same subject, a man on a cell phone and a homeless man, each oblivious to the other. I can’t honestly tell you these are great pictures; they are good examples of the challenges photography can place in the way of its practitioners.
As you can see, all of the pictures (edited in iPhoto to reduce darkness of the shadows and intensity of the sunshine) both gain some advantages and disadvantages depending upon how much I use the zoom. Still, I think this constitutes rather a decent display of photographic problems.
Vonn Scott Bair