Tag Archives: Sutro Baths

Nothing Endures: The Sutro Baths at Land’s End, San Francisco. (Weekly Photo Challenge: Endurance)

Standard

Good Morning:

Nothing endures. One hour spent at the ruins of San Francisco’s Sutro Baths provides so many examples, starting with the fact that the Baths are ruins. Remember that as you peruse this collection of photos which I took at the end of a cloudy Saturday afternoon–come to think of it, clouds and days don’t endure either.

DSCN4928 DSCN4947

That ship might travel to Asia today looking strong and proud, but within 20-30 years, the cumulative effects of salt water and bad weather will reduce it to scrap metal at best.

DSCN4960

I have no idea what might once have awaited at the bottom of those stairs…

DSCN4953 DSCN5003

…and I have no idea what these once did.

One of the sweeter and sadder aspects of human existence consists of this: love and friendship don’t endure. Either the love or friendship will fade away, or the humans will. We can derive some consolation from the fact that the concepts of love and friendship will endure and be celebrated by humanoid life forms, even those life forms that do not yet exist. At least, until Homo Sapiens itself passes into the fossil record.

Posing for Pictures Amongst the Ruins

Posing for Pictures Amongst the Ruins

Love Among the Ruins

Love Among the Ruins

Friends at Seal Rocks, 20 September 2014

Friends at Seal Rocks, 20 September 2014

Two Couples, Young and Old, Sutro Baths, 20 September 2014

Two Couples, Young and Old, Sutro Baths, 20 September 2014

So we might as well celebrate love and friendship now.

Incidentally, if you want to find good scenes and camera angles at Sutro Baths, Seal Rocks, and Land’s End, you might want to try this: look for signs that read something like “This Area Closed for Your Safety.” Then walk past those signs and head into those areas. Everyone else does (including many of the people in these pictures), and if your life insurance is paid up…well, heck, you weren’t going to last much longer than a century in a multiverse that measures its age in billions of years. Of course, long before the multiverse self-extinguishes, our own little sun will swell into a red giant and consume our even tinier little planet.

So even that won’t endure. So let’s all consume ourselves with despair.

I’m kidding, of course.

The fact that nothing will last represents one darn good reason to make the good things last as long as possible.

Have a fun weekend.

Vonn Scott Bair

Advertisements

The Popular Abandoned (Weekly Photo Challenge: Abandoned)

Standard

Good Morning:

From the day it opened in 1896 until the day it was abandoned in 1966, the Sutro Baths did nothing but lose money. Didn’t matter if the Baths were baths, or a museum, or a concert hall seating 8,000, or a skating rink, or whatever else, the Baths lost money. They didn’t even succeed at closing; they tried to demolish the Baths, but Adolph Sutro’s mad obsession burnt to the ground instead.

So how can the abandoned become so popular?

DSC_0123 DSC_0112 DSC_0056 DSC_0034

Just one of those paradoxes, I suppose. Greece has its Parthenon devoted to Athena, Egypt has its Great Pyramid of Giza devoted to a pharaoh. San Francisco has a financial disaster. Of such is abandoned immortality made.

Vonn Scott Bair

Grey Series: San Francisco’s West Coast During the Magic Hour, 27 October 2013 (Weekly Photo Challenge: Horizon)

Standard

Good Evening:

Who needs another gorgeous sunset? Fluffy pink gossamer clouds in a dark sapphire sky as a perfectly round sun turns orange red and lights up the sea with its reflections?

Feh.

After 30+ years on the Pacific Coast, I have learned how to appreciate the normal San Francisco sunset, when fog and/or clouds roll in along with just the right brisk breeze–OK, howling near-gale-force wind–to instill in oneself the proper level of appreciation for hot chocolate, spiked or unspiked. Since so many of these Challenges seem custom-designed to drive me to the ruins of the Sutro Baths, yesterday’s Magic Hour was perfect.

In a sort of dark grey, gloomy, ghosts and goblins sort of perfect.

Wester Horizon, San Francisco, California, 27 October 2013

Wester Horizon, San Francisco, California, 27 October 2013

For all of these shots, I pulled out my Nikon D40 DSLR, but I left the polarizing filter on, despite the gathering darkness. I still don’t know why, but something about the American West seems to require some kind of filter to prevent pictures from coming out too brightly. Although the filter technically changes the light, the resulting pictures displayed what I actually saw (1/30th second exposures). No filter would have made the shots too light.

Two of the shots don’t qualify for my Grey Series, but they still have some interest.

DSC_0347 DSC_0309

That bottom picture looks like something from a computer game of the adventure genre (e.g., Myst) where you need to find a message engraved on the far side of the boulder. Just two more for tonight, but truly grey shots, even if shot in full color.

DSC_0334 DSC_0328

Vonn Scott Bair

Dawn at the Sutro Baths (Weekly Photo Challenge: The Golden Hour)

Standard

Good Evening:

I am a little dense, aren’t I?

I completely forgot that a day contains not one, but two Golden Hours, just before sunset and just after sunrise. I also completely forgot that I have tended to enjoy much greater success taking pictures during the morning’s Golden Hour than I have during the evenings. See? Told you I was a little dense.

I present more dawn pictures from one of my favorite subjects, Sutro Baths and Seal Rocks, plus the Marin Headlands.

DSCN4429 DSCN4271 DSCN4255 DSCN4306 DSCN4425Photography in San Francisco is so easy, it almost feels like legal cheating.

Vonn Scott Bair

 

The Ballerina at the Baths, 2 February 2013

Standard

Good Evening:

The cold and fog kept even the San Franciscans away from Sutro Baths on that weekend morning. Well, almost everyone. A professional photographer joined me in taking pictures of Sutro Sam, but a third photographer had different business. An aspiring ballet dancer had hired him to take pictures of her plying her art in an unusual environment. From a photographer’s point of view, the even grey light suited his needs perfectly:

The Photograher & The Ballerina at the Sutro Baths, 2 February 2013

The Photograher & The Ballerina at the Sutro Baths, 2 February 2013

If I were a gambler, I would bet anyone a burrito that he took some amazing pictures.

Vonn Scott Bair

Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward – Into the Great Blue Open

Standard

Good Afternoon:

Another 6:00 a.m. on a Sunday Morning, another expedition to the Sutro Baths. Perhaps not my best day with a camera (252 photos taken, only 80 kept), but some turned out acceptably well, and of these, three accidentally qualified for this week’s Challenge.

DSCN4282

I don’t know what this walkway used to lead to, but today it seems to lead “Forward” to Seal Rocks, and beyond them, to lead into the Great Blue Open. Of course, there exist easier means of travel into the Great Blue Open than attempting to walk upon the waters:

DSCN4322

Look at the horizon between the two rocks; you’ll see what I think was a trawler.

If you sail across the Pacific, you’ll need to bring something with you:

DSCN4388

Container vessel shipping, first developed in 1956, probably ranks among the greatest and least appreciated inventions of the 20th Century, greatly reducing the cost and time consumed shipping goods from one continent to another. Amazingly, the crew of the container ship in the above picture will not transfer those containers on deck down into the hull’s storage spaces–they’re already filled with even more containers. They will sail into the Great Blue Open, across the world’s largest ocean, with those containers stacked aboveboard, no matter what weather they encounter.

Perhaps we still live in an Age of Wonder after all.

Vonn Scott Bair

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beyond – More from the Sutro Baths

Standard

Good Evening:

A very kind and encouraging individual asked for more photographs of my Sutro Baths sojourns. I will try to stick to the “Beyond” theme for this set, but will probably deviate in later posts, should I add more.

This first came from the sunrise visit on 12 January. I don’t know why, but many of the pictures, such as this, remind me of scenes from the old games Myst, Riven and especially Myst 3: Exile.

DSC_0062 012313

During my Monday, 21 January, sunset visit (“The Age of Wonder“), I took this second shot with my Nikon Coolpix S9100 point & shoot on the Dusk setting for the effect. Frankly, the colors are by no means real, hardly resembling what I saw. However, there’s something to be said for aritificial intensity.

DSCN4023

Finally, a pair of shots of the same scene, a photography teacher and her young student. I’ll leave it to you to judge which composition is better. The first fits the “Beyond” theme, in that it gives the context of the event by showing all of the scenery “beyond” the people.

DSC_0067

The next is a much closer composition made possible with the aid of my friend, the zoom.

DSC_0068

I can say something positive about each shot, but I think the zoom-in picture is a little better. But I don’t know why. If you agree, I’d appreciate an explanation of my picture.

Vonn Scott Bair