A Photo for Friday

"The Bridge"

“The Bridge”

San Francisco, CA

April 3, 2023

FILED UNDER: Photo for Friday, Photography
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Jay L Gischer says:

    Welcome to the Bay Area – a month late.

  2. CSK says:

    How did you achieve the sepia tone? It’s very striking.

  3. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Very nice, unusual perspective of an icon. An A grade for sure from Luddite!

    Until Dr T replies, it may be just lighting/cloud/sun combo. I’ve gotten that on a number of shots over the years. It’s always been a happy accident – I can never get that effect post production.

  4. CSK says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    Thanks. I like the antique quality it gives the image.

  5. just nutha says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: Last time I was in SF, the air was really that brown, but that was over 20 years ago, so I hope things have improved. ☹️

  6. @CSK: As @Flat Earth Luddite correctly notes, this was all about ambient light (they don’t call it “golden hour” for nothing!). I did enhance the blacks a tad when I processed the image, but it pretty much looked like that straight out of the camera.

    @just nutha: It really isn’t that the air was brown, but the way the light interacted with the general atmosphere as the sun started to set. I have seen similar colors taken at my house, which is in the country and not affected by urban smog (really, the air in SF was pretty clear, although some fog and haze at times).

  7. Similar effect, close to the same time of day and subject, but in 2015: click. (And that one was taken with a different camera, FWIW).

    Destin, FL in March of 2021.

    Taken at my house: close, but not quite in March 2023 and then similar yellowish tones: August of 2022 and January of 2023.

  8. Part of it is definitely exposure choices.

  9. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Good to hear. Coming back to SF on I-5 (IIRC) from the Monterey Peninsula back in the early 70s one time, I came down into San Jose having summitted a hill and could see the break on the horizon between the polluted air closer to the ground and the clearer air above it. I’ve always wished that I hadn’t been on the freeway at morning commute time so that I could have stopped and taken a picture.

    My other bad old days in Cali story is from 1971. I was on my first ever band tour promoting the college and we’d stopped at a college in LA so that our dorm kids could collect their last meal ticket meal at a same-company dining hall. I was on a knoll looking down on Sunset and the Capitol Records Building was about 5 blocks away. I could only barely recognize it because the haze was so heavy (I did get a picture of it. Because I didn’t have a haze filter, the building is nearly invisible). I mumbled to myself “this is unbelievable” and a student nearby overheard me and said, “Yes, it really is surprisingly clear today.

  10. @Just nutha ignint cracker: I lived in SoCal from 1983-1990 and the smog was pretty bad. I remember seeing a postcard of LA with the mountains in the background and I honestly thought it was fake.

    The various pollution controls on vehicles, including the more expensive gasoline mixes that have been mandated have made a huge difference, despite the griping of many (although to be clear, there is still air pollution, but it is much, much better). Indeed, the clearly effective anti-smog policies in CA is one of many pieces of evidence that have shifted my thinking about the efficacy of “liberal” policies over the years.

  11. Michael Reynolds says:

    It’s one of those tourist attractions, a thing you’ve seen a million times, which is still as beautiful in reality as in pictures.

    I used to live in Marin, and would cross the bridge with the top down on my convertible, and it never got old. It’s not just a bridge, it’s art. I used to park in the pull-outs on the Marin side and watch the fog reshape reality, or watch the big container ships gliding beneath. It’s gorgeous. One of the most beautiful creations of homo sapiens.

  12. @Michael Reynolds: I concur: it is art. There really is something very special about it.