Tag Archives: Carquinez Straits

Amtrak in the Mist; Suisun Bay Bridge at the Carquinez Straits, Benicia, California.

Amtrak_Capitols_crossing_Suisun Bay Bridge_Martinez_CA_Feb1992_Fujichrome_Brian_Solomon_575116
An Amtrak ‘Capitols’—so named because the trains connect historic and contemporary California capital cities—works timetable east across the Suisun Bay Bridge in February 1992. Exposed on Fujichrome 100 color slide film.

I featured Southern Pacific’s massive Suisun Bay Bridge in my 2008 book North American Railroad BridgesIn this detailed book, I traced the development of bridges on American railroads and featured many of the most noteworthy spans.

Southern Pacific’s Suisun Bay Bridge opened for service on October 151930, allowing the railroad  to discontinue its intensive car ferry operations. It was the largest double track bridge west of the Mississippi.

I made this photograph with Brian Jennison on a foggy morning more than 16 years before the book’s publication. However this was not the image used to illustrate the bridge in the book. Instead, I opted for a broad-side silhouette exposed on Ektachrome in 1993.

Here’s a bridge photograph tip: to make a large span appear enormous crop the ends of the bridge, thus allowing  the mind to expand the bridge to unseen ends.

Tracking the Light will post tomorrow at the usual time.

Tracking the Light posts every day.



Amtrak Capitols Crossing Carquinez Straits, August 12, 2009.


Dramatic Bridge Silhouette.

Martinez, California, as viewed from Carquinez Scenic Drive. Canon EOS 3 with 100-400 mm lens, Fujichrome slide film.
Martinez, California, as viewed from Carquinez Scenic Drive. Canon EOS 3 with 100-400 mm lens, Fujichrome slide film.

On the morning of August 12, 2009, I used my Canon EOS 3 with a 100-400 mm Canon image stabilization lens to expose this image of an Amtrak California Capitols train crossing the former Southern Pacific Carquinez Straits Bridge at Martinez, California. (Amtrak’s Capitol Corridor derives its name from California’s old and new capital cities, San Jose and Sacramento)

When this bridge was completed in 1930, it was the largest double track railway bridge west of the Mississippi. Today it carries Amtrak and Union Pacific trains.

Coastal fog softened the morning sun making for a cosmic effect. Making photographs of the bridge is complicated by  the enormous Interstate 680 bridges that flank it on both sides. I’ve found that a broadside silhouette is the most effective way of capturing the scale of the bridges.

For another view from this hillside see:

Union Pacific’s Ozol Yard, Martinez, California, August 12, 2009, posted May 13, 2013.

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