Tag Archives: Muni

Boeing’s on the Streets of San Francisco.

In October 1990, Boeing-Vertol light rail vehicles pass on Carl Street, just west of the Sunset Tunnel.

I exposed this photo on Kodachrome 25 slide film with my Nikon F3T and an f4.0 200mm Nikkor telephoto.
I exposed this photo on Kodachrome 25 slide film with my Nikon F3T and an f4.0 200mm Nikkor telephoto.

My intent was to show the streetcars against a backdrop of San Francisco gingerbread Victorian houses. Selecting the optimal exposure was tricky owing to the low-angle of the sun. I wanted to maintain the bright highlights without risk of under exposing the background.

Although it is tempting in these situations to expose for the highlights, in this case I didn’t want the unnatural ‘nightmare’ effect caused by surreal dark background.

Unlike today, back then I’d rely largely on my handheld Sekonic meter to gauge exposure. Although the F3T had a built in meter, I never found this to be sufficiently accurate to maintain consistent exposures with slide film.

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Shirebooks Journal Features Cable Cars by Brian Solomon.

This is the second of three posts in my three part series covering San Francisco’s Streetcars. Shirebooks recently published my book Streetcars of America co-authored with John Gruber.

Click the link below to see their site:

http://www.shirebooks.co.uk/blog/san_francisco_streetcars_cable_car_pioneer_lone/

A cablecar crests Lombard Street just after sunrise on a September morning. See Shirebooks Journal for Brian Solomon's feature on San Francisco's Cable Cars.
A cable car crests Lombard Street just after sunrise on a September morning. See Shirebooks Journal for Brian Solomon’s feature on San Francisco’s Cable Cars.

Shirebook’s Journal features Brian Solomon’s look at San Francisco Streetcars

The first in my series of illustrated posts on San Francisco’s streetcars can be viewed at http://www.shirebooks.co.uk/blog/San_Francisco_Streetcars_Photography_part_1/

Check it out!

Tracking the Light posts new material everyday.

http://www.shirebooks.co.uk/blog/San_Francisco_Streetcars_Photography_part_1/
http://www.shirebooks.co.uk/blog/San_Francisco_Streetcars_Photography_part_1/

Sunrise on Hayes—21 Crests the Grade.

Are you seeing the whole picture? Tracking the Light presents: A Glinty Electric Bus.

Exposed on Fujichrome using a Canon EOS3 with 100-400 IS Zoom lens. Forest fires east of San Francisco made for an extra rosy sunrise.
Exposed on Fujichrome using a Canon EOS3 with 100-400 IS Zoom lens. Forest fires east of San Francisco made for an extra rosy sunrise.

Did I notice this scene in my rear view mirror one morning in the 1990s? I think so. Anyway,  a memory of a image—something like this was nagging me.

On the morning September 3, 2009, I set up on Hayes Street in San Francisco with my 100-400mm lens. Just after sunrise I exposed a series of images of an electric bus (trolley bus) catching the glint of the rising sun as it crested Alamo Hill.

For me the wires make the photo interesting. Not only do the dual wires power the bus, but they visually tie the scene together.

I like the dramatic lighting and monochromatic effect of the silhouette. I’ve carefully included the pole at the far left to visually anchor the wire network to the ground. This also adds balance.

There’s a famous vista made just to the left of my location. It features a staggered row of gingerbread style Victorians with the San Francisco skyline. It is an iconic setting that appears on post cards, calendars, books and etc. You’d recognize it if you saw it. While the clichéd vista is typically exposed in the afternoon from the park, my view is from the street in the early morning.

Cropped view of the color slide.
Cropped view of the color slide.

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Daily Post: If you Say Something, See Something.

San Francisco, August 2009.

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DAILY POST; San Francisco Sunrise, 1992.

Muni Boeing-Vertol LRV’s catch the glint.

 In 1992, I was living on Haight Street in San Francisco, just a short walk from this location. One August morning, I got up early to make photos of Muni’s light rail cars exiting the Muni Metro on Duboce in the sunrise glint light.

San Francisco MUNI light rail.
Exposed on Fujichrome 100 with a Nikon F3T fitted with an f1.8 105mm Nikkor lens, scanned with an Epson V600 desktop scanner.

For this image, I’ve used the trees at the left to shade the front element from direct sun to minimize flare. Although it was a clear morning, the sun was tinted by pollution that I remember as being a common effect in the Bay Area, especially in the summer.

My goal was to catch a car taking the wye from the J-Church line heading west on the N-Judah line, which was a common way for Muni to position cars in the morning. While I did make that photo, I felt this image was actually a better picture.

It shows an inbound J-Church car turning toward the subway portal with an N-Judah car outbound.

Although, I commonly used Kodachrome at the time, for this image I used Fujichrome 100 (before the introduction of Provia), which I processed myself at the photo studio where I worked in South San Francisco. Among my studio duties was running E6 transparency film. We used a roller transport machine and mixed the chemistry on site.

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Tomorrow take a look at the former Pennsylvania Railroad’s viaduct at Crum Creek!

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BEFORE THE CRASH: Muni 162 Catches the Sun In 2009

San Francisco Muni Car 162 on the Embarcadero.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

On January 4, 2014, historic Muni 162 was involved in a serious collision with a truck on the streets of San Francisco.

San Francisco streetcar before it was involved in a crash.
San Francisco’s historic Muni car 162 grinds along the Embarcadero in the summer of 2009. Sadly, this car was involved in a serious collision near the location of this image on Saturday January 14, 2014. Exposed on Fujichrome slide film using a Canon EOS 3 with 24mm lens.

This 100-year old car was built by the Jewitt Car Company in 1914, and is one of several authentic San Francisco streetcars working San Francisco Muni’s popular ‘F’ Line.

The car was originally retired from daily Muni service in 1958. It was completely restored by Market Street Railway volunteers between 2004 and 2008.

I made this image of 162 on San Francisco’s Embarcadero on summer evening in 2009, not far from the scene of Saturday’s unfortunate collision.

I featured Muni’s F-line in my book, Railroads of California published by Voyageur Press.

To read learn about Muni 162 see: http://www.streetcar.org/streetcars/162/

For details of the accident see: http://www.streetcar.org/blog/2014/01/no-way-to-start-its-centennial-year.html

For general media accounts see:

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story? section=news/local/san_francisco&id=9381895

http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Muni-Trolley-Smashes-Into-Big-Rig-at-Embarcadero-Intersection-Four-Injured-238736091.html

Hopefully, the car will soon be repaired and restored to operating condition.

Tracking the Light features railway photography with new posts every day.

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San Francisco Muni Light Rail.

Breda Light Rail Vehicles Work San Francisco Streets.

Muni Light Rail

Shortly after sunset in May 2008, a San Francisco Muni L-Taraval car takes the corner from 15th Avenue to Ulloa Street on the way toward West Portal, where the line enters the Twin Peaks Tunnel. Exposed on Fujichrome with a Canon EOS 3 with f28 200mm lens. Eighteen years earlier I made a similar view near this spot, which appeared in an issue of Passenger Train Journal in the 1990s.

Although less photographed than historic cable cars and vintage streetcars, San Francisco Muni’s light rail routes offer plenty of interesting opportunities to make urban railway images.

San Francisco Muni
The sun rises through a thick bank of Pacific fog as N-Judah cars pass on August 27, 2009. This was exposed on Fujichrome slide film with my Canon EOS 3 fitted with a 100-400mm image stabilization zoom lens.

San Francisco enjoys spectacular weather and lighting conditions. My favorite times to photograph are a sunrise and sunset. While the modern Breda-built cars lack the flair of historic PCC’s (see San Francisco Muni F-Line, May 2008), they still make for interesting subjects for the creative eye.

 

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Iconic San Francisco Silhouette

San Francisco cable car on Washington Street
Light and shade on Washington Street, San Francisco; a cable car begins its steep descent. Exposed with Canon EOS 3, f2.8 200mm lens on Ektachrome Elite 100 (EB3), approximate exposure f11 at 1/500 second.

On the afternoon of August 21, 2009, I worked San Francisco’s famous hills aiming to make images of Muni’s cable cars, arguably one of America’s most pictured railway operations. I set the exposure manually using the camera’s spot meter to base my judgment. I sample the sky and street and aimed for texture in the highlight areas, allowing the shadows to go dark. My choice of film was Kodak Ektachrome Elite 100 (EB3) which offered an ideal color-balance for such a silhouette. San Francisco’s many above ground wires added a geometric framing to the image.