The Bay Lights

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I took a trip down to San Francisco for the annual Google developer conference, but I also managed to find some time to take some photographs. As usual, it was hard for me to resist the draws of the bridges, and I especially wanted to check out the new art installation by Leo Villareal, The Bay Lights.

The tide was perfect to show the tops of these old pier pilings at Rincon Park as a foreground element. I wanted to smooth out the water by using a long exposure, so even though this was shot when it was getting quite dark, I used a 3-stop ND filter to extend the exposure time to four and a half minutes, giving the water this silky, reflective quality.

The 25,000 lights that make up the art installation have been installed on the vertical supporting cables of the Bay Bridge on the side facing downtown San Francisco, and will be up for the next two years. They are individually controlled and show sweeping patterns running from one end of the bridge to the other, but in this long exposure, they all appear to be on at once (apart from a few segments which can be seen to have failed already!)

Through the bridge on the other side of the bay can be seen the industrial dock areas of Oakland, with Yerba Buena island visible at the very left of the photo.

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