MUIR WOODS, CALIFORNIA: This National Monument park is a great place to see giant redwood trees. The park is named after John Muir, a Scot whose family moved to Wisconsin in 1848. He became one of America’s best known environmentalists and fought hard to protect many important natural heritage areas including Yosemite, Sequoia and even the Grand Canyon. The park is a short drive from San Francisco and probably the closest location to see giant redwoods. This photo was taken from a footbridge. To get the perspective I wanted, I mounted my camera on a monopod, set the 10 second timer and hung the unit as far below the bridge as I could reach. Got a lot of stares from other visitors too!
Shot with a Nikon D3100, 10-24 DX lens at 10mm, ISO 800, 1/30 sec., f8. Copyright photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography
GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE, SAN FRANCISCO: The huge cables that pass over the 746 foot main towers act as hangers for the suspender cables. The Suspender cables hold the roadway. Those main cables are over 36 inches in diameter. Each cable is 7,650 feet long. The wire inside those main cables total more than 80,000 miles. This shot was taken from the San Francisco side, along a pathway that is full of wildflowers. You can see that cyclists use one side of the bridge and pedestrians the other. The Golden Gate is a toll bridge. Tolls are only collected on the lanes heading into San Francisco. More interesting facts on the Golden Gate Bridge website. And here’s another perspective of the bridge: Golden Gate Bridge
Shot handheld with Nikon D300, with a Nikkor AF-S 18-200 lens at 200mm, f9, 1/1000 sec., ISO 640. Photo by John Ecker | Pantheon Photography
EXTERIOR: JOHN F. KENNEDY LIBRARY, BOSTON MASSACHUSETTS: I love this building by I.M. Pei. See my shot of the gigantic American Flag this other photo of the Kennedy Library. The building sits on a 9.5 acre parcel of land on Columbia Point, facing across Dorchester Bay. To the east is Boston Harbour and then the open sea. The Library was built on a landfill site. To prepare the site for construction, it was raised 15 feet and beach grasses were planted in tribute to Kennedy’s love of the sea. The building itself is a triangular 10-storey tower. There is a two storey base that houses the library’s excellent exhibition space. In 1991 a 21,000 square foot waterfront addition was constructed to host more of the library’s educational and cultural programs.
Shot handheld with a Nikon D300, Nikkor AF-S 16-85 lens at 26mm, 1/1250 sec., f18, ISO 1600.
Photo by John Ecker | Pantheon
CABLE CAR, SAN FRANCISCO: When you think of San Francisco, the cable car quickly comes to mind as a strong symbol of the City by the Bay. The first cable car went into service in 1873. Andrew Hallidie is credited with the invention of the cable car after he witnessed a heavy carriage roll down a steep San Francisco street. Cable cars have no engine. They only move with the help of cables on a pulley system beneath the street. The speed is a constant 9.5 mph. To stop a car, the conductor disengages the ‘gripper’ to unlatch the car from the cable, apply a brake and bring the car to a stop. This cable car was photographed on California Street, just uphill from the Omni Hotel– one of the nicest hotels in the city. At many intersections, like this one, the cable cars pop into the sunlight briefly as they emerge from the shadows cast by buildings along the street. Shot handheld with a Nikon D300, Nikkor AFS-S 70-300mm lens at 300mm, 1/800 sec., f22, ISO 800.
Photo by John Ecker | Pantheon
“PAINTED LADIES” VICTORIAN HOMES, SAN FRANCISCO: Across from Alamo Square Park in San Francisco is a spectacular row of Victorian houses on Steiner Street. Some call it “Postcard Row.” For the owners, it must be a mixed blessing. For despite their charm, they attract tourists by the busload through the narrow streets of this tony community. These homes were built between 1892 and 1896 by Matthew Kavanaugh. The homes are reputed to have appeared about 70 movies, TV programs and advertisements.
Shot handheld with a Nikon D300, Nikkor 16-85 AF-S lens at 57mm, f25, 1/400 sec., ISO 1250. Photo by John Ecker | Pantheon Photography
GATEWAY ARCH, AND WATER FOUNTAIN, ST. LOUIS MISSOURI: Here’s another shot of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. (See my Gateway Arch and Fire Hydrant shot here.) Those tiny windows at the top are on the observation deck. For a fee, visitors can take a tramway from either end of the base and travel to the top in egg-shaped compartments. The Arch was opened to the public in 1967. It was designed by architect Eero Saarinen and structural engineer Hannskarl Bandel. I loved the symmetry between the shape of the arch and the arc of the water from the fountain. Fun fact: The Arch is a structure known as a catenary curve, the shape a free-hanging chain takes when held at both ends, and considered the most structurally-sound arch shape. Shot handheld with a Nikon D40X, Nikkor AF-S 18-200 lens at 63mm, f18, 1/160 sec. ISO 400. Photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography
GATEWAY ARCH, AND FIRE HYDRANT, ST. LOUIS MISSOURI: I usually do lots of research about the places I plan to visit before I travel. Before my whirlwind trip through the mid-west with my son to see some baseball (Cardinals, Royals, then the Reds) I knew little about the Gateway Arch. What an amazing and beautiful landmark. No wonder it’s a National Monument. It is clad with 900 tons of stainless steel and presents an ever-changing image as the light reflects off its surface, depending on the time of day. We were lucky to be there on a cloudless day with nothing but blue skies. Standing 630 feet tall, it’s the tallest man-made monument in America. It can be seen from pretty well anywhere in the city, affording endless opportunities for photographers. Shot handheld with a Nikon D40X, Nikkor AF-S 18-200 lens at 27mm, f18, 1/250 sec. ISO 400.
Photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography