Rebuilding CaliforniaPosted on: Sep 05, 2009
Digital 101: Public Works
Now that the State of California has turned its pockets inside out, we are finding a surprising number of large scale public works projects coming on line and needing good photography. The latest one we have shot is Muni Metro East, a trolley service facility in San Francisco. Bascially a trolley barn, Muni is the of one of the most compact cities in North America. People in San Francisco take their trolleys very seriously. They are both utilitarian and an object of civic pride.
The trolley barn project started almost seven years ago and was to be the terminus of the Third Street line which was intended to be something of a redevelopment catalyst for the eastern, more industrial side of the city. After many delays, the Third Street line is operational serving patrons from Hunters Point to U.C.S.F. Med. Center to AT&T Park. The Muni Metro East facility will also serve the famous waterfront F Line with its daily parade of historic trolleys from all around the world. The place is big, 180,000 square feet big. The site is over twenty acres and has enough track for up to 80 trolleys to spend the night. Every night trolleys come into the yard and enter the facility for a thorough cleaning and washing. The facility has one of the world’s biggest indoor car washes. There are several huge Gantry cranes that can lift a car like a toy off its trucks so that the carriages can be serviced.
Shooting this facility felt like being shrunk into one of the model train layouts I built as a kid. It is one of those mysterious places that are only known to trolley conductors and train buffs.
Color Management: why what you see is not always what you get.
Going from your computer screen to the printed page can be a very frustrating experience and one that most architects and interior designers complain about. There are rules and systems to control the final print output, but most consumers or non-professionals don’t know what they are. In our rush to make everything easy, we have made it much more complex. There is a reason the guys that made the plates for the printers got paid so much money. Controlling color starts with your screen. It must be calibrated and profiled and that is done by a little device that plugs into your USB port and actually reads the colors that your monitor creates. It then writes a simple little “profile” that your computer reads and acts as an onscreen filter for your monitor. Then there is your printer. It also needs some type of calibration that is usually linked to the paper it is using. By having your monitor and printer “speaking the same language,” most of your color problems should be solved.
The California Cool book
Anyone who lives or works in California knows that some of the most provocative modern residential architecture in the country emanates from our state. This awareness is not lost to the international architectural community. For the last few months I have been writing and photographing a book on modern residential design for an overseas publisher who will sell the book internationally. It has been a fun process and I have had the pleasure of working with some of the top architects in the state. While most of the projects have been selected and shot, I still have a few more to gather and include. If you have designed an exceptional modern residential project in the last few years and want to be part of the book, please send me a jpeg and a short description of the project and I will give it a look. At this point, urban infill, young firms, and provocative design are all pluses.