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Friday, April 09, 2010

The Total Call

There are things that are iconic about certain places - the Eiffel Tower, the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Great Wall of China, the Empire State Building, the Taj Mahal, Stonehenge, the Colosseum, or the Grand Canyon. Some things which are emblematic involve natural phenomena that may require special conditions and a particularly unique vantage point. These things are often seen in photos and rarely seen in person by the visitor, like the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco draped in fog.

San Francisco is notorious for its fog and its myriad of variants around the city and its neighborhoods, with one of the most unique climatic conditions in the world. Known for its microclimates and submicroclimates, temperature conditions can vary by as much as 9°F (5°C) from one block to another. One neighborhood can be sunny and warm, another foggy and cool.

On one vacation to San Francisco many years ago, on the recommendation of a native (see Weather Means Whether), I traveled north over the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin County to hike to the summit of Mount Tamalpais, the tallest hill in the county. Marin County is known for its natural beauty, protected natural environments and spectacular views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.

On this day, I was extremely fortunate and was rewarded with one of the most spectacular things I have ever seen. Fog, as thick as a blanket, completely covered everything in view except for the uppermost sections of the two towers of the bridge.

Observing this next to me was a fellow hiker, to whom I commented about this spectacular event. He responded, in a slightly hushed voice, with slang completely unfamiliar to me: "It's the move, man, it's the total call." I had never heard the words "move" or "call" used in that way, but his intonation had an air of biblical gravity, and perhaps, not unlike Genesis 1:31, assured me that it was very good. I heartily agreed.

Fog in New York City is much less common, and we certainly do not get the spectacular conditions seen in San Francisco. Recently, however, when driving on the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn, an unusual temperature drop and high humidity gave rise to an extremely dense fog, at times almost completely obscuring the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, in conditions somewhat the inverse of the classic Golden Gate Bridge phenomenon. On July 8, 2008, I wrote about the Verrazano using photos taken under foggy conditions, but not nearly as heavy.

Capturing today's photos was particularly problematic, driving alone on an expressway with only a point-and-shoot camera. But opportunity was calling, so I took this photo blind with my arm extended up through an open sun roof.

I hope someday you get to see the Verrazano Bridge like this. And I am sure you will agree that it's the move, man, it's the total call :)


hokgardner said...

Great job on the pictures out the sunroof.

And since I just got my NYC Marathon entry, I'm looking forward to running across the top of that bridge. And i'll be going through your archives for suggestions on places off the beaten path to visit while I'm in NYC in November.

Lisa said...

Beautiful, beautiful picture thank you so very much! Wish I was right there in the middle of it! That picture combines West Coast and East Coast in the most delicate way and is just a fantastic picture. I am in Seattle and this is the way I wake up 6 or more months of the year. Simply beautiful. THANK YOU!!!

NYC In Photographs said...

Terrific shots! The fog adds such a mystic feel to the scene.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful picture. Grew up on Staten Island and you'll be surprised to hear that fog is very common on the island and can be pretty heavy. It's pretty amazing; hits you as soon as you cross the bridge. Way cool.

New York Picture said...

I like your pictures..even you don't put a story, it says story already..I also like your blog. Nice and neat.

Kenon Thompson said...

Beautiful pictures! I love the fog in these photos and like stated before it does add a mystic feel to the scene.

mimi sioux said...

beautiful! magical.
going into the unknown..

Fabrice R. said...

'just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for that, great pics!

Fabrice (Belgium)