Holiday Lights in San Francisco

Pier 7 San Francisco

I began taking these photos a couple of weeks before Christmas but just finished the video this weekend. The workload finally became too much for my laptop so I had to upgrade to a new computer.

An interesting tidbit about these videos is they were all made without an intervalometer. Because they were night shots, I simply set my camera to low speed continuous mode and locked down the shutter. The average exposure is around five seconds. Here’s a brief description of the shots in order of appearance:

City Hall – They sometimes change the colors to fit the occasion in San Francisco. During the baseball playoffs last year, city hall stayed orange at night until after the Giants won the World Series. The people posing along the street are on their way to The Nutcracker at the War Memorial Opera House across from city hall, hence the music.

Cable Cars – Some of these are decorated with Christmas lights, which gave a cool effect when they were moving. I also like the large amount of holiday shoppers milling about.

Marina Boats – A couple boats had lights but I couldn’t get them to “pop” in the final edit. The Palace of Fine Art is in the background but barely visible. You can also see my shadow on the boat closest to the camera.

Fisherman’s Wharf Boats – These were more heavily decorated than the boats at the marina. The video by itself seems really frenetic, which is another reason I picked such an up tempo piece of music.

Skyline with Coit Tower – The only seasonal light in this shot is the bluish white one at the top of the Transamerica building. Still, it might be my favorite shot because of the different lights turning on and off in the houses and the Bank of America building.

Skyline from Pier 7 – I’ve been meaning to shoot from Pier 7 for some time, but this was my first time actually doing it. I would have used a wider lens if I had one, but I made sure to capture the seasonal outline lights on the Embarcadero Center buildings. While I was recording, I heard a burst of air and looked down to see a sea lion swim right below me. Somehow I forgot there might be condensation by the water and therefore didn’t bring a heater. There were no stores open nearby so I couldn’t buy a hand warmer and a rubber band for the lens. That’s why this shot slowly hazes over. I’ll make sure to try this shot again when I have the right equipment.

That’s it for now. I’m just glad I was able to post this video while it’s still winter.

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