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Friday Slide Show: Fort Mason Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

7 February 2014

Our favorite bus line is the 43 Masonic. We can catch it at the top of the hill, roll through some prehistoric San Francisco untouched by development, climb to UCSF Medical Center with views of the Golden Gate, wind through Cole Valley into the Haight, across the Panhandle and the Western Addition and Pacific Heights, then into the Presidio, out at Lombard Gate and off in the Marina.

Fort Mason. Even with nothing going on, something is always going on.

But, as that list of sites suggests, we could get off anywhere and have plenty of subjects for our camera. Taking it to the end of the line, though, gets us to Fort Mason. You can, if you can't walk, transfer to the 28 Nineteenth Avenue bus on Lombard and just have one street to cross. But we like to walk a bit from the 43 stop to Fort Mason.

Fort Mason was a military installation, the Army's port of embarkation during World War II. It's now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The buildings have been put to use serving cultural institutions with museums and bookstores and a famous vegetarian restaurant, not to mention a theater. There's even a farmer's market once a week.

But on our visit, not much was going on. Which is actually how we like it.

We had a Nikon D300 with us. And an f2.8 35mm prime with a polarizer. Simple as that. We processed them in Lightroom 5, using the Develop module to fine tune tone and color and straighten, crop and square the images.

Our lead image is an art installation that plays on the wind coming in off the ocean. The wings spin in the wind and as they spin, they climb their wire.

One of the docks is undergoing renovation and is covered in plastic. We thought that made a strange site, particularly since the white plastic picked up the color of the bay.

The red iron trim on the buildings is generally in bad shape, rusting away. Our shot of the windows shows the glass hasn't survived too well either, with various panes having been replaced with near equivalents.

Erosion can be seen on the pilings too, which you can reach out and touch in some spots. One of which is at the end of the long two longs docks. You can get quite a nice view of the bay from there, especially of the Golden Gate Bridge or Alcatraz.

But erosion is the name of the game along the waterfront and the iron chain, which had sawed away the concrete curb of the dock, is itself rusting.

There are, if you go far enough east, a few fun things to see, though. A pair of chairs facing north and, further, some larger furniture.

And as you find your way back to the main gate, you'll pass the remains of the Galilee, an 1891 brigantine renowned for her speed.

A line of cypress trees separates Fort Mason's park from the Center below it. We always like that silhouette. It's a nice counterpoint to the wind sculpture we started the show with.

You can get a cup of coffee in the cafe by the bookstore to warm up before waiting for your bus. And the ride home will be just as entertaining as the ride over. Promise.

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