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(March 17–20, 2005)

Art Baltrotsky

Thrasher's French Fries

G. Donald Bain

The Ferry Building Marketplace

San Francisco, California, USA

11 am PST, March 18, 2005

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© 2005 G. Donald Bain, All Rights Reserved.

San Francisco is unusual in that it has never had a grand railroad station - instead it has the Ferry Building. Before bridges were built across the bay both daily commuters and transcontinental travellers arrived in the city by ferry at the foot of Market Street.

The Ferry Bulding was built in 1898, on pilings over the waters of San Francisco Bay. Its 240 foot clock tower became a symbol of the city, even more dramatically when the building survived the earthquake and fire of 1906. At its peak in the early 1930's over 30,000 people a day passed through the building.

But after the Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge were built, ferry traffic fell off and the building was converted to office space and storage. A notorious elevated freeway was built across in front of it, and the grand old building was all but forgotten.

The Embracadero Freeway was damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, and torn down two years later. The foot of Market Street has been landscaped into a series of plazas connecting with the wide palm-lined Embarcadero. The final element in this urban rebirth was the renovation of the Ferry Building two years ago. Ferries are now running again, from the East Bay and Marin County. Streetcars follow the Embarcadero north to Fisherman's Wharf, south to the new China Basin ballpark, and up Market Street into the heart of the city.

The grand main hall of the Ferry Building, 660 feet long, has been reborn as the Ferry Building Marketplace, a series of shops featuring the outstanding food and drink of northern California. Several days a week a farmers market takes place on the bay-side plaza. It has become once again a lively place, full of interest to local residents and visitors alike.

In this panorama can be seen: Scharffen Berger Chocolates; Tsar Nicoulai Caviar; Miette Patisserie; Farmer's Garden Organically Grown Produce; Hog Island Oyster Company; Golden Gate Meat Company; Acme Bread; Cowgirl Creamery; and McEvoy Ranch Oilve Oil.
See also Don Bain's Virtual Guidebook to San Francisco.

Over 4000 VR panoramas of western North America and Pacific islands available at Don Bain's Virtual Guidebooks.
Photographed with an Olympus E-1, 14-54mm lens at 14mm (28mm film equivalent), mounted on a Kaidan QuickPan III, Acratech Ultimate Ballhead, and Velbon tripod. Stitched with Apple QuickTime VR Authoring Studio, edited with Adobe Photoshop CS, on a Mac G5.
Behind the scene : how this panorama was made
The Spring Equinox of 2005 came at a very busy time for me, the middle of the semester and the beginning of Spring Break. In addition to my own panorama I worked with two students on their contributions to Marketplace.

Graduate student Rebecca Ghanadan and I went out to the Berkeley Horticultural Nursery early in the morning on Thursday. It was overcast, a nice diffuse light, and the nursery was closed to the public. The employees watched us curiously as we carefully considered locations and strategies.

High school student Kaz George, working as an intern in the geography department, chose a radically different subject. We went to the Emery Bay Public Market, a lively scene at lunchtime, with lots of movement and tricky lighting.

For my own panorama I had arranged with Equity Office, who manage the Ferry Building, for permission - thank you to Jane Connors. It was a day of torrential rain and I was very glad to be shooting indoors. The next day I was on the road, heading south to the desert to photograph wildflowers.

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