China Camp Pier
Posted on 13 January 2013
China Camp Pier. China Camp, California. January 6, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
A decrepit pier extends into San Francisco Bay at China Camp, California
This was my first visit to China Camp, on the shores of the north San Francisco Bay, after several years of thinking about it. I had seen some other photographs from the place and I knew a bit of the history of the old Chinese Camp fishing village and that it had been protected by state park status, but I couldn’t actually point to it on a map. It turned out that a group of photographers was going to visit China Camp during a weekend of shooting around the Bay Area, and I ended up more or less linking up with them.
I arrived before the rest of the group and I began by scoping out a few things for later shots and then photographing a small island that is very close to this old village. Finishing with that subject, I headed down the hill to the cover when the old village buildings are located. This pier is one of the more striking sights in the area, being in a sort of picturesque state of disrepair that has left parts of it leaning at odd angles, further accented by the odd little utility line leading out toward the water. As soon as I arrived at the small beach by the building from which the pier extends, I knew that I wanted to photograph it in a way that included the little building and the pier stretching across the frame toward the horizon, and I was pretty certain that I wanted to render it in black and white. At almost this precise moment the clouds thinned a bit and a bit of soft sunlight shone on the scene, accentuating the shadows on the water – so I quickly went to work and made three exposures of the scene before the light went dull again.
G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
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