The Bridge

dscf2611FUJIFILM X-T1 (81.9mm, f/9, 1/240 sec, ISO200)

The USA has breathtaking landscapes and two iconic man made objects. The Statue of Liberty and The Golden Gate Bridge. Everybody in the world knows those signs of the new world.

Even though I travel a lot I still haven’t seen the Statue of Liberty but it’s my third time here. This place is magic and the bridge is an impressive building even by todays standards. It’s our third time here but our first early morning visit. Thanks to our jet lag we managed to come here before the masses. We even found a space in the small car park outside the visitor parking garage.

dscf2616FUJIFILM X-T1 (74.1mm, f/3.7, 1/1250 sec, ISO200)
dscf5079FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (18mm, f/8, 1/320 sec, ISO200)

The light was still beautiful and the fog was almost gone. Perfect conditions to take some pictures but it’s still not simple. The bridge is huge and hard to frame. To shoot with a wide angle lens is not an option at least from this point of view. The bridge pier on the other side would be too small. So all the keepers were shot with the Fuji XF 55-200 OIS.

Unfortunately there were no people on the bridge and no ships to give some sense of scale but it helps to know that the pillars are 227 meters high and that the roadways are about 70 meters above the water. That and the fact that the bridge is covered in fog most of the time has made it a popular suicide spot. More than 1.600 people decided to put their life to an end by jumping off the bridge. It is rather “safe”. After a four seconds flight you touch the water at a speed of 120km/h. At such a speed water becomes concrete. 26 people survived though. One survivor said that when he jumped he realised that this was the only decision in his life that was irreversible. One woman jumped a second time. Months later after she recovered from the first attempt.

I watched the movie “The Bridge” about a year ago. For this project the filmmaker pointed cameras with tele lenses on the bridge to film “the jumpers”. After he captures 19 people he tried to find the story behind those suicides and talked with family members and friends. A very touching movie. I remember one guy you wrote a farewell letter. He wrote that if one single person would smile at him on his way to the bridge he would not jump. He jumped.

Today there are guards that try to talk people out but of course it only works if the people struggle to jump.

dscf2609FUJIFILM X-T1 (104.9mm, f/9, 1/240 sec, ISO200)
dscf2593FUJIFILM X-T1 (55mm, f/5, 1/850 sec, ISO200)

Better to switch the topic and get back to photography. As already mentioned above most pictures are taken with the 55-200 OIS which was mounted on the X-T1. There is only one shot here taken with the 18-55 OIS/X Pro-2. Later in the trip I was smart enough to mount the lens I plan to shoot most on the X Pro-2 and the other lens on the X-T1. The image quality of the X Pro-2 is simply better.

In theory the image quality of the Sony A6000 would be as the image quality of the Fuji X Pro-2. But the best sensor can only capture what the lens in front of it renders. In case of the Sony A6000 it is just the Sony 18-200 OSS LE. A very convenient super zoom but of course not a match to the Fuji lenses I used here. As a result the images taken at the tele end of the superzoom are clearly inferior to the ones taken with the Fuji and the tele zoom.

But the bigger surprise was that autofocus for static subject was slower and less reliable than the autofocus of the Fuji’s. Sony is fast in good light and when it comes to focus tracking but at least with the super zoom its AF is no match to the AF in the Fuji cameras.

That’s why the shot below is not sharp. But it was the only one I took because I had to merge the traffic. I still like the shot because it includes part of the gates and the watch. The reason I took it with the Sony is that I already packed the Fuji’s away and the Sony was the camera that was sitting in the middle console of our car.

I was happy that I finally got the shots of the bridge that I always wanted to take. When I was in San Francisco the first time I hardly saw the bridge because of the fog. You can plan as much as you want but luck still remains the most important ingredient in photography.

dsc05819SONY ILCE-6000 (49mm, f/14, 1/80 sec, ISO100)