Zack and I have a Christmas Day tradition of waking up early and driving into SF to take pictures of the city as it wakes up to Santa’s presents. I opted for the more scenic route into the city, along I-280 even though it was slightly longer than the quicker route on CA-101. When we got to the Embarcadero we accidentally drove past all the parking spots and had to spend some time figuring out how to turn around and get back to park. When we finally got to Pier 14 and walked out to the end we realized that the 15 minutes we had lost would have been crucial: blue hour was already upon us and a number of the city lights turned off (including the “Port of San Francisco” lights on the Ferry Building). Drats!
Regardless, it was still a beautiful morning in the city. The temperatures were about as warm as I can remember on Christmas Day and, unlike last year where it rained and rained and rained, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The city looked beautiful in its Blue Hour blanket. I wished the Transamerica Beacon had been on but the Embarcadero Center’s 17,000 lights outlining their buildings still add a beautiful touch to the city skyline. There is so much city to see from this pier that even a wide angle lens couldn’t handle it all (and it did so with incredible distortion), so I threw together an 8-photo panoramic and blended it together in Autopano Giga to create this 145 megapixel image.
In this panorama I set the projection method to "Little Planet", which creates a curved, almost globe like look to the city. Since the photo was kinda dull to begin with, I thought I'd spruce it up with this version.
Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S:
42mm, f/11, 10 sec, ISO 125
8 photos blended in Autopano Giga