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Under the Maze, West Oakland, CA

August 22, 2014

The Macarthur Maze is a prominent structure in Bay Area traffic. It serves as a funnel into San Francisco from the East and south East. And it seems to spew traffic coming out of San Francisco to the East and South East. To understand how important this structure is, consider that San Francisco itself is tiny—only 49 square miles and home to less than a million souls. By contrast, the East Bay is home to 2.4 million million souls. Yet, San Francisco is the economic hub of the entire area. Lots of people need to go there every day, and they all have to come home.

It is impossible to appreciate the maze when you are in it. For the initiated, it can be terrifying, with all the overpasses and underpasses swooping every which way. And God help you if you miss your exit because it will take much longer than you would ever expect to right yourself get back on the path to your destination. For the people who do this often, it is only a chore. The delays, the congestion, the pollution, the idiotic fender benders and yes, the road rage are simply a tax for the privilege of living in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

A history and more detailed background can be found in Wikipedia—the link is here.

To appreciate both the beauty and the engineering of the Maze, one must get under it. From that vantage, the elevated structures with their beautiful sweeping lines and the fluidity of their designs are easier to see and appreciate.

The access is not easy, and the environment is not that hospitable, with the homeless encampments, the trash, the active railroad lines and the grit and filth. But if you look up, you will see something that I think is worth seeing.

Camera:     Nikon 800e

Lens:          Nikkor 24-70/2.8

Exposure:  f/16, several exposures, covering 7 EVs

B&W Rendering: Silver eFex Pro

HDR Rendering Photomatix Pro


West Oakland Overpass #2 BWc

West Oakland Overpass#1


West Oakland Overpass #3BW


From → Photography

  1. Nice but why the orange diamond in the first picture?

    • Whimsy. Many people (especially the B. & W purists detest the addition of a color into the B&W photos… As if Ansel Adams would be mortified. Maybe he would have, but since I really don’t consider myself an artist, I don’t mind adding a little color into the art form. Fun over artistic purity is what I say.

      I was seriously flamed by this crowd for my pic of the approach to the new bay bridge- it was B & W except for the tail lights, which I kept the original red. Hoo Boy. But my non artist friends loved it.

      I am glad you liked the series. Thanks.

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