Back in early March a company named Pinwheel opened up for private beta and I was one of the lucky few to get an account. The location-based note-sharing platform allows you to place images at specific locations and tell a bit about what was going on at that time. Good stuff run by a Silicon Valley legend.
I threw up a few posts to get a feel for the place - and to contribute to my ongoing research of location-specific content - and then put it aside. However, Pinwheel recently made headlines again and changed their name to Findery - and I thought it was time to revisit.
I posted a long entry at Findery today about a ferry trip out to Oakland I took several months ago. Since no one can see this post unless they are a member of the site, I thought I'd re-publish here. Findery member? Go here.
Also worth noting, with the big Marissa Mayer move to Yahoo! and subsequent 'Save Flickr' cries, don't be surprised when Findery becomes an important chunk of The New Yahoo!.
THE SUNSET CRANES
To be honest, I was having a bad day. Or maybe it was a bad week? Either way I was a bit down-in-the-dumps and was desperate for a quick escape. Maybe I'll max out my credit card and fly to Costa Rica - tonight? Move to Northern Viet Nam and ride motorcycles? Quit this tedious job-having lifestyle and run naked along a beach in Brazil? I needed a shot of 'Adventure' - fast.
I left work in downtown SF a bit early and focused on wandering aimlessly around Market Street and the Financial District. Soon I found myself down by the Ferry Building with a bit of momentum and nowhere to be. I considered hopping a cable car or trolley and simply ending up...somewhere. "I wonder where that bus goes? I'm gonna find out!" Instead I turned to the water and looked East. "Boats," I thought. "There are boats out there. I'm getting on a boat."
With a renewed sense of mission, I walked to the docks where the commuter ferries come and go and sized up my options. I've never commuted cross-bay and the unfamiliarity was comforting - I was going somewhere I'd never been. After eyeballing the schedule and picking whatever arrived next, I found the right berth and waited for my ferry.
The boat came by and I got on, that's where it all began...
I caught an earlier ferry so the thing was mostly empty. And, as is custom in the Bay Area, it was super-cold outside. With everyone huddled inside, I had the run of the place. Alone, I watched San Francisco slide away in the distance. I laughed at how silly this kind of was; trying to squeeze out a out-of-country adventure on what amounts to a MUNI on water. But it was new to me. And I've got a knack for suspending disbelief.
My ferry went to Jack London Square and this is where I got off and wandered around. I had a couple hours to kill before the return trip and so strolled without cause or contract. While I had been there before, the Square this time of evening on a winter weekday was a bit alien and empty. Perfect to keep the illusion of travel intact.
The return ferry arrived on time, I climbed on and headed straight to the top-front. I had been watching the sun and I had a feeling that there would be some great shot off the starboard bow. It had gotten noticeably colder and, again, I was the only person braving the elements. The ferry lumbered out of port and I leaned against the rail bracing myself against the growing wind - camera in hand.
Soon, we were pulling out along side the famous cranes that give Oakland a sharply surreal skyline signature. And the sun was setting...just...right. I scrambled for the best angle and fired off a dozen or so Hope I Got That's. My hands were numb and I fumbled with settings. I leaned too far over the rail. I shot low. The chilly wind frazzled my hair. I shot high. I marveled at the stark contrast. I considered color. I squinted. I zoomed in. What are these things? Where am I?