Now, I know that I promised to do more blog posts than I actually have, so I'll do a third one now to try to keep up with the pace I set for myself.

This time I won't even bother trying to hide where I went because the moment you see the pictures it will be obnoxiously obvious where I was.


(For those of you unaware, that is the Bay Bridge, not the Golden Gate)

So, Treasure Island is a hell of a place. It's known for two things: a great place for wedding pictures and the remains of dead, asbestos lined, former Army base. I actually have been to Treasure Island twice to explore but I didn't revisit any area so I'm not going to bother separating the two visits into separate posts.


So where was I... oh right. So maybe 10% of Treasure Island is stunningly beautiful. About 60% is mostly garbage, full of uninhabitable barracks that the city is afraid to demolish because it will probably release a lot of asbestos into the air -- which would be slightly less of a problem if the other 30% of the man made island wasn't low income housing.



The place is pretty fucking creepy. Not the creepiest place I've been to, but still pretty god damned creepy. There's just something about having row after row of rotten, ochre colored buildings with the paint peeling off like skin around a sun burn. There's just something so off about the place. This was my first time actually feeling uneasy about a particular location. It was a good learning experience though. It helped me to tame some of my fears about exploring.



There wasn't much in the way of graffiti which was slightly disappointing. Then again Treasure Island is a big place, maybe I just haven't looked in the right spaces yet.



Treasure Island was also the first, and so far only, place I got caught by security. I had just got into a dry pool when I got spotted. The guard was nice. He let me take a shot from outside the pool before escorting me out of that area. I wanted to go in to get close ups but that was a no go. From that one experience and the experience from other UrbExers, the best policy when being caught is to just be mostly honest about what you're doing. Show them your camera, tell them you were taking pictures, maybe tell a white lie about a photo contest or a photo blog. I told the guard I was trying to impress a girl who's into photography. I don't know if he bought it or not but from what I gather, as long as you're not vandalizing anything or entering an active area, security doesn't really care.


Unfortuantely, that pic up there was, in my opinion, the only interesting thing I got on that day.



Treasure Island is also the first time I came across someone doing something slightly worse than trespassing in an abandoned area. Granted it was just smoking pot and I told them I didn't give fuck. Still though, it was a bit of a learning experience for me.



(Taken on my second trip)


Treasure Island is also where I learned the joys of long exposures. They're not hard to do when you have a lot of flat ground and a clear view. But when you've just climbed half-way up the steep face of a crumbling hill, navigating a foot path full of serpentine vegetation and dead leaves that make you lose your traction, and then having to clear your own view because it's overgrown, taking long exposures becomes a bit more of a hassle.



Still though, totally worth it as far as I'm concerned.



I also learned that day that reflections are fucking awesome and that enclosed harbors at twilight are excellent places to get reflections. At first I was worried that keeping my polarizer on when taking reflections would fuck things up, but because mine is a circular polarizer I didn't have any trouble with it. By the way, I swear by polarizing filters. If you have an SLR and don't have a polarizing filter, go get one.



Still though, Treasure Island is an asbestos ridden wasteland. I don't know why the city is allowing people to live next to this. Honestly I just don't understand it. It's dangerous and it's irresponsible. We know that asbestos causes lung cancer and yet we allow children to play in fields that are literally across the street from rows and rows of buildings just like this one. I know that within the next 20 years cases of lung cancer are going to shoot up for the residents of Treasure Island compared against the rest of San Francisco. And then they're going to sue the city. And I hope they win.


As for me, I've taken to bringing a respirator with me whenever I do interiors. Even if there's not asbestos there are mold and fungal spores that I definitely don't want in my lungs.


As per usual, the full albums are in my photobukit.

Views: 6

Tags: San Francisco, Treasure Island, asbestos, urban exploration

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