Wildcat Creek

November 18th, 2006

I particularly like this series of images. They follow Wildcat Creek starting from Wildcat Canyon, a large open-space park in the hills above Berkeley and El Cerrito, and continuing all the way down to the marsh where the creek enters San Francisco Bay. From open-air natural channels to enclosed concrete culverts. From pleasantly gurgling play areas to trash-filled underpasses. From the steep headwaters near Vollmer Peak, the creek drops through a dense forest, into a lake, past green cow pastures, into almost-wilderness parklands, through some residential areas, past busy urban parks, under an interstate, under a shopping mall, past a grocery store, under a ballfield, over a grafitti-covered sluice, through a healthy-looking marsh, past an oil refinery, and into San Francisco Bay.

Some of the pictures suffer from harsh contrasts between the sunny areas and the shaded ones. I wanted to capture as much of the creek as possible in one day so I didn't have much choice other than to shoot in the harsh mid-day light. To access as many areas as possible, I travelled by bicycle and on foot.

I really should put these into Google Earth/Maps and make this some sort of fancy Web 2.0 slideshow. But I'll save that for another day. I also would like to repeat the series sometime, starting from the actual source of the creek near Vollmer Peak instead of a little farther down in Wildcat Canyon.

The Wildcat Creek watershed has a very interesting history, as told by the San Francisco Estuary Institute.

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