Unique visual perspectives on San Francisco, one of the most photographed cities in the world, are few and far between. Sutro Tower, Lombard Street, and the Painted Ladies have produced imagery overload of the city, whose charms, thanks in large part to Instagram, now seem de rigeur. Rarely does a stunning original emerge from the fray.
But this shot of SoMa, depicting a southeastern view of the neighborhood, is one recent example. Another is this aerial photo of the Transamerica Pyramid snapped by Bay Area photographer Ryan Fitzsimons.
“I was surprised that the top of the building was made out of glass,” says Fitzsimons. “It sure made it fun to photograph from above.”
The Transamerica Pyramid’s tip is “capped with a decorative aluminum 212-foot spire (64.6 meters) rising above the top floor and the crown jewel’ of the building, the beacon at the top,” notes the Transamerica Pyramid fact sheet.
For security reasons, neither the tip nor the building itself are open to the public, but this 2012 piece from the Bold Italic does have an impressive set of verboten photos showcasing the tower’s spire from inside.
“The glass cap at the top of the pyramid is about the size of a cubicle,” notes the Bold Italic article, “with the massive airplane warning beacon in the center taking up almost the entire space. (It’s the same light that they turn on for holidays.)”
The zenith is a cool futurist design, one that’s rarely appreciated. Don’t let the cracked diamond-shaped window pane diminish this rare sight—it could not tower 853 feet tall above the city unscathed. The burden of an icon.