San Francisco genuinely is really foggy. It’s not a joke.
The fog rolls in from the Pacific and floats up against the beach, stacking up above Twin Peaks until it drops like an ephemeral avalanche onto the city below … blasting through the Golden Gate as if sprayed from a fire extinguisher, erasing the Bridge, obscuring Alcatraz, turning Berkeley into an overcast Pacific Northwest knockoff even as it leaves Oakland in bright, shining California sunlight.
Lorenzo Montezemolo’s favorite place to experience it is from Mount Tamalpais, which provides a commanding view from just north of the city.
Seen from the summit at 2,576 feet, the fog rolls through in waves to envelop the region like a shroud.
“I think there’s a little bit of Sleepy Hollow to it,” he says.
Montezemolo grew enamored by the city’s ubiquitous fog after moving the Bay Area 18 years ago to work as a network engineer. The fog was particularly thick this August, and he developed something of an obsession.
Each day after work, Montezemolo drove an hour north from San Mateo to Mount Tamalpais State Park to photograph it.
He snapped hundreds of photos, but none quite like this one, made on August 17 during the full moon.
He and a few friends hiked a steep gravel trail to a point about 1,000 feet above the fog.
Montezemolo put his Nikon D810 on tripod and set to work. He used an F8 aperture and a low ISO of 31, together with a six-stop neutral density filter that let him stretch the exposure to three minutes.
Montezemolo’s stunning image shows one of the Bay Area’s most enchanting features, one that rivals that iconic orange bridge for its beauty.
Flying was very expensive. Most people still rode trains or buses for intercity travel.
Only business travellers and the wealthy could afford to fly. America’s airline industry expanded rapidly, from carrying only 6,000 passengers in 1930 to more than 450,000 by 1934, to 1.2 million by 1938.
Still, only a tiny fraction of the travelling public flew.
The very first aircraft were narrow and long, and the passenger seats were perceived as an innovation, a kind of luxury and an optional extra, like caviar sandwiches with butter.
The first seats were the most common chairs, seat belts were not.
At first, the passengers were sitting right behind the pilot, there was no partitions.
The Giffard Dirigible, flying from Paris to Trappes, 1852.
In France, an engineer named Henri Giffard (1825-82) was leading the way in les ballons dirigeable, French for directable balloons, and from which English adapted the word dirigible.
In 1852, Giffard’s airship made the first recorded successful powered and steerable flight.
The intrepid inventor flew his machine from the Paris Hippodrome to Trappes, a distance of 17 miles (27 km), in roughly 3 hours. The craft proved manoeuvrable, making many navigational turns and performing circles, but the engine wasn’t powerful enough to fly against the wind and failed to make a return journey.
The balloon was 144 feet long (44 m), hydrogen filled, and highly flammable, so the engine exhaust was diverted downwards by a long pipe.
The engine produced 3 hp, drove a propeller, and top speed of the dirigible was 6 mph (9 km).