Colin McRae
Turquoise Swirl

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Aerial photographs of the tidelands and salt flats of the Bay Area are captured by Berkeley artist Colin McRae.

3 sizes:
19 x 25" framed. Edition of 8. Price is $2200
37 x 54" framed includes glare-free museum plexi. Edition of 5. Price is $5500
44 x 64" framed includes glare-free museum plexi. Edition of 3. Price is $7000

Measure AA passed 1 year ago today. 15% of sales of Colin McRae aerials photos to be donated to Save the Bay. Matched up to $100,000 by anonymous donor.

People find it hard to believe that these aerial images of one of the world’s most famous bodies of water can be so strikingly unusual and colorful. I am often asked if these photographs have been manipulated. They have not. The images were taken while flying in helicopters at altitudes from 500 to 5,000 feet over the fringes of the San Francisco Bay and its tributaries.

San Francisco Bay is a massive water collection and discharge system, pumping billions of gallons of water daily using its tides and tributaries as engines. Covering 1600 square miles, it is the second largest estuary in the world, and drains more than 40% of California’s land area. Each day the tides pump more than seven times the flow of the Mississippi River through the one mile opening of the Golden Gate. This activity causes striking changes at the edges and corners of the bay, being most pronounced at its south end. These areas are like the edges of a sink left with residue after it has drained. From above evidence of this activity is even more dramatic. Currents are seen creating channels of water rushing in different directions running side by side, the incoming one color, the outgoing another. As the water recedes, streams, rivulets, mud, rock, scars, and debris become visible along the shoreline with unusual light reflections and color changes. Color in the salt ponds at the southern end of the bay becomes particularly intense when algae and brine shrimp react to varying levels of salinity.

My interest in these tidal areas developed quite by chance while flying commercial assignments over the San Francisco Bay Area. When flying out of the Oakland, Hayward, and San Carlos airports, my flight plan invariably passed over some part of the Bay. I was fascinated by the interaction of colors, shapes, and reflections where the waters of the bay gave way to land. I was viewing scenes created by tidal ebb and flow, the intrusion of commercial interests, and nature’s constant readjustments to these forces. The resulting abstracts were beautiful, unusual, and sometimes disturbing.








These photographs depict an area that since the early 1960’s has been a focal point of the environmental movement in the United States. By 1961 the Bay had lost 1/3 of its size to commercial and industrial interests. 90% of the tidal marshlands were filled in, sealed off from tidal flow, or converted to salt ponds. In 1961, the group, “Save the Bay,” formed to protect the Bay from further infill, pollution, and wildlife habitat destruction. “Save the Bay’s” success led then President Bill Clinton to credit it with launching the environmental movement. Today, a project is underway to restore 15,000 acres of wetlands.

Details

  • Condition
    Excellent
  • Dimensions
    19 in. H x 25 in. W
  • Dealer Location
    San Francisco, CA
  • Number of Items
    1
  • Reference Number
    LU60631799843
Contact The Seller
1stdibs seller since 2017
Located in San Francisco, CA

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