Town Crier: Oakland photographer’s true love — the fog


MONTCLARION: August 8, 2013

‘Tis a romantic man, indeed, who spends two years on a love letter. But Oakland photographer Simon Christen will tell you it was worth every minute of it. The object of his affection is fog — a soft, flowing mistress who can also be hard and unyielding. Certainly, there is something in the way she moves that attracts him like no other lover (with a nod to George Harrison’s “Something”).

“I chased it (the fog) for over two years to capture the magical interaction between the soft mist, the ridges of the California coast and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge,” says Christen, who says he’s always been a visual person. “As a child, I would pour over National Geographics, letting myself be drawn into the stories that the photos told.”

A character animator at Pixar Studios, he became fascinated with urban landscapes and time-lapse photography. “Shooting time-lapse footage is very time-consuming but extremely rewarding when you capture something beautiful that was hidden to the naked eye,” he says.

Capturing the beauty of the fog gliding through the Golden Gate Bridge was a labor of love. Several times a day, he’d check webcams, the weather and satellite images before getting up at 5 the next morning to make the 45-minute drive to the Marin Headlands.

Two years of chasing a lover that was often elusive (he’d get to the headlands only to find the fog gone or too high or low for his liking) finally yielded stunning results. Christen’s remarkable short film “Adrift” is now touching viewers around the world.

You can see the film on his website http://www.simonchristen.com/adrift.html or on Vimeo at http://vimeo.com/69445362.

Christen hopes his film spreads the happiness he feels when he watches this amazing Bay Area phenomenon — the fog.

And, if you’d like to pursue this love interest yourself, he says Oakland has some great vantage points, including Grizzly Peak Road and Skyline Boulevard.

Around town: Happy 20th anniversary to the venerable Montclair restaurant Italian Colors.

After all these years, it’s still the go-to place for families and friends looking for consistently good food and a good time. It’s almost guaranteed, considering owners Alan Carlson (chef) and Steve Montgomery (general manager) are always on-site.

On the flip side — a new German-inspired California biergarten is making waves on Oakland’s Embarcadero Cove. Check out Brotzeit’s (1000 Embarcadero) happy hour and pop the top on a $1 Schlitz while you dunk your bread in a bowl of $5 beer-steamed mussels.

Brotzeit’s house-made sausage is wunderbar, and the family-style seating and patio make this a fun place to hang out on the water. You’d expect nothing less from the owners — husband-and-wife team Tony and Krista Granier and partner Lev Delany of Chop Bar fame.

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