The Potrero Hill Power Plant at Night

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a few hours with my photographer friends from Studio Nocturne SF at the Potrero Hill Power Plant, an event that was organized by Greta & Manu Schnetzler. This was a fun evening and I enjoyed playing with this industrial colossus and my little flashlight.

Although I was there to capture the old power plant, it was cool to get up the structure and have a unique point of view of the ever changing San Francisco skyline.

Everchanging SF skyline


Facing south, there are other relics of San Francisco’s past: old piers and container cranes.

The light at the pier


Container cranes


I’m very happy that the Potrero Hill Power Plant was decommissioned a few years ago. With new owners (Associate Capital), the site is being redeveloped as a mixed use with parks, office space, and research and development buildings. The plans look promising as they try to retain some of the sites industrial past and provide public access to the shoreline.

The furnace


The smokestack and some of the metal structures are supposed to remain. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

The smokestack at the power plant


At least for that night, we were able to venture around the site and find different angles to capture this structure. Here we see Manu at work.

Photographer at work


This site is a photographer’s dream with so many different scenes and objects to choose from.

Pressure gauges at night


We were treated with a cloudless night, little wind, no fog and pleasing temperatures. Perfect conditions!

The smokestack


I had my magic flashlight. This allowed me to select from a wide range of colors for my light painting work.

Steam control central


Sometimes I tend to go a bit overboard with the colors…. Just having a lot of fun!

High octane light painting


Countless times I walked up and down these stairs in order to shine my flashlight on the big structure. I’m looking forward to see this as a big print.



It was a good workout and I’m very happy with the resulting image.

Illuminated power plant


During all that time, I had my second camera capturing an image sequence that I turned afterwards into a star trail. The post processing in the digital darkroom took a lot of time since I didn’t want to have any streaks from airplanes crossing my frame.

Startrail over Potrero Hill Power Plant

I’m still debating which of the last two images I like the most. What do you think?

Prints and Licensing: All images are available as fine art prints and for licensing. Please contact me for more details.

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