Dumbarton Bridge and Baylands

Updated: May 7

I crossed the Dumbarton Bridge for the first time in 1995. It was at night. Driving alongside the water shimmering in the moonlight was pure magic. I fell in love instantly. 20 years later, I moved to the Peninsula just a few miles away. I am hooked on this place. I can't stop going back for photo trips or for family hikes. You will find huge power lines, a PG&E electrical substation, birds, salt ponds, levee trails, the Dumbarton road and rail bridges, the Palo Alto Baylands on one side, the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge on the other. And more power lines and more birds... A photographer couldn't ask for more! On a clear day, you can see the San Francisco skyline.

The levee trails are the perfect location for a photo trip or a walk during the shelter-in-place months. The trails are beautiful and deserted. I went on there last Monday. I arrived at noon during low tide and left at 6:30pm as the water was rising. The wind was so strong all day that I didn't realize how hot the sun was. I came home with sunburns and 3556 photographs!

The trails might have been empty, but I wasn't alone. I saw hundreds and thousands of birds bathing, hunting, napping, gliding, and soaring. They did not get the social distancing memo. I am still learning my birds, so I might have missed a few species, but these I could recognize: white and grey egrets, American avocets, snowy plovers, gulls, geese, migrating western sand pipers and more. If you pay close attention, you might catch a glimpse at a few bat rays hunting in shallow waters.


Video on location:


The road bridge was almost empty. I got a few shots without cars. A rare opportunity.


Here is the picture I chose to edit for this post: the original non-edited picture on top and the final print-ready photograph  at the bottom.

Stay healthy and safe!


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© Nathalie Strand, 2017-2020