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San Francisco Blue Hour

A close-up of "San Francisco Blue Hour" by Justin Katz: an ultra-high-resolution VAST photo.
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363 megapixels! A very high resolution, large-format VAST photo of the Downtown San Francisco city skyline at sunset dusk; fine art cityscape photograph created by Justin Katz in California

San Francisco Blue Hour

Downtown San Francisco, California
The “blue hour” is that brief but magical moment of twilight, either early in the dawn, or late in the dusk, when the sun is at a significant distance below the horizon and the residual, indirect sunlight takes on a predominantly blue hue. My goal was to create a VAST photo capturing San Francisco at that special moment - but first I had to find the perfect location.

The "City By the Bay" is located on a geologic fault line, which means that there is no shortage of scenic overlooks, dramatic views, and picturesque locations. That being said, Twin Peaks is one of my favorites. It offers a great vantage of the entire downtown San Francisco area, with a straight view down Market Street all the way to the famous Ferry Building. In the background, you can see the recently reinvigorated Bay Bridge, with all its dancing lights.

On this particularly cold evening, I worked my way past the main viewpoint, and down the hillside where I could be in perfect position. I wanted to be able to see the famous Ferry Terminal building all the way at the end of Market Street. I sat on the side of the hill and waited for the sun to go down behind me and for all the other visitors to leave. In the span of about ten minutes, the temperature dropped about 15 degrees, and the wind picked up dramatically. Without the extra layers and a sturdy tripod, this shot would not have happened.

While I waited for the light to be just right, I reflected on how I was witnessing San Francisco at a pivotal moment of its history, with the nearly completed construction of the West Coast’s tallest building, Salesforce Tower. With such explosive economic growth from the tech sector, this city has seen a lot of changes in the past ten years, some for the better, and some not. I have been part of those changes in many ways, and when you sit upon one of its predominant hills, you are confronted with how much the city is alive and evolving right in front of you.

Facing east towards downtown, my goal was to wait for the moment when all the lights within the city were illuminated, but the sky still had enough light to have the beautiful blue color I was looking for. Once the sun set below the horizon, the light changed at a dramatically fast pace, giving me precious-little time to capture the many exposures that I would stitch together to create this image - all while my fingers were going numb.

After successfully capturing the necessary images within the fleeting time window, I packed up my gear and hiked back up the hillside, excited to begin the technical process of using the source material I had just acquired to generate this VAST photo, one of the highest resolution photographs ever created.
Date & TimeMarch 28, 2017:  7:58pm
LocationDowntown San Francisco, California
Coordinates37.754697, -122.446323
Focal Length200mm
Shutter Speed5 sec
Number of Exposures27

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Its resolution is 1,628% greater than a typical photo. Click on the boxes below to zoom in.

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Print only

Our photographic prints are created using a specialty, large-format fine art printer designed to produce archival, museum-grade prints. They are true "chromogenic" prints: light-sensitive paper exposed in a darkroom using state-of-the-art lasers to produce the sharpest possible image. Click on the icons below to learn more or click here to explore further.

Our photographic prints are available in one of two finishes: glossy and lustre. Glossy prints have a rich, silky saturation and are great for environments where the lighting and reflections have been carefully thought through. Lustre prints have a bright, sparkle-like finish that diffuses reflections and are therefore more versatile for environments where the lighting and reflections are less under your control.

Your print comes with two certificates of authenticity hand-signed by the artist and the printmaker: one that you will affix to the finished piece and one that remains standalone. Additionally, your print's provenance is tracked and verified using state-of-the-art digital technology. Learn more.

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Acrylic glass display

Our acrylic glass displays are ready-to-hang works of art that contain one of our photographic prints sealed between flame-polished acrylic glass and an aluminum backing. A hidden mounting brace on the rear causes the display to gracefully "float" off the wall for a sleek, modern frameless look that complements nearly any decor style. Click on the icons below to learn more or click here to explore further.

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Purchase a rights-managed license to use this photo file. A license provides you with the full resolution digital image file and a permit to use it for a specific project. Use the form below to begin the licensing process or click here to learn more.

Total Pixels363,349,824
Horizontal Pixels32,817
Vertical Pixels11,072
Aspect Ratio2.96 : 1
File Size2,076 MB
Width @ 300ppi (perfect)9.12 feet
Height @ 300ppi3.08 feet
Width @ 150ppi (near-perfect)18.23 feet
Height @ 150ppi6.15 feet

Date & TimeMarch 28, 2017:  7:58pm
LocationDowntown San Francisco, California
Coordinates37.754697, -122.446323
Focal Length200mm
Shutter Speed5 sec
Number of Exposures27

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Photo id: 10237