In 2006, Andy Goldsworthy visited the Presidio and saw an opportunity to celebrate the lifecycle of the historic forest, planted over a very short time in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The groves are now reaching the end of their lifespan and require renewal.
Aging Monterey cypress trees taken down to allow for young plantings were given new purpose in Goldsworthy’s Spire. The sculpture was constructed in 2008 in a beloved grove near the Arguello Gate. It is comprised of 35 large cypress trunks, fastened meticulously together. At its zenith, Spire reaches more than 90 feet to the sky. Even this great height will not keep Spire from experiencing the changes of time. Young trees growing at its base will slowly obscure the sculpture.
Spire recalls one of Goldsworthy’s earliest works, Memories, also spires of mature trees, created in 1984 in the Grizedale Forest in the Lake District of North West England. Goldsworthy said, “I have not found another great location for this type of work until now.”
Behind The Shot
My daily trek takes me by "Spire" - an art installation by Andy Goldsworthy. I always wanted to photograph it, but the light never seemed right and I guess it left me "uninSPIREd".(ok stop groaning)
As light began to break, I could see the beautiful cloud formation in the Eastern sky. I shoot a lot of skies in case I need a background. Normally, I would just pull down the window, take a couple of shots and be done with it. Today was different. Where should I go? The GGB was out. Too many of those shots. (I know, there's never enough, right?) Not enough time to get down town or anywhere else interesting, so how about the Spire?
I trudged up the hill just about 6:30 AM and set up for the shot. The trick with these shots is to come out shooting and keep shooting because the light is working against you all the way. I shoot three exposures at a time +1, 0 & -1 stop. This shot was one of about 70, or so, total shots as the light changed until sunrise at 6:51 AM. To get the Spire to brighten up, I used Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4.2 and warmed things up a bit in NIK ColorEfex Pro 4.0. That's it, nothing else. No HDR, no tone mapping, nada!
Nikon D800 DSLR camera
Nikkor 28-70mm Lens at 36mm
1/8 sec @ ƒ11
Circular Polarizer filter
Gitzo Mountaineer Tripod w Gitzo ball head