After the Marketplace
Central Landfill, Sonoma County, California, USA
17 March 2005 - 14:20 PST
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© 2005 Landis Bennett, All Rights Reserved.
EquipmentHardware: Nikon D100, Nikkor 10.5mm Lens, Kaidan QuickPan III Spherical
Software: Kekus PanoTools Plug-ins, RealViz Stitcher, Photoshop CS, Enblend, CubicConverter, QT Player Pro, VRPrep
Behind the scene : how this panorama was madeWhen Don and I decided on the theme of Marketplace, I thought that a really neat location would be one that was very difficult to photograph: the Online Marketplace. Then I remembered that eBay calls itself "The World's Online Marketplace". Since eBay is located in the San Francisco Bay Area I hoped that I could photograph their server room to show what the online marketplace looks like 'from the street' so to speak. Unfortunately eBay makes it notoriously difficult to contact any real people who can grant permission like this. A letter and email sent over a month before the event went unanswered and backup plans had to be formulated.
There are plenty of real marketplaces in the Bay Area, but there are also plenty of VR photographers. There's a great grocery co-op in Berkeley called Berkeley Bowl (Patrick Cheatham). There's a farmer's market that takes place in the recently renovated Ferry Building at the end of Market Street in San Francisco (Don Bain). There's a busy flower market also in San Francisco (Kat Kalamaras, Lee Nelson). And there's even a farmer's market that happens every Saturday at the end of my driveway (!) but it doesn't start for another two months.
There are still plenty of great marketplaces in my area, but rain began to threaten for the whole weekend of the WWP. I thought about perhaps some of the larger box-stores in my area and that's when huge parking lots full of cars and the packaging on my latest Compact Flash card caught my attention. That and Thursdays are the day that the garbage is wheeled to the curb on my street. I decided to head up to the local landfill and see if anything caught my eye.
The landfill had changed a bit since I'd last been there about ten years ago. We used to just drive our pick-up truck down to the edge of the landfill (the 'tipping apron', I've learned) and push the stuff out the back and over the edge. Now they make residents weigh their pick-up trucks both coming and going to calculate how much to charge and unload at a 'tipping building'. Since you can dump any recycling for free and the recycling bins are between the entrance and the tipping building, it gives you an incentive to lighten the load a bit and send less to the landfill.
I went to the administration building and explained a little about the WWP and what I wanted to take pictures of. Luckily, a geologist experienced in giving tours to all kinds of people interested in the business was available and happy to oblige. Clyde took me all over the landfill site, patiently answered my questions, and explained all about what happens at the Central Landfill of Sonoma County. I donned a reflective vest and hard hat and went to the top of the old landfill, saw some of the methane and leachate pumps closeup, drove by the yard waste recycling areas, was introduced to the new pit that may be used in the future if the landfill keeps operating, drove by the leachate pools, the co-generation plant, 'Recycletown', the tipping building, and the tipping apron. The panorama that I submitted was the one taken on the tipping apron because it most represents to me what a landfill is, but I was definitely shown that a 'Disposal Site' is so much more than just a 'Landfill'.