Photo Essay: Architectural Details of Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Details - San Francisco, California

Alcatraz Details – San Francisco, California

I immensely enjoyed capturing the architectural details on Alcatraz Island. So much so that I probably like it more than the main attraction itself, the famous prison. The variations in building types with years of salt water patina make for interesting compositional possibilities. All of the photos in this essay are from outside the main prison — the surrounding buildings and the various support systems.

The first five photos are with the compact Canon G7X Mark II. All but one of them are at the widest setting at a 24mm equivalent. The white building is at a 33mm equivalent.

Alcatraz Details - San Francisco, California
Alcatraz Details - San Francisco, California
Alcatraz Details - San Francisco, California
Alcatraz Details - San Francisco, California

At one point, before the prison, the island was used for defense, hence the cannon. You can see a vintage U.S. flag design, the likes of which I’ve never seen.

I made the next thirteen photos with the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II with the 14-150mm lens. I used longer focal lengths to both capture the far away details and compress them, as telephoto lenses do.

I especially enjoyed the towers and the chimney, which allowed for a vertical orientation, which is less typical for urban landscapes.

Alcatraz Details - San Francisco, California
Alcatraz Details - San Francisco, California
Alcatraz Details - San Francisco, California
Alcatraz Details - San Francisco, California
Alcatraz Details - San Francisco, California
Alcatraz Details - San Francisco, California
Alcatraz Details - San Francisco, California
Alcatraz Details - San Francisco, California
Alcatraz Details - San Francisco, California
Alcatraz Details - San Francisco, California
Alcatraz Details - San Francisco, California
Alcatraz Details - San Francisco, California

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4 thoughts on “Photo Essay: Architectural Details of Alcatraz Island

  1. Really like that first image. Isn’t it interesting shooting in a prison? If you ever get a chance, go to the Missouri State Pen in Jefferson, Mo. It will sure make you think twice about how we incarcerate people in this country. Conditions there were horrid, and it housed inmates up until 1988.

    1. Thank you, Brett. Love the feedback.

      I’ll keep Missouri State Pen in mind. I went the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia a while ago. That was fun.

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