Alcatraz Hospital, Glass Vacoliter, Monochrome

ISO800, 35mm (prime lens), f/1.8, 1/200 sec
Alcatraz, San Francisco, CA

Before the invention of the plastic IV bags we see so often in hospitals, glass vacoliters were held upside-down with metal ring clamps to help dispense the medication or fluids within.  In the Alcatraz hospital, a few bottles remain in the metal and glass medicine cabinets.

While not as off-limits as the other areas we toured on Alcatraz that evening, the hospital areas (operating room, aquatherapy, x-ray room, and private hospital cells – including ones Al Capone spent a good deal of time) are open to the public during the Alcatraz night tours.  And only for a brief time period.  The 20 of us on the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy tour were given a private tour of the hospital area.

I was constantly one of the stragglers in our group of 20, trying to snap off an extra shot or two.  In this case, the 2-3 halogen lanterns being used to light our way were onto the next room and it was nearly pitch black.  I used a mini-LED flashlight with half-drained batteries to light an area near these bottles while taking a couple of shots.  The recent acquisition of a 35mm prime/fixed lens that opened up to f/1.8 really helped me shoot these bottle without shining the light directly on them while avoiding camera shake.  And no, tripods were not allowed on our specific tour.

Listing of photograph(s) from this day’s San Francisco daytrip:

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, spot metering mode, 35mm (prime lens), ISO 800, 1/200 sec, f/1.8

Alcatraz Hospital, Glass Vacoliter, Monochrome.  Alcatraz Island, San Francisco Bay, California.  January 26, 2013. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.


5 thoughts on “Alcatraz Hospital, Glass Vacoliter, Monochrome

    1. Thank you Maya! You’re absolutely right. It is rather amusing or funny, depending on the situation, what we put ourselves through to get *that* shot. It is times like these I wish I had an extra set of hands!


        1. Haha! I carry only a small amount of gear (1 body, 18-55mm, 55-200mm, 35mm, ND110 filter, wireless remote, lens cloth, 2 extra batteries) in a slingbag. I usually hand-carry the tripod.

          I have a slingbag that’s slightly bigger with tripod straps, but it’s such a pain to strap and restrap the tripod as it requires me to remove the bag from my back.

          Sherpas are the way to go! 🙂


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