For the half-decade I lived or worked near downtown Sacramento, it never dawned upon me take a tour of the Blue Diamond Almond factory. Now that I seek out old buildings to photograph, it appears tours were stopped about a decade ago due to liability/insurance reasons.
(Click thru image for the 700px view)
Plant No. 11 was built in 1925 as a cannery for Calpak, the farmers’ association name for Del Monte Brands that originated in 1898, the building was used until 1949. For reference, Plant #1 located at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf was built in 1906 to replace facilities destroyed in “the earthquake”.
Renovated in 1984, No. 11 now serves as a visitors center for Blue Diamond, the almond growers’ cooperative formerly known as the California Almond Growers Exchange. The entire facility spans 90 acres (33 city blocks) and is reported to run 20-22 hours per day, only stopping for cleaning.
As for the photograph itself, in an area of monochromatic industrial buildings, the lights from within No. 11 give this structure a bit of a jeweled glow that is in stark contrast to its surroundings. I should probably visit the on-site company store someday, but honestly, I would rather spend the day inside the facility shooting photographs. Maybe there is a media/press tour on the horizon as I noticed the SacBee’s food critic was on a tour of the facility in 2012. Blue Diamond, how about it? I will even be happy to don the mandatory hair net!
On a technical note, it was a challenge to fix the barrel distortion coming from the camera lens. Especially on compositions of buildings where there are distinct lines, the distortion can a spherical effect of the image edges bowing out. Some of this can be corrected in post, but it is difficult to get the entire image under control.
EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center weighted metering mode, ISO 100, 66mm, f/8, 30 sec
Sacramento, Calpak Plant No. 11, Windows, Night, Long Exposure Sacramento, California. August 23, 2013. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.