Sunday, November 13, 2011

Byron Hot Springs Hotel HDR November 11 2011

This is my first attempt at HDR (high dynamic range). Its a photography technique where several photographs are taken at different exposures from under exposed to over exposed and then combined to produce a higher dynamic range than the camera can capture in a single exposure. The photos were taken at Byron Hot Springs Hotel built in 1914. There have been two other hotels built here but they both burned down. Movie stars including Clark Gable and Fatty Arbuckle came to the baths. Brown wiskey bottles marked "Jos. Kennedy" dating back to prohibition have been found on the site. During World War II the hotel was used as a interrogation camp.
















The stairs were covered with marble (some of it is still on the steps). The fireplace to the right of the staircase has bricks made in Richmond and Livermore. The staircase is right inside the doors in the photo above.





There has been a fire in the kitchen and scrap metal collectors have taken the stove, the heater and serveral other things shown in snapshots taken back in September 2008. All the plumbing in the kitchen has been pulled down and the hot water heaters are knocked down and moved. I wanted to shoot a HDR of the stove but I was too late. I have heard of plans to restore the site, but I see it being destroyed not much left. Since my last visit whole walls have been knocked down.





Not only have people been taking things from the site, they are leaving things also. I saw everyting from old hot tubs, dump trucks, mobile homes to this hearse below. I hope the dearly departed had departed before the accident.



16 comments:

  1. HELLO RICK....your photo are very nice...That is a technique I should probably learn....I am a retired photo person and have wanted to visit byron h.s. for some time.... were you hassled by anyone ?? where did you park, I hear there is a dinner near by that is safer to park at ....I collect old bottles did you notice any ? I live in Pleasant Hill .....Steve Stark sstark@silcon.com

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  2. Hey Steve,
    I did not see a soul while I was out there. I parked right inffront of the hotel. I did not see any bottles there. I heard about a bottle dump but I do not know where it is. I would like to spend more time out there.

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  3. Thank you so much for taking and sharing these photos, I enjoyed them very much. Is so interesting and sad to see vestiges of our history deteriorating like this . . . I suppose that's the way things have always been, except for the very few places that have been preserved for us to see and understand the way people before us lived . . . by the way the shadows and contrasts lend a great feel . . . it seems to give importance to the subject(s) . . . While I take some shots I'm extremely happy with, I aspire to learn to take a picture that expresses exactly what I want . . . you seem to have learned this very well!

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  4. Thanks Anita its a shame to see what people have done in 3 years, people dont appriciate the past. I am looking forward to finding more places like this.

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  5. Thanks for these photos. It looks like a wonderful place for HDR so I might have to go give it a try soon, if it's still standing.

    ~Keith
    http://www.EssenceInPhotography.com

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  6. Keith its the first place I thought of when I learned HDR. In fact this is the first thing I shot.

    Saw the begining of the show Off Limits San Francisco it showed Byron Hot Springs Hotel here is a link to the episode:

    http://www.travelchannel.com/tv-shows/off-limits/episodes/san-francisco

    Watching for the episode to air again, would like to see what they say about the place

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  7. Don Wildman of the Travel Channels show Off Limits visits Byron Hot Springs on the Off Limits San Francisco http://www.travelchannel.com/​tv-shows/off-limits/episodes/​san-francisco. The episode will air March 24th.

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  8. Anthony W StantonApril 2, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    Great photos! It is a shame this formerly magnificent hotel has been vandalized for so many years. I was there three weeks ago at the gate when some guys from the Contra Costa Historical Society were getting ready to enter the property. It seems that somebody broke in and destroyed the construction equipment gathered there for the restoration planned by the owners. This was the last straw for the owners and they are going to sell the property ASAP. I even tried to get permission to film there but was told it was just too dangerous to allow anybody in. Breaking in or trespassing was not an option so I never got the photos before the stuff hit the fan. I am saddened by these events since I was hoping that the owners would restore the property to it's previous glory.

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  9. Anthony W StantonApril 2, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    Oh, one more thing. Last time I saw the hearse early last year it was being driven by one of the owners. Looks like the vandals got that too.

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  10. It's a shame I would like to see it restored also. I just saw the episode of Off Limits that included it and would like to retun and take another look around. They talked about when it was a POW camp for the Japaneese I would like to see some of the things the show pointed out. I am afraid it is too far gone to restore. I hope it will be restored someday! A lot of history there. Maybe if it was designated a historical landmark like the John Marsh house it would be eaiser to restore. For years I have wanted to see the John Marsh house I have read so much about it. It was supposed to be open to the public by now. Hopefully it will open soon!

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  11. So sad, I was there just 2 years ago, security was living on site, a tour by some group out of contra costa county was given, full plans of restoring it were made. There is a great book, about it Byron Hot Springs By carol a jensen East Contra Costa Historical Society.. Thanks for the awesome photo of an incredible place,

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  12. Just saw an old episode of Off Limits San Francisco
    http://www.travelchannel.com/tv-shows/off-limits/episodes/san-francisco
    they talked about when it was a POW camp during WWII and they called it Camp Tracy I found an interesting article That talks about that time period
    http://thepress.net/pages/full_story/push?article-Secret+world+of+Camp+Tracy+revealed%20&id=5689496&instance=military_main_news

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  13. It is so weird that you were able to get out there. I was there in April of 2011 and was told to leave as soon as I got my camera out to start shooting. It was my second visit and I'm a non-destructive explorer. Crazy.

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  14. I have been out there several times and drove right up and had no problem. I hear all kinds of stories of people getting chased out. I guess I pick the right days.

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  15. You really do! I went out there yesterday, got all the way downt the driveway, was about to get to the entrance... and heard someone out there. There were no cars along the road, so whoever it was had to have access from the property. We didn't stick around to find out who it was, as I have heard that people are shot at. I saw the shotgun shells everywhere, and there is a No Trespassing sign that hadn't been there before. :( I was hoping I'd get lucky... it was my birthday.

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    Replies
    1. Thats crazy! I hope they are going to fix it up. Too much damage has been done. I have wanted to go out to John Marsh house for years. I read about it and drove around about ten years ago and I guessed right and was about to go out there and I heard they were working on it. It was supposed to be open to the public a few years ago. I would imagin it is due to the budget. They are talking about closing things that are already open and probably not that anxious to open new things.

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