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Historical South Bay Power Plant Implosion Photo Opportunity

* AN UPDATE HAS BEEN POSTED ON JAN. 30th (see below).

The South Bay Power Plant is scheduled to be imploded on Ground Hog Day.

The plant's implosion on Chula Vista’s Bayfront is set for Feb. 2nd at 7 a.m., weather and other conditions permitting. A final decision on whether or not to proceed will be made that morning. The implosion will be carried out only under appropriate weather conditions, including wind speeds of 15 mph or less, as part of a comprehensive plan to protect air and water quality. Join the many folks who will be witnessing, cheering on, recording and/or photographing this historical moment.

The public will be able to watch the dramatic implosion, although details for the port’s viewing event are not yet available. There will be limitations on how close people can get to the site during what Cox has dubbed Chula Vista’s own “Big Bay Boom,” and the port is working to finalize those boundaries.

The actual implosion event will take less than two minutes and will reportedly sound like rolling thunder, with reverberations. A number of small, controlled explosive charges will be placed within the steel and concrete power block structure, in order to bring it down.

Heavy equipment will then be used to break up the structure. The project is expected to generate about 21,000 tons of recyclable metals and up to 3,400 tons of other non-hazardous waste, which will be recycled and salvaged.

This same Power Plant has been on the waterfront of Chula Vista since 1956 & began generating power for Southern California in 1960. It was decommissioned at end of 2011 due to toxic waste leakage into the bay. A demolition permit was approved on June 27, 2012 which paved the way for the South Bay Power Plant to be demolished & removed. The demolition crews have removed close to 24,000 tons of recyclable material including copper, steel, and aluminum. The larger generator units are what is left behind to be imploded.

Parts of the 150-acre area currently occupied by the power plant will be developed while the other parts are returned to a natural habitat. This marks another important step forward in transforming the Chula Vista bayfront into a booming tourist attraction. California Coastal Commission, the City of Chula Vista and Port of San Diego continue bringing forth the proposed plans for a Seaport Village type of development to Chula Vista's 550-acre bayfront. The plan will create jobs with the many retail shops, entertainment venues, restaurants, a hotel resort and convention center.

* UPDATE

A big thank you to both Jerry Vaughn & James W from The San Diego Photography Collective Meetup Group, we now have a meetup location (check out the diagram I created). Best to show up at 5:00 a.m. sit tight and enjoy the crowds. Chula Vista Bay Front Park will be open for public viewing. The parking opens at 5:00 a.m. (usually opens at 6:00) take the I-5 to "J" street and head west. There should be plenty of police and other help to guide you. The viewing area is NW of the power plant no obstructions.

JAN. 29th, ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE SAN DIEGO PORT DISTRICT: The Port suggests spectators park and watch at Chula Vista Bayfront Park at 980 Marina Way. The parking lot will open at 5 a.m. People will not be allowed to park, walk or stop on Bay Boulevard. A restricted zone will stretch approximately 1,000 feet San Diego Bay, said spokeswoman Tanya Castaneda. "The Coast Guard is aware of whats happening. We've consulted with them and they'll be out. If someone gets close, they'll keep an eye out," she said.

EXTRA TIDBIT: When looking through my camera's view finder the focal length which equals to my optic corrected eyes, equals to 70mm zoom. But what is the actual focal length of the eye? I did a google search and found many "answers" ranging from 17mm to 50mm. The correct answer is ~22mm. The following photos are to help everyone see what a[masked]mm zoom lens will capture. You can see that even a regular camera will give you a fairly decent photo of the plant from the park.

Hopefully we can organize group photos before the implosion. See you all there.

~ . ~ ~ . ~ ~ . ~ ~ . ~ ~ . ~ ~ . ~ ~ . ~ ~ . ~

TOP: Photo taken from the internet to show how a camera can capture the park boundries and the plant without a problem other than a few birds upstaging the shot.

MIDDLE: Thanks to Roy here is a night shot of the plant from Bay Park using a 300 zoom lens. Photo by Roy Ang, a member of The San Diego Photography Collective Meetup Group.

BOTTOM SETS are from Alberto Lau also from The San Diego Photography Collective, Meetup group. He adds, "Pictures were taken with a Sony NEX-6 with[masked]mm zoom [masked]mm equivalent). The first 3 were taken from the Chula Vista Bay Park. The last 2 from the south, near W. Frontage Rd. & Main St. I did not record the zoom settings, but these are the approximate focal lengths (equivalent to 35mm):
1st pic: between 35 and 50mm
2nd pic: 27mm
3rd pic: around 250mm
4th pic: 30mm
5th pic: 275mm
Thank you for helping to post these pictures!"

…wow lots of excited photographers I am happy thanks to everyone. Here is a link to more photos and detailed information thank Paul B. for your contributions as well.:
http://www.meetup.com/san-diego-photography-meetup/files/

Join or login to comment.

  • Roy A.

    It was fun. A bit early. Too bad since there was still some tallish stuff left they didn't schedule a "phase two" for this weekend.

    2 · February 6, 2013

    • Jerry V.

      I'm with you Roy, seems like a phase two was/is needed.

      1 · February 6, 2013

  • Greg N.

    An exciting event!

    1 · February 6, 2013

  • Alberto L.

    Fantastic! For me, the visceral impact of the explosions was the most dramatic aspect of witnessing this event live.

    1 · February 6, 2013

  • Brian G.

    Absolutely an amazing event and experience. I look forward to the next big thing to come down in SD.

    1 · February 6, 2013

  • Martha S.

    Thanks Sheila, it was awesome!!

    1 · February 5, 2013

  • Sheila Newbery Redheaded P.

    An awesome experience one that I will never forget. So glad I had seen it. It was so much better in person than what TV & YouTube could ever show.

    1 · February 4, 2013

  • Brian G.

    I made the mistake of going down Friday morning..... Woke up at 3 TOO excited and thought it was Sat. Good things came of it though... I was able to scout out other viewing spots. As much as I would have enjoyed meeting everyone... this was my first Meetup... I found myself out on the Salt Flats on the S. side of the power plant. I had the entire area to myself... Totally unobstructed views... At first I was bummed the towers fell away from me but you all got the dust right away where my footage you see the structure fall without the dust for quite a while... I made a film but don't know where to put it on here. It seems like its just for pics. My film is a combination of video and photos to cool music. It's on YouTube if anyone wants to watch it under my name... Brian Goddard. That was an AMAZING event and look forward to others so I can actually meet you guys. :)

    3 · February 4, 2013

    • Brian G.

      1 · February 5, 2013

    • Brian G.

      Here is my film that I made of the event... from the S. Side. :)

      1 · February 5, 2013

  • Paul B

    Rather than post all the photo's I took, I created a slide show with iPhoto: http://youtu.be/JF2X0CKikKk

    2 · February 2, 2013

    • Brian G.

      I agree... great job Paul B. What an amazing event to experience. I'm ready for another...!

      1 · February 4, 2013

  • Brian G.

    http://youtu.be/kj8R8Xbf-2E

    Here is my short film I put together of the event... Hope you all enjoy it as much as I had filming it and editing it into something worthwhile to watch. Cheers!

    3 · February 4, 2013

    • Paul B

      Great video Brian!

      2 · February 4, 2013

    • Brian G.

      Thanx Paul B... Sorry I missed meeting everyone but just couldn't deal with the crowds and really found an awesome spot. Your slideshow was fantastic too btw... :)

      1 · February 4, 2013

  • Martha S.

    Exciting!!

    1 · February 2, 2013

  • Jerry V.

    Great job Shelia! Thanks for coordinating this meetup - what great fun it was!!!!

    2 · February 2, 2013

  • James W

    Awesome job Sheila! Great turnout. What a spectacle.

    1 · February 2, 2013

  • Paul B

    Thank you to the "Red Head" Shelia for cordoning off prime shooting location for us. Getting there from Escondido by 3:00 am was above and beyond the call of duty, but we are glad you did:)

    1 · February 2, 2013

  • Pamela S.

    What a fantastic sight.

    1 · February 2, 2013

  • Jim

    Sheila did a great job of organizing this meetup and reserving a prime location for us, so thanks so much Sheila!

    1 · February 2, 2013

  • Ben

    A BLAST!!!

    1 · February 2, 2013

  • Ben

    Sorry people, I had to detour to another location. Traffic was pretty bad , so I ended up on the East side of the plant.
    Here's a few shots I took. Shutter could have been faster for my liking . =(

    1 · February 2, 2013

  • Rocio

    It was Great! nothing like seeing the real thing. Thank you Sheila for organizing :D

    2 · February 2, 2013

  • Scott McKay-check out my p.

    Maybe a neutral density filter and low iso - 100 - for a very slow shutter 1 second speed f- 22 ?, may or may not come out great ??

    January 27, 2013

    • Gary S.

      Given the non-repeatable nature of this shot, I would shoot it sharp. Unless of course you have two camera bodies and two long lenses.

      3 · January 27, 2013

    • Rhonda E

      Sorry, I have opted out because of the early hour. I hope you all have a great time.

      February 1, 2013

  • Sam W.

    There is a big shopping mall on Broadway between H St. and I St. that is a little over 1 mile to Bay Front Park. That would be an option to meet at and much easier to get out of.

    February 1, 2013

    • Sam W.

      Someone mention meeting for coffee, There is a Starbucks over there too. But I dont know what time it opens.

      February 1, 2013

  • Phyllis Z.

    Sorry I won't be making it. Leaving for Vegas. Looking forward to view everyones photos.

    February 1, 2013

  • Jerry V.

    To follow-up on Deborah's post...

    All the street parking along the channel is off limits Saturday all the way to the end. The first small lot was still OK at about 1:00pm but there were already some TV trucks there taking up quite a bit of room. That lot will fill fast so don't count on it.

    There is a large lot farther down and I'm guessing[masked] yards to walk to get to a good spot.

    Where they are going to put all the folks has got me concerned!!!

    Sighhhhhhh.......

    February 1, 2013

  • Hector Q.

    Yes! I am going yes to prove the Big Bang theory. Or not.

    1 · February 1, 2013

  • Angela and J.

    I have decided to change my RSVP to no, I realize through these conversations that my equipment and expertise are lacking in actually capturing images that will be worth it. I feel we will be so far away and my equipment is just not that good : ( I look forward to all of your photos, my father worked at this plant and Tom Page and his family dear friends of ours. I would LOVE to have a picture from one of you as a memento, of course at my cost.

    January 29, 2013

    • Matthew D.

      Yes, I agree. You should go. You definitely won't get a good shot from your bed! Even if you just watch, you may see more than everyone who is looking through a lens.

      1 · February 1, 2013

    • Ben

      It's good practice , and with so many of us going you can pick up some tips.

      1 · February 1, 2013

  • Roy A.

    HEY EVERYONE...don't give up just because you don't have an 800mm chunk-o-glass.
    I just posted in the Files section of this site a shot of the power plant I took from the most South Western part of the Bay Front Park tonight at 7pm. The name of the file is "IMG_4890". It was taken with a little bridge camera (Canon SX40HS) hand held and illustrates the image taken with a 300mm lens on a full frame 35mm sized sensor (Canon 5D, IDX or Nikon D4, D700 etc). If you have a crop body, it would be even bigger.

    So I'm leaving the artillery gun at home.

    1 · January 29, 2013

  • Scott McKay-check out my p.

    If you want all the info on the Implode Todays paper UT 1/31 it has all the info on.
    It also has the way each wall will fall, Great info weather shooting or just watch.
    It has maps of the seen and were you can park even even at the Living
    UT paper info on parking Marina way,Chula Vista Marina and Discovery Center Members only.

    1 · January 31, 2013

  • Chris

    What lens shall we bring? Tripods ok as well?

    1 · January 24, 2013

    • Ben

      I'm hoping it's not going to get over crowded ,Hate to get a shot with people walking in front. I might scope out another distant area, without the crowds or sun.

      January 31, 2013

    • Sheila Newbery Redheaded P.

      I'm planning on roping off our area.

      1 · January 31, 2013

  • Sheila Newbery Redheaded P.

    Here everyone my email acct got hacked into, so beware I do not send out weird link emails. Don't open those types of emails. Just changed my password, so should be ok for now 8pm[masked]

    January 31, 2013

  • Roy A.

    Oh yeah almost forgot. At 6:00am on that day the sun will be 20degrees left of the plant and just about on the horizon according to one of the ephemeris shooting tools I use. At least thats the display using the augmented reality camera feature.

    3 · January 29, 2013

    • James W

      e·phem·er·is
      /iˈfem(ə)ris/
      Noun
      A table or data file giving the calculated positions of a celestial object at regular intervals throughout a period.
      A book or set of such tables or files.
      He said ephemeris.

      January 30, 2013

    • Cory P.

      Augmented reality...sounds like Roy.....!

      January 31, 2013

  • Scott McKay-check out my p.

    Is it possible to get permission to set camera on tripod closer to building than we can get and use remote control shutter to capture this.
    Also can you get a special spot for our group for best location to shoot.
    Just a thought ??

    January 27, 2013

    • Sheila Newbery Redheaded P.

      I am not able to do anything further other than what is posted, due to my limitations (no vehicle and living in Escondido.

      January 27, 2013

    • Gary S.

      my friend did the abatment there he back shot spots he and i and one more will be in the marina park he couldnt get us any closer

      1 · January 31, 2013

  • Alberto L.

    Does anybody know if the implosion is scheduled to begin exactly at 7 a.m., or is that the time when they start setting up the explosives? I plan to shoot video and it would be nice to know when to start the camera.

    January 30, 2013

  • Damian

    Are we allowed to bring a guest?

    1 · January 24, 2013

  • Sheila Newbery Redheaded P.

    Alright everyone enjoy the new information that is now on this event page. Nice group interaction & Dan 'Wake up already!' :-P

    January 30, 2013

  • Andre M.

    This will be my first meet up with the group of many to follow it should be fun.

    3 · January 30, 2013

  • Alberto L.

    Low tide will be around 8 a.m. on Saturday.

    1 · January 30, 2013

    • Sheila Newbery Redheaded P.

      Maybe the ground will be dry enough to go on the marsh and set up, it is just a little section attached to the south onto the end of that park.

      January 30, 2013

  • Paul B

    I am heading down today to take a look around myself. I have used the J Street area as a launch site for windsurfing. It will be great to see where the designated photo location is in relation to my windsurfing site. No, I am not going to get out on my board to shoot.

    January 30, 2013

    • Paul B

      I added a couple of pictures at 70 mm and 200 mm from the end of the park. Also posted a couple of bird pictures from the same location. I am not sure if this is where they are going to let us watch the implosions. There were electronic signs going up when I was there.

      1 · January 30, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    My camera only has a 20 zoom lens-how do you think it will do?

    January 30, 2013

    • Roy A.

      Is it a Point and Shoot with a "20X zoom" feature?

      1 · January 30, 2013

  • Alberto L.

    I scouted the location today. Best vantage point seems to be from the Chula Vista Bayfront Park. Also good from the south at West Frontage Road and Main Street, but significantly longer distance. If I knew how to post pictures I would post some of the ones I took today.

    1 · January 29, 2013

    • Sheila Newbery Redheaded P.

      Pls send them to my email acct yahoo (go2meetup) is before @. Please add info like lens used and from where shot. I can add to the event info to share.

      January 29, 2013

  • Roy A.

    Dan,

    Sleeping...??? This is gonna make any stage pyrotechnics at the events you shoot look like...hand held sparklers on the 4th of July.

    2 · January 29, 2013

  • Ben

    Sounds like a date night gone wrong, all the planning and making sure you have the right equipment ,so when the time comes you have a few sec of excitement only to be left with nothing... LOL

    January 29, 2013

  • Roy A.

    I know how big the image is with a full frame and 840mm if I shoot across the runway and Lindbergh from the Commuter Terminal to the FAA Tower.

    So I am going to shoot this with a Canon 1DX and a Sigmonster[masked]mm zoom at 14fps. Should look like stop action like the Wallace and Grommet film.

    Maybe with the Canon SX40HS bridge camera at the same time at 840mm at 10fps simultaneously...if I can push two shutter buttons at the same time. LOL

    This should be fun!

    2 · January 29, 2013

  • Roy A.

    hmmm...2200 feet away as the crow flies.

    1 · January 29, 2013

  • James W

    Hey Everybody!
    I called the City of Chula Vista and here is the 411:
    Chula Vista Bay Front Park will be open for public viewing. The parking opens at 5:00 a.m. (usually opens at 6:00) Take the 5 to "J" street and head west. There should be plenty of police and other help to guide you, but I can tell you that the viewing area is North and West of the power plant. See you there!

    2 · January 29, 2013

    • James W

      Everyday. This is the viewing point as offered by the City of Chula Vista. The city did not seem too concerned with whether the sun would rise or not.

      January 29, 2013

    • Sheila Newbery Redheaded P.

      Yes even though there really aren't any clear spots to shoot away from the sun that early. It is too bad they didn't schedule this for the afternoon hours.

      January 29, 2013

  • Jerry V.

    I scouted the area yesterday and the marina area has the least obstructed view of any area open to the public that is near the site. Fences, trees and brush abound in the area. Even at the marina you have to get pretty far out to get reasonably clear.

    I sent Sheila a map yesterday that she may share soon.

    1 · January 29, 2013

  • Roy A.

    Hey James...how far away would you guesstimate the Power Plant is from the edge of the CV Bay Front Park???

    January 29, 2013

  • Roy A.

    And ...any obstructions???

    January 29, 2013

  • James W

    Roy, I plan to do recon today or tomorrow, as in, I am going to the site to check out the sight lines, etc. I checked it out on google earth and while I could not determint the distance, the sight lines seemed clear. I will let you guys know when I know.

    1 · January 29, 2013

  • Sheila Newbery Redheaded P.

    In an effort to protect the public, a land and water perimeter will be set up to limit access around the site. I'm not sure if & where we all can meetup as a group due to the closed off sections have not been announced as of yet. The implosion will be carried out by former plant operator Dynegy South Bay LLC and is expected to take less than two minutes and sound like rolling thunder with reverberations. In addition, a number of small, controlled explosive charges will be placed within the 165-foot-tall steel and concrete power block structure to help to bring it down.

    1 · January 27, 2013

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