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Area 51, featuring flying saucer Pegman.
Google Street View
Street View photography is mostly captured via the iconic Street View car (no, you can’t drive it) but boats and snowmobiles are also used. Underwater cameras shot the West Nusa Tenggara coral, the Liwa Desert was captured via camelback and on a ten-day trek with Apa Sherpa, Mount Everest was documented. The International Space Station is even on there now (and yes, Pegman turns into an astronaut).
You can’t take 170 billion photos without capturing some weirdness, and outside of car accidents, drug deals and darker images that have seen the light of day, many people have pranked the passing high tech camera as it approaches, like the flock of pigeon people in Tokyo or the Norwegian scuba divers.
A Scottish man had to apologize to the police when they came to visit him a year after he staged a fake murder in front of the Street View vehicle.
“There are pictures of men on Google flashing their bums but we thought we would be more classy, “ Dan Thompson told the BBC. “We had forgotten about it when the police arrived a year later and we apologized for wasting police time. They found it funny.”
But it’s not the gimmicks and pranks that interest me, it’s the magical ability to pull up the curious corners of San Francisco in seconds. Like the corner of Burritt Street where Miles Archer got done in in the Maltese Falcon or the car wash on Cesar Chavez where Steve McQueen started the greatest chase ever filmed.
Why am I compelled to seek out the exact spot where Tom Hardy does a ridiculous motorcycle jump in Venom? (It’s 1001 Vallejo St, but shot on Taylor.) Is it because these amazing actors and directors were once immortalized on screen right there? No, Venom is not a good movie. Is it because I live so close to the most cinematic city on earth, but just out of reach? Or is it because internet rabbit holes are the lifeblood of aging millennials, and sometimes you just can’t stop diving.