Fred Reichel

Embarcadero Center--SF

Best of Show/First Place Views Beyond the Peninsula

Fred Reichel is the consummate impresario. As a photographer, doctor, and ardent traveler, he's a blithe combination of skill and creativity. And then there's his patience.

To take his winning picture, "Embarcadero Center--SF," Reichel came to the same spot for more than a year. Each time he stood at the place that overlooked the strip, waiting for the sun to shine in just the right way, or a passer-by to be in just the right place. He wanted a certain interplay of light and shadow.

"I've been trying to get this picture for quite a while. I have 15 to 20 pictures from that spot," he said. "It's hit and miss. People walk by and they don't look for the ideal position in the frame of the camera. And I only wanted to silhouette the person."

Reichel said he knew this one had come out better than the ones he'd taken there before. When he brought it to his intermediate photography course at UC Berkeley Extension in San Francisco, his instructor and classmates agreed.

The picture he snapped was actually an assignment for the course, but Riechel said that he has been taking photos for "a long time."

But what began as a hobby, transformed itself into almost a second career when he retired five years ago. A practicing cardiologist for 25 years, Reichel said he "had enough and wanted to try different things."

"I didn't expect photography would be such a big part, but it worked out that way," he said.

Now at 67, he's reading a lot about photography. In the last couple of years, he's been doing more and more in black, and now he's looking to get more darkroom experience. He's also been traveling more, taking pictures to record the areas he and his wife visit.

"We just got back from New York," he said. "There's always something to shoot in that city."

But Reichel also keeps himself on the lookout for things to shoot closer to the place he's renting in Menlo Park while looking for a new home in San Francisco.

"I see things in the street or walk by things," he said. "And I think, would that make a good picture? How would that look?"

--Heather Wax

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