Cathie Anderson

Cathie Anderson: Sacramento photographer to leave impression on San Francisco Fairmont 283 times

Cathie Anderson
Cathie Anderson

Sacramento photographer Donald Satterlee will make an impression on the guests of the Fairmont San Francisco, even though he’ll never meet them. One of his photographs of the Golden Gate Bridge will hang in 283 rooms now under renovation there.

In Satterlee’s image, taken from north of the nearly 2-mile span, the fog lends an otherworldly quality to the boulders, seabirds and the Golden Gate. He won the contract after his Bay Area agent suggested he compete for the business.

“They called me a year in advance,” Satterlee said, “and they said, ‘Do you have any black-and-white photos of the Golden Gate Bridge or of San Francisco?’ And, I sent a bunch of things. She called like four months later and said, ‘Oh, you’re in the finalists,’ and I thought, ‘Oh, that’s great ’cause there are so many photographers in San Francisco that have great work.’ It ended up that they chose mine.”

Satterlee became fascinated with the interplay of light and fog while taking early morning pictures at Sacramento’s William Land Park in 2008. Since then, he’s chased pea soup in a number of other quintessential Sacramento spaces – Capitol Park, the I Street Bridge and the Tower Bridge, for instance. Many can be seen in his so-called fogscapes gallery at or in person at Sekula’s Fine Art and Antiques, 855 57th St., #B, in Sacramento.

The bulk of Satterlee’s income actually comes from commercial photography, his bread-and-butter for 40 years. He didn’t begin working on fine art photography until 2008, but he’s already had shows at Elliott Fouts Gallery and at Viewpoint Photographic Art Center. His works have been acquired and displayed locally by UC Davis Medical Center and Kaiser.

Just one word

Gold River’s All Plastic can encase anything, whether it’s a polar bear, a meteorite or even “Star Trek” uniforms, but the bulk of its work comes from designing and fabricating the sales displays that hold everything from beads to beef jerky to home accessories.

Will Smith, who owns the company with his wife, Cheryl Smith, fell in love with plastic more than 30 years ago when his business was creating “bottled oceans.”

“It was a container that looked like there was an ocean moving around,” Smith said, “so in order to make it, I either had to have someone make the containers for me or I had to learn how to make them, so I decided to learn how to make them.”

Although the allure of plastic was lost on Dustin Hoffman’s character in “The Graduate,” Smith found it totally addictive once he started working with it.

“It’s such a creative material,” he said. “You can do anything with it. I made the bottled oceans for quite a few years and sold that business and started doing custom work for J.C. Penney’s and Nordstrom and Macy’s for their displays, and from there, the company grew.”

Smith’s longtime customers will recall that his business used to be called Amazing Plastic and was based in Fair Oaks. After his business slowed in the 1980s, he closed the storefront, took up making fine-art kaleidoscopes and did some custom work on the side. He reopened his storefront at 2271 Sunrise Blvd. about 18 months ago with a new name, and he’s been busy with orders from a range of clients: lipstick manufacturers, warehouse stores, makers of gems and motor oil additives.

All Plastic has produced everything from a single custom container to mass orders for 50,000. Boat owners come to him to fix windshields or build doors. Retail customers find their way to the store to get materials for building fiberglass kayaks or custom auto parts. He’s already got plans for his final plastic project – an acrylic box for his ashes.

Here’s the pitch

Finalists in the Sacramento Brandathon will have two minutes to define the region during a March 27 pitchfest at Memorial Auditorium, and you can hear their proposed slogans and see their visuals by registering at to attend the event.

“We have five finalists that have emerged forward from the process,” said Christine Ault, a project manager with nonprofit consultant Valley Vision. “... They’ll have two minutes of stage time, and they can use it in whatever fashion they want ... to convey their concept and persuade the audience they have the winning idea.”

Sacramento Brandathon isn’t a Valley Vision project. Rather, it was an attempt by Ault, Christi Black-Davis of Edelman and Gordon Fowler of 3fold Communications to stir up a grass-roots conversation about creating a shared regional image that can work whether you live in Davis, Elk Grove, Placerville, Roseville, Sacramento or elsewhere in the region.

Although there are finalists in the competition, the Brandathon rulemakers have left the door open for spoilers. “We’ve also invited wild-card entries,” Ault said, “and I don’t know yet how many possible wild-card entries we will get.”

All competitors will be videotaped, and after the pitchfest, their tapes will be sent to judges outside the region. Judges will narrow the field to three, and then those three pitches will go online at the Brandathon website and elsewhere to allow public voting. So far, the five slogans in the mix are: “Always in Season” (version 1), “Always in Season” (version 2), “The Good Life Grows Here,” “In Season” and “Here We Grow.”