Thursday, February 17, 2011

Les Photo du Jour

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

San Francisco City Hall
Some pictures of San Francisco City Hall

Saturday, May 1, 2010

San Francisco Zoo

An often missed treasure of San Francisco is the San Francisco Zoo. 
Located near the far end of Ocean Beach (south of the west end of Golden Gate Park), the Zoo has so much to offer.
With a large collection of birdlife, the photographic possibilities are endless. A cloudy day can often be the best time to visit the Zoo. With few obstructions between you and these magnificent birds, you can walk away with some great photographs. A long zoom lens will allow you to isolate the subject easily. There were taken with a 300 or 400mm lens.
Not only is there a unique collection of wildlife, but a wide array of plant life that cannot be found elsewhere in San Francisco.
One of the most recent additions to the Zoo is the African Savana. This is usually the first stop for most visitors to the Zoo. The Savana offers great, unobstructed views of these majestic animals in a more natural setting. Again, a long telephoto lens will be needed and a tripod is recommended. I will also sometimes use my "Pod" on a nearby railing or rock.
Next to the African Savana, is the Gorilla enclosure. These guys are NOT photo friendly. They know when they are being watched. So be patient and be sure to use the different observation areas around the enclosure for best lighting. 
As you make your way around the park, spend time at each area and don't be in a hurry. The best shots come with patience. Weekdays will let you take your time without the burden of children and strollers everywhere.  I usually take a mid-day break at one of the two caf├ęs and wait for afternoon light. 
After a brief meal, I like to head indoors to the insect zoo until the afternoon sun comes around.
After some time examining these strange creatures, make your way around the back side of the Zoo where you will find the Kangaroo, Polar Bears, Grizzle Gulch, White Rhino, etc.
If you do not have your own vehicle, you can get to the San Francisco Zoo by the MUNI train. Plan to spend sometime at Golden Gate Park and Ocean Beach. Keep watching for more on these two great San Francisco locations.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Golden Gate Bridge

It may seem like there is no new way to photograph such a well known location. But there are so many opportunities to see and photograph the Golden Gate Bridge that are completely missed by most tourists (and residents).

Here are a few of the many ways to get a unique view of the Golden Gate Bridge:

1. The obvious one: is from the visitor station at the beginning of the bridge on the San Francisco Side. But even here, there are ways to make your photo stand out simply by picking a spot not normally seen in other photographs. 

2. Baker Beach: There are basically three separate areas of Baker Beach. 
  • The main area is the long beach where most people go near the long flat parking lots. This does not offer the best view but is easily accessible. Google Map
  • The second area brings you closer, but is much more difficult to get to. New trails and stairs lead to the beach below the cliffs. Google Map
  • The third (and BEST) area is also the most difficult. But certainly worth is as it is the closest you can get to the bridge from the San Francisco side. Google Map

3. Other areas are often visited by a tourist but few spend enough time to really get the right shots:
  • Langdon Court road in the Presidio offers a panoramic view of the bay and the bridge. Google Map
  • Crissy Field, once an air field, now a playground for San Francisco residents. This flat area just inside the bay offers access to the bridge and Fort Point below. But get a few good shots in before going up to the bridge: Google Map

4. Fort Point: Just below the Golden Gate Bridge sits an historic fort complete with cannons and cannon balls. Many interesting opportunities here and not just fro the bridge. Climb to the top for an unparalleled view of the bay.  Google Map


This is just an introduction to the Golden Gate Bridge. More areas will follow such as Mile Rock Beach, Land's End, the Marin Headlands, and many other as each of these offers more than just a view of our beloved bridge.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sand Point State Park

A little known gem in Northern California is Sand Point State Park. Just north of Jenner, CA and about 2.5 hours from San Francisco (depending on your route), Sand Point State Park is quite large, but the best part is the coast line where strange and other-worldly shapes take place in the sandstone.

The best time to photograph here is 3:00PM to Sunset. The park closes at Sunset.

If you leave from San Francisco, plan to leave after noon. This will put you there at just the right time of day. Check the weather prior to leaving as this area is prone to high winds. 

These strange formations are the result of the sea salts eating away at the sandstone. Ironically, some of the rock is strengthened by the salt. Numerous trails and long rocky beaches stretch for miles so there is no shortage of unique opportunities for photography here.

Always be aware of your surroundings and never turn your back on the surf. High winds and high surf can sneak up on you without warning.  The waves crashing against the rocks can be quite loud down on the beach, so you may not notice a high wave coming at you until it is too late. The rocks are sharp!

Getting There:
From San Francisco: Take Highway 101 north to San Rafael and follow the River Road Exit to Guernville until you reach Jenner and Highway 1. Follow Highway 1 north past Fort Ross State Historic Park (watch for an article about this park soon). Sand Point State Park is about 10 minutes north. Enter to the left for the beach, or the right for the forrest and trails. There is also camping available.

From the North: Take Highway 101 south to San Rafael. Take the River Road exit to Guernville, CA. Proceed to Jenner and Highway 1. Follow Highway 1 north to San Point State Park.

Alternate Route: Alternatively, you can take Highway 116 from Highway 101 to Guernville. Turn left on River Road to Jenner, CA. Then north on Highway 1 to Sand Point State Park. This is the "Scenic" route and take quite a bit longer.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Welcome to my new blog.

Here you will learn the best places in and around San Francisco to get the photographs you want. I will also detail time of day and photo setting details to help you maximize each location.

Let's get started!

Here is a sunset picture of the Golden Gate Bridge and Fort Mason in the foreground. You'll need a tripod and long camera exposure for sunset and nighttime photography. This shot was take at Fort Mason on the trail just above the piers.  The trail is located just behind Hostelling International Fisherman's Wharf youth hostel.
37°4828N 122°2547W

Camera Settings for this photograph:
ISO 800, f5.6 1/15 55mm
A polarizer is also helpful to bring out the colors and cut down on haze.

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