Bridge Reflections & the Financial District


During our visit in San Francisco, I wanted to get out for at least a couple adventures.  The evening walk that my brother Dave and I went on ended up bringing us down around the financial district and the Transamerica Pyramid that I featured a couple weeks back.  We enjoyed a stroll around the area on a late summer evening, with the typical business meetings/dinners going on and plenty of foot and road traffic to be captured.  As we were about to head home…we decided that we were too close to the water not to make a stop.

Thankfully, the Bay Bridge (which connects San Francisco to Oakland) was beautifully lit in the late evening air over the water.  This has been one of the favorites that people seem to gravitate to of all the shots from my trip. One of my favorites from the trip was taken a few minutes later, featuring one of the office towers of Embarcadero Center in the Financial District.

Golden Gate Sunrise

Once again, I was fortunate to venture out in time to catch a beautiful sunrise.  As you saw earlier in the week – this time it was atop the Marin Headlands on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.  The shot above was snapped before the sun rose over the horizon line – and the street lights were still lit on the bridge.  It gives the rich red colors of the bridge an eerie and almost ominous glow.

Contrasting against the strong darker colors of the early dawn light, the shot below was snapped once the sun reached above the horizon to the left of the bridge.  The water vista is to the immediate right of the bridge shots…in an area known as the Marin Headlands.  The softer pastel colors and the rolling coastal hills are such a cool contrast against the massive man made accomplishment of the bridge.

Streets of San Francisco

San Francisco is the hilliest (funny title, right?) city in the United States.  Oddly enough, I grew up next to what is often referred to as the second hilliest place in the US  – Fitchburg, MA.  But nevermind that for now – the shot above captures a typical streetscape in San Fran – ridiculous slopes and cars parked at angles so steep that you can barely believe they don’t roll right over.  This isn’t really quite a case of that, but walking up the hills over and over again will definitely give you some sore legs, and make for fun driving.

Below is an architectural detail that typifies what you might see on any random street in the city.  Richly detailed masonry and fire escapes adorning the sides of a building.  The blue sky and the clouds caught my eye, and the symmetry and the patterns of the buildings made for a great detail shot.

Transamerica Pyramid | San Francisco

The Transamerica Pyramid is loved and hated pretty intensely.  The building was originally constructed in 1969-1972 and is easily the most recognizable and the tallest skyscraper in San Francisco, and drastically changed the skyline when it was finished.  You can see it from many places throughout the city – as you can see from the evening shot from afar above…and the sheer scale of the building as taken from the base (shown below).  I happen to enjoy the building, but it’s definitely not my favorite of the city.  While I’m featuring shots of San Francisco…it would be a crime to leave this one out.  What are your thoughts?

I’ve got ambitious plans to head out at sunrise to shoot another icon.  Looking forward to the early dawn light.

Coit Tower | Telegraph Hill

Another San Francisco icon – Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill.  The 210 foot tower sits atop the affluent neighborhood – with the land gifted to the city in the early 1900s by a wealthy socialite who enjoyed chasing fires (according to Wikipedia), Lillie Coit.  The tower is a monument to the city’s firefighters, who took on special meaning after the intense fires that followed the 1906 earthquake.

I’ll share this little tidbit of info from wikipedia, mostly because I found it quite entertaining: “Lillie Coit was one of the more eccentric characters in the history of North Beach and Telegraph Hill, smoking cigars and wearing trousers long before it was socially acceptable for women to do so. She was an avid gambler and often dressed like a man in order to gamble in the males-only establishments that dotted North Beach. Coit was reputed to have shaved her head so her wigs would fit better.”  Whatever the history and whatever Lillie’s true habits were, the tower is a gorgeous addition to the SF skyline.

San Francisco Fog / Portsmouth Harbor

Today’s post is a double feature.  The first image is a treat from home base for the next few days….the view of San Francisco Bay.  This is the fog that San Francisco is so renowned for….once it blew over, you could see Alcatraz just about dead center in the frame.  I’ll try to snap a good sunset shot before we hit the road for Yellowstone.

Below is a treat from a Portsmouth Harbor Cruise from the summer….what had been the sunset cruise that set sail at 7pm became more of a city lights cruise as the light had retreated as we made our way under the Memorial Bridge.  I didn’t quite mind though – as there was a beautiful crescent moon and the planet Venus hanging out just to its right.  This shot is one of my recent favorites – as it silhouettes two of Portsmouth’s icons under a summer sky.  The Memorial Bridge and the North Church mark the city’s skyline.

An Evening in Pacifica

As you may have heard – I’ll be spending the following week west of the Mississippi!  I’m in San Francisco for a few days and will be heading to Yellowstone (and driving through Grand Teton National Park).  My brothers and I headed out tonight with every intention of shooting the San Francisco skyline from Treasure Island (across the bay from the Financial District)…however the fog had different plans for us.  After exploring the area and some seriously windy roads, we decided to throw in the towel (thankfully – because my stomach couldn’t take it much longer).  We decided to head to a calmer spot south of the city – Pacifica.  Dave has some awesome shots of the pier at sunset….but we decided oceanfront and waves sounded pretty good….so today’s shots feature a couple night captures.  Above I went for a different black  & white treatment to play around with some different processing.

Below, I loved the evening sky and the stars and the stark contrast against our own planet’s beachfront.  Looking forward to sharing more from the voyage throughout the week.  Stay tuned!