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Photography Question 

Where to take photos in San Francisco?

I will be going to San Francisco in a week and I was wondering if there were any good places to take photos. I assume that downtown is a photo rich environment, however I thought there might be a few exceptional places to get some good shots. I, of course, want the Golden Gate Bridge shot. Is Bakers Beach a good area to get it? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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5/4/2005 7:52:23 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  So Dale, how much time and film do you have . I've been here about 20 years and I'm constantly finding new and great places to take photographs of and from, and there are more than a few books on the subject too. As a resident, I like the Michelin guide to SF. It's pretty accurate, has some nice maps and pocket size. I keep one handy in my truck for days when I just take off to shoot stock.

For your GG shot, head across the bridge to the Marin side, take the first right, go under the freeway (101) then left at the stop sign and up the hill. You can stop at various places on the way up to get different angles and views of the bridge, (depending on the weather at the Gate at the time). On the backside of the overlook there, is Fort Cronkite. Fort Point offers a different perspective, it's located in the Presidio on the west side of the bridge. Bakers Beach is ok but overdone, I think.

Views of the city from the GG, Alcatraz Island, and the Oakland Side of the Bay Bridge are nice, as are the ones from atop Nob Hill and Mount Sutro in the city and Yerba Buena Island which has great views of the Oakland Bay Bridge. Bring a polarizer and maybe a warming filter or two.

Every neighborhood, from Fisherman's wharf to the Sunset District, the Tenderloin, to Golden Gate Park, North Beach, Chinatown, the Haight, the Alamo Square Victorians off Steiner Street (postcard row), and the Castro districts are all very cool places. Each neighborhood or district has it's own character and photo ops. whether people or buildings or both. Again, it depends on how much time you've got and the weather, which, btw, is kind of crummy at the moment. But don't be dismayed by that. If it's foggy at the Golden Gate it could be spectacularly clear down at the Wharf or Embarcadero. Depends on the wind. And, as Mark Twain once said: "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."

There are lots of museums and galleries, but if you have kids with you, (or not) go to the kids museum at Exposition Park, then hike down to the Marina adjacent to the Presidio. You can get shots of Alcatraz Island off the Wharf at Pier 39 and along the Embarcadero, or take a ride on a tour boat out there to get shots of the city.

Pack a light, water resistant jacket and very comfortable shoes. Plan to do lots of walking. If you can avoid having a car, do that, and maybe plan to have one on one day to get out to the Golden Gate and Marin where you can go to Sausaulito and Muir Woods. Muni public transport is good and can get you where you want to go fairly easily. Also, even with residential parking permits, parking spaces are at a premium and parking fines are off the charts these days.

That's just for openers. When you get here, score some of the free local newspapers to see what's cooking during your visit and have lotsafun. ;>) Mark

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5/5/2005 8:52:48 AM

Darlene Christensen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/30/2003
  Hi Dale..
Mark is right on about San'll have so much to shoot you won't know which way to turn! If you are so inclined, take a 45 minute drive north to Sonoma..right in the middle of the California wine country. Our vines are coming into their own and our hills are still green from the recent rain! We're real pretty up here and a real photo op! Have fun and welcome!
Just my 2 cents :)

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5/5/2005 12:18:18 PM

Dale    Thanks so much for the advice. That will be very helpful. Any suggestions for the San Jose area? Thanks again,

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5/7/2005 8:51:49 AM

Julie Wall
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/19/2004
  Hi, Dale...

I grew up in the San Jose area, and while I haven't lived there in about forever, I did want to jump in and say that if you can get up in the hills that surround the Santa Clara Valley, you should be able to get some really great night shots of the city lights.


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5/7/2005 9:34:06 AM

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