Sutro-Baths-Ruins-San-Francisco

San Francisco Travel Photography Essay Pt. 1

Good day blog readers! We’ve been absent on the blogging front for awhile. Lots of things have kept us away, including Bryan getting married and going on his honeymoon! But that is the very thing we’re going to be talking about today – a photo essay from Bryan’s travels to San Francisco, The City By The Bay

All of the following photos were shot with my small travel camera, the Fuji X10, and processed with VSCO film in Adobe Lightroom 

The Philosophy of Travel Photography

Thomas and I love traveling. One of the things that drew us to photography is that it’s a doorway to meeting new and interesting people, and a great excuse to stop and look at the world around you. Particularly we love portraiture because for at least a moment the photo makes you pause and reflect on the details of that person’s face, expression, posture, fashion, and environment. All of that culminates in a message about that person’s life – a story, and a better understanding.

Likewise you can create a portrait of a city by looking at it on a surface level – the shops, food, architectures, street art, natural elements, and, of course, the people interacting with it. Whenever we travel, whether it’s a personal trip or not, we try to capture at least a bit of the essence of the city. We try to capture moments and things that hint at that greater part of the whole city, and not just a documentation of the things in front of us (though that’s valuable too).

Related Post-Africa-Uganda-Mulago-Photography-part-1Here is Part 1 of a photo essay on San Francisco, focusing on nature, the ocean, and a bit of history. Next week will follow with downtown/chinatown, the Mission district, and Alcatraz

Staying in an area called Outer Sunset the first thing we did after arriving at our place was to head to Ocean Beach. The west side of the island, and the edge of the continental US. A mainstay spot for diehard year-long surfers. Usually the area is so foggy that the idea of it being called “Sunset” is laughable. Apparently, anyway, since that’s what we heard, but we had clear days almost our entire trip!

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My favourite thing about San Francisco as a whole city is the way that it incorporates nature and city together. Both now, but also in the past.

Sutro-Baths-Ruins-San-Francisco

a path from the Coastal Trail (on the northwest corner of the island) that leads down the ruins of the Sutro Baths

“Adolph Sutro, the self-made millionaire who designed Sutro Heights and later the second Cliff House, developed the amazing Sutro Baths in 1894. With his special interest in natural history and marine studies, he constructed an ocean pool aquarium among the rocks north of the Cliff House. Sutro then expanded his ocean front complex by constructing a massive public bathhouse that covered three acres and boasted impressive engineering and artistic details.” Sutro Baths History

Just the thought of the scale and magnificence of the bath house in that location was incredible. Someone really needs to replicate it. Now.

Portland-Photography-Essay-Related-Post

We also spent a lot of time in Golden Gate Park, which is a beautiful lush forested park bordered completely by city – over 1000 acres completely cultivated by people in an area that used to be just sand dunes. We’ll show more of that later, but for now let’s see some more ocean and hiking trails on the Coastal Trail

Seaside cave/tunnel just to the side of the Sutro Ruins. Spooky, but very cool to hear the rushing ocean from inside.

Seaside cave/tunnel just to the side of the Sutro Ruins. Spooky, but very cool to hear the rushing ocean from inside.

Ocean Beach - San FranciscoBirds perched on rocks just off the shore of san francisco

A quiet Camera Obscura perched along the cliffs at the north end of Ocean Beach. Was very cool to actually see one in action.

A quiet Camera Obscura perched along the cliffs at the north end of Ocean Beach. Was very cool to actually see one in action.

Hiker just off the Coastal Trail in San Francisco

View of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Coastal Trail in San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge, of course!

Land's End Labyrinth in San Francisco

The Labyrinth at Land’s End. Complete with creepy Raven watching over you as you complete the trial. Amazing how symmetrical and tidy it is even after 10 years.

san-francisco-travel-photo-essay-canada-commercial-travel-lifestyle-photographers-040traveler climbing rocks near the ocean

Golden Gate Park

walking dogs in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Stow Lake pedal boat Rental San Francisco

We rented a pedal boat and toured around Stow Lake.

Stow Lake pedal boat Rental San FranciscoThe Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park is beautiful. Because of San Francisco’s long history of Japanese immigrants bringing over their customs and culture, this place feels very authentic and symbolic of that relationship.Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, San FranciscoKoi fish at the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, San FranciscoPagoda at the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

The Moon Bridge at the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park

The incredible Moon Bridge at the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park

Murphy Windmill Golden Gate Park San Francisco

The Murphy Windmill. One of two windmills in Golden Gate Park

We came back to Golden Gate park one evening to experience The California Academy of Sciences’ “NightLife”. Every Thursday night the Science Centre has Adult-Only evenings with special themes. There’s alcoholic drinks, live music, special talks and presentations, and also you can see all of the regular exhibits like their planetarium or the “Skulls” exhibit. Best of all, the cost is only $12, whereas during the day it’s about $35! Highly recommended even if you’re not that into science.

The Rainforest Exhibit of California Acadmey of Sciences - the "greenest" museum in the world.

The Rainforest Exhibit of California Acadmey of Sciences – the “greenest” museum in the world.

Skulls exhibit at California Academy of Sciences

the “Skulls” exhibit at California Academy of Sciences

San Francisco is such a diverse city, and I don’t know that any two trips taken there could be the same – despite the mainstay tourist attractions like Alcatraz, Lombard Street, and the Street & Cable Cars

Like I said, next week will follow up with all those classic tourist locations, plus details from a food sidewalk tour of the Mission that was probably the highlight of the whole trip.

Till then,

-Bryan

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