Thursday, June 16, 2016

San Francisco - The Painted Ladies, The Haight, and The Golden Gate Bridge

Funny that I am sitting here in New York City writing a blog about my home town of San Francisco, but I have so many photos and stories to share with you all that I am running behind. My cousin and his family were visiting San Francisco a couple of months ago, and their daughter, Sydney, wanted to learn more about photography, so I spent the day with them up in the city. It was a great time, shooting and hanging out with them.

While I was teaching Sydney, I was also taking my own photos, so this gives me a chance to share the images with all of you.

I picked them up from the Ritz Carlton, where they were slumming it for the weekend, and drove straight over to the Painted Ladies. These are a famous group of victorian homes that many of you have seen on the TV show "Full House". The weather was overcast, which actually helped to make a better photo in this case. No harsh shadows to deal with.

Along with taking the "standard shot" that everyone takes, I was using my Canon 5D Mark III, and zoomed my Canon 28-300mm lens all the way to 300mm to get this photo of City Hall peaking out from behind a couple of the victorians.

And then we were off to the Haight Ashbury district to take photos of the graffiti and surroundings.

You can't go to Haight Ashbury without taking a photo of the street signs!

I love the art painted on the side of the local businesses.

...and then...there were some of the characters there...

I saw these guys and asked them if I could take their photos. They were totally cool with that, so I took some quick portraits.

After getting some lunch in the Haight, I drove them over to Fort Point, located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I was teaching Sydney about composition and framing. I took this first photo standing straight up to show her the perspective. But the shot is lacking a strong foreground.

For this second shot, I got down low and included the rusty chain as a foreground element. Notice how the curve of the chain helps to frame the bridge?

I was also showing Sydney how zooming into a shot changes everything. As luck would have it, the fog was slowly rolling in, constantly changing as it passed by the North Tower of the bridge.

I waited for this sailboat to get close to the bridge and took this photo. I wanted to show Sydney how the boat would "finish" this shot. it turned out, the top of the North Tower also popped out from the fog just a little bit as the sailboat approached. A perfect moment.

Note: I posted this photo on my Facebook page, thinking that it was a decent photo, but not expecting much feedback. As it turned out, this photo had more than 1000 likes and a ton of comments. I was pleasantly surprised by this reaction. It just reinforced that photography is subjective, and even I can not predict what will be widely admired or disliked.

Here are a couple more photos of the bridge, fog and sailboat.

After shooting all these photos, I wanted to show Sydney that there is always a way to push further and get a shot that most people do not have.

I was talking to her when I saw the bridge reflecting in her sunglasses. Perfect!!! I had her turn at just the right angle to get the bridge reflection in both lenses and took this shot. I love how the dark blue glasses make the scene look totally different from the grey skies that were reality.

We had a great time catching up after not seeing each other for a couple of years, hopefully Sydney learned something about her camera and photography, and we got some fun photos too. That makes for a great day!


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