San Francisco – WPC Unusual

“For those who are lost, there will always be cities that feel
like home.”

Simon VanBooy



For those who live in or around a big city, my opening scene is nothing special. But for someone like me, who lives on a small island surrounded by nature, such a scene is quite unusual. I literally took the shot with my i-phone through the bathroom window of the home of our good friends who live in downtown San Francisco. To see such a beautiful cityscape, capped off by a view of the glorious Golden Gate, was a rare (and unusual) treat for me.



“San Francisco is poetry. Even the hills rhyme.”

Pat Montandon

No post about San Francisco would be complete without a capture focused on the iconic Golden Gate. My husband and I have visited our good friends there several times, but never have we seen such perfect, blue-sky days warmed by the bright sunshine. As always, I took many photographs of the beautiful Golden Gate, but this uber-touristy shot of her majesty is one of my favorites.



“San Francisco is the only city I can think of that can survive all the things you people are doing to it and still look beautiful.”

Frank Lloyd Wright

While it’s true being in a large, beautiful city is quite unusual for me, we had an experience while there which was unusual even for the full-time residents. During our visit a large group of humpback whales decided to have a swim in San Francisco Bay just under the Golden Gate! We were fortunate to be there at just the right time (completely by chance), and even more fortunate to have had our cameras with us. It would have been nice to have had my long lens, but I was thrilled simply to watch these beautiful creatures cavorting nearby, feasting on the schools of anchovies that frequent the bay in the summer and fall months.



“San Francisco has only one drawback: ’tis hard to leave.”

Rudyard Kipling

I’m closing with a personal favorite from our visit. As we finished shooting the whales from our high vantage point atop Fort Point, I took a moment to capture one of the guards inside, surrounded by shadows of the bridge. Somehow the scene expresses the melancholy I feel to be leaving this glorious city and our very special friends who  moved there several years ago. As Jean de la Fontaine said “Rare as is true love, true friendship is rarer.”  I am blessed to have found both – may you be able to say the same.


106 thoughts on “San Francisco – WPC Unusual

  1. Great photos, great city! I visited last summer for 10 days (stayed in an AirBnB in Berkeley and caught the Bart in every day, plus a day trip to Suasalito). Wonderful! Walked everywhere! Spent 2 full days in SFMOMA which had just reopened. A 60th birthday treat 🙂

  2. There is something special about SF for me. My parents met in nearby Palo Alto and started dating ~ and every time I go back to The City I have a meal at Tommy’s Joint which is where they had their first date. My mom still dreams about returning 🙂 Through these photos of yours, I can see why it is so easy to fall in love with this city…and WOW with the whale sighting and shot. Good luck tends to follow you, along with your own skill and talent 🙂

    • Thanks Randall – I used to spend tons of time in SF because I worked at Cisco in Palo Alto. Now we go to visit our good friends who have relocated out there. Nice to have an excuse to go west 😃. The whale sighting was totally unplanned and unanticipated so it was quite a thrill. I didn’t have my good zoom with me but had enough to capture at least a few shots. They were, as always, magnificent! >

      • It is always great to have a good reason to return to a great city ~ especially with friends in the area. I was actually born there (Palo Alto), but call myself an Oregonian 🙂

  3. You are fortunate indeed that you got to enjoy San Francisco in the company of special friends Tina. Your appreciation of the beautiful city comes through in this superb gallery. Love the dramatic closing shot in particular.

  4. I’m catching up, and i saw that you and Jane L. witnessed the whales together – how terrific that must have been. Your post speaks from the heart, as you do so well, and that last shot is beautifully evocative.

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  6. That is pretty cool you saw whales at SF. When I go to SF nowadays it’s work related. It’s been a while since I’ve gone for recreation. I try to make an effort to explore when I do go even if it’s extremely limited time.

    • Thanks Julie- it was amazing. I used to travel there for work also. Very hard to enjoy when it’s not your main focus. Hope you get some free time while you’re there.

  7. As ever Tina, some amazing pictures. This is a city I have always wanted to visit and of course, photograph that amazing bridge. I like your first shot particularly. A wonderful view! 🙂

  8. Very lucky trip to San Fransico, what with the glorious summer weather and whales making an appearance. Such a treat. I’m the opposite of you. I’m a city person but I never fail to be amazed by the grandeur and scenes of the modern world – they symbolise how far we’ve come, and so many dreams for the future. Love that quote you shared by Jean de la Fontaine, and the last photo fits perfectly with it. Sometimes we can’t want what we all have, but when we do, it is such a great feeling. Lovely to hear it was a great trip, and wishing you more trips like these in the future 🙂

  9. The city by the bay is a beautiful city and you’ve shown us some lovely photos of it. It sure must be unusual for someone not from a city. You would have eaten at some very nice places as well, no doubt.

    • Many thanks LD – yes, some AMAZING food along the way! Our SF friends are true foodies and always take us to the most delicious venues. August (1) Five for Indian was as good as it gets :-), and we definitely had our fair share of ice cream and then some!

  10. I love that Frank Lloyd Wright quote. And how lucky were you to see the whales! I am quite envious! I didn’t really enjoy my last visit to SF, but having not been back for several years now, I’m starting to miss not seeing it.

  11. Great post, Tina. I love that first quote and your last shot! What a great capture! It’s funny how I feel at home in just a few places, but they mostly are cities, not rural places. What feels “unusual” is always so subjective, isn’t it? I might feel perfectly at home in the subway, even as a man in a tall satin top hat (and shorts) brushed past me. (This actually did happen.) It didn’t faze me at all!!

    • Agreed Patti – all depends on what you’re used to I think. Have done lots of city time but still prefer quiet and nature as my surroundings. Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Hi T- So glad you enjoyed your visit and I feel lucky to have shared these moments with you. Another great memory together. The whales were a highlight and I’m happy you photographed Fort Point- one of my favorite spots. Great shots!

  13. Great photos. San Francisco is an amazing place! Lived in the area for three years and I wished I had been more adventurous and seen more and done more. I agree, the Golden Gate is an amazing site – beauty and grace. Enjoy your visit.

    • Many thanks Clay – had a wonderful visit spening time with great friends and eating more than one would have thought humanly possible LOL. They sure know how to cook out there LOL.

  14. Beautiful post …. love that shadow image – excellent shot. SF is one of those cities that didn’t agree with me .. it’s in good company: Paris, Lisbon and Rome.

      • I suppose cities and places is like with people, we don’t click with everyone. My favorites are Chicago, Seattle, Vancouver, Istanbul, Porto … Stockholm.

      • All terrific Viveka – I’m a big fan of Vancouver especially, and enjoyed all the ones you mentioned. Maybe I was a city girl in a former life 🙂

  15. It’s unusual for me to come here and see a city, rather than nature. I’m also happy to read that sometimes you, like the rest of us, don’t have all your camera kit with you. 🙂 You have the photographer’s eye, though, and that’s really what matters. SF is truly a lovely city. Just a shame it’s so expensive! Your trip sounds lovely.


    • Thanks Janet – yes it’s pricey for sure but do-able for a shorter visit! And lovely indeed. We also did some very fun trips to photography exhibits and the Modern Art Museum so it wasn’t all whales and bridges LOL.

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