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Thread: San Francisco - Mass Transit only, where to go?

  1. #1
    Corran's Avatar
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    San Francisco - Mass Transit only, where to go?

    Just locked in another big job over on the other side of the country in December and so I am planning on extending my stay a week while (just outside) San Francisco, in Dublin. I have somewhere to stay (that is, a couch!) and won't have a car.

    I'm hoping I will be able to walk or at worst Uber to the the nearest mass transit station - maybe the BART station at West Dublin?

    So - with a focus on LF photography, where would you West Coasters suggest I go, sans vehicle? Or is this a dumb idea? I will probably pack a small bag with only the tiniest lenses and a couple Grafmatics, and a small tripod. If I absolutely can't fit 4x5 I'll resort to 6x7 on my Century Graphics and roll film holders. I already have to bring a Pelican case full of digital gear for my job but I'd prefer to shoot film on my own time.

    Thanks!
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram
    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  2. #2
    Les
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    Re: San Francisco - Mass Transit only, where to go?

    Much depends on what you are interested in...to some GG Bridge is obligatory, Treasure Island view....and surely Trip Advisor gets into it some more. Some people like the Headlands view of the city or just from the No side of the GG Bridge (Ft Baker).
    I tend to think that your movement around town will be quite curtailed if you don't have a rented car....especially if you wish to zig zag and see as much as possible.....and there is plenty. But, don't forget various places/spots outside of town. Let me sit down and create a small list.

    Les

  3. #3
    Les
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    Re: San Francisco - Mass Transit only, where to go?

    SF is v. rich in culture, so a week is rather limiting, but you likely already know that. If you decide to use transportation, you will be at their schedules and whims (just saying). But, you can always set up your locations in tandem if necessary....if that floats yer kayak. Ha, there is tons of tourista stuff that you can or want to do....some of the stuff is outside of SF. Do check events calendar for the time you intend to be there....you might spot something unusual.

    Muir Woods
    Treasure Island (view)
    Japanese Tea Gardens
    Ft Funston
    Pt Lobos/Monterey/Carmel (via Rte 1 & Pacifica)
    Alcatraz Island
    Victorian villas (Painted Ladies)
    Time out for good burrito at Mission Dist.
    GG Park
    Presidio
    Palace of Fine Arts (nice pond near it)
    SF MOMA
    Lombard St
    Ferry ride to Sausalito (or in reverse)...around sunset
    Yosemite ?
    Chinatown
    Pt Reyes
    Twin Peaks
    Union Sq
    Fisherman's Wharf

    The last three are uber tourist traps (there is more :>). You can use fog to your advantage and in Dec you likely will see some. Do your thing and stay safe. SF is v. diverse and I sometimes miss it.

    Les

  4. #4
    Vince Donovan
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    Re: San Francisco - Mass Transit only, where to go?

    Dublin is pretty suburban. It is very close (biking distance) to Mt. Diablo state park, a big beautiful place with striking views and landscapes. It's a little early for wildflowers, but they should kick in nicely in February or March.

    BART will give you access to the cities San Francisco and Oakland, both of which are worth exploring and photographing. SF has good public transportation that you can ride all the way out to the ocean (Muni J and L lines and others). The 38 Geary bus will take you out to Land's End, a touristy but spectacular spot. The 76x bus will get you to the Marin Headlands on the weekends.

    From where you are, it will be worth renting a car on weekends to explore some wilder parts of California that are quick to get to from that part of the bay. The Sacramento river delta is vast and still quite wild, with several small towns worth discovering. (like the town of Locke) The town of Niles nearby was a movie studio in the silent era and now has a theatre that only plays silent movies. Niles Canyon itself is scenic and interesting.

    From Dublin it's a pretty quick drive into gold country and the high Sierra. Head out 580 to either highway 4 or highway 108 (or do the tourist thing and take highway 120 to Yosemite). Check out the gold rush town of Columbia off highway 49, or keep heading up into the spectacular Sierra. You can be in some remarkable wilderness in less than three hours drive from Dublin.

  5. #5
    Angus Parker angusparker's Avatar
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    Re: San Francisco - Mass Transit only, where to go?

    Quote Originally Posted by Leszek Vogt View Post
    SF is v. rich in culture, so a week is rather limiting, but you likely already know that. If you decide to use transportation, you will be at their schedules and whims (just saying). But, you can always set up your locations in tandem if necessary....if that floats yer kayak. Ha, there is tons of tourista stuff that you can or want to do....some of the stuff is outside of SF. Do check events calendar for the time you intend to be there....you might spot something unusual.

    Muir Woods
    Treasure Island (view)
    Japanese Tea Gardens
    Ft Funston
    Pt Lobos/Monterey/Carmel (via Rte 1 & Pacifica)
    Alcatraz Island
    Victorian villas (Painted Ladies)
    Time out for good burrito at Mission Dist.
    GG Park
    Presidio
    Palace of Fine Arts (nice pond near it)
    SF MOMA
    Lombard St
    Ferry ride to Sausalito (or in reverse)...around sunset
    Yosemite ?
    Chinatown
    Pt Reyes
    Twin Peaks
    Union Sq
    Fisherman's Wharf

    The last three are uber tourist traps (there is more :>). You can use fog to your advantage and in Dec you likely will see some. Do your thing and stay safe. SF is v. diverse and I sometimes miss it.

    Les
    This is a great comprehensive list. The Japanese Garden in Golden Gate Park really is a great place for 4x5 LF. In the same park is Stow Lake (nearby), the Conservatory of Flowers (nearby / external photos - not sure if cameras are allowed inside but one end is far to humid), a wonderful windmill (north side at the beach end).

    Pt. Reyes is beautiful but pretty far from Dublin and you need your own wheels. If you have your own car I'd recommend going East to the foothills but in December snow may be an issue.

  6. #6
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: San Francisco - Mass Transit only, where to go?

    San Francsico - I am dumfounded, the only shop to visit IMO is Drew Wiley's darkroom, if I ever get out to the west coast again I want to see Drew.

  7. #7

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    Re: San Francisco - Mass Transit only, where to go?

    You can get to Golden Gate Park, Lincoln Park and the Presidio by bus and start hiking ---it will take a lot of walking as these are large parks so get a tourist map to help find where your points of interest might be---with plenty of variety:
    Seascapes,
    Historic Architecture,
    Statuary,
    Flora and fauna

    For interesting night photography you could walk up Columbus Avenue (plenty of touristy Italian cafes with interesting exterior lighting) or the Embarcadero from Fort Mason to the Ferry Building with a detour through China Town on the way sparing you from the worst of Fisherman's Wharf.

    The weather in SF in December is usually excellent, btw.

    For reasonable weekly rates and a clean, safe, place to stay "in the belly of the beast" check out The Carl near UCSF. It is right next to the trolley lines so the trade off is a little noise for the convenience of mass transit outside your door. It is also just South of Golden Gate Park.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  8. #8

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    Re: San Francisco - Mass Transit only, where to go?

    For getting to San Francisco from the East Bay, consider the frerry from Jack London Square in Oakland. It is a beautiful way to arrive in the City. Take BART to 12th Street, Free Shuttle to JLS, and board the ferry. At least try it once, I think you will like the ride!

    https://sanfranciscobayferry.com/

  9. #9
    Angus Parker angusparker's Avatar
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    Re: San Francisco - Mass Transit only, where to go?

    Quote Originally Posted by bob carnie View Post
    San Francsico - I am dumfounded, the only shop to visit IMO is Drew Wiley's darkroom, if I ever get out to the west coast again I want to see Drew.
    If you need LF supplies you can check out GlassKey in SF - call then to reserve any specific film if you don't want to carry it on the plane.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: San Francisco - Mass Transit only, where to go?

    Thanks for all these great ideas, especially the list from Leszek!

    I will have to consider my options in terms of transportation. On the weekends (I may have 2) I will likely have some more flexibility in terms of car travel...depends on my host. I would love to go to Point Reyes if possible.

    As it's my first time, all of the touristy stuff will be a necessity...get it out of my system . I know I probably don't have time to really "get to know" the city. Part of me says just put the Leica in my bag and go, but heck I could do that AND put the Travelwide in my bag and have both. Gotta figure out how to attach a tripod to said bag so it's out of the way when not being used....
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram
    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

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