In this newsletter, I offer something completely different - a photo exploration of the city of San Francisco during rainy days of the winter season. From Market Street, through Chinatown to North Beach and along the edge of the bay, this newsletter points out new ways of seeing and photographing the city. Bring your raincoat and wrap your camera in a plastic bag. Walk the streets of San Francisco in the rain to search for interesting visual effects and create some unusual photographs.
Across the street from the Ferry Building, Market Street and California Street meet – next to the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Near the hotel’s front door is the end of the California Street Cable Car line. Use a telephoto lens at the bottom of California Street to frame cable cars sitting on the rails at the end of the street. You can make a good photograph here anytime. Rain adds to the mood. A long telephoto flattens the perspective and creates an impression of a near vertical climb up to Nob Hill.
As I followed a narrow back road north of the small community of Bolinas, California, I saw the late afternoon light reflecting from a pasture. Golden light bounced up and filled the dark shadows of the silhouetted California live oak. I stopped and set up a Hasselblad on my Quick-Set Traveling Samson tripod. A 40mm lens gave me the coverage I wanted. I was using Kodak’s VPS color negative film rated at ISO 100. I’ve returned several times to this location and photographed the same scene but haven’t seen the same quality of light again. My color prints of this negative show a yellow glow from the over-exposed background that illuminates patches of yellow/green lichen on the branches.
This location is north of San Francisco and south of Point Reyes National Seashore, just off Coast Highway 1. There are no highway signs pointing out the road to Bolinas. Every time state highway workers put up a new sign, the locals cut it down. Bolinas is a difficult place to find. Bring a good map.
I have lost track of how many photo trips I have made to Nevada. I’ve just returned from a thousand-mile loop around the state to photograph autumn color. Most photographers think of Vermont or New Hampshire as the best places to be in late September. My latest publication covers my favorite aspen groves at the peak of fall foliage color. Traveling into mountain forests is a treat and a rare opportunity if you pick the right dates. Directions are in my issue #154 - Autumn in Nevada. Ghost towns, gold mines, slot canyons and spectacular desert landscapes can be found at the end of many dirt roads across the Silver State. Rent a 4x4 and head out to drive the loneliest roads in America.
High on the ridges of the Continental Divide in northern Montana, a photographer can discover the wild vistas that are rapidly disappearing from America. Panoramic landscapes of alpine glaciers, meadows of wildflowers, clear rivers, and waterfalls dropping from hanging valleys are the backdrops for a photographer capturing the image of a bald eagle snatching a salmon from a stream or a woolly mountain goat defying gravity on a narrow mountain ledge. Many of these scenes have disappeared from this country. Some are still out there and can be discovered, if you know where to look.
Notes and images from Bob Hitchman.