Parking is difficult, we used the Municipal “Muni” bus system. 1 day, 3 day and 7 day passes are available. We got the 3 day for $18. They work on all the downtown buses and the cable cars. You can’t buy the passes on the buses. We got ours at a BART station.
We only stopped at the tourist lookout during late morning. No chance for sunset or night shots, heavy fog in the evenings when we were there. We walked out onto the bridge, very windy and had to watch out for the crazy bicyclists. There is also a path to the water level; the heavy chain makes a good foreground.
Typical oceanfront piers, boats, shops and restaurants.
Tourist area. The Sea Lions invaded the boat docks years ago. They got tired of chasing them off and built docks especially for them. You need a telephoto lens to isolate individuals; I didn’t bring mine this day.
Alcatraz and tall ship from Ghirardelli Square.
Photo opportunities are not that good, but it is worth the experience, especially if you walk up the Filbert or Greenwich stairs from Sansome Street (a moderately strenuous vertical climb of 250 ft).
Filbert stairs from Sansome Street.
Photo opportunities are minimal, but everyone should experience it. The postcard shots are taken from an elevated position that the public doesn’t have access to. Be considerate, people live here. If you see a Mercedes, get out of the way, you are probably blocking their driveway :)
Grab shot while dodging cars.
Shot from the stairs that run up both sides.
There can be long waits at Fisherman’s Wharf. Walk a few blocks and catch them after they have left the turnaround (they don’t leave full). Or, the California line is not quite as busy.
Turnaround at Fisherman's Wharf.
A good contrast shot is to put the Copper building at Columbus & Kearny in the foreground.
From further down Columbus Street. Looks fake, doesn’t it? I may spend the time to erase the wires later.
Lots of opportunities for architecture shots.
Saw this shot on PhotoSig. Located in the Embarcadero Center between buildings EC2 & EC3. Need soft light, direct sun will ruin this shot. I used a very wide lens for this shot, 16mm full-frame equiv.
Waverly Place is a nice side street.
Famous Victorian Painted Ladies. I got down low to block some of the cars. I have multiple exposure levels of these to make creative HDRs.
Beautiful dome inside the Westfield Shopping Center. Go to food court; take escalators all the way to the highest level.
No photography allowed inside the historic upper level.
All images copyright 2009 by Matt Muskovac