The Bistro, Gate, and Lighthouse

Boudin’s Bistro on the Wharf – ISO 800, 35mm, 0 ev, f/3.5, 1/320 second

Along Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco lie several excellent restaurants and since I hadn’t been very successful at imaging the Golden Gate from Hawks Hill on the Marin headlands due to thick fog till 1:30 PM, I decided to grab a bite at Boudin’s Bistro. Yummy Oregon oysters and Dungeness Crab Louie. Of course I had my camera in hand and was eager to try the A-77 on subjects other than landscapes.

Lobster and Dungeness Crab – ISO 100, 16mm, 0 ev, f/3.5, 1/50 second

The wharf area was rife with colorful subjects just begging to be captured on silicon wafer.

Nectarines and Black Cherries – ISO 400, 35mm,   1 ev, f/10, 1/400 second

Mist condensed on my eyeglass and my camera lens but after sneaking upwind from the boiling crabpots I was able to snap this lobster and dungeness crab pile. It was all I could do to keep from simply reaching over and selecting several of those scrumptious crustaceans along with some drawn butter and…well you know. Maybe some delicious sourdough bread too.

Colorful nectarines and black cherries were offered up at premium prices to the gawking tourists and large silver robot street entertainers kept everybody laughing.

Robotman – ISO 100, 180mm, 0 ev, f/7.1, 1/250 second

Looking up and over Pier 39 toward the city, 210 foot Coit Tower up on Telegraph Hill overlooked all the frivolity below. Coit Tower was built in 1933 and paid for with money left by Lillie Hitchcock Coit, a wealthy socialite who loved to chase fires in the early days of the city’s history, and supposedly resembles a fire hose nozzle.

Coit Tower from Wharf – ISO 400, 250mm, 0 ev, f/22, 1/200 second

“Lillie was one of the more eccentric characters in the history of North Beach and Telegraph Hill,” says Wikipedia, “smoking cigars and wearing trousers long before it was socially acceptable for women to do so. She was an avid gambler and often dressed like a man in order to gamble in the males-only establishments that dotted North Beach. Coit was reputed to have shaved her head so her wigs would fit better.”

Alcatraz Island from Bistro – ISO 100, 300mm, 0 ev, f/7.1, 1/400 second

So I went upstairs in Boudin’s Bistro to have a wonderful Dungeness Crab Louie and some  oysters…did I mention that…oh yeah well it was so very good I had to mention it again. Out the upstairs picture window was a view of Alcatraz Island. The fuzzy picture above was taken out the window handheld with a 300 mm telephoto just for fun. Actually I was looking at the unusual white structure on the left side of the main building, wondering what it was. Then I remembered and the waitress confirmed what I thought to be true…but it wasn’t. I was told that the white structure was hiding part of the set for the new TV series “The Great Escape”, and that made sense at the time but upon checking this is what I found out.

The 57-year-old water tower is shrouded in white tarps while the National Park Service refurbishes its’ saltwater rusted hulk. It seems that it is considered important to keep it from falling on tourists and restoring its’ early Native American graffiti–scrawled sides, during an 18-month occupation of the island in the late 1960s and early ’70s that helped spark the country’s Native American civil rights movement. This by-the-way is a $1.1 million dollar renovation. So now we know.

Golden Gate from Horseshoe Bay – HDR by Photomatrix, ISO 100, 50mm, 1.7 ev, f/4, 1/80 second

Now on to some other photographic stuff. I got up at 3:30 AM to drive up to the Marin Headlands up on Hawks Hill for a wonderful view of San Francisco through the Golden Gate Bridge. Since moving away from the bay area seven years ago I missed using this often used site but forgot that during this time of the year (July-August) the fogs come rolling in and don’t leave till sometimes after noon…just like this day. So after sitting up on the fog shrouded hillside for an hour listening to the fog horns at the Gate I drove down to Horseshoe Bay near Sausalito below the north end of the bridge.

The above shot, HDR enhanced for fun, is quite pretty I think. This location is gratis the US Coast Guard since the area I shot from was Government property and posted “Stay Out.” A coast guard Ensign okayed me jumping the fence but said that till someone of higher rank came out and shooed me away I could shoot from their pier. Some one did but I was able to get the shot before he conscripted me to the Coast Guard cutter tied alongside.

Later in the day, after the fog slid back into the sea, I was able to head for Baker Beach (clothes optional I heard) to get a more unusual shot of the Golden Gate from the west without using a boat. I never used this location before but thanks to my faithful GPS here I was.

Fetching in the surf – ISO 400, 50mm, 0.7 ev, f/4, 1/1000 second

No nudes but then again it was windy and cold. Kids played in the surf while parents bundled up in parkas along the shore. People played fetch with their dogs (the dogs do the fetching I understand but since I’m a cat owner I often do the fetching).

Golden Gate from Baker beach – ISO 400, 16mm, 0.7 ev, f/4, 1/1000 second

Up the hill to the right is one of many artillery gun emplacements that protected the bay and city during WW2. These emplacements are everywhere in and around the bay area. You can’s see this one but trust me…it’s behind that chain link fence. The gate I think is amazingly beautiful seen down the beach along with the pounding Pacific surf. I got nearly washed away setting up close to the surf as the waves swooped in and I sank slowly in the sand, my shoes all salty and ruined. It happened while I watched the dumb dog fetch the stick.

Point Pinos Lighthouse from afar – ISO 100, 75mm, 0 ev, f/25, 1/25 second

So the last shot is from down the coast about 90 miles south of San Francisco near Pacific Grove. It is Point Pinos lighthouse, the longest operating lighthouse on the West coast. This sepia shot was from the west along Sunset drive looking from the beach across those grasses and sand dunes. There’s a golf course between this shot and the ocean too. We’re just north of the famous Pebble Beach golf club here.

So there we are. Some more photography using my new A-77 digital SLT camera. So far it’s working excellently even after a near disaster at Pier 39. The strap I put on the camera came unsecured and I caught it just as it slide from my shoulder to the asphalt roadway, a drop of about a foot. Fortunately it fell on its side and didn’t even mark it up. Lens okay…check, autofocus okay…check, battery door intact…check, memory card in place…woops nope…had to reseat it. All was okay. Thanks for the titanium body Sony.

Next time some rapid fire golf shots from the Omni Resort and Tucson National Golf club.

2 thoughts on “The Bistro, Gate, and Lighthouse

  1. Very nice work. I don’t understand all the techno jive, but the outcome is great. You obviously know your stuff. I was suprised that there wasn’t any pictures of someone drinking coffee !!!!!!

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