Oh the places you'll (unexpectedly) go...
Hello! I'm so happy to connect with everyone here again. I have 3 days of San Francisco photos to share with you over 3 posts. This is Day 1.
Let me briefly explain how this all came about...
The adventure of 52 Magic Mondays was certainly life changing and I appreciated everyone who took the photographic journey with me through this blog. I thought I would share where these magical Mondays took me in January of this year and let you know that I plan to blog again in 2018! I miss writing and sharing.
If you followed 52 Magic Mondays regularly, you may remember that during Week 50 I had a strange occurence. It was my birthday and the Universe was chatting with me that day, oddly enough through a woman carrying a Happy Birthday gift bag. Look back at Week 50 to read more about the coincidence that made me cry on the subway (in a good way!).
Fast forward a year to December 19th, 2017 (my birthday) and the Universe (and Olympus Corporation...the maker of my camera equipemnt) gave me the gift of a lifetime. After exploring a chilly beach in Stratford, CT to photograph the visiting Snowy Owls that are currently gracing the Connecticut Shoreline (I photographed one!), I came home to find a life changing email. Here's a snippet of the email I received from an agency in New York City that represents Olympus.
On behalf of Olympus America Inc., I’m pleased to invite you to a once-in-a-lifetime experience to personally connect with the brand! Through an action-packed few days in picturesque San Francisco, CA, you will capture stunning content, all while exploring some of Olympus’ latest and greatest gear.
We will provide amazing opportunities for networking. Olympus staff will be on-hand to demonstrate product features, shooting techniques and provide inside access to the brand. You’ll also spend a day shooting side-by-side with all of the members of the acclaimed Olympus Visionary Program.
Olympus will cover all travel expenses (i.e. flights, car service), hotels, meals with the Olympus team, and will offer some great shooting activities.
Of course my first reaction was disbelief. An all expenses paid trip to San Francisco courtesy of Olympus? Shirley you can't be serious. (ok, that's a movie reference from Airplane - best movie ever)
I messaged my photography friends, Olympus Visionaries Jamie MacDonald and Mike Boening, to attempt to confirm this email and indeed it was legitimate. Jamie said he was dying for me to hear the news, he had known for several weeks that this offer was being extended to me.
What I learned is that my regular sharing of images did not go unnoticed by Olympus. I always shared camera and lens info on my 52 Magic Mondays blog posts. When I share on social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram, I always tag Olympus in my posts. I knew they liked seeing what people were doing with their equipment and I quietly hoped they might share a photo I shared with their broader audience one day. Olympus had bigger plans. I was being asked to join their Olympus Super Fan program, a brand ambassador type program that includes photographers who were not necessarily professional, but had a love for the activity and enjoyed sharing and talking about their Olympus gear.
A few short weeks later, I was on a plane to San Francisco. I left a day early to let myself get adjusted to the time change. I also wanted some time on my own to take a Magic Monday walk around San Francisco. It was an interesting feeling stepping out of the hotel that Thursday morning, my trusty old Eddie Bauer green backpack on my back, the same one that went on all 52 Magic Mondays. Camera in hand, I headed out to explore the area around the wharf near my hotel. I would never have felt comfortable and confident to do something like this a couple of years ago. The idea of walking around a city I don't know with a camera in hand would have been terrifying to me. Not anymore. I learned so much during my project, about myself, about navigating cities, and allowing the Universe to let a day unfold as it wanted to go. I took all of that with me to San Francisco. I didn't have to overplan or overthink anything on this trip and it unfolded beautifully.
I'm going to break up this adventure into 3 posts to not overwhelm you with images and stories, and to separate the images by day. Below are images from my first day when I was on my own in the city for a few hours and my comments along the way. In my two other blog posts, I will share photos from the Golden Gate Bridge shoot, Muir Woods, Alcatraz and Baker Beach. Stay tuned for those.
Thanks for sharing the journey with me.
Miles walked: 5.6
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M1 Markii, m.Zuiko 12-40mm PRO
I was out of practice and did not think to take a photo of the sign that told me what this was. I framed it so Coit Tower was on her left and the Transamerica Building on her right. How symmetrical of me.
You can rent these little cars to tour the city. Wouldn't these be funny in New York City! In NYC they would need a slogan like "We're proud to say that 73% of people who rent these survive."
Someone's home overnight. There is a huge homeless population in San Francisco because the climate is so moderate year round.
I just thought the reference to Pricess Diana was interesting.
Looking at my map, I saw that the cable car line ended at the wharf area near my hotel. I decided to hop on and ride it to the other end. It doesn't actually take very long, about 15 minutes. It would take me to the downtown part of the city. Turned out it was very New York City in that area.
Off we go! There was just me and a family of four on the cable car. I got to sit in the front and the window was pretty clean which made for some fun shooting ops.
There's that triangular building again (Transamerica) - you can see it all over the city.
You need to have your wits about you riding the cable cars. They pass each other very closely.
There's that building again!
Definitely not New York.
End of the cable car line. This is where they rotate the cable car so it can head back in the other direction. I had no idea they did this, let alone manually! The next 3 images show them turning a car.
It stops on a giant Lazy Susan. No one is allowed on the cable car during this process.
Two men get off the cable car and begin turning it.
And now it's ready to head back in the other direction.
The buses run on electricity which means there are wires and cables above you all over the city. Personally I found it kind of messy looking. But the air quality seemed good and the public transportation was fairly quiet. Also, no one beeps their horns in this city! I asked my friend who lives there and sure enough that's their thing. Horn blowing is a rarity. What a difference from New York.
A faux Flat Iron building. It was nice, but the one in New York takes the prize.
They've got a bunch of vintage cars from different parts of the country that they run throughout San Francisco.
In New York City they are called "Citi Bikes", I guess beause they are sponsored by Citi Bank. It seriously never occurred to me that they were sponsored until I saw the same bikes in San Francisco. Clearly these are sponsored by Ford.
When I lived in Minnesota, they had Snoopy Statues something like these hearts all over the Twin Cities. I saw a few of these hearts during my visit.
Had to do it. Interesting Things lives on!
The famous Lombard Street - twistiest road in the country. I got off the cable car here and walked the rest of the way back to the wharf area.
I'm back to the wharf area after a very steep walk.
A man in a pickup truck stopped me earlier when I was first back at the wharf. He asked if I was a photographer, he had seen me earlier somewhere else in the city. We chatted for a few minutes and he told me that they were offloading fish at the wharf. Totally my thing to photograph the behind the scenes action of the city so I headed over there. This sweet man enjoyed being photographed. Probably doesn't get a whole lot of tourists taking an interest in his work.
He held them up for me!
This is how your tasty fish gets to you in San Francisco. Now you know. :)
I met this beautiful young lady when I was exploring the wharf. I invited her to come along and shoot the fisherman. We walked, photographed and chatted for about 30 minutes. She is from France and was on her own exploring the west coast in a solo mega roadtrip. She was 25 years old. Huh. It took me 47 years to get adventurous in my own life, I can only imagine what this woman will do with her life moving forward.
And this little fellow ends the first part of my day. I went back to my hotel to meet up with my friend, Melissa. Melissa moved from Connecticut to San Francisco about 3 years ago. I haven't seen her since. I was thrilled when she was able to take the day off from work and meet me for lunch and a little expedition through a part of Chinatown.
The Chinese restaurant Melissa chose for us. I think of Chinese restaurants as mostly dark little places for takeout. This was a tad bit nicer.
After a fabulous lunch, Melissa wanted to take me to Chinatown. After this trek, my calve muscles were freaked out and locked up for the rest of my trip...and then some. And I regularly work out! I left my heart, and loose calve muscles, in San Francisco.
I think the garbage can adds a pop of color. LOL
One of my favorites from the day! He was painting.
Awww...Megan and Melissa on the same rack.
I found the area very NYC "SoHo" looking.
Entrance to Chinatown which is what Melissa wanted me to see. Thank you, my friend. Beautiful area.
Do Epic Shit. I love it!
Great store name!
And there ends my first day in San Francisco.
Melissa and I said our goodbyes and she dropped me off at the hotel where the other Super Fans and Visionaries were staying.
In my next post, I share images from our first day shooting as a group. We (attempted to!) photograph the Golden Gate Bridge from Hawk Hill and visited Muir Woods. Some amazing images came from both locations.
Please leave me a comment to say hello. Let me know if you had a favorite image or two.
Until the next Magic day in San Fran,