USA Roadtrip part IV / by Mark Greenfield

From Yosemite we headed to San Francisco and this journey was easily the worst bit of the trip, not because of the drive but because of the traffic queues that had built up to get over the San Francisco - Oakland Bay bridge. We hadn't even hit this section at rush hour, and with a 2 1/2 hour delay I can only imagine how bad the traffic would be during the rush hour commutes and this was the first time we had experienced any kind of what I would call real traffic in the US. Still at least it was sunny and we had air-con :)  

San Francisco.

Now when you think of San Franscisco, you think of the Golden Gate bridge, Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf, Alcatraz, the cable cars and of course Bullitt :) wasn't going to try any of that in the Dodge Journey though! 

Sunday seemed the best time to visit the Financial District, I hadn't done much architectural photography since I'd been in the US and this offered the perfect opportunity to indulge myself in a spot of my favourite kind of photography. There are plenty of buildings to take shots of around including one of the more iconic buildings here, the Transamerica building which can be a bit of a pain to shoot from the ground because of the trees that are at the corners of the building, along with the bright sun made finding a decent composition harder than what I had anticipated. Now I could of got up early but the body said no! Managed to get a couple of shots I was reasonably pleased with though, one of which I thought would make a great B&W image....not yet done!


Fisherman's Wharf, a kaleidoscope of tourists, tourism and colour. If you're in San Francisco you just have to head hear and try the sourdough bread! It can be very busy and to be honest I didn't really try any photography here (apart from what I would call your tourist snaps) and instead just soaked up the atmosphere.

Marshalls Beach offers a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge, and if you are like us can use the local buses you can get off at the Golden Gate bridge and walk the 1/2 mile down to the beach. Now that doesn't sound that far but the walk back up can be. Especially when you can make yourself even more popular by taking the lighter travel tripod the first time and then finding that you've somehow lost a critical part so it no longer functions (still made a good excuse to buy a new one when I got back to the UK). So we went back the next day with the heavier tripod, the far less travel friendly manfrotto which is excellent when doing long exposures but not great when you've to take it on a bus and lug it up and down a steep incline to get to the beach in 30 degree heat (I even got weather warnings on my phone for the heat! Although to be fair it was an excellent system as it asked you to check on elderly and vulnerable neighbours, something perhaps the UK should consider following). 

Now Marshall's Beach is an interesting spot. Not only is it a good spot for taking shots of the bridge but it's beach that has a certain, should we call it uniqueness, as my missus found out when a bloke walked past her just wearing a green t-shirt, yup that's right just a t-shirt and off he disappeared round a few rocks not long followed by someone I had done my research and knew what kind of beach this was I just kind of omitted to tell the missus. At least she found it funny, when I said did I forget to mention......(lets face it nothing should get in the way of a good photography location!)


The one advantage of going back a second time was the chance to shoot the cars going across the Golden Gate bridge at dusk, now that is a sight worth seeing...

And if you walk across the Golden Gate and visit the visitors centre, there are always opportunities for some abstract photography, the shot below being an example as its a shot of one of the lamp-posts at the visitors centre and I loved the orange colour against the blue sky.

From San Francisco it was time to head South to Carmel by the Sea and Monterey. Carmel is a pretty little town with some amazing restaurants and a thriving art scene and is well worth visiting and whilst in the area you can't miss the Monterey Bay Aquarium where you can take close upshots of the animals inside 

Then head outside and spot the sea otters in the bay and watch the pelicans fly past

From there it was down the coast and a much further journey than anticipated to Santa Monica but what a place to finish the trip...

And you can't not visit Santa Monica without taking a shot of the pier :) 

And that's it, hope you enjoyed reading about it and apologies for the length of time it seems to take me to write these :(

The next blog will be about Stockholm and the amazing art on the underground :)