San Francisco Panorama

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After arriving in San Francisco and getting to my hotel I was dog tired. I had slept no more than 3 hours the night before due to a little rooftopping trip, followed by a 10 hour flight (I can’t sleep on planes) and, on my time, it was nearing 11pm. Still, I knew if I crashed now I would be out for hours and waking up at stupid o’clock – not to mention wasting the evening in San Francisco.

I showered, shaved and ironed the shirts I would need for the days ahead and then headed out to the conference centre to grab my pass for the week. After this I grabbed food and this revived me a little, and then started to walk. Boy this place was steep!

After an hour or so I thought there would be no way for me to walk to the Golden Gate bridge in time for the magic hour, and this was the place I really wanted to be, so I jumped in a cab up there and arrived as the light was starting to fade.

Unfortunately I was stood at the park area at the top of a hill, and having never been here before I had no knowledge of how to actually get down to the base of the bridge. I could see a few cars down there, but couldn’t see where the road went due to the hill I was on blocking my view. I contemplated making my way down the hill itself but the last thing I wanted was a sprained ankle, or worse, from an unsteady slide down there – I had no idea just how steep or unstable the terrain was.

After 10 or 15 minutes wandering from side to side I decided to follow my gut and move away from the bridge to the right in the hope it would lead me down. I went under a tunnel, and around a winding path, but there was still no clear indication as to whether this route would get me where I wanted to be. Plus it had now started to rain.

I whipped out the iPhone and clicked on the Google Maps app. In satellite view mode it seemed to take an age to load the maps, all the time getting darker and the rain getting heavier. Finally the map loaded and I could see the actual road beside the water, and found that I was indeed on the right path to get me down there, so full speed ahead and 10 minutes later I was heading back to the bridge on ground level.

The image above is very light in comparison to the light I was seeing at the time, I guess that’s the beauty of a longer exposure. I think I actually managed to fluke getting there at the ideal time. The cars that were there had left due to the rain and the lack of light and it left me to sit on the wet ground taking this panoramic shot in peace; nothing but the gentle crashing of the waves and a few seals around me.

I didn’t spend too long here before the cops came in and shut the place up to pedestrians, so I walked a little further down and took a few photos from a nearby fishing pier, and then started a very long walk back to the hotel. I got 4 out of the 5 miles there before my body decided it had had enough. The rain beating down on me, the amount of walking I had done and the lack of sleep made me want nothing more than to grab a cab…something I soon realised is not easy to do in this city. Eventually I grabbed one, pretty much jumping on the bonnet as two people got out, and was back at the hotel before long where I immediately climbed into bed and slept a well deserved sleep.

29 thoughts on “San Francisco Panorama”

  1. Love the story that goes along with this shot. I do like the angle you choose for this frame and the coloring is gorgeous. Nicely done for an exhausted traveler 🙂

  2. Fantastic image, especially considering what you went through to get it! Love the composition, having the bridge to the left, the water and light in the center, and the coastal area to the right! Well done!

  3. I absolutely love this shot – the colors are unreal, and the composition is fantastic across the pano. Awesome work Murph, processing is stellar as always.

  4. Sounds like you went through quite an ordeal to capture this, before and after. Definitely a nice composition of the bridge that not many others get though!

  5. Im going to San Fran in 2 days myself. I hope I am able to get some photos like this. This photo is an amazing panoramic, fantastic shot Mike.

  6. Thanks for your comments everyone, appreciate the feedback.

    @Ryan – hope you have a blast, and get to spend a little more time there taking photos than I was able to.

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