Pacific Heights

I was on my best behaviour when in San Francisco. I had made a promise not to climb up anywhere, and I stuck to that throughout the duration of my trip.

Of course…I’m always one who looks for an opportunity, and when one falls into my lap I would be a fool not to take it…right?

So, it’s the last day of my trip. If you’re a regular reader you will know that this is the day I was lugging my camera gear around with me (and it was the day it rained pretty much non-stop), and there were a few more receptions for me to go to before dinner and so I venture to one which is held in a hotel. It’s a popular one…there is a queue in the lobby to try and get into the lift, not helped by the fact one or two of the lifts were also out of order. I feel sorry for any guests attempting to get to their room as this queue consists of trademark and patent people who just want to get to the reception for the free drink, food and networking opportunities.

I eventually get into the lift and am pleased to see it’s one with the glass wall facing the outside of the building so you can watch the ground fall away from you as you ascend upwards to the clouds. We headed up to the 32nd floor and found ourselves in the middle of party, one very large room with windows all around it offering great 200 degree panoramic views of San Francisco from up high.

There were two problems I could see as I stood there:
1. The windows would annoy me if taking photos.
2. The queue for the wine was longer than the queue for the elevator was.

I took a few shots through the windows as I worked my way around to the drinks, and then did the usual stuff you do at these things where you stand around and chat to people.

After a while, some of the people in the group I was with suggested that the views from this floor are 360 degrees and they felt we can just walk right around to see them all – this was quickly overruled as we attempted to first walk through the kitchen and was quickly ushered back by the head waitress. Darn it.

“Any chance I can get on the roof?” I asked her

She laughed at me, a little in disbelief…”Even I’m not allowed on the roof!” she responded.

“Aw, that sucks. See, I have this thing where I love going up to rooftops and taking photos…” I pulled out my camera and showed her the images I had taken from the London rooftop a few days ago and which were still on my camera.

“Sorry…you can’t get on the roof” she repeated, but I could see she liked the images.

We stood in silence for a few seconds.

“Follow me…”

I followed her through the kitchen and she opened a door labelled ‘Fire Exit’ at which point I felt a gust of wind hit me. It wasn’t the roof, but I was out on a small balcony that was occupied by window cleaning apparatus.

“Please don’t do anything stupid…” she said, obviously thinking of my images with me stood on the edge of a building.

Okay, I have to admit this wasn’t the best view I could have had from this building. It was on the wrong side for a start, so the whole bay area, Golden Gate bridge, Alcatraz etc were on the other side of me. But I was grateful for what I could get and the important thing is that no glass was in the way.

I was faced with the new problem that I had no tripod and the wind up here was pretty strong, so balanced the camera as best as I could on the flimsy railing and took a few shots before heading back indoors. Photomatix once again did a great job of aligning the images so that the ghosting effect of the slight movement disappeared.

Earlier this year I managed to get onto the roof of a hotel in London just by walking in the front door and asking; staff were too confused to turn me away…which just goes to show, if you don’t ask you don’t get.

Have a nice weekend everyone.

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