Most of the photographs I collect when visiting Fort Point, San Francisco are of the architecture and magical spaces between shadow and light created by the repeating motifs and angles of the Fort itself. Climbing the steep stairs to the top of the structure, one is rewarded with a spectacular view of the Golden Gate Bridge, and this day was no exception.
I have seen this place at various times of day, in different seasons, all types of weather, and part of the what keeps bringing me back with my camera is the potential for dramatically framed, constantly shifting scenes. On this particular July afternoon, the fog had settled heavily along the water, and as I admired the form of the bridge vanishing into the mist, a pair of figures paused in just the right spot to unexpectedly add balance to the frame.
As I had been at that moment experimenting with the panoramic capabilities of my phone, I quickly captured this photo with the camera in hand, rather than risk losing the moment while switching to my DSLR. I did managed to grab a couple similar frames with the big camera afterward, but for me this image stands alone.
Minutes later, the couple had moved on, and the fog began to lift, giving way to a glorious sunny day and a large pod of humpback whales feeding beneath the bridge – those particular photos will get their own post – proving that one never knows just how fleeting a moment will be or what will come next!
The personally creative side of my photography goes through variations of inspiration and focus. Sometimes I have the time and energy to create extensive, comprehensive bodies of work, and sometimes my muses emerge over long periods of study, often with many returns to the same subject over many, many years.
My love of Fort Point, San Francisco, began as a child with an old manual SLR camera and countless rolls of black and white film. It was a place my family would frequently stop to visit on our way into or out of ‘the City’ when visiting with friends or playing tour guide to visitors from out-of-state. These two shots are from one of those early rolls of film, scanned ages ago when the at-home scanning technology was still rather limiting.
We likely visited Fort Point so often due to my father’s photography hobby, which I suspect led him to love the place then as much as I do now; with an overwhelming array of juxtapositions, angles, textures, layers of light and shadow, the intersection of Fort Point and the Golden Gate Bridge is a photographer’s paradise.
Now, I’m the one pitching it to visiting friends who want to spend a day in San Francisco, and it’s likely that for many years I’ve always managed to end the day at this historic spot, camera in-hand, without really thinking about my ulterior motives. Fort Point has emerged as one of my most beloved muses and I never tire of hunting out the details and architectural compositions that I find so interesting there.
Some places have a special kind of nostalgia, often unexpected and off the beaten-path. San Francisco’s Fort Point National Historic Site offers many angles on both the water and striking architecture, from a strategic spot beneath the Golden Gate Bridge at the entrance to San Francisco Bay. A photographer’s dream location, the light is always interesting and the compositional opportunities are seemingly endless. I have rolls of film shot here when I was a child, enthusiastically clicking-away in the echoing halls while sight-seeing with my family. I’d love to work with a model or two in this space sometime, but for now I’m content to explore these familiar arching passages and the dramatic setting for structure’s sake.