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The San Francisco Photography Meetup Group Message Board › Visiting SF late July for 2 weeks would like your advice :)

Visiting SF late July for 2 weeks would like your advice :)

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A former member
Post #: 7
Hi Fellow Photogs. Im from Australia and will be visiting SF in later July and have found some amazing images from your great city. I also found alot of comments about theft and snatch n grab muggings etc.

As a avid photographer I dont want to have my gear stolen especially while on holidays ;)

Could you help point me in the right direction of places to avoid showing your camera in public.
We are staying close to Union Square in the city and will be on foot for the first few days before hiring a car to visit Yosemite in August.

My early plans for SF include visiting Central Waterfront inside abandoned warehouses, GG bridge hilltops for early morning fog shots when dark as well as down on the beach at the base of the bridge. Clarion Alley, Grace Cathedral.

Any personal experiences or help with the above would be much appreciated.

Mr C

A former member
Post #: 6
I spend a lot of time in SF with my camera. I've never had a problem. If you stay away from the Tenderloin area, you needn't worry. As with any place you go, be aware of your surroundings. Have a good time. Post your photos! :)
A former member
Post #: 2
I agree with my friend Bob - the Tenderloin is the only area I'd be concerned about. I've never shot the abandoned warehouses (want to do that), but this may be an area to take extra caution or take someone with you. You're probably okay in SF, but don't go to Richmond or Oakland as that may not be safe.

You'll probably see a lot of homeless/beggars in the Union Square area, but they don't bother you for anything other than a hand-out. It's a very photographic city and if you learn the bus system, you can get around w/o a car.

Also, you may want to sign up for some walking tours (see: We're actually doing one of Haight-Ashbury tomorrow and they're great for getting to places that aren't on the tourist map. Another tour guide is Rick Evans who does walking tours of various city neighborhoods and is a wealth of information - we've done several of his tours - Architecture, Chinatown, Russian Hill and North Beach. Here's a link for the Chinatown tour: http://www.chinatownw...­.

Speaking of which, Chinatown is very photogenic for some street photography, plus it's a short walk from Union Square. Take an early morning tour Alcatraz - if the fog isn't bad, you'll get great shots of the city, GGBridge, and have Alcatraz pretty much to yourself. There are a lot of beautiful Victorian houses in a place called Alamo Square Park - very famous photography site. Golden Gate Park has a few things - Japanese Tea Garden, Conservatory of Flowers, and some other sites. Under the GG Bridge is Fort Point which is a famous spot for photos of the bridge and the city.

You'll have a blast. Don't worry about getting your stuff swiped - but as Bob says, be aware of your surroundings and don't leave stuff unattended.

Have fun!

A former member
Post #: 7
I think the warehouses you're referring to are the piers on Embarcadero. While you're in that area, you might want to check out the new Exploratorium at Pier 15. It's an interactive, scientific exhibition and has many interesting and photogenic things to see. For the best view of the city and surrounding area (if it isn't foggy) try going to the top of Coit Tower.
A former member
Post #: 4
I agree completely with Rennis. The only time I've had problems is when I was alone, very late at night (1am) and in bad areas. Tenderloin, City Hall. This only at night. During the day, it's not a problem. But always be aware of your surroundings.

I have lived here my whole life and I still find it one of the most incredibly diverse cities in the world in so many ways. Especially in a photographic manner. If you would like a tour-guide, let me know!
user 2782631
Castro Valley, CA
Post #: 8

How exciting for you to be visiting San Francisco. While I don't live there, I frequent there a lot. I would recommend you sign up for the following websites, by email as well as FB, for activities, restaurants, calendar of events, places to go see, not only in San Francisco (The City to locals), but surrounding areas (Sausalito, Marine, Oakland, Half Moon Bay, etc.). The websites are: and If you look in their archives, you go find a list of speakeasies which require you to use a password to get it. Something kinda fun. Golden Gate Bridge shots: Golden Gate Vista on the Marin side of the bridge, Lands End, Presidio Yacht Club (amazing location); The Bay Bridge: The Ferry Building is located on Embarcadero so just walk along there (Pier 14, Pier 1/2).

If you like a little live blues/jazz music, then you may want to visit The Saloon. This is the oldest bar in The City. It's located in North Beach (Lil' Italy). This bar was saved by the police and the firemen during the 1906 Fire because it was a brothel. Just a little fun fact.

One more thing, have you heard of You rent a home or a room in a home and it can be less than checking in a hotel. Take a look, the website has pictures and information about the owner.

Good luck and enjoy your visit.

With regard to the Tenderloin, I have actually been to the 21 Club which is on the corner of Turk and Taylor (note those streets that they are in the Tenderloin) and I did keep my camera hidden in my jacket. It's a population of drug addicts, hence the warning. The images there are interesting and tell of story of life of a different kind. But I don't rush back, I just keep the memories in my head.

If you enjoy sailing, then you may want to go to the Marina to see the America's Cup Race. The Golden Gate Bridge is in wonderful view here. The best place, in my experience for photographs, is on the bank of the St. Francis Yacht Club. If you are interested in sailing during your stay, let me know and I can probably get you on a boat. You can also join for sailing.

If you

A former member
Post #: 8
Fantastic feedback guys. thanku for taking the time to help me out with some information.
Will your photography meetup group have any photo walks on the 25,26,27,28 th Jly? If so would love to join you if thats an option? :) Thanks for the advice regarding Tenderloin as its not far from where we are staying.
Rennis, will have to check out the walking groups, sounds like a great idea to see something different.
Ricardo, If we have time between the tourist circuit I would love to catch up and get an insiders view of your amazing city. we were going to ren a car but it appears to be expensive for parking so will leave that for our run to Yosemite in early August.

Steve J
user 3082961
San Francisco, CA
Post #: 2
As many others have mentioned, the Tenderloin can indeed be risky, but it's entirely possible (in fact, highly probable) to shoot there without incident. Definitely stick to daytime, stick to the areas immediately west of Union Square (e.g. along Geary and O'Farrell till about Taylor or Jones), be aware of your surroundings, and take reasonably precautions (don't set your bag down while you're composing a shot, strap your bag and camera across your body, etc.).

I would avoid going as far as Leavenworth or Hyde (in terms of north/south streets) and going much off Market along Ellis, Eddy, Turk and Golden Gate (east-west streets). And steer clear of Sixth and Mission. I live here, I walk through the Tenderloin frequently, and those are areas I'm reluctant to carry my camera in.

Another area worth visiting, and where it's good to have your eyes open and take reasonable precautions, is the Mission. It's the confluence of the city's Mexican core throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, now interspersed with hipsters galore (and, along Valencia, yuppies galore as well). There are some alleyways with great street art (not quite on par with the fantastic scene in Melbourne, but quite good), and it's a very colorful neighborhood. Even though there's tons of obvious gentrification, there are still lots of pockets where opportunistic street crime takes place, and street gangs are still active in the area. Again, stick to daylight, be aware, and you'll be fine.
A former member
Post #: 3
I have some friends that live close to the Mission district and it's reasonably safe during the day. I think our friend from Oz has Clarion Alley on his list which is filled with murals. I heard you can see a lot of them around 24th street around Potrero St. There's a BART station at 24th & Mission. I've been wanting to shoot the murals myself.
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