Locations to shoot in the Bay Area, or Any other Area
Updated: Apr 5, 2018
I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Talk about a pleasure palace of sights to behold whether you are pursuing landscape, street, urban, documentary or architectural photography. Actually, just about any kind of photography you prefer. The Bay Area is a target rich environment. But here is the rub, I don’t like crowds. I don’t like photographing places that are iconic since these have been done millions of times and mostly better than whatever effort I might make. Having said that, contradicting myself a bit, you will find shots of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge and a few Yosemite shots that have been done a trillion times before and will again, today, tomorrow, the next day, year, century. I excuse this contradiction simply because I wanted to have a few wallpaper like photos that come from the region where I have lived during the last 35 years. Besides those few efforts on my part, I generally look for locations that most would not think of from a photographic standpoint. The Bay Area is blessed with Regional Parks and Wilderness and Reservoirs that provide plenty of photographic opportunity. In my years of traversing these places, I have bumped into ONE photographer. I can’t explain the phenomena where photographers want to traverse the same iconic place time and time again, getting the same photograph that others have so dearly yearned for over the years. I guess I get a person from Pittsburgh (my hometown so don’t knock it. Go Steelers and Buccos!) wanting to get their photo-op with the Golden Gate Bridge, but for those of us that live in the region or travel to the City by the Bay on a regular basis, why bother. Look for other places to make your photographic masterpiece. Sometimes people want the big and grand photo. The Bridge, the clouds, the blue water reflecting the object above it. Other times, looking for the smaller effort can yield the better photo. Something different than before, possibly something no one has seen before. It may tell a better story. It may be an unknown story, but surely one worth telling or simply showing something you find that is worthy of your photographic efforts.
If photography is simply about documenting life and the world around you, then go find a place others may not have seen and make it your own masterpiece. It does not matter where you live. While San Francisco, with all its inherent challenges as a City, provides tremendous photographic opportunity (Herb Caen called it Baghdad by the Bay) your city, whether it be in Ohio (another place I have lived) Kansas or New Jersey, you can find a location that resonates with your artistic instinct and make it a place you want to document for yourself, your family and your photographic fans. Don’t worry about being the guy that travels the world photographing all the scenes well documented by others. Find the place in your town that says something to you and go show it to others via a well exposed, well processed photo.