Visiting San Fransisco and LA first time ever

Discussion in 'Geographic Location' started by liza, Nov 20, 2004.

  1. liza

    liza Member

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    Visiting San Fransisco

    I´m hopefully gonna visit San Fransisco in April for about a week. Not set but the planning is fully on.
    Well, first time in USA so I´m in for a culture shock. Propably gonna stay at my cousins (if she´s not in Sweden) but she´s not into photography and I guess her view of what´s interesting is not the same as mine. Of course I´d like to get the standard tourist pictures, Golden Gate, Alcatraz, etc but… where can a middleage lady (obviously alien and lost) with Hasselblad walk around not getting robbed if she´s looking for something different to feed her camera. The same goes for if my cousin can´t take me in. Is there any areas both nice, safe and rather central for a much limited budget.
    After that I´ll be in Carmel Valley for a week and then it´s off to Los Angeles for the last 4-6 days and the same questions as to SF goes for LA.
    Can anybody be so kind and give some suggestions?
    Best regards Eva
     
  2. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    For morning shots of the Golden Gate Bridge, there are nice locations to shoot from at an area called Fort Point, near the southern end of the bridge. Lots of walkers and joggers in the area, so it should be pretty safe for you. Likewise at the observation area at the north end of the bridge if you are driving. You can see Alcatraz Island from either location. For afternoon shots of the bridge, I'd suggest the area to the west called Baker's Beach, which is also frequented by numerous people.

    There are also ferry tours that go out to Alcatraz. You can get more information at the National Park Service Alcatraz page or at the Blue and Gold Ferry site. The Golden Gate page has additional information, as well.
     
  3. bmac

    bmac Member

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    Baker Beach = Clothing optional :wink:

    San Francisco is pretty darn safe. China Town, North Beach, Fisherman's Wharf, etc are all safe and very photogenic.
     
  4. VoidoidRamone

    VoidoidRamone Subscriber

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    While you're in Carmel Valley, you might as well make the short drive up to Monterey and do the 17-mile Drive around Pebble Beach and whatnot. I used to visit Carmel Valley quite often, but all of a sudden the exact locations of my favorite spots have vanished from my mind. But it is a very scenic area. -Grant
     
  5. wfwhitaker

    wfwhitaker Member

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    There's a pretty darn good group of APUGer's here in the Bay Area, Eva. I'll bet I'm not the only one who would be happy to show you around the area. (Aggie, are you listening??) Besides, I can always use some motivation to go out and photograph!

    Let us know when you'll be here.

    Cheers!
     
  6. Mateo

    Mateo Subscriber

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    I can probably answer any questions about the Carmel Valley/Monterey County area and make suggestions for what to shoot, depending on what your looking to see in this area. Carmel Valley is a great central location for lots of great places. Send me a PM if you are interested in suggestions.
     
  7. Shmoo

    Shmoo Member

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    Los Angeles, where do you begin? On the Westside of town there's the Getty Center (no tripods, incredible collection of art and photography), UCLA, Santa Monica pier, Venice Beach, Marina del Rey, UCLA, Beverly Hills...and that's for beginners. The Fairfax area has the L.A. County Museaum of Art, La Brea tarpits, museums, and all the camera stores (Samy's on Fairfax Avenue, Calumet on La Brea Avenue, and Freestyle on Sunset). Hollywood is always good for a giggle. Downtown you have Union Station, Olvera Street, USC (gag...sorry, I'm a Bruin), the Disney Concert Hall, the Central Library, Angel's Flight, and tons more. Go eastward to Pasadena and you have the Huntington Library, Descanso Gardens, the Arboretum, old Pasadena, and Cal Tech. In the South Bay there's the South Coast Botannical Gardens, L.A. Harbor, Long Beach Harbor, and the coastline around Palos Verdes. The San Fernando Valley has the studios (no cameras allowed for the most part), but it also has an exquisite Japanese garden at the Water Reclamation plant in Van Nuys...go figure.

    We suffer from overabundance in L.A.

    :smile:
     
  8. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    I'll find out the name of the hotel a member stayed at in SF. It was reasonable and very close to Union Square at the heart of down town. Most of the city is safe, but it does have it's bad areas. DO NOt GO into the Tenderloin area, no matter what time of day. If Will is up for it, I'm sure between the two of us we can show you the city and the surrounding area.
     
  9. liza

    liza Member

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    Thank you all for your interest. I sincerely hope no offence was taken when I brought up the question of safety. It´s not for me but my darling cameras. Why I asked is because I have a tendency to just follow my nose / curiosity when walking around and have in the past, ended up in some Well… not too healthy areas in strange citys. Nothing bad ever happened so far “touch wood” but as one is getting older… and the couriosity is still a teenager…

    One thing I´m specially interested in is where, when and what is Not Ok to take pictures. Here in Sweden there are very few places you´re not allowed. Another thing are the tipping and taxes. Here tip and tax are included when you pay for service or items and I´m told so is not the system “over there”.

    Every country have it´s own codes and rules, clear or hidden so if anyone would considering spending some time with me, I´d be most greatful. But I´m a very laid back, easy going, bohemian person who dislike stress so I´m not in to some grand sightsing tour. That would be a task for my cousin or nieces. Haven’t met her for about 25 years so I guess she would like that to ease up the communication. Actually, just meeting some of you, having a coffee, maybe be introduced to your favourite photographic places would really be a highlight on this journey. I´m not counting on it but it would be very, very nice.

    My whole purpuse with this travel is photography from arrival to departure. If it will go as planned, time is around March 22-29 in SF, 29-April 3 in Carmel Valley and then April 3-about 7 eighter to LA or back to SF (mostly an economical decision to make).
    All the best Eva
     
  10. David Henderson

    David Henderson Member

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    No matter how many times I visit SF I'm drawn to two places. The first is Pier 7 at dawn, to catch sunrise on the Bay Bridge. The second is Alcatraz which is nicely photographable despite the fact its busy. It is best to book the latter in advance. I also like the museum of modern art (not the exhibits specifically) , the building interior which last time I was there you could photograph.
     
  11. noblebeast

    noblebeast Member

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    Just to add a little one to Shmoo's Los Angeles list - try the Paramount Movie Ranch. It's an "old West" looking town that is used in many movies, TV shows, commercials, ect... When there is no filming going on one usually has the town to oneself, and it is quite safe due to have Park Rangers on the premises. Let us know when your dates of arrival are firmed up, and I'm sure you will be able to find members who will be happy to play PhotoTour guide in the various locations you have listed. Time and schedule permitting I would be happy to help in anyway I can during the L.A. leg of your trip.

    Joe
     
  12. freebern

    freebern Member

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    SanFrancisco

    You may be fortunate enough to catch the San Francisco, say the waterfront, when the fog, doglike, creeps in and coats the city in muffle. This often will take place late in the day.

    Another interesting relic of bygone days is out at the east end of 20th St., Potrero Hill, east side, where there are a collection of derelict buildings, an old machine shop, etc... where nowadays a shipyard still serves the more up to date form of oceanic travel.

    I'd say find your hotel, better motel (with car?) on the west end of Lombard next to the photogenic Presidio Park.

    Good luck, Freebern
     
  13. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Even us Americans ask the same questions. Frankly, there are places in the city where I live that I won't go. Better to be safe than sorry.
     
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  15. Shmoo

    Shmoo Member

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    Noblebeast - isn't the paramount ranch where they filmed MASH? I'm getting old here.

    Also, about security in LA...one can never be too secure. Lock up everything to be sure. Camera gear can be easily sold and vehicles (if stolen) are across the border in a couple of hours. After all, you will be in one of the biggest cities in the world where anything and everything happens. I have friends all over the country who laugh at me about locking doors, cars, etc. I don't mind being laughed at in South Carolina, or Utah, or Colorado. But no one laughs at me in LA...it's the norm...sadly.

    S
     
  16. noblebeast

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    MASH was filmed out at Malibu Creek I believe - the Twentieth Century movie ranch. Paramount Ranch was the home of Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman.

    And perhaps you are getting old, but consider the only other alternative...

    And I thought of another L.A.-esque photo destination for you, Liza - Matador State Beach. On a lucky day you can be there when one of our many fine Adult Film productions are filming among the rocks and tides!
     
  17. liza

    liza Member

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    hotels

    Hi again!
    Since all travelplans are set I´m now trying to locate an affordable place to stay for a week.
    Jee, this is sooo exiting and can´t wait to get on the plane.

    My cousin lives in Palo Alto and without a car I think it´s a bit too far away from centre SF so I decided to stay in SF. It´s impossible to judge quality throu an Internet picture/information so my hope is that someone here can advice regarding following choises. What I mostly need to know is about the neighbourhod, safety, communications. If someone know anything about the hotels – that info would also be much appreciated. Of course there are other questions and “nice to knows” but I don´t know what they would be, just yet.

    1:st
    Sestri Hotel, North Beach, 1411 Stockton
    2:nd
    The Kenmore, Pacific Heights, 1570 Shutter St
    The Monroe, Pacific Heights, 1870 Sacramento St
    3:rd
    Luz Hotel, Downtown, 725 Geary St (a little too expensive but seem very nice with laundry facilities)

    Any other suggestions on furnitured rooms within the range $ 120-200 / week are most welcome. Nice but not necessary between Golden Gate to Bay Bridge, just as near the water as possible.
    OR if anyone know someone nice person who has a spare room and availability to bathroom, coffeymachine and a laundrymachine, I´m all ears.
    Time is between late evening march 22 to about lunchtime march 29.

    All the best Eva
     
  18. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    The Luz is the hotel a guy from New Zealand stayed at. It is two blocks from Union Square, and you can get anywhere in the city from there. Well worth the extra money. Just at night walk East from the hotel not west. West takes you into a area of dubious night time activity.
     
  19. Thomassauerwein

    Thomassauerwein Member

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    Eva, Are you still planning to come south to the L.A, area?
     
  20. liza

    liza Member

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    Thanks Aggie I´ll call them tomorrow and check for availability.

    Thomas! Time turned out to be too short on this visit and the last 2½ days april 3-6 I´ll have to give to my cousin. Since I have to come back next year and stay for about a month, then a week in LA and surroundings will be highly priorited.
    All the best Eva
     
  21. Craig

    Craig Subscriber

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    Not sure of you're into them, but the Hostels offer great value, and a good location. Its at the end of the cable car line, so easy to get around.
    http://www.sfhostel.org/ Take a look at the one at Fishermans Wharf. The City Centre one isn't in the greatest location safety wise, the downtown one is better.

    Craig
     
  22. DeanC

    DeanC Member

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    Liza,
    In general, the rule here for what you can and can't photograph (non-commercial use) is: If you're on public property, you can shoot anything you can see. If you're on private property, the property owner can ask you to stop or leave or can require a fee. Some places that are public have regulations arount tripod use, most often to keep someone from becoming a nusance or a danger to other pedestrians.

    As for tipping/taxes/accepted practices, check out http://www.executiveplanet.com/ It really focused on helping folks do business in other cultures but there's a lot of generally useful info. The page about the US is at http://executiveplanet.com/business-etiquette/United+States.html

    Hope some of this helps,
    Dean
     
  23. liza

    liza Member

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    Thanks!
    Craig, a private room at a hostel would be too expensive but the location seemed perfect.

    Dean, perfect links, I will study them carefully.

    Ha ha, why do i feel like I´m heading for a culturechock worse that ever in deepest Africa bagpacking. :smile:)

    Eva
     
  24. brimc76

    brimc76 Member

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    If you plan on going to Alcatraz Island check out the availability of tickets before you go, or as soon as you get there. When I was down in SF a few years ago visiting relatives I managed to get one of the last rides over (that hadn't been reserved) for a couple of days. Depending on your schedule this could mean that you don't get over there. I saw a group of German tourists that were in town for the day and couldn't get over to Alcatraz at all.
     
  25. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    the fisherman's wharf area is a high crime area. Not that you will be mugged if you are where there are a lot of people. It is not as bad as if you venture into the douth of Market or the tenderlion areas. Stay where there are people. Make sure you lock things up, and never leave you backpack on the ground just sitting near you. Alcatraz has two boat lines that go out, I can't remeber which lands on Alcatraz, but you can do a search on line to find it. Make reservations well in advance, since there can be a 10 day wait for tickets at times. Bart now goes from the airport to San Francisco. It is a great way to get around. Muni is the bus line that takes you out to the farther sections of town, and many of the stations are right above the Bart line. The busses run on most the streets. For a large city, SF if you have a map and time schedule is surpisingly easy to get around in. The cable cars are always crowded and you wait a long time for them. Thjey are fun once, but not as an everyday source of transportation.
     
  26. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    Don't count out staying in Palo Alto. There are many trains every day to take you into the City. They drop you off across the street from the Muni local train lines that get you to almost any part of SF. The N-Judah line will get you all the way over to the Sunset area, a good hopping off point for Golden Gate Park, a mecca for photography and all other worthwhile things in SF. There are few places in America that remind me of European transit systems, but SF's is pretty close. It's not Boston, but it's not bad.

    Best of luck,

    tim in san jose (twice as big as SF and half as interesting)