View Full Version : Is APUG alive in the Bay Area?

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01-07-2009, 10:20 AM

I am an active traditional, hobbyist photographer, working mostly in LF (4x5 and 8x10) and some MF and 35mm; mostly B&W but some E-6 as well. I live in Maine, and am somewhat spoiled by the very active New England APUG regional group. I am considering moving to the Bay Area and am a bit concerned about how alive the traditional photography scene is in the Bay Area. When I look at the regional forum, it seems like most of the posts are along the lines of 'is there anybody out there?'.


01-07-2009, 10:33 AM
Mark -

I don't live in the Bay Area, but I do visit there about once a year (our son lives there - great excuse for a visit!). While I haven't encountered an LF folks in my visits, my sense from watching both APUG and the LF Forum is that if there is a 'center of the LF universe', it is in the Bay Area

01-07-2009, 10:59 AM
I'm not in the bay area myself anymore, but I do know of at least a half-dozen active APUG'ers who live out there, and I drag my LF kit with me anytime I get out there myself. There are still a number of decent camera stores in SF and environs - Gasser's is still around (I think), there's a Calumet in SF on Bryant street, and down in Palo Alto there is Keeble & Shuchat, which is a VERY cool place to shop.

01-07-2009, 11:03 AM
Mark -

I don't live in the Bay Area, but I do visit there about once a year (our son lives there - great excuse for a visit!). While I haven't encountered an LF folks in my visits, my sense from watching both APUG and the LF Forum is that if there is a 'center of the LF universe', it is in the Bay Area

Thanks Louie, and I would agree that it would seem that it should be that way, I am just baffled by the lack of activity on the regional discussion list. Here in NE we are frequently organizing gatherings, either to shoot, or to visit galleries or museums etc. I don't see anything like that for the bay area. Even on LFF - there seems to be very little in their Groups and Meetings section for the Bay Area. -

01-07-2009, 12:04 PM
Mark -

I think you need to look a bit further.

There was some kind of informal group LF shoot in Golden Gate Park just this past weekend. And there is an informal discussion group that meets in a coffee shop near San Jose on a fairly regular basis that has been announced in either APUG or LFF.

And as Scott noted, there are still some real photographic stores - Keeble & Shuchat is a neat place. In addition to the three places he mentioned, there are at least two shops in Monterrey.

Finally, there are lot of active photography galleries in the Bay Area - three in Carmel, a couple in Monterrey, a few in San Francisco, and one in Mill Valley.

It would be a great place to live - if I could afford it - because in addition to the concentration of photography activities, they don't have this damn snow and ice we have to deal with in the great Northeast!

01-07-2009, 01:22 PM
ah...well, yeah...there are many, many folks here in the SF Bay area shooting film and enjoying real cameras and doing what we do in the darkroom.

I think you have to understand that the SF Bay area is a fairly large area - geographically speaking - and traffic often makes it seem even larger. It is also one of the most culturally diverse places on earth. We literally have people living here from practically every country in the world....and for the most part, we all seem to live together in peace and harmony.

I think that there is a enormous cultural difference between the urban areas of California and...say, the midwest too.

All these things kinda give a different flavor to every aspect of life here....not better or worse than that in the mid west or on the eastern seaboard...just different...and,...so, what I'm trying to say, is that although there are a bunch of us here, we don't tend to interact inthe same way that folks do out there...know what I mean?

01-07-2009, 02:32 PM
SF is the hub to photographers in Marin/Humboldt County, the Yosemite/Sierra, and the Carmel-Monterey. Historically the center of the hub was SF Art Institute, where Minor White and Ansel Adams setup the Photographic Department.
A new local resource I found is Photo Central (http://www.photocentral.org/) in Hayward, on the East-side of the Bay, where our own Vaughn teaches a workshop in Alternative Processes (http://www.apug.org/forums/forum162/50009-alt-process-workshop-hayward-ca-includes-carbon-printing.html).

For supplies in the SF Bay Area may I suggest this thread (http://www.apug.org/forums/forum43/47485-darkroom-supplies-san-francisco.html).

Comparing ME to SF: Besides the climate, the food (sans lobster) is also better.


01-07-2009, 04:23 PM
I do tend to be a bit insular - not from choice, just the demands on my time. I am lucky to get out with the camera or into the darkroom these days. I even live in the same city as Iwagoshi but we have not met to my knowledge 8-)

If I can get the house reorganized, we might do something.

01-09-2009, 04:25 PM
I'm not exactly in the bay area but I'd love to see some meet-ups down there because there surely won't be any in Sacramento and the closest place to me that might have the population base is SF.

01-12-2009, 01:49 PM
Hi Mark, another valuable resource (and a good sign of life for traditional photography), is the Rayko Photography Center in San Francisco:

This is an incredible place with a ground-breaking gallery (I can say that because I'm showing there next month), excellent classes, a rental studio, and some of the last color and B&W rental darkrooms in the bay area. There is also an excellent digital department.

The folks at Rayko are all enthusiastic advocates of traditional photography. In fact Michael Shindler has started a collodion program there that has really taken off. So if you are in San Francisco and looking for a community of enthusiastic and like-minded creative people, I recommend that you do some work at Rayko's facilities or take one of their classes. It has been a great experience for me.

01-12-2009, 02:26 PM
i live in san francisco, and i will say there is plenty of active film use. i just joined a small group of rangefinder folks, and im inquiring about a darkroom co-op in my neighborhood! at the street fairs, protests, and other events i still see a few film folks shooting. i too recommend that you check out rayko.. i took the wet plate class there (and they have a nice rental darkroom). there are also a few large swap meets in the aera which are good for finding used gear.

01-12-2009, 02:30 PM
there are also some flickr groups for folks using film in the bay area:

Film in San Francisco
The San Francisco Silver Mine

i've been using these to discover (and befriend) local film users.

01-12-2009, 02:33 PM
Thanks a lot everybody - I knew that traditional photography was not dead in the bay area, but what it seems is that the local APUG group is a lot different from what I am used to in New England. When I do move, I plan on building a dedicated darkroom, where I will continue to do more or less the same stuff that I do now. Local access to supplies is nice, but not nearly as necessary as it was before internet shopping and Fed-Ex. Sometimes, I find that just sitting down with other photographers, sharing prints and a cup of tea is what I need to get out of a rut or to see things differently....

01-12-2009, 09:19 PM
I'd love to see some Bay Area get togethers, I often wondered why it doesn't happen. There are a lot of great film shooters here.

01-13-2009, 12:24 AM
i guess the short answer is, "no." there are plenty of film folks here.. and some small social groups.. just nothing significant or what you could associate with apug.

this is the right place to put the mesage out if you want to pick a time and place though.

01-19-2009, 08:37 PM
Some anecdotal evidence: I work at a very high-tech company on the peninsula. There are quite a few active photographers here. Many are fairly new to it and use digital exclusively. They have no previous experience w/ analog. Of the 10 or 11 of us "photoheads" here, three of us still use analog for the most part. I use digital for what I do for work (I'm not a pro, but for what I do, I need to occasionally create product shots for marketing purposes).

I'm in San Ramon and go through Hayward on the way to work. I'll have to check Rayko out.

01-19-2009, 09:08 PM
Mark... you're leaving us??!!! First Winger, now you!! Oh woe is us! :(


01-19-2009, 09:47 PM
Let's put it like this. There are a lot of us here in the bay area. But... this place is a workaholic pressure cooker.
As some above have said, we tend to be insular. I like other people but my little free time is taken up with kids, house, whatever time I get to do my darkroom work, my other interests, girl friend, etc, etc, not necessarily in that order. I have met Brad S. He actually works less than a mile from me. But get togethers? It just doesn't happen often. I have met a few of other APUGers either when they were leaving town or at the Large Format Conference in Monterrey a couple of years ago.

But... most of my time dedicated to shooting is a spur of the moment thing, the sky looks nice, the cameras are loaded, I feel inspired to haul the Deardorff or rb67 around. More often, the kids want to haul me up to Alum Rock Park for a picnic and I grab the C220 and a half dozen rolls of film. Or the oldest one wants me to take the Zorki out for one of our weekend hikes in a local park.

Sometimes it has to do.

As far as you moving here. Get ready for really boring weather. It's sunny and nice 9 plus months of the year, the rest of the time it usually rains like crazy. Not this year though. It looks like we got three weeks of spotty rain. It's in the high 70s this week and it doesn't look lie it is going to break soon.

And no the food does not compare to N.E.

tim in san jose

01-19-2009, 11:31 PM
Good point Tim. Weather wise, there isn't a lot of variance. All the sun isn't great for nature photography: its too dry much of the time for anything the be green, yet not dry enough to be a real desert. And the only time the haze is gone is when its blowing hard.

01-20-2009, 11:09 PM
But we get the most beautiful fog, and magic hour TWICE a day!