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.
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.
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....
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.
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.
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.
Mark... you're leaving us??!!! First Winger, now you!! Oh woe is us! :(
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
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.
But we get the most beautiful fog, and magic hour TWICE a day!