My first trip into San Fransisco was on the 22nd October, 2013, and since then I’ve been back several times. I’d been through staying in Oakland for a few days with friends, but hadn’t really ventured too far away from there, and definitely not on really anywhere on my own. With my friends working during the day and the promise of my first In-n-Out burger later that night, I decided to jump on the BART and check out the other side of the Bay Bridge.
My first stop was the Embarcadero station to the north of the city, where I walked around the ports. The buildings there were pretty grand, although I didn’t really spend the time to investigate what was actually in them. As sunny as these pictures look, I remember it being pretty chilly up this end of town. I was here around lunch time, so there was a bunch of business looking types sitting on the benches next to the water which made for some cinematic looking photographs.
From here, I walked south through the city towards the mission. I tried to stay off the main streets as much as I could to check out what was going on around. I saw some really high up builders which gave me some seriously sweaty palms.
One thing I fell in love with in San Fransisco was the light in the city. As with most large American cities, the glass from the buildings can give off some beautiful reflected light on days when the sun is fully out. This is always a total soft spot for me, and having this reflected light with the water and the rockier landscapes in the background just gave the city a really unique vibe when it came to photographing it.
I also met some really friendly people on my adventure. Fist off, these guys gave me some free coffee just because I was Scottish (something that seemed to happen with drinks a lot out there, but that’s another blog entry entirely).
Then I headed down to a park to chill out in the sun for a while (I’ve had a look and I can’t remember the name of the park or even where I was. This is why I take a notebook with me anytime I travel now) and these guys were doing a survey for their university course. I obviously said I’d only do it if they’d let me take their photo because I’m annoying like that, but they were more than happy for me to do so. (I’ve just noticed, is it like a San Fransisco rule that the guy on the left has to do the thumbs up or something?)
Then, when I was sitting on the wall just relaxing for a bit, I was sat next to this woman: Mary. Mary and I talked for probably over an hour about a whole bunch of things, from differences between the states and Scotland to general going ons in our lives. Before I left I again asked if I could take a portrait, and again she agreed, and I gave her my card to keep in touch. Every few months Mary e-mails me out of the blue and it’s really great to hear from her. I’m usually terrible at replying as I usually get the e-mails when I’m travelling and totally forget to reply by the time I’m home. If you’re reading this, I’m sorry I take so long to reply and I’m going to try to be better at it from now on, I promise!
After hanging out in the park for a while, I decided it was time to head back to Oakland for a shower before heading out in the evening. I walked back to Mission, through where the main shopping streets are, and it was a totally different world. Loads of people, loads of noise, loads of traffic. I’ve since got to know this part of the city well, but I’m really glad my first experience was one that was slightly off of the beaten path. San Fransisco and Oakland are cities that remind me of my own city, Glasgow, so I don’t feel so far away from home when I’m out there, and that’s especially true of both my friends there and the strangers I meet there that become friends.