Wednesday, September 11, 2013

On a clear day you can see forever.

Mark Twain is rumored to have said "the coldest winter I spent was a summer in San Francisco." There's no hard evidence that Twain actually said this, but it's a claim that's easy to believe when you live here. As in years past, the skies were cloudy and the temperatures mild through much of July and August.   

In September, we suddenly got some true summer weather, as the sun and heat came out of hiding. Monday I headed out with my camera to take advantage. 

I started at the bottom of Hill Street, one of the sharper inclines in San Francisco,

steep enough to merit a warning sign.

At the top of the hill I happened on 
fitting image for one of humanity's highest ideals

(Click on photo to enlarge)

  and got a nice look at Noe Valley and Diamond Heights.



                                          As I walked around the streets near the top of  the hill, 
                                                      this stately Victorian caught my attention,
                                                         as did this vista view on 21st Street, 
                                                            overlooking the Mission District.

A classic Oldsmobile Jetstar 88 was parked 
a few blocks west, at Castro and Hill Street.
Here is the front,  

the profile,

the inside. 

A nearby mirror

reflected the corner house across the way.

I continued west through the Castro District. 
A few blocks from Market Street I saw this cylindrical bay window, 
a common design in San Francisco which always makes me
think of the canisters my dad put his deposit slips in 
at drive-through banks many years back.

When I peered more closely through the blinding mid-day sun, 
I saw this very important message.

On a clear day you can see forever. 

At the top of Market Street one finds this fishbowl view of 
the Castro, Mission, and South of Market districts, as well as
the southern stretch of the downtown skyline
and a hint of the bay.

(Click on photo to enlarge)
Crossing into the Haight-Ashbury district, I saw this magical house in Ashbury Heights.

A friendly chap who passed by while walking his pooch said that the house had been the Japanese or Chinese consulate before World War II.  Or was it the German consulate?

He wasn't sure, but told me one of the residents was an interior designer and

                                           recommended that I come back on Halloween, 
                                       Thanksgiving, or Christmas for the special displays. 

(Click on photo to enlarge)

The long view.

From the Haight I went two miles west  
to St. Anne of the Sunset Catholic Church.

St. Anne's is 

the only pink church I've ever seen.

(Click on photo to enlarge)

As I snapped photos,
fog started to roll in from the ocean.

I went to a nearby Jamba Juice to refuel, 
took in the traffic and people traversing
 the busy 9th and Irving intersection, and

did a free write on the prompt "FILL IN," 
since I was writing around a few notes (in red) 
that I'd scribbled on the page some time back.

(Click on photo to enlarge)

After filling the page and slurping an orange sherbet smoothie I went back to St. Anne's. 
It wasn't even 2:30, but the church--and the neighborhood--had been completely overtaken by fog, a common occurrence in the not-so-aptly named Sunset District and

a good example of San Francisco's micro climates. 
Just a few blocks away, at 6th Avenue, 
it was cloudy behind me, facing the ocean,

even as it was sunny heading east, toward the Haight.

As luck would have it, 
against the gray gloom of fog 
the 6th Street intersection was blessed with 
this red star pole,

this pretty yellow swing,

and a winking sun.

Trying to beat the fog, I rode through the Haight District 
down sleepy, scenic Page Street, where
I was passed by a man and dog. 

At Broderick and Page, the fog was still moving east

though blue sky greeted me ahead.

As I made way through the Castro a few minutes later, 
I came upon this silver Mustang 

with parallel black stripes down front and back.

Five blocks on I encountered a challenging hill at Sanchez Street. 

Here's a view from the top.

Further south I found this
watermelon-colored entry in Noe Valley where

(Click on photo to enlarge)

watery shadows of wind-whipped trees
pooled in ever-shifting forms 
on house and sidewalk.

Continuing southwest, 
at the lip of Diamond Heights,
I saw Noe Valley on the left and

Bernal Heights Hill on the right.

I coasted down from on high to the Church Street corridor, 
home of one Daniel Caballero,
who left a helpful message 
for the Parking Nazis.

As the fog invaded Noe, I continued to chase blue skies
and discovered this graffiti artist at 26th and Mission.

Tools of the trade.

Bear woman full-blown,

up close.

Not a stone's throw away was Lilac Street.

It doesn't look like much from this angle,

and the grit was dialed up by the invading fog,

but beauty can exist in the least likely places, with

eyes like marbles and 

hearts of steel.  

Other "Truth and Beauty" photo essays:

"Gone but not Forgotten" is a tribute to a friend who left this world all too soon 

"Random San Francisco" has 46 photos which range from 
ornate architecture to street scenes to vistas to murals

"A Sunny* Monday in San Francisco" is a day tour of the city, 
from Mission Street to the Pacific Ocean

"California in November" captures deep fall natural splendor

"The Golden Gate Bridge as seen from the Marin Headlands

                 "Vintage Cars" is an evening tour of old automobiles in the Mission District 


  1. Stunning photographs and genuine walking riff of the (to me) most beautiful and various and fascinating American city there is. Kudos, Dan!

  2. You've summed up San Francisco in an enchanting way... i was right there along with you. Thanks! that was great walk today! :)

  3. This is a very lovely description and collection of photos--thank you! It makes me miss living so close to San Francisco.

    While St Anne's church is fairly pink, there used to be a very pink church in San Francisco. Pink like Pepto Bismol. The church--Calvary United Methodist at Judah and 19th Avenue--is still there, but they painted it a more subdued off-white color about five years ago.

  4. Felt like I was back home again in SF and recognized so many places and houses. We lived in Carmelita St ( off DuBoce Park ) for 25 years and it now has Historic Status. The Cherry trees in May were beautifull.

  5. This is great! This really brought me back to our walking tour of SF. I had so much fun walking around SF with you and I am constantly thinking about all the sidewalk art. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I love these virtual walks, and the serendipity encountered on the way! Thanks Dan--Aimee

  7. Your photos are brilliant. I love the remarkable city that San Francisco is, and you always capture something new so vividly. -Denise

  8. SRV is my role model man.

  9. I love the way you capture our beautiful city and its people. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Just fabulous photos! thanks, makes me happy I live in SF just looking through your eyes and camera!

  11. This is fabulous - my home city which I miss every day - thank you for sharing!

  12. Thank you for this; my heart is definitely there.

  13. the brick house near Buena Vista park is one of my favorite houses in the city. The gentleman was correct, it is a must see during all of the holidays.

  14. It was like me taking a drive with you with what you had captured here, time and space, line, color, and texture. Yes, Mark Twain said that thing about the coldest summer being in SFO. Tee-ha! BBGW.

  15. Oh, how wonderful. I lived in the City 23 yrs. It will always be home. The series of photos was like any day out and about, in my City. So many places I recognized. One photo looking Judah St, as the N Judah is making it's turn after stoping at UC. UP on the hill you see the Ambulatory Care Center, where I worked the last yr in the City. So, all your photos were my stomping ground. Over the yrs. I lived in the Richmond, Haight, Noe Valley, and of course knew the Castro like the back of my hand. Thank You, you made my day.

  16. Ah, San Francisco! I haven't lived there in 38 years, but, when I see pictures of it, I still feel I'm the same age as I was when I left ...

  17. You are killing me! I wanna get back to my City by the Ba-a-ay!

  18. Enjoyed your photographs very much. What a nice tour!

  19. Thank you for a lovely tour of my favorite city! I grew up in the Sunset, near the beach, in the 50's. It will always and forever be some of my most cherished moments of my life. Your beautiful pictures captured some of the loveliness I knew so long ago:))

  20. Hello. The jetstar 88 belongs to my partner Michael who lives on that street. Its a smooth ride, and you feel like a pageant queen riding inside. Everyone stops and smiles. We wave in return. it's an old gal whos takes forever to warm up, but the wait is worth it.
    If you ever see him driving, wave and enjoy the parade.

  21. It's been over 55 years since we moved away from San Francisco and I still get a nostalgic twinge when I see the beauty that is The City. Thanks for sharing.

  22. Wow Dan, Thank you for showing me the city that you live in. The photos were absolutely awesome. I don't think that I could have ever seen the beauty of SF without your photos. I have had 2 friends out there now in a matter of 2 weeks. I hope someday to have you show me around in person. Thanks again.

  23. What a great meditation on a rainy day. Thanks Dan! Bill S.

  24. Dan, don't forget "the magical house in Ashbury Heights" has stupendous
    holiday displays. It's just about time for a Halloween visit!