Sunday, September 20, 2015

"On a Clear Day You Can See Forever," revisited

[Click on image to enlarge]
It was a perfect afternoon for a photo shootWarm, but not oppressive. Sunny, nothing but blue sky above. The wind from the ocean in repose. Fall, 2013.

Up until then, I'd usually planned shoots in advance, around weather reports, but this was a spontaneous undertaking fueled by the pristine day and the unexpected good news that I'd gotten the rest of the week off of work (on a Monday, no less). As people toiled away in home offices and restaurants and high rises, I headed out to explore my urban playground with bike and camera.

I started at the peak of Noe Valley, a section of San Francisco with breathtaking vistas that I'd been to many times since I attended my first writing workshop there, in 1997. 

But it felt different that day. Maybe it was the weather, or the knowledge that I had several days of free time ahead of me, or perhaps it was the livewire sensation of all of the above synergized by the ginkgo biloba I swallowed before I left my apartment, but my camera eye was finding rich images in places and spaces that had felt fallow before.

I swept northwest toward the magnetic pull of the mighty Pacific, from Noe Valley to the Castro District to the Haight to the inner Sunset, where I stopped. Faced with the creeping fog line, I retreated back the way I had come. 

I felt good about the day's shoot when I got home, but had no idea what the final production
would look like; at this point, the experience was nothing but a hundred-odd digital images on a SanDisk card the size of a postage stamp.

Over several days I culled the best photos, cropped and re-sized them as necessary, and sifted through the grouping of images until a narrative emerged. I then spent several more days adding and subtracting words until it felt right.

With the help of my friends at Lost San Francisco, the resulting photo essay,"On a Clear Day You Can See Forever," received unexpectedly heavy traffic and reader appreciation, including kind words from the main passenger of the vintage Jetstar 88 that made an appearance in the piece. 

From that moment on, I approached each photo shoot-into-essay less like a predetermined storyboard and more like a free-form process of discovery.
                                                 Other Truth and Beauty photo essays:

eye-catching architecture, and miscellaneous city scenes 
in a stroll from the Mission to South of Market to downtown

"Crystal Blue Persuasion" is a walking photo tour of San Francisco from the Bay to the Ocean (and a golden sunset) on a pristine sunny day just before Xmas

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

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

"Random San Francisco" has 46 photos which range from 
ornate architecture to vistas to murals to sidewalk messaging

"California in November" captures deep fall natural splendor

"The Golden Gate Bridge as seen from the Marin Headlands

 *Follow Dan Benbow on Pinterest and Twitter

A magical house in Ashbury Heights

1 comment:

  1. Dan, what a great job capturing the beauty and depth of an endlessly fascinating city...thank you for a very enjoyable photo essay.