Category Archives: Walking

Love in San Francisco. (Weekly Photo Challenge: [Extra]ordinary)

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Good Evening:

Shouldn’t love be considered, for lack of a better term–ordinary?

IMG_8072Seriously, shouldn’t love seem like, for lack of a better phrase–no big deal?

DSCN2626Should anyone care that the above couple spent well over an hour at the Cafe International (at Haight & Fillmore) doing nothing but that?

Unfortunately, it seems the answer is yes.

Do you consider yourself a reasonably well-informed person? So do I. Now consider this–what do you and I read in the news, see in the videos, hear on the radio? War, murder, mass shootings, executions, terror, sometimes discussed by people as full of anger, hatred and bile as the events of which they bloviate. If your knowledge of the world came solely from the news, you might not even know that love exists.

Good thing we can turn off our computers and televisions, huh?

Good thing we can take off for a walk in our neighborhoods, huh?

Good thing we can see people in love as if love was only ordinary, huh?

DSCN2628Hmm. She wears the pants, he wears the kilt.

Given that San Francisco is not Scotland, perhaps that counts as (extra)ordinary.

Vonn Scott Bair

Does Your City… (Weekly Photo Challenge: [Extra]ordinary)

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Good Evening:

Does your city…have a bench like this?

DSCN2669Actually, probably yes; lots of cities like to convert mundane civic objects into objets d’arte. I happen to like this bench because it pivots 360 degrees. The bench represents part of a combination sidewalk park/recreation area called Outpost, and you will find it on Market Street near Sixth Street. These two gentlemen got a kick out of playing with the bench.

Version 2Outpost includes an unusual type of swing…

DSCN2673…and a highly decorated ping-pong table…

DSCN2671…and a place to ask questions and solicit opinions.

DSCN2672Here is the main structure, complete with schedule of events.

DSCN2674All in all, another example of how San Francisco does things just like everyone else, only differently.

Vonn Scott Bair

New San Francisco Murals, 6 June 2015. (Weekly Photo Challenge: Vivid.)

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Good Morning:

Living in San Francisco, possibly the world’s most “muralized” city in terms of murals per square mile, kinda sorta gives one an easy source of inspiration for vivid pictures. Erie Street in the Mission District, actually more of an alley, has served as a canvas for artists for years. The murals normally don’t last more than a year before replacement; here are four of the newer ones.

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Vonn Scott Bair

Flowers & Garbage Bins. (Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Way)

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Good Morning:

Saw this on the way to a lunch celebrating a co-worker’s birthday. Taken with an iPhone 6 Plus.

Flowers & Garbage Bins, Redwood Alley, San Francisco, California, 3 June 2015, 1:37 p.m.

Flowers & Garbage Bins, Redwood Alley, San Francisco, California, 3 June 2015, 1:37 p.m.

Vonn Scott Bair

Wood & Stone. (Weekly Photo Challenge: Forces of Nature)

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Good Evening:

Explored Land’s End on Sunday in hopes of snapping a few long-range shots of the coyotes that have made San Francisco their home (yes, coyotes thrive in one of America’s most densely populated cities). Had no intention of getting close–coyotes have foul tempers on their good days, and they never have good days–but had no luck spotting any.

However, did find a number of interesting patterns shaped by nature in the wood and stone.

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Serendipity is a wondrous element of life–finding something you didn’t know you wanted to find can offer at least as much pleasure as finding what you wanted.

Vonn Scott Bair

SOMA Neighborhood, San Francisco, California, Saturday 18 April 2015.

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Good Evening:

I happened to run errands in San Francisco’s SOMA (South OMArket) neighborhood during a good light day on Saturday afternoon and took a bunch of pictures of the area, originally a light industry zone rapidly turning into a residential neighborhood. Here are some of the decent and/or curious results.

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“Propane Sales” is quite a paradoxical shot. When editing it in iPhoto, I realized that I had applied the techniques of the American Photorealism painters of the 1960s to create, um, uh, well–photographs. Photos that mimic the style of paintings that mimic the style of photos.

Odd.

Vonn Scott Bair

A Serendip of San Franciscans, 3 April 2015: Commuters.

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Good Evening:

For those of you new to The San Francisco Scene–Seen!, I recently made the arbitrary decision to use “Serendip” as the collective noun for a group of San Franciscans, and begun a series of photo essays of my fellow citizens engaged in a common activity. Today’s theme: Commuters.

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The above is only the fifth photograph taken with my new point-and-shoot, a Nikon CoolPix S9900, and the previous four were random test shots. So far, the results have please me, but perhaps not as much as this unusual mode of transit pleased its very young passenger:

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San Francisco’s public transit system does one thing very well: catering to severely disabled individuals. Recently I took a 19-Polk bus that at one stop disembarked two passengers in wheelchairs and then added a third, all in less than two minutes.These two awaited a bus at 8th & Market.

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Skateboarders can commute anywhere.

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Bicycling keeps growing in popularity: as bike lanes expand, so too do the number of riders.

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But some people and critters still prefer an old school mode of transportation.

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Vonn Scott Bair

Sunday Afternoon, Lafayette Street near Natoma.

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Good Evening:

Got a little lucky with this one.

Basketball Hope, Lafayette Street, San Francisco, California, 29 March 2015, 1:53 p.m.

Basketball Hope, Lafayette Street, San Francisco, California, 29 March 2015, 1:53 p.m.

Taken with an iPhone 6 Plus, edited in iPhoto.

Vonn Scott Bair

The World of the Eating & the World of the Hungry in San Francisco’s Civic Center.

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Good Evening:

During a recent Friday lunch hour, I had to run a few errands and that including walking through the food trucks and tables that take over San Francisco’s Civic Center every Friday starting at noon. At one point, I found myself halfway between what felt like separate worlds.

Approximately fifteen feet to my left:

Food Trucks and Court at San Francisco Civic Center

Food Trucks and Court at San Francisco Civic Center

Approximately ten feet to my right:

Broke - Hungry Anything Helps!!! God Bless

Broke – Hungry Anything Helps!!! God Bless

And when I returned after completing my errands:

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I swear it almost looks like worship.

I get why San Francisco has once again become such a fascinating subject for pontificators and opinionators in the pontificating and opinionating industries. No other city combines such a ridiculously high median income ($96,000!) with such visible displays of poverty and hunger. Separate worlds of The Eating and The Hungry, as it were. Also, the disappearing middle class disappears here at a faster rate than most other places in America, as far as I know. I am not a professional journalist, just an amateur observer with a limited perspective, so perhaps other places exist where the contrasts between haves and have-nots is even more spectacular–possibly Wisconsin, for one.

Of course I don’t, can’t, have no right, and absolutely refuse to complain. Although my income is less than two-thirds of San Francisco’s median, I can get by rather well, thank you. I can even retire much earlier than most people, although “retirement” is a misnomer in my case–actors and writers just plain don’t.

But San Francisco’s haves–they have it real good. They can afford Leap, a sort of private public transit system, where for $6 (!), they can ride in a bus where they can spend even more money on Blue Bottle coffee and organic pastries, plus indulge in Leap’s social media component (free cyberstalking with every fare!). Apparently, I am not allowed to ride on Leap. Oh, I can afford the $6; sadly, if the advertising is any indication, Leap is limited to San Franciscans less than 30 years old. Darn it.

On the bright side, if I had a car, I could hire someone to park it.

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Oops, wait–looks like I’m too old for this one, too. Darn it.

While I understand the importance of a healthy, stable, preferably even growing middle class, and while I understand the potential economic harm to America resulting from an ever-shrinking middle class, I wonder at all of the attention we middle-class folk have received. Should circumstances ever become economically impossible for me to continue living in San Francisco, I have options–Los Angeles being an obvious choice for someone who already has 15 or so credits in the Internet Movie Database. I have resources.

In the world of The Hungry, people don’t have resources.

San Francisco has seen an explosion in the number of homeless, and I don’t think it can all consist of other states exporting their mentally ill to my city. Again, I’m not a professional journalist, and I don’t have facts, figures and statistics, but a lot of the newly homeless who set up homeless encampments at night in places like the block on Market Street near 2nd Street (in our Financial District) must have recently lost their homes in San Francisco and had no place to go.

The American middle class is in danger of losing their financial well-being. But what of the people who already have?

When does that become an issue?

Vonn Scott Bair

San Francisco Saturday Afternoon, 21 March 2015. (Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh)

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Good Evening:

A fresh collection of photos of San Franciscans at work and play on Saturday. Even the subjects of some of these have a sort of fresh theme. For example, these gentlemen started this project only this morning:

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And of course we have fresh love…

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…fresh flowers…

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…and a fresh coat of paint.

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This gentleman played guitar very well, but “When You Wish Upon a Star” probably doesn’t count as fresh.

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But this is the freshest Eclair Bandersnatch I’ve seen in a while. He/She/They tried some new ideas in this one, including backgrounds (green and yellow) and comic dialogue. I like it; personally, I think E. B. keeps getting better and better.

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And a few more shots just for fun, including a fresh mural in progress at Haight & Fillmore.

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Vonn Scott Bair

Construction Work, San Francisco. (Weekly Photo Challenge: Orange)

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Good Evening:

One of San Francisco’s local memes holds that our beloved Giants wear uniforms in Black, Cream, and “Alert Orange,” (CYMK 0, 65, 89, 0) an allegedly brighter but slightly redder version of the standard orange.

Certainly, this shade of orange proves very useful to help ensure safety around construction sits. A color that bright stand out in this “cool grey city of love.”

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Vonn Scott Bair

PS–Wikipedia calls the Giants version of Orange “Giants Orange.” If true, they would not be the first sports team to develop their own custom shade. One possible candidate for first might the University of Columbia, whose version of Light Blue is sometimes called Columbia Blue. But I’m no expert.

Answer: A Slice of Heaven. (Weekly Photo Challenge: Thirds.)

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Good Evening:

Question: What do you get when you combine the world’s finest creatures, their obedient human servants, perfect Saturday morning weather, and San Francisco’s Park Presidio?

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Turns out one finds a lot of ways to use Thirds in your photo composition. If you mentally divide your pictures into imaginary 9 rectangle (3×3) grids as I do, you can put your subject in a variety of spaces. In the above portrait shot, the dog stands in the middle of the imaginary lower horizontal line, and the armrests and human head all point to the pup. The next shot shows the same treatment in a landscape orientation.

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And sometimes a picture “thirds” itself–here it’s sky, headlands, bay and beach.

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The above shot also shows a comparatively rare phenomenon–the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge on the Marin Headlands. Most of the time, the morning fog won’t lift until the sun is well up into the sky.

The next show proved tricky to edit, especially when it came to arranging the composition in the 3×3 grid pattern.

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It’s a little subtle. The taller woman’s head rests at the intersection of the upper horizontal line and the left vertical line. Meanwhile, the darker dog rests at the intersection of the lower horizontal line and the right vertical line. So you have that nice 45 degree diagonal directing your eye to the happy canines.

Of course, the dogs care nothing of any of this. It’s Saturday, their humans treat them as they deserve, and they get to hang out with their fellow furry superior critters. Just one heck of a good day for a dog.

Vonn Scott Bair

Boarded-Up Store, Geary Near Polk, San Francisco, 14 December 2014. (Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge, Wk 41)

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Good Evening:

Didn’t think anything worthwhile for Cee’s Challenge would pop up so soon, but I walked pas an odd boarded-up former X-rated video store and movie theater on Geary today as I travelled to a film production meeting this afternoon.

Now you might wonder (and with justification) how a boarded-up store front could possibly look oddball? It might look sad to the former owners (unless they retired) but it’s boards over windows. How odd can that get?

This odd.

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The artist (might as well use that term) took any spare scraps of wood available and nailed them over the boards in an order (order? Can’t believe I’m using that term) that suggests both a plan and aesthetic values.. San Francisco’s murals are ephemeral; San Francisco’s sidewalk stencils are ephemeral; this, however, remains the only ephemeral sculpture I have seen so far this year.

Vonn Scott Bair

Two Twosomes, One Threesome, One Haight, 13 December 2014.

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Good Morning:

Yesterday morning proved a good time for candid photography at the intersection of Haight & Masonic. Especially groupings, for some reason. All photographs taken with my old point-and-shoot. The first required the least editing, just a crop in iPhoto:

Waiting for the 43-Masonic Bus, 13 December 2014

Waiting for the 43-Masonic Bus, 13 December 2014

The second needed a bit of work. The sunlight was brighter, and the shadows darker, than normal, so after cropping, I had to tone down the bright yellow and sky blue while decreasing the shadows. Worth the effort; they sure look like they enjoyed themselves.

Morning Stroll, Haight & Masonic, 13 December 2014

Morning Stroll, Haight & Masonic, 13 December 2014

The third required the most work, thanks to that extreme brightness on the right and the deep shadows on the left. After cropping and straightening, I finally had to make a copy of the original and convert to black and white. But that was hardly routine. If you own iPhoto, my final settings consisted of these: Exposure, 0.96; Contrast, +10; Saturation, 0; Definition, 100; Highlights, 100; Shadows, 35; and Sharpness, 100.

Hand in Hand in Hand, Haight Street, San Francisco, California, 13 December 2014

Hand in Hand in Hand, Haight Street, San Francisco, California, 13 December 2014

I would imagine that threesomes require more than the work, so perhaps it’s appropriate that the shot did, too..

Vonn Scott Bair

Happy Hour, Friday Afternoon. (Weekly Photo Challenge: Twinkle)

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Good Evening:

Twinkling lights at a cafe at 5:30 p.m. on a Friday afternoon.

Happy Hour, Friday Afternoon, San Francisco, California

Happy Hour, Friday Afternoon, San Francisco, California

Vonn Scott Bair