It sits on the edge of the cliff, this little building that looks more like a temporary box that could be blown off into the Pacific at any moment. Bizarre, old and in need of a paint-job, the "Giant Camera” is without question my favorite spot in San Fran; I go every time I’m in the city. You really have to experience it for yourself to understand why it’s described as ‘magical.’
As photographers, the concept is well known to us, but to be inside -really, part of the phenomenon- is a singular experience. Run your hand over the dish and watch the tiny waves of the pacific –projected live- and the seagulls flying in the eye of the rooftop lens go over your hand -it's so real, why can’t I feel the sensation on my skin? The experience is like no other. Watch more closely and, wow, is that what I think it is?...yes, a minuscule surfer in a black wet suit has just emerged from the ocean and is on his board riding the tiny wave toward the beach…wait, there’s another!...and another!... It's so captivating that even if you are in the room with other people, the oohs and aahs and chatter seem to evaporate and you find yourself alone and lost in the experience….if you do nothing else in the City-by-the-Bay, do this…part with the $3.00 for the entry fee and find yourself immersed in something so simple but so very extraordinary that the memory will last a lifetime.
Double your pleasure by walking up the outside stairs to the Cliff House restaurant and try to grab a seat at the bar overlooking your new-found friend below and the wide expanse of Ocean Beach and the pacific. If its chilly outside, ask the bartender for a Grand Old Irish -a small mug of half hot water, half Baileys with a floater of Grand Marnier and a lemon-rind twist. If its warm out, go for an Anchor Steam -SF’s famous brew.
Giant Camera Website
Video of Giant Camera
Michael P. Kelly, FOPS
Vice Chair, Board of Education