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If You're Going to San Francisco...

Posted By Timothy J. Bennett, CRA, FOPS, OCT-C, Saturday, March 23, 2013
Updated: Sunday, March 24, 2013

The OPS seems to have a special fondness for San Francisco, a city that's hosted several of our educational programs over the years. Although our purpose at these meetings has been education in ophthalmic photography, the atmosphere has also been conducive to exploring the creative & personal side of photography. Boasting iconic sites such as Alcatraz, the Presidio, Lombard Street, Fisherman's Wharf, Coit Tower and others, San Francisco is a very photogenic town. While looking forward to this year's upcoming OPS Mid-Year Program, I recalled past OPS meetings where I had the chance to visit and photograph the City by the Bay.

photo credit Tim Bennett
This image was taken with a Kodak Wratten 25 red filter to darken the afternoon sky.

Back in the day, the OPS organized photo excursions offering CE credit while teaching and sharing basic photographic techniques while on a walking tour of the city. Students were loaned a 35mm camera, given a roll of film and paired with instructors. Film was collected at the end of the day's shoot and processed overnight for a review the next day. In 1984 we took the trolley to the wharf and caught the ferry to Alcatraz to photographThe Rock. In 1987 we chartered a bus that took us from the meeting hotel to the Presidio and Fort Point. I was an instructor on the '87 tour and I recall the sense of camaraderie and collective creativity we all shared that day. I loaded my camera with a bulk-loaded roll of black-and-white film so I could play with contrast filters. I recently dug up the old negatives from that day and scanned them to produce the images shown here. Some days I really miss the darkroom…

photo credit Tim Bennett
Students framing a shot of the Presidio buildings with the bay in the background.

photo credit Tim Bennett
Getting creative with a low angle view!

photo credit Tim Bennett
Afternoon shadows at the Presidio.

photo credit Tim Bennett
The San Francisco National Cemetery.

photo credit Tim Bennett
Adjusting exposure settings to account for the filtered backlighting.

photo credit Tim BennettAn old gate at the San Francisco National Cemetary.

I wish I could recall the names of the fellow OPS meeting attendees in these images, but it was 26 years ago! If you recognize any of the photographers pictured here, please comment below.

More importantly, if you are going to San Francisco….. be sure to bring a camera.

Ha! I'll bet you old-timers thought I was going to say, "Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair”! You can do that too if you'd like. San Francisco is a place where you can truly express yourself.

For another opinion on the iconic sites of San Francisco, check out Jay Rostvold's blog post.

Tags:  personal photography  San Francisco  tourism 

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