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DIY Photo Tour of San Francisco

Traveling the West Coast with a camera and an empty wallet? Take this hobo photographer’s insights for capturing the best of San Francisco over a day with meager resources on hand.

Californya
Northern Californya’s one hell of a photogenic part of the world, but if you’re trying to make the most of it in a short time, San Francisco’s got plenty to offer.

Map of Your Trip in San FranciscoYour trip through the city can go any which way, but if you follow mine, you’ll do best with your own car. If you don’t have a car, the Bay has a supreme (by American standards) transport system called The Bart, which should be able to transport you to most places for reasonable costs. Click the map on the left to see where we’re going.

San Francisco and the Bay
I started my photo journey a little before noon at Twin Peaks for a supreme view of the Golden Gate Bridge (left), the city, Oakland and the rest of the Bay (right).

Street Art of Haight and Ashbury
One of the best things you’ll find in the Bay is the street art, particularly in San Francisco and Oakland. A great place to soak up some public art and a happening vibe is the Haight-Ashbury District. The tourist business may have replaced the Haight’s rebellious counter-culture of the 60’s, but it still makes for a cool afternoon walk.

Street Art in the Mission
Another spot with great art and the buzz of busy humans is the Mission District.

The Transamerica Pyramid
Now we’ll start with a look at some of the city’s more iconic sights. From here the route will take us through the heart of SOMA and the rat-racy CBD. There’s endless shopping and high-end restaurants here, but we’ll skip all that luxury nonsense for sights like the Embarcadero, Telegraph Hill, Chinatown and the Transamerica Pyramid.

Fisherman at Baker’s Beach
With any luck we’ll have enough time to make it down to Baker’s Beach by sunset. I had the good fortune of catching a local fisherman at work trying to nab some dinner for the evening.

Golden Gate Bridge from Baker's Beach
Snapping the bridge from Baker’s Beach was a quintessential moment for me. Depending on the time of year, there’s enough room to enjoy yourself, but also plenty of people to socialize with.

The Transamerica Pyramid Framed by the Golden Gate
Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge is pretty cool at night, and it’s free to leave the city, but do so carefully; it’s 6 bucks to come back in. Take the first exit after the bridge on the right, cross back under it and follow the road up the hill for several fantastic vantage points of the bridge. Park the car before the roundabout and track the bright light from downtown until you see the Transamerica Pyramid framed by the bridge.

The Golden Gate Bridge at Night
On the way back down be sure to stop at the Battery Spencer, get out and walk towards the cliff and see if you can snap the classic bridge-by-night scene.

Final Note: San Francisco’s a wildly expensive place. If you’re really trying to pinch your pennies here, keep an eye out for different foods on carts or in little “holes in the wall.” Pay especially close attention to parking signs when you leave the car. If you aren’t careful, you’ll wind up in the wrong zone and pay something like $75 for that.

Favorite Good Life Quotes

People say that what we are all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think this is what we’re really seeking. I think what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive.
–Joseph Campbell

In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.
–Albert Camus

Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.
–Benjamin Disraeli

I am an experiment on the part of nature, a gamble within the unknown, perhaps for a new purpose, perhaps for nothing, and my only task is to allow this game on the part of the primeval depths to take its course, to feel its will within me and make it wholly mine.
–Herman Hesse

Whatever your life’s work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better.
–Martin Luther King, Jr.

A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.
–Martin Luther King, Jr.

Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.
–Martin Luther King, Jr.

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.
–Martin Luther King, Jr.

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.
–Martin Luther King, Jr.

The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.
–Martin Luther King, Jr.

Anyone who becomes involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that there is a spirit manifest in the laws of the universe, a spirit vastly superior to that of man.
–Albert Einstein

A human being is a part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
–Albert Einstein

Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.
–Oscar Wilde

The future rests, then, with the cultivation of those sides of our nature which are, in terms of immediate productivity and success, almost useless.
–John Nef

Meet Dave

Meet DaveUnfulfilled by consumer lifestyles, I left on a really slow trip around the world. As a 3rd eye traveler on the New American Dream, my aim is to inspire and cultivate conscious living along the way....Read More...

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If a man can keep alert and imaginative, an error is a possibility, a chance at something new. To him, wandering and wondering are a part of the same process. And he is most mistaken, most in error whenever he quits exploring.
William Least Heat-Moon

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