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San Luis Obispo, CA

Mario Ruiz is an experienced freelance news photographer and journalist based in San Luis Obispo, California. A veteran of 10 years, Mario is available for assignment on the Central California coast, Los Angeles, or San Francisco.

Framed - March 1, 2014 - San Francisco Trip

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Framed - March 1, 2014 - San Francisco Trip

Mario Ruiz

I had a great weekend in San Francisco. I finally got out to Yerba Buena Island to get some shots of the Bay Bridge and of the San Francisco Skyline. I totally forgot to go check if the Google Barge was still at Treasure Island -- oops. 

I explored a little bit, but had a fairly good idea of where I wanted to shoot from. I've been driving over the Bay Bridge my entire life but had never dedicated time to just pulling over and taking a few shots. So that's just what I did. 

Heading west-bound on i-80, I got off on the first and only Yerba Buena Island exit on the left side of the west-bound bridge. That road loops around the island and eventually shoots you into Treasure Island. Just before I got to Treasure Island, I turned off to the left where I had a clear shot of the city. I snapped a few frames, but wasn't happy with the angle. What I really wanted was to be above the Bay Bridge looking down at the cars and through the towers. 

So I looked on Google Maps on my iPhone and found a road that looked promising. I got back in the car and explored just a little bit. At the top of Yerba Buena, there's what looks like an old watchtower or firefighter training building. It hadn't been used in years. In fact, I was surprised that the entire island was very dilapidated and worn. It looked more like the ghetto than an island minutes away from the most expensive real estate in the US. 

I finally found one road that looked abandoned and had no trespassing all over it. Ignoring those, I found a clearing of trees that had the most perfect view of the city, the bridge, and the towers.

I hiked down just a few yards from my car and walked down a fence line until I lined up perfectly with the towers but still had a great view of the city. I shot a few frames with my 24mm tilt shift, then with my 85 and then with my 135. With the 135 providing the right telephoto, I panned and took 5 frames of the city for a photo stitch (see below). I took my safe shot, and waited for the early morning light to get better. It was a little overcast but there were some pockets of light around the bay and I was hoping one would open up and shine on the city. No luck. But I did get some specularity off of the high-rises, which added a nice touch.

After the light was pretty much shot I packed up, and shot the new bridge on the east side of the island. Nothing spectacular, but fun anyway. I got back in my car and explored just a little more to see if I could find any more angles, but it was getting late and I wanted to have breakfast with the family before we went to Tilden in Berkeley.

I want to go back to that spot when the light is better. So it's nice to have a photo spot to go back to when I'm back in SF. 

Later in the day when we were don in Tilden we were on Grizzly Peak Rd in Berkeley and it was a clear day because it had been raining. I pulled off the side of the road and got the city shot below. You could see for miles. It was gorgeous. Glad I had my camera on me for that one.

San Francisco panorama from Yerba Buena Island. ©Mario E Ruiz 2014.

My setup from Yerba Buena Island. ©Mario E Ruiz 2014.

San Francisco from Grizzly Peak Rd in Berkeley. ©Mario E Ruiz 2014.