Category Archives: Photographs: San Francisco

Old Tracks, San Francisco Bay

Old Tracks, San Francisco Bay
Abandoned railroad tracks on a pier along the shore of San Francisco Bay

Old Tracks, San Francisco Bay. San Francisco, California. May 29, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Abandoned railroad tracks on a pier along the shore of San Francisco Bay

I made this photograph of a gray and foggy morning along the San Francisco waterfront, an hour or two before the sunlight began to break through the gloom. I ambled along this area of the waterfront, an area that is rapidly changing as this pressure for growth and upgrading increases here, and I poked my nose into any odd little alley or side-walk that I could find. This one turns out to not be all that obscure, and it even has a relationship to photography.

The old tracks lead out onto the edge of a dilapidated pier. The Bay lies beyond and far in the distance the Oakland shoreline is barely visible.


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist. Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | FacebookGoogle+ | 500px.com | LinkedIn | Email


All media © Copyright G Dan Mitchell and others as indicated. Any use requires advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

San Francisco Urban Buildings

San Francisco Urban Buildings
Worn and frequently painted front walls of urban San Francisco buildings

San Francisco Urban Buildings. San Francisco, California. May 29, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Worn and frequently painted front walls of urban San Francisco buildings

I have a few more in this urban/street photography set from a recent day spent photographing in San Francisco. I took the train to The City, headed north along the waterfront, then cut inland at Market Street before wandering up past Chinatown (avoiding Grant) and through North Beach before heading back to where I started. There is a lot to see on such a walk on a weekday in San Francisco!

Usually when I pass through the Chinatown area I forego the walk up touristy Grant Street, and instead cut across (and uphill!) to take smaller streets and to miss a lot of the usual stuff. There are lots of little nooks and crannies here, and the buildings offer diverse and sometimes wild visual treats. These buildings, which certainly look run down from the outside, present an incredible surface of textures and colors, much of which probably evolved by accident as people painted out the ubiquitous graffiti.


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist. Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | FacebookGoogle+ | 500px.com | LinkedIn | Email


All media © Copyright G Dan Mitchell and others as indicated. Any use requires advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

Lamp and Wire

Lamp and Wire
An electric wire and a rusty lamp attached to a weathered wall

Lamp and Wire. San Francisco, California. May 29, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

An electric wire and a rusty lamp attached to a weathered wall

Here is another “poking around in alleys” photograph from San Francisco. I have been walking along this section of the Embarcadero with a camera for a number of years now. The San Francisco waterfront has always been a place of change, but these days things seem to be accelerating. Real estate in The City is becoming increasingly precious and increasingly costly, and there is a continuous transition from inexpensive work, living, and warehouse space to much more expensive and trendy uses, especially in waterfront and other special locations. The changes are closing in on the Embarcadero from both ends and even the middle — from the tourist areas of Pier 39 through the Ferry Building to the bustling area around AT&T Park and on into China Basin.

More and more of the oddball little forgotten places are discovered and eventually transformed. This little alley leads to a set of abandoned railroad tracks leading out onto one of the old piers. Some kind of business seems to have moved in, but the rough walls, worn paint, and functional construction remain. This bit of wood siding, with a rusty lamp and a funky bit of exterior wiring is subtly colored with fading paint, rust and wear from the foggy environment, and bit of blue coloration from being in shade.


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist. Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | FacebookGoogle+ | 500px.com | LinkedIn | Email


All media © Copyright G Dan Mitchell and others as indicated. Any use requires advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

Alleyway Ladder

Alleyway Ladder
A wooden later climbs a concrete wall in a San Francisco alley

Alleyway Ladder. San Francisco, California. May 29, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A wooden later climbs a concrete wall in a San Francisco alley

This is a photograph from one of my early morning forays into downtown San Francisco, trips that tend to become a bit more common this time of year. The first of “the season” was near the end of May. I started at the Caltrain Station, worked my way mostly along the Embarcadero to the Ferry Building area, and then took a winding route off into the City.

I tend to walk slowly while working on these projects — stopping to look, to wait, and to poke my camera into odd little corners. Here I found the gate to a small alley open, and after watching a couple of people walk through on their way to a business in the back I followed. Just inside the gate was an old textured concrete wall with this wooden ladder leading up along its face, and the combination of the textured concrete, the form of the ladder, and the perspective convergence created an interesting abstraction.


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist. Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | FacebookGoogle+ | 500px.com | LinkedIn | Email


All media © Copyright G Dan Mitchell and others as indicated. Any use requires advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

Bricks, Reflection

Bricks, Reflection
Bricks and water reflecting urban sky.

Bricks, Reflection. San Francisco, California. May 29, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Bricks and water reflecting urban sky.

Walking up Market Street in San Francisco I was watching out for anything that could be photographically interesting — architecture, people, vehicles, light — when I looked down and saw this little vignette of… not much at all really. Perhaps someone had been cleaning the street earlier, and now a puddle of water covered some sidewalk bricks and flowed over the gaps between others.

I stopped, more or less in the middle of the sidewalk, likely forcing a few people to take a path around me or perhaps just wonder what I was photographing with my camera pointed straight down. What I saw was, first, the water itself. Then I saw the narrow vertical band of lighter tones, where there was a break between reflected buildings. I only paused for a moment to make a couple of exposures, and then I continued on.


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist. Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | FacebookGoogle+ | 500px.com | LinkedIn | Email


All media © Copyright G Dan Mitchell and others as indicated. Any use requires advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

Man in Blue, One Way Corner

Man in Blue, One Way Corner
A man in blue walking past a barren San Francisco street corner

Man in Blue, One Way Corner. San Francisco, California. May 29, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

A man in blue walking past a barren San Francisco street corner

This is a street photograph from one favorite corner in downtown San Francisco, where the buildings are tall enough that I can often photograph subjects in soft light. In addition, the buildings and the street are not very colorful, allowing whatever the subject bring to the scene to become more important.

Often when I make photographs like this I think a bit like a landscape photographer. I find a configuration of fixed subjects that interests me, I try to create some kind of composition out of it (usually working very quickly) and then I watch for a person or persons to walk into and through the scene. This time the two components happened almost simultaneously. as soon as I saw the one-way sign on the corner and realized I wanted to photograph it I also saw this man crossing the narrow street and heading toward it — and I had just enough time to lift the camera, frame the scene, and photograph him between the sign and the fire hydrant, and at the closest point on the sidewalk.


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist. Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | FacebookGoogle+ | 500px.com | LinkedIn | Email


All media © Copyright G Dan Mitchell and others as indicated. Any use requires advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

San Francisco Street Scene

San Francisco Street Scene
Walls, doors, gates, conduits, signs, trash containers, peeling paint, reflections along a San Francisco street

San Francisco Street Scene. San Francisco, California. May 29, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Walls, doors, gates, conduits, signs, trash containers, peeling paint, reflections along a San Francisco street

I’m indulging my fascination with street scenes once again today. This photograph comes from a morning spent walking across San Francisco late last week. I arrived early in the City by train, got off, and walked by an unplanned and mostly spontaneous route across downtown, across Chinatown, through North Beach, and almost to the touristy Pier 39 before looping back to my starting point on The Embarcadero to catch a train back home.

This is a familiar sort of San Francisco scene, especially to those who wander though the City of foot, though I could find similar spots in many other urban areas. In a world where we often see things that have been carefully designed and unified, spots like this seem to occupy the opposite end of the spectrum. It would be easy to walk past and not see it — I’ve certainly done so many times — but once I stop and look I’m often amazed at the density of visually dissonant elements that are thrown together. Almost everything seem like it was initially utilitarian, but gradually a sort of near randomness seems to have crept in, and now the colors are wild and contrasting, paint is peeling, textures are varied, a few signs intrude, trash cans lean against doorways, and the sidewalk tilts.


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist. Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | FacebookGoogle+ | 500px.com | LinkedIn | Email


All media © Copyright G Dan Mitchell and others as indicated. Any use requires advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.