After living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I wanted to share some of my favorite spots for photography, which I found from my personal photography expeditions around the area. With its soaring hills, expansive bridges and an incredible waterfront, everywhere you turn in the Bay has more great photography locations and amazing opportunities for photography.
HERE ARE MY TOP 10 PHOTOGRAPHY LOCATIONS IN SAN FRANCISCO:
10. Cable Cars at California Street: This is taken at the junction of Stockton and California street. Find a suitable spot and frame your shot from here. This place is very busy and the moving cable cars will give you a very small window of time to capture the scene. The best time to shoot is dusk where ambient light matches the city lights - it's absolutely mesmerizing.
9. Pier 39: Sea Lions are one of the reasons why PIER 39 is a top attraction in San Francisco. On a typical day, you can find them lounging in the sun or piled on top of each other on K-Dock in PIER 39's West Marina. You can go there anytime of the day and take their pictures.
8. Fog from Hawk Hill: Hawk Hill is a 923-foot peak in the Marin Headlands, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge and across the Golden Gate strait from San Francisco. It requires about a quarter mile hike. The views are amazing and you may be able to capture landscape submerged in fog - especially in months of March and September when there is a low fog season.
7. Painted Ladies of Alamo Square: Alamo Square is a residential neighborhood and park in San Francisco, California, in the Western Addition. Its boundaries are not well-defined, but are generally considered to be Webster Street on the east, Golden Gate Avenue on the north, Divisadero Street on the west, and Fell Street on the south. You can go in the park and you will see this row of beautiful, victorian era houses called Painted Ladies. In the background, you can see San Francisco's skyscrapers. Evening and dusk are good times to see colorful ambience there.
6. Palace of Fine Arts: The Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District of San Francisco, California is a monumental structure originally constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in order to exhibit works of art. Completely rebuilt from 1964 to 1974, it is one of only a few surviving structures from the Exposition. It is located at 3601 Lyon St, San Francisco, CA 94123. This place is very easily accessible via car or public transport. Anytime of the day, this place is mesmerizing and offers good photo opportunities.
5. Lombard (Crooked) Street: Lombard Street is an east–west street in San Francisco, California that is famous for a steep, one-block section with eight hairpin turns. Stretching from The Presidio east to The Embarcadero. You cannot easily find the parking near cross streets of Hyde and Lombard as this place gets very busy, but when you do, it'll be worth it. Once you are here, you can enjoy the view and take the shots.
4. Marshall's Beach: This beach is a small, remote shorefront area with rugged terrain, bird-watching & gorgeous views of the Golden Gate Bridge. It is little tricky to reach here as it requires bit of hiking down. The only way to access Marshall’s Beach is by foot off of the Batteries to Bluffs Trail. If you don't want to do hiking, go to the easily accessible Baker Beach which also offers almost same views of Golden Gate Bridge. You need to have wide angle lens to take shots of Golden Gate Bridge from Marshall's beach. Also during sunset time, sun going down in the Pacific Ocean offers amazing photo opportunities as well.
3. Treasure Island (Yerba Buena Island): Yerba Buena Island sits in the San Francisco Bay between San Francisco and Oakland, California. The Yerba Buena Tunnel runs through its center and connects the western and eastern spans of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge. Drive on San Francisco Bay bridge and take the exit to this beautiful island, follow the road to Treasure Island and drive down at water level. Find a suitable parking and be ready with your camera. You will need a tele lens to cover the San Francisco skyline. Also, you can explore the island towards higher ground and discover the places to take shots of east span of bridge and San Francisco.
2. Twin Peaks: Twin Peaks, named for its pair of 922-foot-high summits, is a remote residential neighborhood with modern homes densely packed on steep lots along winding streets. A grassy 64-acre hilltop park is a popular attraction, with its hiking trails leading up to wind-swept peaks and 360-degree views of the Bay Area. It is very easily accessible via car and ample of parking (it gets busy during peak seasons).
AND THE TOP ONE IS
1. Golden Gate Bridge (Marin Headlands): The Marin Headlands is a hilly peninsula at the southernmost end of Marin County, California, United States, located just north of San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge, which connects the two counties and peninsulas. The entire area is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. This place offers unlimited amazing views of Golden gate Bridge with San Francisco in background. If you want to take pictures, plan bit ahead and be there as this place is very busy and finding parking is hard here.
Hope the list above helps. Feel free to ask questions in comments section and I will be happy to respond.