Travel Guide - Photos from San Francisco including Alcatraz, California USA

I was heading off to America for a few weeks, partly for a business-related trip, but before we get to the work part, there was time for some fun and capturing images to make available through my print shop. I enjoy having photographic prints on my walls at home and I hope to share that joy with others. Whether you are a DIY decorator or an interior designer wanting prints for your client’s home, we have a variety of photography-based art prints that will look stunning in any home.

If you see any pictures in this photographic series you would like to hang on your walls, a selection of them can be purchased as prints. If the image isn’t in the print shop, just shout out via email and I can do a custom print on request.  Visit The Print Shop

• • •

A short 1 hour flight from LAX and we land in San Francisco.

I had been most looking forward to our San Francisco stay as it’s a place I had wanted to visit for as long as I can remember. I imagined it would be a city full of artisans, creativity, culture, music, great food and a hip young vibe. I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

We had booked accommodation through AirBnb staying in the Jazz Precinct and our hosts Caitlin & Navin were super lovely and full of local information. Considering they had only moved there from Sydney 4 months ago, their knowledge of the area was phenomenal. For those of you old enough, the house that featured in the TV series Full House was just up the road from where we were staying, we even drove past it on the way to dinner.

Caitlin & Navin took us to dinner at their favourite local restaurant, West of Pecos, a Mexican restaurant in the Mission District. I had the best fish tacos that I’ve ever eaten. Actually I don’t know I’d ever eaten fish tacos before that night, but I was a fan of the de-lish Mexican cuisine. We chatted over Sangria for hours at a table outside by the fire. We followed dinner up with ice-cream where we had to line up – I think that tells you how good it was without me saying a word.

By the time we left the apartment the next morning it was around 11am. As with LA, San Francisco doesn’t kick off till mid morning with brunch being a big thing. Plus it was Saturday, so for the locals it was the start to the wind down of their weekend.

We wandered down to Hayes Valley and there was a communal space with pop-up container coffee bars and food trucks. The courtyard was full of people catching up.  San Francisco has a cool community vibe as most people move there for work with there being a lot of start-up companies based there, which is where Uber got it’s start.

We had breakfast at Lunchpad. I had a weird bread & butter style pudding with bacon and like a gravy sauce – strange European dish I was guessing, but when you travel its good to try something you wouldn’t normally eat at home. But sadly, I can’t say Id order that dish it again. And when I ordered coffee, I got a long glass of drip filter coffee … not what I was quite expecting.

We also did the tourist thing and visited Alcatraz and also wandered The Mission District where I was in my element with all the street art.

It was Caitlin & Navin’s wedding anniversary a couple of days before we arrived, so being typical photographers, we planned an anniversary portrait session for them. After a pitstop in Macy’s we got an Uber and headed to the Golden Gate Bridge for our shoot with Caitlin & Navin. With them not being locals, they wanted photos around the iconic places of San Francisco. Underneath the Golden Gate Bridge we found this cool old building, then continuing the shoot at the Palace of Fine Arts and surrounding streets. I will share photos from their portrait session in a separate post … stay tuned.

Then it was dinner at a Greek restaurant before heading back to the apartment.

The next day we were due to pickup our camper van for the road trip leg of our trip … I loved San Fran but was excited to hit the road. Coming up next is the road trip leg of our American adventure … trust me you don’t want to miss that blog post as the countryside we drove through was magnificent.

We walked to the Mission District to photograph the local street art. The area has quite contrasting communities, from trendy hipsters to the homeless and artists. We headed back to the apartment the same way, stopping for a coffee at Ritual Coffee Roasters.

Seeing FRIED FLIPPED … and what FAKE on this window of the Proposition Chicken shop didn’t entice me in.
Still curious what FAKE chicken is … ?

After an afternoon rest we went for dinner next door at a classy jazz restaurant called 1300 on Fillmore. I had a local Californian Pinot Gris wine with dinner.  Nicole and I shared two starters, Bourbon-Hickory Smoked Pork Belly with Duck Egg Braised Pinto Beans, and second was Barbecue Shrimp N’ Grits, again following our eating like locals by trying something we wouldn’t normally eat at home. For the main, or what American’s call Entrees, yes quite confusing for us Aussies, I had Pan Roasted Divers Scallops with Black Eyed Pea Cake, Herbsaint and Crispy Okra. Followed by dessert, Warm Chocolate Beignets, like a donut with chocolate and coffee dipping sauces.

For our last full day in San Francisco we jumped on the 8.45am ferry out to Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary. A word of warning, pre-book your tickets beforehand as they sell out fast. We luckily booked our tickets online before even leaving Australia.

I’m not your typical tourist and wasn’t there to learn the history as I had seen bits and pieces over the years on TV and in movies of the gaol (or jail for the Americans). I know it’s a jail with a treacherous past, that’s all I needed to know. I wanted to explore and photograph the building, textures of the old walls and random things. Their were two art shows on in the old building on Alcatraz, one with colourful kites and the other room had a Lego installation of political personalities, and the broken glass walls were what took my interest. The photos will best tell the story of my Alcatraz journey.

We jumped off the ferry and walked up to Pier 39 Fishermans Wharf which is the tourist hotspot.
We had a bite to eat at the famous In-N-Out Burger before catching the cable car Downtown.

Time to say goodbye to San Fran.

For the next leg of the trip, we will be jumping in a campervan ( we had hired High Noon which was one of the Maverick vans from Escape Campervans ) to do a road trip across California and into Nevada. We will be heading out of San Francisco to head up to Napa before then making our way to Yosemite National Park. We were travelling at the end of the American Fall (winter time), so the highway across to Las Vegas was closed due to snowfall, so we had to go further south and go through the Sequoia National Forest and then make our way through Death Valley to Las Vegas.  This was my favourite part of the entire trip so make sure you check out Part 3 of the journey.

• • •

Being a photographer, I tell stories better through pictures than my ramblings of words on a page.
Visit each leg of my journey through the links below …

Part 1 Los Angeles

Part 2 San Francisco

Part 3 Napa to Yosemite National Park

Part 4 Yosemite National Park

Part 5 Sequoia National Park & Lake Isabella

Part 6 Death Valley

Part 7 Las Vegas

Part 8 New York

Add Your Comment