Sailboats At St Francis Yacht Club Harbor San Francisco California by Wingsdomain Art and Photography

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The St Francis Yacht Club was founded in 1927 when the members of the San Francisco Yacht Club (the oldest sailing club in the western United States) decided to move their clubhouse out of San Francisco to Belvedere, California, about 13 miles to the north in Marin County. About half of the membership of the San Francisco Yacht Club declined to make the move and instead formed the St. Francis. It has become generally considered to be the most prestigious yacht club in the western United States.  -Wikipedia

 

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The San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge by Wingsdomain Art and Photography

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The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate strait, the mile-wide, three-mile-long channel between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The structure links the U.S. city of San Francisco, on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, to Marin County, bridging both U.S. Route 101 and California State Route 1 across the strait. The bridge is one of the most internationally recognized symbols of San Francisco, California, and the United States. It has been declared one of the Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. -wikipedia

 

Blue Angels F-18 Super Hornet 7D8055 by Wingsdomain Art and Photography

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This photo artwork would look terrific as a large canvas print, and a print on any other media would look just as stunning!

 

The Blue Angels is the United States Navy’s flight demonstration squadron. The Blue Angels team was formed in 1946,[1] making it the second oldest formal flying aerobatic team (under the same name) in the world, after the French Patrouille de France formed in 1931. The Blue Angels’ six demonstration pilots fly the F/A-18 Hornet, typically in more than 70 shows at 34 locations throughout the United States each year, where they still employ many of the same practices and techniques used in their aerial displays in 1946. An estimated 11 million spectators view the squadron during air shows each full year. The Blue Angels also visit more than 50,000 people in a standard show season (March through November) in schools and hospitals. Since 1946, the Blue Angels have flown for more than 260 million spectators.  -wikipedia

 

San Francisco Fleet Week (SFFW) began in 1981 when then Mayor Diane Feinstein led the nation in celebrating America’s sea services.  Taking place every October on the Marina Green over Italian Heritage Weekend, SFFW’s air show, parade of ships and many community events have become a significant and integral part of the city’s local culture and economy.  As the largest and most significant event of its kind in the nation, SFFW features a unique training and education program that brings together civilian and military forces to develop and share best practices in humanitarian assistance and emergency disaster response.  Consistently attracting millions of visitors, creating important and lasting relationships for its partners, and generating over 10M in annual revenue for the city, SFFW is now recognized by the United States Department of Defense as the model for fleet weeks across the country.  San Francisco Fleet Week is an annual public event that honors the contributions of the men and women of the United States Armed Forces while advancing cooperation and knowledge among civilian- and military-based Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response personnel.  -fleetweeksf

 

 

Fort Point and Crissy Field in The Presidio . A San Francisco Bay Area Through The Eyes of a Local Artist and Photographer Series by Wingsdomain

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Fort Point Under The San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge in The Presidio

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Fort Point and Crissy Field in The Presidio is a spectacular open public space recreation area with a long stretch of green grass where it once housed a number of temporary buildings for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition during World War I, and where seaplanes such as Pan American Airways’ historic China Clippers were known to land along the shore.  Crissy Field later became an aviation field for the US Army military airplanes to protect the San Francisco Bay which closed after 1974, and is now operated and managed by the National Park Service for all to enjoy.  Fort Point is a masonry seacoast fortification, it’s construction began soon after the Mexican-American War in 1853 and was later used during the Civil War.  The Fort is a fabulously preserved part of San Francisco military history and is registered as a National Historic Site.  Nestled literally under the Golden Gate Bridge, the Fort is open to the public and depending on what day you visit, you may find Civil War reenactments or even find yourself playing a roll in the reenactment.   Alfred Hitchcock filmed one of the scenes from his movie “Vertigo” at the edge of the Fort with the Golden Gate Bridge as the back drop, and with some Hollywood artistic licensing, steps were added into the water allowing Jimmy Steward as John Ferguson to more easily jump into the frigid water and rescue his costar Kim Novak as Madeleine Elster.

 

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3 Photographs From Inside Fort Point and One From Outside Corner of Fort Point where Hitchcock filmed one of the scenes from “Vertigo”

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The fort is open to the public and for better or worse, it commands large crowds, some coming in tour buses.  But as with most San Francisco destinations, it is less crowded on weekdays.  Parking is limited unless you park further East along Crissy Field and walk back to the Fort which is not a bad idea since you will want to explore every inch of this entire area.  And walking is the best way to take in the beauty of this park where you will be amazed by the inspiring views looking from the West to East, the Golden Gate Bridge to the Sausalito, Marin and Tiburon areas in the distance, to the isolation of both Angel Island and its history in West Coast immigration, and the infamous historical Alcatraz Island often celebrated in movies and folklore, and with the not too shabby backdrop of the East Bay.  All this visual delight brings you directly to the Financial District and the Transamerica Pyramid Tower and the Bank of America Building in the background, with the Marina District in the foreground and if you peek really hard beyond the Financial District, you might even catch a glimpse of the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge.  Coming back into view, from Crissy Field, you can clearly see the splendors of the Marina District and the spectacular classical architecture of the Palace of Fine Arts which was originally built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition.  Until recently, the Palace of Fine Arts housed the Discovery Museum, it is now still the home of a grand theatre, and is the back drop of a splendid and tranquil Classical European garden and pond.

 

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Artist Rendition of Crissy Field Looking Towards the Marina District, and a quiet tranquil scene at the Palace of Fine Arts

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Take a break from your hike and explorations of peaceful Crissy Field at the Warming Hut Café with a cup of java and some pastries, sip your coffee at the large open Torpedo Pier right outside the Café.  You will find local families and their friends enjoying the Pier, fishing and crabbing with big huge crabbing nets.  But watch your pastries, or you might find the local thieves in the form of both seagulls and pelicans taking off with your snack.  It’s a common sight to see a recreational fisherman or crabber chasing after a gull who’s just snatched a price catch from their bucket!

 

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And of course, Crissy Field is one of the grand stages for The Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornet Supersonic Jets air show during Fleet Week in San Francisco in October.  After taking a break in 2013 due to budget cuts, the Blue Angels will once again zoom through the skies coming through the Golden Gate Bridge crossing the bay along Crissy Field in no more than a few seconds, and onwards between downtown highrise office buildings.  Working in the downtown area during their death defying practice runs, I can honestly say they get so close to the buildings that you can almost touch them as they literally scream through.  You actually hear them before you see them, having a top speed of over mach 1.7.  Crissy Field is a perfect place to see these amazing supersonic jets, it offers “enough” parking during this event, but you still have to arrive early to stake your space as they fill up fast as it gets closer to show time.  The venue is also large enough to allow everyone a good view of the jets as they perform their death defying acrobatics at speeds close to the speed of sound, and if you’re lucky, they may even entertain you with a vapor cone at transonic speed just before booming through the speed of sound.  Literally with a loud audible boom!  If you want to view The Blue Angels air show in San Francisco during Fleet Week from Crissy field, plan on getting out there around 11:30am to stake a comfortable claim on the field, spread out your towels, food, drinks, and assorted toys like a football or baseball or frisbee to keep you busy.  Lay down, enjoy a nap, enjoy a book, enjoy the company of your friends and family, and enjoy the unmatched San Francisco views while you wait for the air show to begin.  A number of other airplanes like the Team Oracle biplane and The Patriots Jet Team participating in the show will start to fly around 12:30pm.  Just before the Blue Angels start to fly, you may be entertained by a United Airlines Boeing 747 flying so low to the Golden Gate Bridge you might even get an urge to call Homeland Security.  But rest assured, it’s part of the show, at least for the many years I’ve attended.  And just moments before the Blue Angels start to appear from the Sausalito and Tiburon skies, the Navy Aircraft C-130 affectionately known as “Fat Albert” will put on a dazzling show of acrobatics, flying at a 90 degree angle straight up towards the sky which is no small feat considering the husky build of the plane.  My family and I have enjoyed watching the Blue Angels since my son was 2 years old, minus year 2013 when the Blue Angels were absent, my son is now 9 years old and the show is still one of the big events he looks forward to every year.

 

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The Golden Gate Bridge . A San Francisco Bay Area Through The Eyes of a Local Artist and Photographer Series

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The San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge From the Battery Spencer

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And so the journey begins, aptly piercing through the Golden Gate Bridge, the gateway to paradise where dreams, riches, and a sense of adventure has always been on the minds of all that’s ventured to this golden place.

 

One of the best places to view the Golden Gate Bridge is from the Sausalito side of the bridge atop “Battery Spencer”.  The views from this high perch is simply spectacular!  You are literally on top of the Golden Gate Bridge with a sweeping view of San Francisco in the background.  When I first discovered this place back in the late 80’s, I was awestruck by the shear magnificence of the bridge and how human ingenuity really have no bounds.  The traffic below looked like ants from this vantage point and I felt I was on top of the world.  You can say, it was love at first sight!  Looking through the bridge, I could clearly see the City with the Transamerica Tower and the Bank of America Building piercing through the Financial district.  But as much as I tried, I was still unable to see my eight story office building along Union Square, I guess an eight story building can be equated to a needle in a haystack!  Scanning from East to West, I can clearly make out the long stretch of green trees lining the historic Golden Gate Park and the Presidio until the spectacular sweeping view got to the end of the City where it sat at the Nudist Baker Beach.

 

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Best time to visit this place is on a weekday as there are very few “legal” parking spaces and the roads are winding and narrow.  If you do decide to visit on a weekend, you should try to arrive early before 10:00am before the crowds arrive.  But even if you do come when it is crowded and even if parking is full, drive around a little and a parking space will surely open up, most visitors stay no more than 30 minutes at a time.  If you still can’t find a parking space, drive a little further along Conzelman Road, there are a number of smaller parking areas along that road with similar vistas through the Golden Gate Bridge.  And by all means, explore this magnificent treasure of the Bay Area, you will find history in the many Batteries scattered along this area as well as throughout all the San Francisco Bay Area hills.  Old Batteries are some of the best places to visit in the San Francisco Bay Area, not only do they have a rich San Francisco history, they also oftentimes are perched atop hills with spectacular views where they were once used to keep the “enemies” out, and now they are used to keep visitors coming in!


The San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge From Hawk Hill

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If you keep driving West along Conzelman Road, you will reach another popular look out area where there are equally spectacular views of the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge, albeit, from a little bit further distance.  But with that further distance, you will also get a wider angle view of the entire surrounding San Francisco Bay Area.  Nestled in these hills are another number of Batteries including Battery 129, a historic World War II military installation.  But Hawk Hill is better known for it’s diverse numbers of raptors that visit this area:

 

“It is the lookout point for the largest known flight of diurnal raptors in the Pacific states. Each autumn, from August into December, tens of thousands of hawks, kites, falcons, eagles, vultures, osprey, and harriers are funneled by the peninsular shape of Marin County into the headlands. Hawks avoid flight over water since warm thermals that provide lift are rare. Abundant populations of small mammals protected by the park are one resource that helps maintain the large number of visiting raptors in the Headlands during the fall, but the strong onshore winds hitting the hills of the Headlands provide cold updrafts and hot late summer days provide warm thermals that allow these birds to fly more efficiently.”  -Wikipedia

 

Hawk hill is not only a fabulous place to view the magnificence of the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge as well as for viewing raptors in their natural habitat, not to mention the historic Batteries, but it also contains a number of easy to intermediate hiking trails that meander in and out of the Batteries and the surrounding hills.  If you go, pack a lunch and plenty of water, you can spend a whole day exploring this area, enjoy a wonderful picnic, marvel at the spectacular views, and get a good workout while you’re at it.

 

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A few more photographs of The San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge from different vantage points.

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Introduction . San Francisco Bay Area Through The Eyes of a Local Artist and Photographer Series

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The San Francisco Bay Area has always held a certain place in my heart, it is a special place with a rich history and elegance that have been appreciated by all that have visited and an even more profound love for those who have either spent time here or for some lucky few who have had the pleasure of living here.  After growing up in Sacramento, I spent most of my adult life living in San Francisco, and even now, San Francisco is no further than a BART ride across the bay from where I currently make my residence in the East BayThe Beatles sang, “There are places that I remember…”, the San Francisco Bay Area is one of those special places.  In this series of blogs which I call “San Francisco Bay Area Through The Eyes of a Local Artist and Photographer”, I will take my audience through the fabulous streets of the San Francisco Bay Area as interpreted by myself, a long time San Francisco Bay Area local.

 

Next – The San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge as Viewed from Battery Spencer and Hawk Hill >

 

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