The Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory Clock Tower San Francisco California by Wingsdomain Art and Photography

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Ghirardelli Square is a landmark public square with shops and restaurants in the Fisherman’s Wharf area of San Francisco, California. A portion of the area was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 as Pioneer Woolen Mills and D. Ghirardelli Company.  -Wikipedia

 

 

 

Life Down On The Farm Stanford University California by Wingsdomain Art and Photography

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Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University, is a private research university in Stanford, California in northwestern Silicon Valley near Palo Alto. Its academic reputation, eminent alumni, and wealth have made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.  The Stanfords chose their country estate, Palo Alto Stock Farm, in northern Santa Clara County as the site of the university, so that the University is often called “the Farm” to this day.   -wikipedia

Stanford University Artistically rendered here in a whimsical surreal settings giving a new meaning to The Farm!  A must have for all Stanford Alumni and a treasure for anyone else to own.  This piece of creative art by wingsdomain.com is certain to put a smile on your face and brighten up any space in your house, office, or even college dormatory.  It’s fun, it’s whimsical, it’s a satirical masterpiece of the Animal Kingdom in a surreal world, it’s life down on The Farm!

 

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

 

 

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

 

Point Reyes National Seashore California by Wingsdomain Art and Photography

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“The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” -Jack London

 

Point Reyes is a prominent cape and popular Northern California tourist destination on the Pacific coast of northern California. It is located in Marin County approximately 30 miles (50 km) west-northwest of San Francisco. The term is often applied to the Point Reyes Peninsula, the region bounded by Tomales Bay on the northeast and Bolinas Lagoon on the southeast. The headland is protected as part of Point Reyes National Seashore.

The peninsula is a popular recreational destination for the nearby San Francisco Bay Area, especially for hiking on its many trails and sea kayaking the shores of Tomales Bay and the coast. Point Reyes National Seashore offers some of the finest birdwatching in the United States, It is also one of the best places to watch Northern Elephant Seals in the winter months. More than 70,000 acres (300 km2) of habitat harbor an incredible variety of bird life. There are also popular oyster farms in and near the peninsula -Wikipedia

 

 

 

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

The Sea Never Gives Up Her Dead by Wingsdomain Art and Photography

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

 

Napa Sonoma County California Wine Country by Wingsdomain Art and Photography

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The Wine Country is an area of Northern California in the United States known world-wide as a premium wine-growing region. Viticulture and wine-making have been practiced in the region since the mid-19th century. There are over 400 wineries in the area north of San Francisco, mostly located in the area’s valleys, including Napa Valley in Napa County, and the Sonoma Valley, Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Bennett Valley, and Russian River Valley in Sonoma County. Wine grapes are also grown at higher elevations, such as Atlas Peak and Mount Veeder AVAs. The region is defined not only in terms of viticulture, but also its ecology, geology, architecture, cuisine, and culture. The majority of the grape harvest, in terms of both area and value, derives from Sonoma County.

Cities and towns associated with the Wine Country include Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, Sonoma, Kenwood, Petaluma, Sebastopol, Guerneville, Windsor, Geyserville, and Cloverdale in Sonoma County; Napa, Yountville, Rutherford, St. Helena and Calistoga in Napa County; and Hopland and Ukiah in Mendocino County.

Napa Wine Country

Napa Valley is widely considered one of the top American Viticultural Areas in California, and all of the United States, with a history dating back to the early nineteenth century. By the end of the nineteenth century, there were more than 140 wineries in the area. Of those original wineries several still exist in the valley today including Charles Krug Winery, Schramsberg, Chateau Montelena, Nichelini and Beringer. Viticulture in Napa suffered a setback when prohibition was enacted across the country in 1920. Furthering the damage was an infestation of the phylloxera root louse which killed many of the vines through the valley. These two events caused many wineries to shut down and stalled the growth of the wine industry in Napa County for years. But for many Italian and Swiss families as farm labor in the vineyards, Prohibition offered the unique opportunity for the growing and shipping of grapes to immigrant homewinemakers across the country. Charles Forni, who received a gold coin as his first U.S. dollar upon arriving, rose to be a large shipper. The Mondavi family came West from the Minnesota ore-country to Lodi to ship grapes to the “Italian Club” miners. When Prohibition stopped in 1933, the price of grapes crashed to below $24 per ton. Then A.P. Giannini, founder of Bank of America at San Francisco, started to promote to rebuild the commerce of wine and viticulture. Following the Second World War, the wine industry in Napa again began to grow. But cattle and prunes were king.

In 1965, Napa Valley icon Robert Mondavi broke away from his family’s Charles Krug estate to found his own. This was the first new large scale winery to be established in the valley since before prohibition. Following the establishment of the Mondavi estate, the number of wineries in the valley continued to grow, as did the region’s reputation. Consumer trends followed the 60s free lifestyle for experimentation. The old “paesano” customers of “dego red” gallon jug wines changed to young women who considered white wine, not beer, as their new drink of choice for romance. Robert Mondavi Winery attracted new wine aficionados by introducing the larger, 1.5 wine bottle for an image of affordable quality.
In addition to large scale wineries, Napa Valley’s boutique wineries produce some of the world’s best wines. The producers of these wines include but are not limited to: Araujo, Bryant Family, Chimney Rock Winery, Colgin Cellars, Dalla Valle Maya, Diamond Creek, Dominus Estate, Duckhorn Vineyards, Dunn Howell Mountain, Grace Family Vineyards, Harlan Estate, Husic, Kistler, Jericho Canyon Vineyards, Marcassin, Rutherford Hill Winery, Screaming Eagle, Sequoia Grove, Shafer Hillside Select, Spencer-Roloson Winery, Steltzner Vineyards and Bouchaine Vineyards.

Today Napa Valley features more than four hundred wineries and grows many different grape varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Zinfandel, and other popular varietals. Napa Valley is visited by as many as five million people each year.

Sonoma Wine Country

Winemaking—both the growing of the grapes and their vinting—is an important part of the economic and cultural life of Sonoma County. In 2004, growers harvested 165,783 tons (150,396 tonnes) of wine grapes worth US$310 million. In 2006 the Sonoma County grape harvest amounted to over 185,000 tons, exceeding Napa County’s harvest by over 30 percent. About 80 percent of non-pasture agricultural land in the county is for growing wine grapes—59,973 acres (242.70 km²) of vineyards, with over 1100 growers. The most common varieties planted are Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot noir, though the area is also known for its Merlot and Zinfandel.

Sonoma County is home to more than 250 wineries with eleven distinct and two shared American Viticultural Areas, including the Sonoma Valley AVA, Russian River Valley AVA, Alexander Valley AVA, Bennett Valley AVA and Dry Creek Valley AVA, the last of which is known for the production of high-quality Zinfandels.

 

– All descriptions courtesy of Wikipedia.

 

Majestic Bridges of The San Francisco Bay Area 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.

 

The San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge (known locally as the Bay Bridge) is a complex of bridges spanning San Francisco Bay in California. As part of Interstate 80 and the direct road between San Francisco and Oakland, it carries about 240,000 vehicles a day on its two decks. It has one of the longest spans in the United States.

 

The Carquinez Bridge refers to parallel bridges spanning the Carquinez Strait, forming part of Interstate 80 between Crockett and Vallejo, in the U.S. state of California. The name originally referred to a single cantilever bridge built in 1927, helping to form a direct route between San Francisco and Sacramento. A second parallel cantilever bridge was completed in 1958 to deal with the increased traffic. Later, seismic problems of the 1927 span led to the construction and 2003 opening of a replacement: a suspension bridge officially called the Alfred Zampa Memorial Bridge. Currently, the Alfred Zampa Memorial Bridge carries westbound Traffic from Vallejo to Crockett, and the 1958 cantilever span carries eastbound traffic.

 

The Richmond–San Rafael Bridge (officially, the John F. McCarthy Memorial Bridge) is the northernmost of the east–west crossings of the San Francisco Bay in California, USA, connecting Richmond on the east to San Rafael on the west end. It opened in 1956, replacing ferry service by the Richmond–San Rafael Ferry Company.

 

The Benicia–Martinez Bridge refers to three parallel bridges which cross the Carquinez Strait just west of Suisun Bay; the spans link Benicia, in the U.S. state of California on the north side with Martinez, California on the south. The two automobile bridges are referred to collectively as “The Benicia Bridge”.

 

The San Mateo–Hayward Bridge (commonly called the San Mateo Bridge) is a bridge crossing the U.S. state of California’s San Francisco Bay, linking the San Francisco Peninsula with the East Bay. The bridge’s west end is in Foster City, a suburb on the eastern edge of San Mateo. The east end of the bridge is in Hayward. It is the longest bridge in the San Francisco Bay Area and the 25th longest in the world by length. The bridge is owned by the state of California, and is maintained by Caltrans, the state highway agency. Further oversight is provided by the Bay Area Toll Authority.

 

The Dumbarton Bridge is the southernmost of the highway bridges across San Francisco Bay in California. Carrying over 81,000 vehicles daily, it is the shortest bridge across San Francisco Bay at 1.63 miles (8,600 ft; 2,620 m). Its east end is in Fremont, near Newark in the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, and its west end is in Menlo Park. It has three lanes each way and a separated bike/pedestrian lane along its south side. Like the San Mateo Bridge to the north, power lines parallel the bridge.

 

– all bridge descriptions provided by Wikipedia.

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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