Tag Archives: travel

San Francisco Memories

Several years ago, for many months I had a client in downtown San Francisco. As part of that job I had a corporate apartment located right at the top of Nob Hill.

I have really found memories of living there. I’d walk the long walk down the hill into the financial district in the morning, stopping at 24-hour fitness for a workout. In the afternoons I’d hump all my gear back up the hill. San Francisco was a beautiful city, and, except for the bums they kept around everywhere, my stay there was pleasant.

I understand the word “bum” may appear insensitive or demeaning, but after many months of watching the same folks camping out in the same places, and being accosted dozens of times on each of my walks, my sympathy for these folks has waned. Considerably. Certainly many should be hospitalized. Many are in need of half-way houses, and many simply choose to make a living by begging. I guess “urban campers” might be a more acceptable term. Don’t know.

All I know is that during the first month of schlepping my gear all around the city, I grew an envy of those healthy folks that ditched the system and expected me to help them deal with the natural consequences of those choices. Especially once I learned that the city, each month, had police go around and give each homeless person over four hundred bucks. No wonder they were everywhere.

But I digress.

My fond memories of San Francisco was watching Chinese New Year, or the fog rolling in off the bay, or the view at the Embarcadero. On Saturday mornings all the sailboats would venture out into the bay, play about, only to return later.

Some of the things that you would think I would remember fondly I do not. Like the sound of cable cars. At first, I found these quite pleasant, but, since my apartment was right off their track, they got more and more annoying. There’s nothing like the DING! DING! DING! of a cable car at 8am on a Saturday morning when you’re trying to sleep in.

After a while, I gave up walking up and down the hill and started taking the cable car. What the heck. How many other times in my life will I be able to say I took a cable car to work? So I guess we made our peace.

When I say nothing is so annoying, I misled. There was always the fire department. Somehow or another my apartment was almost directly over a fire department, and I swear those guys would get tanked up on the weekends and go riding around in the firetruck around 2am. I’m sure it was great fun for them. Not so much for somebody trying to sleep.

There were a bunch of touristy things to do on the weekends, and I tried to do them all. Tour Alcatraz. Tour wine country (Wow! What a great adventure! Especially when you go with somebody who knows what he’s doing.) Drive up the coast to see the Redwoods. Visit some of the wonderful museums.

I had a blast living in San Francisco. After a while, though, the memories for me got dimmer and dimmer. I would tell people about my time there, but it didn’t seem so real.

So I was very happy to find a video a couple of weeks ago shot from my apartment. Somehow having the pictures or the video makes the experience much easier to remember.

If you've read this far and you're interested in Agile, you should take my No-frills Agile Tune-up Email Course, and follow me on Twitter.

Shooting Beach People

This should be an interesting entry, as I’ve been about 40 hours without sleep and just had two glasses of wine — so bear with me. If I confess to kidnapping the Linbergh Baby or being D.B. Cooper it’s just the lack of sleep and intoxicants.

We arrived in Sydney around 8am, which was 6pm to our internal clocks. Being the good American tourists we are, first we spent too much for a ride to our hotel (80 bucks!) and then we paid too much for rooms with a view of a brick wall (but they’re oceanside rooms!) Each time we were told what a great deal we were getting, and we were in no shape to argue, so we capitulated.

We were also told to stay up as late as possible today — it’s the best thing to get your body’s clock reset to a new time zone. So even though I know better, I drank a diet red bull and two coke zeros and we went for a walk on the beach.

Lovely beach, this Bondi beach in Sydney! Gorgeous setting, large beachfront, not too crowded, lots of foofey shops and a wonderful beach walk — who could ask for more?

I figured the best thing to do was to get back into shooting DSLR again. I love my DSLR, but it takes a while for me to get into the hang of it. Quite frankly, I’m more at home with landscapes: it appeals to my desire to set a million different parameters. So I felt a good start was to try to shoot people.

People are very tough to shoot.

Aside from the two topless women sunbathing (pictures not included), we saw a lot to shoot. Here’s Day 1 of Daniel’s Back-in-the-saddle DSLR exercise.

Bondi Beach Landscape typical shot
This is the type of shot most folks probably bring home from Bondi beach

Bondi Beach Landscape typical shot
These volleyball players gave me the best shots of the walk
I should have stayed around and shot them some more

Bondi Beach Landscape typical shot
This girl just came from nowhere, sat on a rock,
and stayed there until I had finished shooting 7 or 8 shots.
Then she left

I wish I had gotten some better action shots
I think beach volleyball lends itself naturally to practice people-shooting

If you've read this far and you're interested in Agile, you should take my No-frills Agile Tune-up Email Course, and follow me on Twitter.