Falling in Love with San Francisco

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The feelings had crept up under my skin. I barely noticed them sneaking in, and it’s only in hindsight that I can trace them back. In truth, I didn’t know that anything had changed in me until that very moment when I drove up that final stretch of I-280. As I rounded the bend in the concrete, the cityscape came into view, and I felt it with the full force of realization.

I had finally fallen in love with San Francisco.

I’ve loved the Bay Area for years, and I was quick to call Oakland home. But somehow, when I moved across the Bay to San Francisco this summer, I never quite settled in. Perhaps it was that I was out of town most of the time anyway or that I moved rather suddenly or that I happen to live in a very quiet part of town with a powerful illusion of isolation. I liked SF just fine, but whatever the reasons, I wasn’t fully convinced. Until now.

What changed? I think I finally had a reason to get to know the city. I had started doing more shoots again around the city. One of my favorite things about photography has always been its ability to give me a reason to explore. To visit places I might never bother to visit otherwise and to walk and to really see a place. SoMa, Sutro Baths, Legion of Honor, Hamilton Ballroom, the Mission. I also rediscovered my inner tourist, thanks to tourists. We’ve had a fairly steady stream of visitors here since December, and with them, I’ve been eating my way through San Francisco’s restaurants and (re)discovering classic attractions like the Ferry Building, the Exploratorium, Golden Gate Park. Basically, I was discovering and exploring the city, learning my way around, and, well, falling for it.

I’ve even come to love my own neighborhood, the awkward semi-developed Mission Bay with all its empty parking lots. A couple days ago, I attended a photography seminar with Sandy Puc and Gerry Ghionis in my own backyard (UCSF Mission Bay). After a really long session, I walked outside into the crisp dark night, and I smiled to myself. The same cityscape was glittering softly before me, happily reminding me, hey, this is your city, as I walked myself back home

I snapped the photo above on my phone. I don’t even mind that it’s terribly underexposed, because it totally brings back the feeling of the moment. <3.