Bus Stop, San Francisco

Bus Stop, San Francisco. July 15, 2011. © Copyright 2011 G Dan Mitchell - all rights reserved.


A person sits at a bus stop in downtown San Francisco, California.


I made this photograph a year ago during one of my summer walks through downtown San Francisco. These walks have become a sort of tradition for me during this time of the year - I take the train into The City, arriving very early, and then head out on foot to photograph various areas, most of which I've visited a number of times. I prowl for several different sorts of subjects - the early morning light above the waterfront, people, bits of color and shape, and "architectural landscapes."


Things can evolve very quickly in this urban environment. As I recall, the first thing that caught my attention here was the solitary figure on the bench, obscured by the semi-transparent material around the bus stop shelter, followed by the juxtapositions of yellow colors on its room and the sign across the street. The scene was incredibly busy, with people walking between me that the shelter, cars and buses passing by on the street, and people moving in and out of the frame on the other side of the street. So here, as I often do in such situations, I used what I might call the "compose and wait" approach - I found a composition around the shelter that centered the far widow and red sign in the opening... and then I waited for something interesting to appear in the right parts of the frame and for the distracting elements to disappear. I made perhaps a half-dozen or more exposures. In one, a bus passes through the frame. In another, blurred people appear in the foreground. But in this one, the person in dark clothes walked right in front of the red sign as another person emerged across the street to the left of the shelter, and no other people or vehicles interfered.


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.

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Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

  • stvjackson 3y

    Curious what the overall light was like that you ended up with yellow for the rippled roof. They always look much more red to me. (And, coincidentally, i know this stop well. If I'm on the right stationary bike at my gym, I look out directly over this.)
  • G Dan Mitchell 3y

    Hmmm. It is (was, anyway) actually yellow. There are other objects in the scene that are both the same yellow and also red. The light was typical "urban canyon" slightly bluish shaded light with open sky (perhaps some clouds?) overhead.

    Now you have me curious. I'll have to go back and look at this.
  • stvjackson 3y

    I'll have to take a look, too. Since it's by my gym, I see it all the time. I know sometimes the city does some things differently on Market than in other areas, so maybe the shelters have a different roof color than elsewhere, and I just haven't noticed it.
  • stvjackson 3y

    Mystery solved. Market Street shelters indeed are yellow-roofed. Off Market, they're red. I'd never noticed that previously.
  • G Dan Mitchell 3y

    That's what a camera will do for you! In the neighborhood near where I live there is a small downtown. I never actually noticed that all of the buildings have second stories until I went there with a camera.. ;-)
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Taken on July 15, 2011
  • EF50mm f/1.4 USM
  • ƒ/8.0
  • 50.0 mm
  • 1/60
  • 400
  • Flash (off, did not fire)
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