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Legend has it that Nathan Wirth was found close to the Seal Rocks as an infant, delivered to us by the photographic gods. He was swaddled in a blanket and a camera was found nearby. This magical spot was the site of many of Nathan's first life experiences, and to this day he continues to be drawn to them for reasons unbeknownst to him.


Whenever I'm at Sutro Baths, I can't help but think of Nathan and how he must've walked every square inch of this place, just so he could inspect every last rock fragment. As I'm shooting these rocks, I'm hearing Nathan's voice in my head: "see the rock, feel the rock, be the rock...". Thanks for the inspiration Nathan :)


All comments, critiques and feedback both positive and negative welcome.

Okay ... I've decided to face all of my feelings of inadequacy when it comes to color and meet them head on. I'm going to shove the monochrome thing aside for a while and focus on color. Here's an alternate color shot of a monochrome photo that I am quite proud of (you can find the monochrome one by clicking here).


Note: This guy stayed absolutely still for two long exposure shots (he had no idea he was being photographed).


The bluffs of San Francisco’s Lands End are reflected in a pool amongst the ruins of Sutro Baths.


Looking northwest across the Golden Gate at Marin Headlands (with a peek at Point Bonita, far left). Seen from the patch of beach just south of Sutro Baths.

I was scouting out some vantage points at Ocean beach today when I saw someone sitting very very still for long periods of time out by the water. The marine layer was kind of blah today, but the sound of the surf and the sight of the huge rocks in the distance made for a very entrancing scene, so I can understand why someone would choose to meditate in this setting.


All comments, critiques and feedback both positive and negative welcome.

Sutro Baths

San Francisco, California


* * Thanks for Looking * *


~ Explore ~

When it is low tide, this beach has always produced the goods. With a slight negative tide this evening, tons of rocks and sea creatures became exposed allowing for a plethora of compositions.


In light of the government shutdown, I decided to name this photo in honor of Congress. Much like the sea creatures in the foreground, Congress has not done anything and is simply sitting there idle. On top of that, many of the parks are closed causing us grief in hiking far longer distances to reach our destinations.

Hiking across the beach once, Alan and I came across piles of kelp, gatherings of starfish, a few feisty crabs, and even a sea lion carcass. Resembling a seafood platter, this rock served a sea creature gathering right to us – complete with starfish and a red rock crab. Coupled with a small channel behind it, this rock was the perfect foreground element.


The downside of low tides is sometimes the lack of forceful waves. Majority of waves did not reach this rock and some of which that did were rather weak and offered little texture. However, it’s sometimes more of a test of patience against nature and soon enough Mother Nature produced a reinforcing large wave. It produced the ideal results with a forceful inrush. During the inrush, the previous wave was retreating creating two small swirls. As this water action was going on, the sky was erupting with full texture. These were some of the best cloud textures I have seen and the clouds remained lit for a very long time. Even on our return hike, the clouds still had some after burn color remaining for a solid 15+ minutes.


Canon 5D Mark II

EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II


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Not many people recognize this westernmost section of San Francisco... especially when looking at it in the night.


In the center is seal rock - though it is more populated by birds than seals. The whitish coloration is, uhm, "natural bird paint."


I used a digital GND (gray gradient) to knock the sky down. It was so hazy in this direction that no stars were visible anyway. The moon was involved in providing light, but the vast majority of the light came spilling out of the Cliff House restaurant which is just out of the picture to the left. The foreground is the famous "Sutro Bath" ruins.


More details about how I processed this image can be found here


As with the other outing photographs, this was taken at Sutro Baths (ruin) using my 40D. One of the posts along the steps down to this area served as a makeshift tripod.


[42-011388] *Explored*


© Copyright 2009, 2014 Steven Christenson


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All rights reserved. Curious what "all rights reserved means?" it means that without written permission you may not: copy, transmit, modify, use, print or display this image in any context other than as it appears in Flickr.


Explored: Position 445, January 18, 2009

I saw Bowerbirds play on Thursday, and it was amazing. I've loved them for a couple of years, and last year they contacted me to have photos for their July album Upper Air. Seeing them in concert was wonderful and moving - if you can get to any of the cities left on their tour, I urge you to do so!


I need more music recommendations, though, if you have them?

A long-exposure shot of the southern end of the Sutro Baths Ruins in San Francisco, California.

The other evening, I ventured up to Sutro Baths to see if I could get a nice sunset shot there. There were nice high clouds that had potential...only they kept moving eastward. By sunset, I didn't have much to work the original image I had in mind didn't work, nor did the comp I was working on.


As dusk settled in, I decided to take a peek at Seal Rocks. The tide was well in...otherwise I wish I had been down on the beach. Then again, if the tide hadn't been high, I wouldn't have gotten the bit of water motion that I did.


It wasn't the image I came for, but I'm overall happy with how this came out.

Breaking some rules at Seal Rocks/Sutro Baths.

We went up to Sutro Baths last night as the sky looked somewhat promising. Amazingly, the color improved long after the sun set, so I had time to try different scenes.


I recommend looking at this one in the Lightbox, if you have time.


enhanced HDR version of a rather dramatic sunset taken from the ruins of Sutro Baths.

I had a small conference to go to in San Francisco, so of course I brought my camera. On the first day, I met up with my Flickr pal Alan Chan. We decided to shoot a part of Sutro Baths that isn't photographed often - with good reason! It's a bit off the beaten path and down a steep slope. I had a little tumble on the way down...thankfully it was a slow tumble, but I did get a bit banged up. I managed to hit my temple on a rock, and as soon as I got up, I began thinking...did not lose consciousness - good. Did not see stars - good...OMG there's a divot on my forehead...oh, that's just the tender area above the hematoma...No bleeding...OK, I think I'm ok...One thing's for sure, I am not the mountain goat that Alan is.


It had intermittently rained on my way up, but we were hopeful as the clouds were beginning to clear a little. Alas, this was probably the best light I got all weekend, as we ended up being skunked for every sunset.


I could have used my 10 stop here, but I ended up using a combination of my polarizer and GND to get a long enough exposure for the waves. This is a blend of three images to get rid of some distracting splash.


We were high up on the rocks, so I did not get wet. That was a different day.

A long-exposure shot of a moon-lit rock sitting in the Pacific at Sutro Baths in San Francisco, California.

After last night's okay sunset, went over to explore the famous Sutro Baths ruins by the Cliff House. For the longest time we've made the trek to Ocean Beach, never been here. This spot is well hidden from the roadway. Still so much to explorer, so little time.


Thanks for looking :-)




30 Sec

400 ISO


© Christian Arballo Images. All Rights Reserved. Feel free to share this image, just please give credit.


Thank you for looking, comments and faves!

San Francisco, California / Holga 120N, Fuji Provia 400X / 8 minute exposure

This is what is left of the Sutro Baths.


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Copyright © Gerardo Galindo


It's funny what you find when you're rummaging in the archives. I was working on another shot taken later that particular evening and rediscovered this...It was one of the first few shots I took that night. I remember that I was waiting for the sun to go down, and then some people walked up in front of me and set up camp for a while. I had been hoping to get some nice reflected color in the water: as it was, the clouds were dispersing, so I gave up and went in search of some other compositions, which I have posted previously here and here.


Anyway, while this doesn't have the dramatic color in the sky the other shots have, I like the light hitting that old concrete wall.


Sing for the Day


Take a look in Lightbox to see if you can tell where the reflection begins...

This sunset on NYE 2007 was one of THE BEST I have seen here in SF.


WOW thanks everybody for all your comments & vavorites!! This was mostly just being in the proverbial right place at the right time... all the glory goes to the Universe & Mother Earth!!!!



So I wasn't going to go shoot today because the sky looked so overcast. Glad I got over that excuse since I've been in a bit of a slump lately. I needed to go to the Sutro home ground to find bit of inspiration.

Surfma took me to all the cool spots! This was another one on my list. It was very cold, and very windy out there ... but we stayed well past sunset. She got a most excellent shot of me: "The Lone Photographer" ... and it was explored!! How cool is that?


This is a long exposure shot ... and I got quite a few ... but I liked the framing in this particular shot the best. I'm still working on the rest of that photoshoot ... some really nice ones with the sunset nested in the rocks. Most of the sliding on this image was to lighten up the image {it was way too dark}.


Happy Sliders Sunday Everyone!

This once magnificent bath house burnt down in 1966. You can read more about it here the foreground.


For suggestions about how to photograph Sutro Baths, take a look at the California page of the Free Photo Guide website.

During this month's full moon trip to Sutro Baths, I was trying create a "Gates of Hell" look with a flashlight and a red gel. The lighting in the background is a combination of some nearby floodlights and the full moon.


For suggestions about how to photograph Sutro Baths, take a look at the California page of the Free Photo Guide website.

Part of the Sutro Baths ruins and my favorite hole-in-the-rock.

High-resolution prints are available at Kate Brown Fine Art.

Sutro Baths on a cold, windy, lonely night. The lone photographer was there to get the shot. Her companion freaked out and could not walk on the skinny remnants of concrete foundations with water on both sides and giant holes to walk around. OK, so she's a wimp. Instead she walked up the hill to capture the whole scene.

Up the Coastal Trail, there are many opportunites to shoot the Golden Gate Bridge like Lands End.

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