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Book Review: The 50 Greatest Photo Opportunities ín San Francisco by Matthew Bamberg

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San Francisco is one of the most unique places in the world. It is an international tourist destination that is well known for its cable cars, bridges, and Victorian homes. While you could shoot hundreds of photos in one day in San Francisco, it is better if you have a plan to make the most of your trip.

The 50 Greatest Photo Opportunities in San Francisco is your guide book to this photographic city. In this book you will learn how to find the best sites, the most interesting views, and when to shoot them. This book is 304 pages and is divided into five chapters.

Chapter One, "Architecture," shows that while San Francisco began as a small outpost during the gold rush of the mid 1880's, by the early 20th century it was a bustling town of colorful Victorian and brick buildings and had become an important port on the West coast. Today it is a booming city of the digital age. In this chapter you will look at some of the sights that you can shoot at, including the Victorian architecture, Powell street, the Bay bridge, the financial district, China town, and other famous landmarks.

Chapter Two, "City Life," examines the heart of any city, its people. Because of San Francisco being a port city, it has embraced a diverse cultural heritage, and it seems that each neighborhood has its own flavor. In this chapter you will look at these areas, including North Beach, Haight-Ashbury, Embarcadero, Cable Cars, Union Square, Fisherman's Wharf, and more.

Chapter Three, "Events," like the city's culture, is very diverse. Ever since the rush for gold, San Francisco is a place where the off-beat can happen at any time and usually does. Many times these events are boisterous and adult-oriented, but they are always interesting for someone with a camera. Events include the Bay to Breakers Footrace, Gay Pride Parade, Cherry Blossom Festival, Critical Mass, and Farmers Market.

Chapter Four, "Urban Oasis," embraces the great outdoors. San Francisco has it all: beaches, gardens, lakes, wetlands, and great escapes. In this chapter you will explore the botanical gardens, Yerba Buena Gardens, China Beach, Lands End, Twin Peaks, Candlestick Park, Ocean Beach, and more.

Chapter Five, "Secret Places," are essentially things that don't exist anywhere else and are the strange areas that you just have to see to believe: places like Balmy Alley where fantastical murals appear, the Beach Chalet, a 1925 Spanish style building that has 1500 feet of frescoes that wrap around the inside, the Presidio Graveyard where the dead have a fantastic view of the bay, as well as other sites.

The 50 Greatest Photo Opportunities in San Francisco is a very easy to read and follow book that provides a lot of information and knowledge about San Francisco. The photographs are crisp and clear as are the captions that describe the photo.

It is a true travel guide, especially for photographers, that also provides photographic instruction. That is, not only does it tell you were to shoot, but how to get the best shots. You get the history of the site, a description of the authors approach to the shot, and a getting there section. If you are going to San Francisco and want to plan out where to shoot, then I can highly recommend this book.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.