In September of last year I was given the opportunity to photograph a feature story for National Geographic Traveler magazine. I was thrilled to get out from behind the photo editing desk and head back to my native West Coast to explore San Francisco with camera in hand. Half a year later, the results of that assignment are hitting newsstands today.
For about a week, I chased sunshine and learned to embrace fog. I drank so much good coffee. I ogled farm-fresh produce and delectable dishes….and sometimes got to eat too! I started (and ended) days in a fleece and stocking cap and was basking in the sun by mid-day. I slept in a live-work warehouse, a cozy inn tucked into the Presidio, and a funky downtown hotel. I photographed in parks, parklets, and on top of gigantic living rooftops. I rode cable cars and rubbed elbows with tourists on Lombard Street, all of us clicking away with our cameras. And on my last night in the City by the Bay, I sat in Corona Heights Park and watched the fog roll over downtown, the sky turn pink, and the city’s lights come on and sparkle.
But what I enjoyed the most during this assignment was the people that I met along the way; like Daniel Scott, the yogi-acrobat-chocolatier I stumbled upon at an Off the Grid food truck round-up (and who ended up full page on the opener of the story), and Chan Quach, a local elementary school teacher who flies his two pet macaws around Mission Dolores Park on occasional evenings. I talked with crab fishermen while patiently waiting for the tip of the Golden Gate Bridge to emerge from the fog, met a former ballerina stretching in Alamo Square Park, photographed a man taking his grandson on his first cable car ride, learned all about coffee roasting from the master roaster at Sightglass Coffee, and met so many others that I’m grateful to for taking the time to tell me their stories.
To read Andrew Nelson’s wanderlust-inspiring story and see these photographs in print, head to newsstands today to pick up the April 2013 issue of National Geographic Traveler. The issue is also available on the iPad and to get my behind-the-lens perspective visit Traveler‘s website to click through an extra photo gallery.
Thanks to Andrew Nelson for taking us all to San Francisco through his words (and for his great taste in cities), to George Stone for his edgy editing, to Dan Westergren for sending me to California, to Leigh Borghesani for yet another beautifully designed feature, and biggest thanks to Carol Enquist for her expert photo editing. Now, how do I get back to San Francisco?