Glimpses in SeaCliff

One of the obvious, but still profound, pleasures of San Francisco is its miles of coastline – much of it walkable. A long but do-able day hike would take you from Fort Mason on the northern side, west to the Golden Gate Bridge and then Lands End, and finally south along Ocean Beach to the border. This hike provides a glorious set of views, which can change moment to moment thanks to The City’s invigorating vagaries of fog and sun. You are in view of the water for almost the entire walk.

Almost.

Between Baker Beach and China Beach lies SeaCliff, one of San Francisco’s most exclusive neighborhoods. Once you climb the stairs up from Baker Beach, your hike continues for a number of blocks past mansions perched on the hillside overlooking the strait of the Golden Gate. During this stretch you catch only glimpses of the strait and the bridge – between houses, at street corners — tantalizing, even breathtaking hints of the views the residents enjoy from their living rooms and balconies. During one walk last summer I made a point of documenting some of those glimpses, ending with a full view from above China Beach.

Two notes: The brown pelicans were out in force that day, and you’ll catch blurred sight of them in one image. And in the final image, “2 x 2 x 2,” I should note that, while I am never above using enhancing manipulation in my artwork, the grouping of pelicans, bridge towers, and walkers was entirely real – one of those “lucky” shots that comes along if you just stay long enough in one place.

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