Sunday, September 17, 2006

Good day, Sunshine

Yesterday Devon (husband) and I drove down to SF for a fun, random day of culture (or whatever). You see, something happened this weekend that hasn't happened very much all summer... we both had the whole weekend off! Typically there is a wedding (or two), a portrait session, a trip to Santa Cruz to visit his mom, or a myriad of other stuff to do. This was a much needed mini vacation day.

And the weather was perfect!

We thought it might be chilly and foggy (hmm, wonder why?) but it was hot, with bright, beautiful sun, and absolutely the best kind of weather for wandering through the park. So we scrapped our plans of going to the SFMOMA (although I am sad that we missed the Matthew Barney exhibit, closing today) and their delicious museum cafe in favor of heading to Haight St. We found great park-side parking and walked up to the Citrus Club for delicious seaweed salad and noodles, yum! We then successfully resisted the strong urge to go down the street for shoe and record shopping (yay!) and instead jumped into Golden Gate Park.

It was funny, because I had just been talking about how the last time I visited this part of the park was 2 years ago, when I tried to see Morrissey play at the Alice radio yearly festival and he CANCELLED! - what a disappointment. Anyway, lo and behold they were setting up for this year's "Now and Zen" festival! It must be taking place toady - I'm not sure who's playing but I promise you if it was Morrissey, I would be there (because I am a huge music NERD).

We strolled through the park, past the newly fixed up Conservatory of Flowers. There were just tons of families, friends and solo San Franciscans and visitors relaxing and playing on the sunny lawns, and the building itself was so white in the sunlight you could barely look at it. We oohed and aahed over the outside but decided to keep going and visit the inside next time.

Up a bit further was the new, improved De Young Museum. Wow! It looked a lot like some crazy futuristic defense tower... Devon said he expected lasers to shoot out of it. But in a weird way, it was quite pretty too.

We took it in, then went inside. Once you pay admission, you get kind of swept along with all the other ticket buyers into the elevator line. Where is this elevator going? we thought. It could've been going somewhere awful and we would've let ourselves just be driven like cattle into it. Luckily it was going somewhere amazing - to the top of the new observation tower!!

I don't recommend this if you're afraid of heights - I'm not, and felt a little dizzy anyway. Maybe it was from the sheer beauty of it. There is a 360 degree panoramic view of the whole city. There wasn't a cloud in the sky, so we could see the Marin Headlands, the Bay, and the entirety of San Francisco. Wow!

I wanted to stay up there forever. In fact, I was daydreaming of an imaginary client renting out the tower for a wedding - is that even possible? - I will keep that as one of my goals because it is simply GORGEOUS and I hope that I can see that view in all kinds of weather, seasons, and lighting.

Besides the view, there was a huge panoramic poster of the whole city, a giant wall filled with a crystal clear satellite or aerial image. I think most people were trying to find their houses, so it was pretty crowded.

The art exhibits could've been anticlimactic after that view, but they weren't at all. I highly recommend the "Chicano" exhibit up now (until October 22nd) - it's really beautiful, with a very wide variety of work (some I loved, some I didn't like, but all of it I felt belonged in the exhibit) and a bunch of interactive stuff and even some comedy.

After that, we took in a bit of the Museum's regular collection and then realized our brains were too full. So we went outside and saw the ripped apart Academy of Sciences. Apparently part of the exhibits are at a location downtown, and the new building will reopen in 2008, but it was a little sad to see the place we had gone on so many field trips to kind of mangled with construction. I could still spy the big animal statues in the courtyard behind the construction!

We walked back to the car and then drove out to Ocean Beach. It wasn't even cold enough for sweatshirts! I got soaked in my shoes and the sun starting sinking over the horizon. We walked up past the Cliff House (where I shot a wedding last May - a highly recommended venue for smaller weddings, with delicious food and an amazing view!), past the under construction Giant Camera, and down to the ruins of the Sutro Baths. I recently found out about these ruins of a giant, indoor swimming palace (bath house, but, um, not the kind that exist today) with heated seawater, a giant slide, and hundreds of changing roms, and it was fun to go and try to mentally transport myself to 1897! I beg you to check out this link and tell me if this does not look like the "most funnest" waterslide ever!

While we were down at the ruins, we noticed a B&G (aka bride and groom) having their photos done on the rocks by the ruins. They looked really fun - he was dressed kind of like a new wave groom, and she had a pretty traditional dress and veil with huge chunky black boots. She was obviously not afraid of falling or getting dirty, as she kept pushing the photographer to go further and further out with her onto the rocks. I wondered who the photographer was (anyone I know?) and thought it looked like a lot of fun.

I realized that some of the (many) things I enjoy about shooting weddings is each couple's excitement about different aspects to their wedding day and photography. Some people want to lay on jagged rocks, having their photos taken for hours. Others want only candid stuff but the emotion they show on their wedding day is not something they could've posed anyway. Plus, I get to visit some of the most beautiful venues in the world, photograph people at their best, and check out all kinds of floral arrangements, delicious food, fancy shoes, and ... CAKE!

Anyway. We drove home contentedly and I slept really well last night. And that is the tale of our fun day in the city.

2 comments:

justducky said...

your great grandmother used to bathe at sutro baths. probably your grandma too. your pop went to see when he was tiny, still can smell the seawater. momnpear went to musee mechanique...old timey mechanical games...it was near cliffhouse. and they both went to playland at the beach. one had fun, but thought it was creepy and one didn't have fun (scary, plus we had to wear dresses!) and thought it was creepy, too.

baffle said...

I finally got to the new de Young last week (for the Gee's Bend Quilt exhibit). The new building is awesome! View from up top amazing, just as you described it.
After the experience, I felt happy that new, improved things were happening. I also felt very sad that the old de Young is no longer. Like you, the memories of field trips with family, school mates and other friends to what was the de Young and the Natural Science Museums (and Aquarium) is all that I have left now of those places...

P.S. Our little Chinatown family were regulars to Playland-at-the-Beach. It really was kinda creepy (I'm still haunted by images and sound of Laughing Sal), but in a way we felt at home there - lotsa poorer cityfolk hanging round for weekend fun with the kiddies. The enchiladas at the Beanpot Restaurant were the best, BTW.
P.S. More: I have a love/hate with Sutro Baths. It was such a beautiful building and a great swimming place. At the same time, it was yet another venue in the city that discriminated against people of color...