Living in San Francisco offers a lot of attractions. One of them is being close to the ocean, which offers the opportunity to enjoy its spectacular beauty. Unlike other coastal cities, San Francisco’s foggy, cold weather and high winds are somewhat unusual beach weather conditions. From the early days of our city’s history, the beach has been a weekend destination. It was known as “Outside Lands”. Development of the area started when the steam railroad began going to Beach Pavilion for concerts and dancing, starting in 1884. By 1890, trolley lines reached Ocean Beach. It is difficult to believe today, but at that time private automobiles had not yet existed, so some visitors traveled on bicycles to get to the far Western part of the city. The Cliff House, which opened in 1863, and Sutro Baths in 1896, drew thousands of visitors. At that time, the land was owned by Adolph Sutro, who made money by building a tunnel to drain water after silver was found in Comstock Lode in Nevada, in 1860. After his death in 1898, the land ownership changed hands. The area started its transformation in the 1920s and 1930s with the construction of the Great Highway and housing along the road. Gradually the area stopped being a resort area. The Sutro Baths were destroyed in 1966, and the Amusement Park was replaced with apartments and a supermarket in the 1990s.
I started visiting the beach years ago. I would come here with my camera to photograph people, the sand and the water. During the winter months, this is a place to capture incredible sunsets. The arrival of our puppy Max in our lives changed my relationship to the beach in various ways. In the morning, three times a week, I drive Max to his doggy sitter. After that, I often take the Great Highway along the beach, for my commute to my office in Daly City, just to enjoy the scenery. Sometimes I stop to take some photos for a few minutes, especially during the stormy winter weather. Recently, we started coming to the beach with Max. Thanks to the extended daylight hours, we can come here after 7pm and spend some time until the sunset. Max loves it, and so do we. He runs on the sand, chases birds, or plays with other dogs. For me, it is a great opportunity to photograph the sun, the beach and all of the surrounding beauty, and of course other dog lovers. Sometimes the thought crosses my mind about all of those people, who, like ourselves, were coming here many years ago. They are all gone, like we will be one day. But someone else is always going to enjoy the sun and the beach.
P.S. I hope that these four images will convey some of my experiences, my feelings and of course the eternal beauty. You can buy “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers”, where you will find one of the images from the beach, on Amazon.com.
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