Sunday, 10 February 2013, 1136
Thirty-second exposure from Twin Peaks of Sutro Tower (1972), Jupiter and the stars.
Christmas Tree Point Road, San Francisco, California: 31 January 2013
Saturday, 09 February 2013, 1708
Thirty-second exposure from Hendrik Point at Battery Spencer of the Golden Gate Bridge (1937), northwestern San Francisco and Sutro Tower (1972).
Near Conzelman Road, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Sausalito, California: 29 January 2013
Saturday, 09 February 2013, 1647
The red neon sign of The House of Shields saloon, which also says "cocktails" instead of "live music" now.
39 New Montgomery Street, San Francisco, California: 26 January 2013
Back in 2009, I had an opportunity to check out a saloon called The House of Shields at 39 New Montgomery Street. An interesting place with wonderfully old decor, brass chandeliers, illuminated sconces and a huge wooden bar, much mystery and apocryphalness surround The House of Shields.
Most accounts state that the saloon first opened its doors in 1908, although others say 1910. The building that contains The House of Shields, the Sharon Building, was built in 1912 leading to further confusion. It operated as a gentlemen's club and as such, prostitutes were the only women permitted inside until 1972 or 1976.
Another popular story tells the tale of how the saloon acquired its iconic wooden bar early in its existence. As the story goes, the ritzy Palace Hotel across the street had purchased the bar for their new Pied Piper room.
The other main feature of that space was the Maxfield Parrish painting commissioned for behind the bar. Upon discovering that the painting was too large to support the grand bar, The House of Shields' owner suggested it be moved to his establishment.
During the prohibition of alcohol from 1920 to 1933, the House of Shields ran a speakeasy in the basement complete with a secret underground tunnel to the Palace Hotel. Untold numbers of hotel guests passed through that tunnel in order to drink illegally, possibly including U.S. President Warren G. Harding.
The official account holds that Harding died in the presidential suite of the Palace Hotel, but others claim that he actually had a heart attack in the speakeasy while getting drunk with his cronies. They say he was immediately rushed back to the suite to make it appear as if it happened there.
In January 2010, news came that the bar would be closing in June after over one-hundred years of business. Fortunately, Dennis Leary, owner of The Sentinel sandwich shop next door, had his eye on the saloon and wanted to restore it to its former glory.
Leary purchased the bar and during an approximately six-month period, completely cleaned, refurbished and restored it. The House of Shields reopened on 16 December 2010.
When Marc and I drove down New Montgomery Street on 26 January 2013, we immediately saw that the metered street parking spot right at The House of Shields' front door was available. This was only one example of the amazing parking luck I had during this trip.
We were early enough to beat the after-work crowd known to frequent the bar and were able to sit in one of the small booths along the windows. I particularly appreciate one of the bar's longtime policies: no televisions.
It was great to see all the immaculate detailing in the decor that had been covered in dirt and smoke for so many years. The statues, the bar and the floor tiling, everything looks great.
I was also pleased to see that the humongous urinal in the men's room is still present. It is so large that when standing at it, you feel like it may just hug you.
In the excitement of the trip, I knew it was likely that I would get home to my photographs and wish that I had done something differently. In this case, I neglected to take any photographs of the interior.
My love of neon signs fortunately prevented a complete lapse though, as evidenced by the exterior shots I did capture. Film buffs will recognize the sign and street corner from the final scene in David Fincher's 1997 thriller The Game.
Wednesday, 06 February 2013, 2308
A large eye bolt installed on the inside of Coit Tower near the top.
1 Telegraph Hill Boulevard, San Francisco, California: 28 January 2013
Wednesday, 06 February 2013, 2126
Decorative lighting strung around the pool at the Tonga Room.
950 Mason Street, San Francisco, California: 27 January 2013
Wednesday, 06 February 2013, 2038
Marc Malonzo taking photographs at Twin Peaks with his Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT.
Christmas Tree Point Road, San Francisco, California: 20 January 2013
Wednesday, 06 February 2013, 0051
The moon rises over San Francisco Bay and Alcatraz Island with the Golden Gate (1937) and Oakland Bay Bridges (1936) in view from near Hawk Hill in the Marin Headlands.
Conzelman Road, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Sausalito, California: 29 January 2013
Tuesday, 05 February 2013, 2343
Eric Rewitzer's and Annie Galvin's logo in metal in the spacious backyard of 3 Fish Studios.
4541 Irving Street, San Francisco, California: 21 January 2013
I cannot remember when I first came across the original artwork of Eric Rewitzer and Annie Galvin, the husband and wife team that call 3 Fish Studios their home away from home.
Presumably the discovery was via a piece of Sutro Tower artwork, as Annie and Eric have featured my favorite tower in numerous pieces over the years.
Since I was unable to visit their former studio in the Dogpatch during my last visit in May 2009, I made a point to write Eric and Annie in advance of this trip. We made plans for a visit at their new (as of mid-2012) studio in Outer Sunset, just blocks away from the Pacific Ocean, on Monday, 21 January 2013.
Founded in 2007, 3 Fish Studios "creates a dedicated space where [Annie and Eric] can make and show their artwork together, and invite people to share the joy in doing the same."
When not producing their own work, Eric and Annie regularly host small printmaking classes. All materials and instruction are provided; students leave with new skills, fun memories and an edition of their own prints.
Marc and I started the day by driving from Sunnyvale to the Haight for lunch and a beer at Rosamunde Sausage Grill and Toronado Pub, respectively. It was a short drive from there to the Outer Sunset, where we easily found street parking.
The 3 Fish Studios storefront at 4541 Irving Street has been attractively refurbished and decorated with tiles. The 1917 building was originally used as a grocery store and more recently was home to a local dance studio.
The interior is a pleasant and comfortable space with high ceilings and light colored walls. Those entering the gallery are first met with tables and wall displays with artwork by Annie and Eric in various designs and sizes. Beyond the finished works is the studio area complete with work tables, supplies, printing presses and other equipment.
It was a pleasure to meet and talk to Eric and Annie, as well as their studio staffer, a very nice San Francisco native whose name I embarrassingly cannot recall. It is obvious that they are great people who love what they do and the city in which they do it. Annie moved to the area from Dublin, Ireland in 1989 while Eric relocated from Ohio in 1987. They married in 2001.
While discussing the inevitable topic of Sutro Tower and sutrotower.org, I mentioned a tattoo based on one of Eric's Sutro Tower linocut prints. He immediately knew that I was speaking of Chris Rosa, who commissioned the tattoo as a tribute to his deceased father.
Rosa had lost track of the original artwork, which he had seen on Etsy, so I put him on the path to 3 Fish Studios and Eric's original print.
Upon hearing this, Eric quickly walked over to a storage cabinet, opened a short but wide drawer and removed the original linoleum sheet carved with the artwork featured in Rosa's tattoo. And with that, he and I were off to create a one-of special edition hand pulled print!
Eric took the carved linoleum Sutro Tower to the painting area in the back section of the studio and presented me with a selection of three colors. I picked the red paint because the shade reminded me of Federal Standard 595 Color 12197 "Aviation Orange," one of two colors used to paint the real tower.
After rolling the paint onto the linoleum, Eric moved it to an alignment page on the printing press and placed a piece of thick paper on top. He then positioned the press blanket and readied the machine for use. I was pleasantly surprised and amused when I was told that I would be operating the press myself.
Turning the large, plus-shaped handle of the press for about a minute, the blanket, paper and linoleum moved slowly through the contraption. When complete, Eric signed the work and embossed it with the 3 Fish Studios logo.
My contribution was small, but it was a fun experience. I can only imagine how fulfilling an entire printmaking class would be here.
Marc and I spent the rest of our time chatting with Eric and Annie, who also graciously served us delicious pints of beer, as well as looking around the rest of the building.
The spacious but cozy fenced-in backyard seems like a wonderful place to spend time outdoors with friends, family and customers alike. Eric's wooden table in the shape of California sits at the center, while gardens and other adornments complete the space.
Whether you are looking for affordable local artwork, clever one-of-a-kind gifts or to learn and make your own linotype prints, no visit to San Francisco would be complete without a trip to 3 Fish Studios.
Thanks to Annie and Eric for their hospitality!
Monday, 04 February 2013, 2026
Thirty-second exposure from Twin Peaks of Sutro Tower (1972), the sky and lights from the western neighborhoods beyond.
Christmas Tree Point Road, San Francisco, California: 31 January 2013
I have wanted to take long exposure photographs in California and from Twin Peaks in particular ever since my last visit in May 2009. As Marc has a tripod, we were able to visit some key shoot locations—including Yerba Buena Island, Twin Peaks and the Marin Headlands—and do just that.
Consequently, the results are a mixed bag of successes, near misses, beautiful mistakes and garbage. I had some difficulty getting clear and still shots, especially when using longer lenses.
I guess that wind gusts in a few of the locations were a contributory factor, but I really think that for my setup I need a heavier, more sturdy tripod. Not only will that help support the weight of my longer lenses, but should make it easier to stabilize the tripod on inclined or unpaved surfaces.
Fortunately, many of my long exposure shots seem to have come out well, including the thirty-second exposure of Sutro Tower atop this article. It was taken in the early morning hours of my last day in California—one last trip to Twin Peaks and the city before heading back to Florida.
Like most of the days of my visit, the weather on this night was perfect for outdoor photography. In fact, the weather during my entire trip was uncharacteristically nice, a fact which locals continued to mention to me with their thanks and appreciation. The moon was also still nearly full, providing an incredible amount of ambient light.
When I first saw this photograph, I had very mixed emotions. The lighting, the colors, the sky; everything turned out perfectly except for the wide-angle lens perspective problem. As close as I was to Sutro Tower and shooting at 18 mm to fit the tower in frame, it gives the appearance that Sutro is leaning to the left.
In the end, I was not pleased with any of my attempts to correct the problem in Lightroom and accepted it as-is without perspective correction, rotation or cropping. After all, many of the 2,493 photos that I took this trip are of Sutro Tower and are not shot the same.
Besides, should I discover that I failed to adequately capture something I had planned, I will simply have to return for a re-shoot.
Sunday, 03 February 2013, 1545
Two people navigate the Sutro Baths (1896) western wall ruins hand in hand as the sun prepares to set.
Near Merrie Way, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco, California: 21 January 2013