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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Golden Gate Taxi - Fine Art Weekly Photography Series

If you're in San Francisco, and you're looking for an adventure, try taking a taxi from Japan Town in to Fort Point under the Golden Gate Bridge around 10:00 PM on a Sunday night.

But you've got to get to San Fran first...Last Friday we set off from Orange County up to San Francisco for a little exploration, adventure, good food, and friends. A quick night at a friend's in Santa Barbara (ended up a little too drunk), speeding ticket the next morning (oops), and roughly 450 miles later we roll into the city. Do the tourist thing (good to see, don't need to do it again), get some dim sum in China Town (yum!), post a dozen or so snapshots from our rapidly deteriorating camera phone (what the hell happened to that thing?), make some calls, check some maps, and game plan a shoot or two.

We're in San Francisco, so of course we've got to get a shot of the Golden Gate Bridge. A night shot. Maybe sunrise... It's already 7:00 PM, so night first. Dinner before that. With dinner over it's time to hail a taxi and get our asses out to the Golden Gate.

First off, odds are the taxi driver wont know where you want to go. It's a big ass bridge painted bright can they miss it?? But even if they've been there before, lets face it, who asks a taxi to drive them from downtown to a Civil War era fort under the bridge at that time of night? So you head out, generally aiming for the bridge, but once the taxi gets off the last exit of Route 101 before crossing the bridge, they're not going to know where to go.

Here's how our little adventure went: our little group got in a taxi at the corner of Webster and Geary. The taxi driver must have been Israeli.  He certainly had the look and accent, but that could really be a few different middle eastern ethnicities. The clincher was his driving. If you don't know, as a whole Israeli's are bad drivers. Small, windy city roads, an insistent on being right or getting the best of everyone, and frequent terrorist scares makes for some overly erratic driving. Of course their taxi drivers are even worse. Slam on the gas. Stomp on the breaks. Every half block be prepared to either hit your face against the seat in front of you, or get slammed into the seat backs as if your in a NASA shuttle launch. Do your best to keep dinner down!

Up a hill. Down a hill. Swerve to avoid a pedestrian. Stomp on the breaks for a red light. Floor it at the next green. Open the window to get some fresh air in the car, try to convince all yours senses that you are moving, despite sitting stationary on a padded bench seat. Above all try not to look down too much while searching your phone's GPS for directions for the cabbie, because he doesn't really know where the hell you want to go at 10pm on a Sunday night.

Well, we didn't know where to go either! First trip to San Francisco and all... Turns out the park completely shuts down at night- there aren't even any street lights! What would we do without smart phones and GPS? Thankfully we found the right road and stopped along the waterfront without getting lost or vomiting.

Turns out park rangers block off the final stretch of road heading to Fort Point itself, but you can still get right to the water's edge. It's dark. There's nothing around. Nothing nearby. The only light is from the taxi's headlights and the distant Golden Gate Bridge. Our original plan was to hop on down in a taxi, spend in hour taking photos, then flag down or call another taxi and head back to the hotel. That now seemed a bad idea. No way we'd find a taxi, and who knows if we called one if they'd ever find us.

Our cabbie was willing to hang our for a short while. Meter running of course. That put a little pressure to get some quality photos, and quick. Headlights off, tripod set. What the hell is wrong. Twelve batteries later (yes twelve), we can finally take a shot. At this point it's better to not think about how high the meter has run.

Click. Click. Click. One more for good measure. Time to go. $45.00 plus tip later we got our shots, got back in the same cab who took us there, re-fought the urge to loose our dinners once more, and found our hotel.

Worth it? You be the judge!

This image is now available for sale as prints, canvas, and metal (as are all our weekly fine art series images!).  Please contact us for to place an order, pricing inquiries, or any other questions you may have! Driftwood Photography Studios is based in Orange County, CA

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