San Francisco Streetwalkers

Walking the streets of San Francisco

Walking the streets of San Francisco

Streetwalkers abound in San Francisco.  Watch any San Francisco street and you’ll see them strutting their stuff.  Check out the fashion as they parade by.



They dress up.  They dress down.

The Sport

The Sport



Leopard skin and buckskin.





Casual, outdoorsy, and…



down and out.





Looking for something or going toward something.





Diverse and individual.





Business women, business man, and…



a  man on the move.



They are all pure San Francisco.




Urban Geometry


Saturday afternoon in the San Francisco Financial District.  The skyscrapers form deep ravines where, during the work week, commuters and workers bustle and jostle along the City streets.  I love the relative quiet of these urban canyons on the weekend.


Looking for photo opportunities, I stretch my neck upwards and marvel at the masterful work of many talented architects.  Skyscrapers are works of art.  Their symmetry and predictable patterns of shapes, angles and curves fascinate me in a way classroom geometry never did.   The mirrored facades of the buildings create strange and distorting images of their neighbors.



Some buildings transform into designs reminiscent of tribal art.



The old and new bridge the years through the use of repetitive patterns of squares and rectangles, and the juxtaposition of cool modern angles with exquisite lines and swirls from the past.



Other reflections project a sense of disorientation and visual confusion.



A late afternoon shadow on a geometric truss creates triangular pools of light.

A pattern of identical window openings march in perfect unison along regimented rows.


Urban geometry transforms my vision.  I see its influence in painted brown, square bricks centered with a long rectangle of white.


But the ultimate representation of urban geometry is the Transamerica Pyramid.


Old Dames of the Sea


Over the last few weeks, I’ve headed out for a number of photo adventures.  On a crisp, sunny weekend, I drove the coast and made an unplanned side trip to an old boat dock. Much of the dock was abandoned, but glimmers of beauty remained.

Battered, weather-worn fishing boats charm me.  Rusty hulls, paint cracking and splitting, surprise me with the soft hues of colors faded by the sun, wind, and rain.  These “old dames” aren’t considered “hot.”  Their bodies are often weathered and worn, but their character and beauty shine through.


Boat docks offer unlimited photo ops.  Abstract reflections appear in the water.


Fishermen and young lovers no longer watch a sunset from this dock:  entry is forbidden.


Signs of life do exist.  Crabpots wait, neatly stacked in rows of four, with turquoise ropes and orange buoys nestled in their silver wire cages.  Dungeness crab still reigns off the Sonoma Coast.


Buoys tether their charge until the next day’s foray into the sea.


Seabirds flit across the water, searching for a tasty morsel.  I watch them whirl and dive over the blue plane of water.  The beauty of life.


But beauty exists even when the subject has lived life long and hard.  The old dames prove it.


Baker Beach, Viet Nam & the San Francisco National Cemetery


My Dad, a career Army man, transferred from bleak, barren Ft. Bliss, Texas (El Paso) to the Presidio, California (San Francisco) in 1969.

Baker Beach was within walking distance from where we lived on the Presidio.  From its shores, I could see the soaring span of the Golden Gate Bridge. I’d sit on the sand and watch the fog curl in and out of the bridge’s orange cables while the foghorns moaned.

A few weeks ago, I decided to pay a nostalgic visit to Baker Beach.  The beach seemed larger and wider, but the penetrating cold wind off the Pacific hadn’t changed.

BlackRock, Bakers Beach

I walked the beach and thought of San Francisco in 1969, two years after the Summer of Love.  The Viet Nam war was wildly unpopular and protests occurred in the Bay area daily. My Dad served two tours in Viet Nam. I supported the anti-war movement.  We didn’t discuss the war.

I left the past and trudged back through the damp beach sand to the parking lot.  On a whim, I decided to visit the San Francisco National Cemetery, only a few minutes away from Baker Beach.


As I walked through the gates of the cemetery, I was completely unprepared for the sight of row after row of white markers marching up the hillside and as far as the eye could see.


I began to walk the rows and read the names.  Officers lie next to privates.  Jews rested by Christians.  The Spanish-American War veteran shared the same real estate as the Iraqi Freedom vet.  Those who served in the Air Force, the Navy, the Army, and the Marines slept side by side.  Women vets from the Korean War and World War II lay next to their brethren.

Spanish American War

Mark Ryan Climaco Caguioa

Mark Ryan Climaco Caguioa

Korea, VietNam


The tears rolled down my chapped face.  So many wars, so many deaths, so much sorrow.

Thank you to all those who have served, especially the Viet Nam vets who never received the recognition they deserved.  That includes you, Dad.   You served your country.  You did your job.  You did the best you could.  I’m proud of you.


Playing with the Canon 7D

                                       “…[A] photograph [is] not an objective view but

                                              a series of choices.”  By Mary Werner Marien

My birthday was December 31st.  My husband surprised me with a Canon 7D camera.  For years, I’ve been using the Canon Rebel 350D.  Nothing wrong with the 350D, but the 7D feels like a Ferrari to me. The shutter whispers when I take a picture. Its heft translates into strong and reliable. I’m getting to know the 7D and it’s going to be a long courtship.


Photography makes me slow down, look, take my time. Taking photos started as a way to preserve my personal history. Over the last few years, photography has become my window to the world.

The 7D is now my new playmate.  The realization that I’m not going to master this camera in a day frees me to to lose myself in the moment, to focus completely on my surroundings, and to see the different textures, shapes, and colors in the natural world.

I take multiple exposures of each shot.  I play around with some of the photos in Photoshop changing the rotation, the colors, experimenting.  There is no right or wrong.

Each picture I take reflects my decisions on subject matter, camera settings, lens choice and other preferences. The results are uniquely my own, as is each photographer’s view on the world.





The Lady Runners of the 1976 Honolulu Marathon


My husband and I recently travelled to Tempe, Arizona to support our 25 year old daughter, who competed in the Ironman Triathlon:  140 miles of swimming, biking and running.  As we watch the athletes warming up,  I am taken back to Honolulu, Hawaii, thirty six years ago.


Pictures courtesy of the Honolulu Marathon Clinic.


I completed my first marathon on December 12, 1976, the fourth Honolulu Marathon.  Things have changed big time.  I ran in men’s shorts and shoes because there were no women’s running gear.  I wore very Germanic Adidas shoes made of non-breathable white leather with dark blue stripes.  Each shoe weighed the same as a small dog.  My running shorts had a mesh insert, cut to support a man’s body, not a woman’s.  Wedgies were a constant problem.

The running clothes I saw at the Ironman were all sex appropriate, breathable, lightweight, sun-resistant and extremely color-coordinated.  The shoes were brilliant neon colors in orange, yellow and green.  The soles, highly waffled, were ridged and structured to protect the foot.  The cost:  a Benjamin Franklin plus.


My Adidas shoes probably cost me around $9.99 and every foot strike felt like a jackhammer up my calf.

My husband started running first.  He’d arise early on a Sunday morning to attend the Honolulu Marathon Clinic.  He’d complete a ten mile run and then return home. I’d be in bed at 11:00 a.m., smoking a Benson and Hedges.  We were headed for  “Can this marriage be saved?”

I decided to quit smoking and join him on the road.  I had never engaged in any type of sport.  Title IX was passed after I graduated from high school.  Girls had no high school sports.  We were offered modern dance.  My tenure in modern dance consisted of sitting on the floor cross-legged, and moving my hands in lackadaisical circles to “Louie, Louie.”  I never broke a sweat.

I attended the Honolulu Marathon Clinic religiously each Sunday.  I ran with other women who, much like me, were engaging in their first athletic endeavor.  We plodded along week after week, increasing our mileage slowly but surely.  We lost weight.  I beat my smoking habit. My marriage was saved.

In 1976, 1,443 runners finished the marathon and roughly 12% or 185 of them were women.  I finished 1,004th.  My number: 619.  My time:  four hours, thirty-four minutes and twelve seconds.  In the following years, I’d complete many more marathons, an ultra-marathon and a 65 mile bike ride.

My daughter and hundreds of other women completed the Ironman in Tempe. Congratulations to all of you, especially my daughter, Lia.

Lia-Ironman Tempe 2012

On December 9, 2012, approximately 20,000 runners will line up at the start of the Honolulu Marathon.  About half the runners or 50% will be women. As you run over the finish line, do me a favor, tip your hats to the lady runners of the 1976 Honolulu Marathon.

A 1976 Lady Runner in 2012

World Series…A Long Strange Trip

The San Francisco Giants are currently in a battle with the Detroit Tigers for the World Series pennant. I live in the Bay area and am surrounded by family and friends who are diehard Giants fans.  I am a know-nothing about baseball, but I’ve watched some of the games in a half-hearted attempt to please my family and friends.

While my family and friends talk about “rbi’s,” “switch-hitters,” “bottom of this and that,” and other terms I don’t understand, I watch fascinated by the game’s weird customs. To paraphrase Jerry Garcia:  “It’s been a long, strange trip….”

1.  On national television, in front of millions of viewers, the players incessantly rearrange their genitalia.  Wow.

2.  A stern-faced Detroti Tiger coach stares coldly at his players.  His hand suddenly starts moving rapidly as if manipulated by a puppet master. He touches his ear, then his forehead, then his upper lip in some bizarre communication ritual with his players.  Is he suffering from a Tourette’s attack?  If I were a player, I’d be totally lost:  ”Er,  pinkie on his left ear, WHAT does that mean??”

3.  A Giants player bunts the ball.  Two Detroit Tigers and a ref run over to the ball and stare at it.  Nobody picks it up.  They watch it roll for what seems like fifteen minutes.  Finally, the game proceeds.  Huh?

4.  The coaches’ facial expressions kill me.  There must be a “how to be a coach” manual guiding them:  “Never, ever smile.  Narrow your eyes to tiny slits.  Stare.”  Just once, I’d like to see a coach laughing his head off, having a good time.  Geez, you’re in the World Series, have some fun with it!

5.  When a pitcher struggles, five or six members of his team run out on the field along with two or three coaches.  They all huddle around the player.  My husband says they are trying to support the guy.  Seriously?  This is panic attack city. Can you imagine this happening to Tiger Woods when his golf swing is off?

6.  Deep black beards sported by many players make them look like strong contenders for child molester of the year.  At least think about some highlights, guys.