Chris and Melanie at the Marin Headlands.
Getting out of Dodge
For Memorial Day weekend, we decided to get out of Santa Barbara for a few days. So we packed up the kids and the car and drove 5 hours north to San Francisco! We were fortunate enough to be able to visit with our very good friend Melanie, who was gracious enough to let us stay with her family for a couple of nights and to serve as tour guide!
I just sold my 4 year old Canon 5D Mk II camera and picked up a new Canon 6D so I was really looking forward to getting some shots of the Golden Gate Bridge. I really wanted to shoot it from Kirby Cove. But was too much of a hike for the kids we had in tow.
Instead, we were able to find a parking spot up at the top of the Marin Headlands (Hawk Hill?) and that is where I took the photo above of Chris and Melanie. I have a couple of other photos, but I’m not entirely excited about them. Maybe I’ll post those later. We did walk through one of the tunnels on the hill though and we were treated to this beautiful view. I’m sure this road has been in a zillion car commercials.
View from the backside of the Marin Headlands.
Dinner with Friends
After hitting the Golden Gate bridge and driving down Lombard Street, we headed back out towards the suburbs and went to Walnut Grove for dinner. Here are some pictures from dinner.
Devyn and Macy.
On our second day, we spent the early afternoon on Alcatraz Island where the kids had a lot of fun exploring. Actually, we all had a really good time! I’d highly recommend going and doing the guided audio tour. It’s included in the price of admission and it was very informative. After Alcatraz, we were able to meet up with Chris’ step-sister Inger and her mom Signa and Inger’s two kids. After hitting Ben & Jerry’s for some ice cream, we went up to Coit Tower and then out to dinner.
Quick note if you go up to the top of Coit Tower, it’s a long line and crowded elevator ride to get to the top. Once there, it can be tricky getting a photo because they have very reflective plexiglass installed for safety. I like this picture of the tower at night and from the ground.
Coit Tower at night.
Here’s a family shot taken around 9pm. I used a trick I learned from Joe McNally to light this. Rather than pointing the flash at everybody directly, I crouched down in front of a white garage door, turned the flash so it pointed at the door and then took the picture. The light reflects off of the garage and provides a much nicer source of light for the group photo. Try it sometime!
On a side note, this photo was taken after an utterly amazing and fantastic dinner at Original U.S. Restaurant. I had no idea how good or bad it would be going in. It was packed with customers which is always a good sign, but the food was beyond what I had expected. Get the Ravioli with Bolognese sauce. You won’t be disappointed.
The whole gang!
For our last day in San Francisco, we wanted to take the kids on the Cable Cars. We tried to outsmart everybody by catching the trolly up a few stops from the start of the line, but we went too far and each car was too full. So we went back down to the beginning of the line and the line there was 45 minutes. So…we walked up 2 blocks and got on the next car no problem!
Devyn sees the next Cable Car coming!
Nathan waiting patiently for the next Cable Car.
Kids on the Cable Car!
We wrapped up the day down at the end of the Cable Car line in Fisherman’s Wharf and swung by Ghirardelli Square. Honestly, I wasn’t all that impressed with Ghiradelli Square. I can say I’ve been there, but I can say that I won’t be rushing to go back. Maybe if we were going to hit the Maritime Museum, but otherwise, I don’t think so.
All and all, it was a great trip. Great seeing family and friends!