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PhotoSecrets San Francisco & Northern California: The Best Sights and How to Photograph Them Paperback – June 17, 1997


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Product Details

  • Series: Photosecrets
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Photo Tour Books (June 17, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0965308715
  • ISBN-13: 978-0965308717
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 4.9 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #358,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 33 customer reviews
This book is everything I'd hoped it would be.
Showbear
The book gives suggestions about the best times to take photos and I used this as a guide to planning each days itinerary.
Steven Sprachman
I was able to take some of my best pictures in my first trip to San Fran & Yosemite.
LJ

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Masa on September 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is not a book for pro photographers looking for insight or technical secrets. The pictures in this book have interesting composition, but they are not world-class photos. In fact there are some which are plain poor (... there are several out of focus pictures and some with poor exposure). This book isn't for the pros though, it is for the amateurs. But what the book DOES have are outstanding tips for helping amateur photographers understand why to do certain things in certain locations, such as what lens selection does to the shot composition, and how to pick intersting angles.
Is it a travel book? Not really. It lists locations in a given area but it won't help you plan your day in a city.
Now with that said ... this book is truly a photo location list. Most travelers are not pro photographers, but they love to get a tip or two on how to take good photos. Having this book alongside a travel guide goes a long way to help finding and composing interesting pictures. Travelers want to find places where they can take memorable photographs, but travel books don't help with that much. So this book definitely fills a specifc need.
I find this book enjoyable in this aspect, ... It is extremely well illustrated with pictures, examples, maps and beginner photo tips. Don't buy it for travel tips, don't buy it for photography lessons, but buy it to find out how you can make the most of finding the truly memorable locations, and buy it for seeing a photo composition process by working backwards from the final product.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Boone VINE VOICE on March 6, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book but you must understand that it is neither an instruction manual on photography nor a real tour guidebook for San Francisco. It is written to help give you a chance to get great shots of northern California landmarks. It not only points out the best locations from which to take pictures but also provides other info such as which time of day proviides the best lighting.
On a recent trip to SF I got some amazing shots of the Golden Gate Bridge from places I would never have known even existed without this book. It shows you perspectives from several different locations for each landmark so you can choose your favorite. This allows you to head straight for the spot you've picked out and know what time of day you need to be there to get them. This kind of plan of attack will greatly increase your chances of getting great pictures.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Bharat Suneja on February 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
I LOVE SAN FRANCISCO. And I love photographing San Francisco. It is a beautiful city. However, if you don't actually live there and know the city like the back of your hand, you probably miss out on a lot of popular places where you can get great shots. This book tells you where to go, at what time of the day or night (to get the best shots), whether dawn/morning/noon/late afternoon or sunset time is best from a particular location, where to stand, what kinda lenses/exposures to use, et al.
Great book for budding photographers and tourists. Worth every cent! BTW, the pictures are not all award-winning shots, but something you can go and take with your camera after reading the book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A. Brown on April 20, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I took the trip of a lifetime to San Francisco and Yosemite National Park earlier this month, and this was one of two photo guidebooks that I bought to plan the trip and carried with me. The other was The Photographer's Guide to Yosemite by Michael Frye, which was an invaluable tool for that part of my trip. Although this book does cover Yosemite, it is no substitute for the Frye book. If you're visiting Yosemite, be sure to pick up the Frye book.
This book is not nearly as good. It covers such a big swath of northern California that it does not do each site justice. For instance, I often got a little lost looking for the suggested overlooks and spots. I also felt that the book tried to provide history as well as photo information, and consequently did neither very well. It would have been better to be direct with the photo information rather than get into a history of each of the major stops listed in the book (often several are listed on a page, and in paragraph form). That said, the Yosemite book is pretty much the high water mark for this kind of book and it is hard to top it.
This book was very helpful to me in planning my trip. For instance, I made a special effort to get to places like Baker Beach at sunset or Vista Point at sunrise, and was rewarded with beautiful light on the Golden Gate. For a person with a photography hobby, it was great to have this book on hand.
Pick up this book but don't forget the Frye book if Yosemite is part of your destination.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
I am a 24 year resident of San Francisco but a beginning photographer. I wanted to find places to photograph and this book did an excellent job. Plenty of color photographs to help inspire you. It gives in good details how to get to the specific area to take the best photographs and the same one as shown in the book. This book guided me to places I have never been and even made brief suggestions as to things to do in the area. An excellent guide for the tourist and the residents of the bay area.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Farmgal699 on November 24, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Filled with fabulous full color photos, and covering Northern California, from Big Sur to the Oregon border to the Nevada border, and, of course, San FRancisco, this book is both a tour guide and photography guide in one. The book is organized by region, and the San FRancisco section of the book is divided into the various neighborhoods. The book features its share of postcard shots, but goes beyond the "pretty picture in a tour book" to tell the reader HOW to acheve the same photograph.

Listed alongside each featured neighborhood or attraction is a lighting guide, with suggestions on angles, f-stops, shutter speeds and the best time of day to take the photographs. Also listed are admission prices (which may have changed, as the book was published in 1997) and phone numbers.

The book goes beyond San Francisco to cover areas such as Monterey, Silicon Valley, Wine COuntry, the coastline to the Oregon border and the Gold country. There is also a section on Yosemite, although Yosemite is discussed in its own book in the same series.

The one drawback is that the author does not spend much time discussing topics more advanced photographers might be interested in, such as using filters, backlighting or composition, but this is not enough to detract from the overall quality iof the book. The photographs found inside are inspiring and the tips to help recreate these photos take the photographer far beyond the standard vacation photos.

Overall, I highly reecommend this book for the travel photographer. I just wish the series could be expanded to include areas other than the United STates.
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