Lately, to myself, I’ve been referring to my picture taking trips as to being “out in the field”. It sounds a little James Bondian, although, I don’t look like James Bond, and my trips in the field aren’t usually as precarious as Bond’s. Still, I do seem to capture what looks like an occasional SPECTRE agent in some of my pictures. Going out in the field often leads me to Chinatown, as intriguing and mysterious of a place as any Bond has visited. (Peter Stratmoen)
It’s hard to tell the SPECTRE agents from the tourists in Chinatown because it’s so crowded! (Peter Stratmoen)
Trips out in the field can bring me to the same place over and over, especially, if it’s one of the most photographed locations in San Francisco like the Powell Street cable car turntable. (The Vintage Everyday site)
When in the field I regularly scout for out of the way book stores looking for San Francisco lore. Sometimes, I can’t believe what some stores let get away; like two books I recently found. Here, is a 1949 autographed copy of Herb Caen’s most famous work, ‘Baghdad-by-the-Bay’ with its terrific San Francisco Chronicle illustrations like this one of Pacific Street when it was the International Settlement. Was it really like that?
Also, another find is a book that I just recently learned about, ‘Laughter on the Hill’ by Margaret Parton with wonderful 1940’s style drawings. Margaret writes about a year she spent in San Francisco just before Pearl Harbor, and although her adventures are often banal by today’s standards, she, obviously, loves San Francisco, and her colorful descriptions of the City during this period are a delight to read. The inscription from Margaret herself reads, “To Dorothy – who really began this book – with all love and gratitude from Margaret.” May 21, 1945. That taxi driver in the cartoon certainly is giving Margaret a helping hand!
Being out in the field would be a lot easier if I moved into San Francisco. Here’s a nice place! I’ll just knock on the door and see what they want for it. That’s the Haas-Lilienthal House at California and Franklin Streets then and now.
Powell Street near Ellis: When morning trips in the field take me to this area, there’s a place right across the street from where you’re looking called Tad’s Steak House serving delicious and modestly priced breakfasts. I try to plan as many trips in the field around this area as possible. (Vintage picture from Randy Shaw’s book ‘The Tenderloin’)
Being out in the field in Golden Gate Park can sometimes involve an encounter with an apparent offspring of ‘Kronos’, the “Planet Robber” from outer space!
Trips out in the field usually involve stepping into the past, and no place is this more vivid than the ever changing – never changing Market Street. The building on the right would later become the Emporium and is now Bloomingdale’s. The domed Humboldt Building is still there, and right behind that is a good look at what the Call Building, a survivor of the 1906 Earthquake and Fire, used to look like before its crown was removed and it was remodeled in 1938. The Call Building, now called the Central Tower, is the brown and white striped building behind the Humboldt Building.
Well, James Bond himself out in the field at Fisherman’s Wharf! Hey, 007, let me give you a trade secret when out in the field here; try the Blackened Red Snapper at the Grotto. (A View to a Kill)