San Francisco Zoo

#sf-photography fourth edition: going to the zoo! Way out at the edge of the city, we arrived by train, by car, by van, by Lyft — all to see the wild animals (insects and humans included).


It was the last day to travel through the Twin Peaks tunnel before the summer construction shutdown and as a minor transit nerd, I had to take the opportunity to ride the L through said tunnel all the way to the zoo.

We started the day at Andytown. I got there early for some caffeine and to have a little reading time.

Welcome to Andytown

Coffee @ Andytown

Phill showed up soon enough and made some on-the-spot camera adjustments.

Phill @ Andytown


After a quick bite at Java Beach Café (now the official sf-photography place to eat in the Outer Sunset?) we started the Zoo Expedition.

Photographers at the ready


Some of us got so excited we became one with the animals.



I got excited to ask the cassowary birds about auto layout constraints (sorry, nerdy reference).


Phill got all excited about getting a taste of home at Koala Crossing.

Koala crossing


Others stayed mostly professional and concentrated on the all-important photography part of sf-photography.



Riz was even willing to go over the safety barrier to get up close and personal with some big cats. The barrier was probably more to protect the grass, and no animals or humans were harmed.


And remember, the best camera is the one you have with you.

iPhone as camera

I was looking forward to getting a tour of my favorite operating systems. Here’s Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger:


Mac OS X 10.7 Lion:


The snow leopards (10.6) were unavailable that day, causing much sadness. Instead, we made a detour to the open-source Linux pond.


My zoo highlight of the day was the red panda. I’m a sucker for anything remotely fox-like.

Red Panda

Greg & Red Panda

The zoo lowlight was the insects. “The sign says the insect house closes at 4 but lucky us it’s 4:30 and they’re still open!” said no one at all, ever. 😉

Insect preservation

We were getting close to the end of our zoo time, which means one last thing: group self-timer photo!

Squad @ Zoo

The big surprise was that some time during the day, Phill got hired at the zoo. He must have done well on the whiteboard interview about cassowaries.

Employees Only

Next up, we loaded into the Rizmobile and decided what to do next.

In transit

Of course the answer was obvious after a day of walking…

Ice cream

Then we had to pick a spot to see if golden hour would make an appearance and poke its way through the clouds. We decided on Lands End, to get some nice bridge views too.

Bridge selfie

Lands End

Golden Gate Bridge

It was getting dark, and soon we had only the glow of our devices to light the way. Appropriate, for a group of iOS nerds.



That turned into a chance opportunity to try some long-exposure night shots. We didn’t have tripods but we made do with what we had: backpacks, shoes, and steady hands while holding our collective breaths.

Golden Gate Bridge

As another photography day was winding down, I thought as I always do: what does it all mean? Should we be spending so much time staring through viewfinders? Is that such a bad thing?

Sometimes life is about framing and perspective and trying new angles, after all. What would life look like without the chance to consider composition and how we put things together? What would life look like without being thoughtful about how we choose to see the world?

The maze

As we kept joking to each other all day: “Doesn’t look like anything to me.”