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Alcatraz in San Francisco Summertime Fog

San Francisco Fog

It’s near and dear to the heart of every San Franciscan. But, I think, summertime tourists visiting us don’t get it. You know, how we love the fog, especially in the summer when the rest of the world is baking. I think they just aren’t prepared for such blustery weather in the middle of summer.  Life’s not fun when you’re cold.

This is a pretty typical afternoon in the bay.  Here’s how the fog attack happens.  Off the coast lies a thick fog bank. It sits as a low lying grey mass only a few hundred feet thick and hugging the ocean with clear blue sky above. Most days it moves relentlessly towards The City until sometime after 3 PM when it begins spilling over the hills of Marin and the Peninsula in lovely delicate wisps.

Not long after that the grey arm of fog reaches the narrow gap which is spanned by the Golden Gate bridge.  It’s so picturesque to watch from any vantage point in The City.  Large container ships leaving the port of San Francisco quietly disappear into it as their voyage to Pacific Rim destinations begins. The opaque fog bank also surrenders into view incoming ships after they have passed under the bridge giving the crew only a glimpse of the bridge for the first time if they look behind them.  Almost always, at least one of the towers of the bridge reaches out above the thick fog to anchor it in our memory.

Alcatraz Island

Many times the fog doesn’t reach all the way to the water.  It rests on a soft pillow of almost clear air and by watching from the Marina you can see the wind surfers off Crissy Field dodging and twisting their way across the water of the Bay while fog looms just overhead.  This phenomenon allows sunlight to sneak in under the fog bank to produce the warm glow just above the water as seen in this photograph of Alcatraz Island.

I took this photograph when Mai and my son with his telescope, staked out a spot on Treasure Island to do some astro photography one evening. The wind was strong and the air almost biting cold.  It was a beautiful sight watching the ships, the sunset, and the fog that evening.  This is the San Francisco in the summertime that we love.

Don’t forget your hand-warmers!

Showing 2 comments
  • Toad Hollow Photography
    Reply

    What a moody and totally dramatic shot, Keith! I love it, it really expresses the true character of this city, a place I’ve been a few times myself.

    • Captain Photo
      Reply

      Thanks for stopping by the blog Toadie! I’ve been watching “The Rock” sitting out there in the middle of the bay ever since I was a little kid. Yet this is the first time I’ve photographed it.

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