Several years ago when I was wandering around San Francisco, I came up on a park on top of a hill where I had an incredible view of the city skyline. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was looking at the city over the famous ‘Painted Ladies.’
While Victorian-style homes in general are often called painted ladies because of their multi-colored paint schemes, the most famous set of painted ladies in San Francisco are the row of homes between 710 and 720 Steiner Street, across from Alamo Square Park.
On this trip to San Francisco, we decided late in the day to walk to Alamo Square Park for the sunset. We got there just before sunset and there were about two dozen people gathered watching the sun set.
Standing in Alamo Square, you are looking east toward the city skyline and the Painted Ladies. There was a nice sunset glow on the Ladies — the exact shot I had envisioned on my walk tot he Park. However, on this day, the sunset behind me was too brilliant to ignore. I ended up abandoning my sunset shot of the skyline and, instead, turned around and walked up the hill to shoot in the direction of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park and Twin Peaks.
You can’t pass up this kind of sunset. Besides, I knew that if I missed the sunset glow on the Painted Ladies, I still had the night shot with the lit up skyline.
The lesson here was don’t be so intent on capturing the shot that you came for that you ignore what’s happening behind you.
Images by Joe Newman.