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Cliff House & Sutro Baths

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Baths. No Salt. San Francisco California United States
Baths. No Salt.
On a particularly chilly SF night a teacher led a photo class to the Sutro Baths. Sounds romantic, but it was close to 30 degrees outside. Flashlights in hand, the class of 10 amateur photographers, myself included, slid down the dirt path on the north side of the Cliff House.

We wandered around the ruins as the teacher shouted at us the history of the place where we were standing. "The Sutro family rebuilt these ruins 4 times, because of fires." She shouted into the night. Her voice barely fell on the ears of the mob of students combing the area, crouching down, standing on tippy-toe, eyes in their viewfinders.

We walked all over. Through the tunnel, over the cliff, through the main pool area, spending 10 or more minutes in each place trying to get just one great shot. When there is very little available light these photos take a very long time for the film to capture. This was before digital cameras were as popular as they are now.

Joints growing stiff from the cold wind we did our best not to disturb the ground our tripods rested upon. We spoke softly as if the film could hear us, and watched the clouds dance with the wind, hearing nothing, but waves rolling and camera shutters clicking.

Cars drove by and the Muni too, but the beach/valley that was once a bath house protected us from the sounds of the city and for an hour or two were transported to a nighttime oasis that is always there, where the ocean meets the mouth of the bay.
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1449, 1090 Point Lobos Ave, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA
+1 415-386-3330
Sun 8:30am - 9:30pm
Mon - Sat 9am - 9:30pm