Next stop: San Francisco’s North Beach for Thursday Photowalk

Jefferson Graham / October 3, 2022

Restaurant neon sign in San Francisco's North Beach

The tastiest neighborhood in San Francisco is easily North Beach, the “Little Italy” section of the city.

With over 30 great Italian restaurants and culture seeping out of all the bakeries, cafes and shops, it’s hard to not start singing “O Sole Mio” when walking down Columbus Avenue and all those great sidestreets.

Thursday, our next Flipboard photowalk event meets in North Beach at 6 p.m. Once we get together, we’ll start by singing a song (just kidding) and then I have a photo assignment for everyone. Your object is to capture the Italian culture in your photos: the flags, the logos, the pasta, cannoli, pizza, gelato, signs, people.

With a subject as rich as North Beach, that won’t be hard to do.

And you don’t need a fancy camera to do it, either. You can bring a mobile camera or a big one. I know the iPhone inside and out (I host the iPhonePhotoShow podcast and have been covering the device since it was first launched in 2007) and know my big cameras as well. I shoot professionally with the Sony A7IV.

So bring your curiosity, enthusiasm, burning photography questions and join us on this latest free event. We have a few spots left open. You can sign up via Eventbrite.

The North Beach photowalk is our first evening event. We’ve explored San Francisco’s Mission Murals, the Ferry Building, Fort Point and Chinatown together, as well as key spots in Los Angeles like Venice Beach, downtown Los Angeles and the Arts District, usually in the morning or afternoon.

We opted for evening for this one because as great as North Beach is during the day, it really comes alive at night, when the neon lights get turned on. Smartphones do great capturing moments like this—the Golden Boy Pizza shot below was photographed on an iPhone. (If you’re up for it, we’ll go out and grab some pasta or pizza afterwards.)

Neon sign for Golden Boy Pizza

Chinatown is a place that rocks during the day and evening as well. It was our most recent event, and attendees seemed to have a great time documenting the colors of the neighborhood, complete with a dragon parade on Waverly Place.

Photowalkers taking photos of dragon heads in San Francisco's Chinatown
Two Lion Dancers in blue suit, one on the shoulders of the other.

We met and walked down Grant Avenue, from the Dragon Gate near Union Square to Broadway on the other side, approaching North Beach. We explored the various hidden features of the smartphone camera app: how to take great portraits by blurring the background and steering clear of distracting things like tree branches growing out of people’s heads and how to make your colors pop in photos.

Jefferson Graham taking a wide angle selfie with a group of photowalkers waving at the camera.

We all worked together on creating a Flipboard Magazine about Chinatown, to show off not just my work, but photos by everyone attending the event. Attendees agree this is a great idea. 

“Part of the fun of these photowalks is that we are encouraged to share our photos on the Flipboard magazine page created for the event,” wrote photographer Chris Warner-Carey on his “Luminousimages” blog. 

“It is really fascinating to look at the images from so many different people who were all photographing roughly the same location at the same time. Unsurprisingly, there were plenty of similar images of especially photogenic subjects, but quite a bit of diversity as well.”

That’s the beauty of a photowalk: what I see and what you see are often different. I get inspired by what you see and hopefully you feel the same way about my perspective.

I encourage you all to take a look at the stellar photos generated by the participants. It’s really strong stuff.

Check out the Magazine below and get impressed.

I also loved what attendee Judi said about our time in Chinatown.

“I appreciated your laid back, informal style about taking photos when moments appear, while being curious and ready to capture life as it unfolds.”

Sounds like a Photowalk to me.

See you all in North Beach?

— Jefferson Graham is curating the Group Magazine Photowalkers.

Jefferson Graham is a Los Angeles writer-photographer, host of the “PhotowalksTV” travel photography series, co-hosts the iPhone Photo Show podcast and pens the popular PhotowalksTV newsletter on Substack. A former USA TODAY columnist, he has several magazines on Flipboard curating his interests in photography and technology, most notably the “Photowalkers” magazine, which offers tips and tricks on smartphone photography, as well as favorite snaps from his travels.