How I See San Francisco: Photographer Pei Ketron
You may have already seen Pei Ketron's amazing photographs, ones she takes and maybe even ones she teaches others to take. Her shots have been used by companies including Apple, American Express and Google. As a long-time resident, Pei knows where to go to (over)indulge your senses in San Francisco when she is not on the road or in a plane traveling the world. Follow her tips for the best ways to experience the city during your visit. And don't forget to view her work on Instagram at @pketron and on her website www.pketron.com.
What does a typical day in San Francisco look like for you?
As a freelancer, my days can vary a great deal. They mostly involve me answering emails, working on photos, and posting on social media. My work breaks usually involve snuggling with my dogs or taking them for a fun outing. Thank goodness we live close to Golden Gate Park, Ocean Beach, and Stern Grove, and not too far from Fort Funston. My dogs love the beach most of all and they will be sad if we ever decide to move away from here.
If I’m lucky, my days involve actually taking some photographs, too (of something other than my dogs). My preference is for shoots at the end of the day, towards the evening golden hour, since I’m a night owl and always sleep through the morning golden hour.
Where do you like to shoot sunrise and sunset?
Sunrise: Mount Davidson, because it’s great whether or not there’s fog. Sunset: Sutro Baths and Lands End, because I want to always watch the sun set over water.
What should every visitor do at least once?
Drive over the Golden Gate Bridge for the view of the bridge with the city behind it from the Marin Headlands. Battery Spencer and Hawk Hill are great viewing spots.
Which San Francisco neighborhood do you like to explore?
For food and coffee, I usually go to the Mission. For shopping (mostly window shopping), I like Hayes Valley. For photography, I love the many preserved natural open spaces in the city, such as Corona Heights, Bernal Heights and Grand View parks.
What’s one part of San Francisco that you wish visitors knew about?
I think the Andy Goldsworthy pieces in the Presidio often get overlooked by visitors. They’re well worth a visit.
Where do you indulge your artistic side in San Francisco?
SFMOMA, without a doubt! I’m also a regular at the de Young and Legion of Honor. When I'm looking for inspiring photography, SF Camerawork and Pier 24 Photography are pretty great.
What's your favorite annual event that happens in San Francisco?
I’m a big fan of Bay to Breakers and have run it with a group of friends for a number of years now. I’m a runner, but a very undisciplined one, so I love that this 12K race pushes my body, but is also chill and has zero competitive stake for 90% of the runners. Also, what’s not to enjoy about thousands of people running around the city in costume (or naked)?
Where and what would you choose for your last meal in San Francisco?
Nopa, my all time favorite. They can do no wrong, in my opinion. Their burger is a favorite of mine. If I wanted to get fancy, I would say the tasting menu at Benu, which is always incredible.
Which restaurant is still on your list to dine at in San Francisco?
I’m eager to try the newly opened Che Fico.
Who do you follow to keep up with San Francisco news?
San Francisco Travel, SF Gate, the Chronicle, and Eater SF.
Any final advice for travelers coming to visit San Francisco?
One of the best things that San Francisco has to offer is its food. Don’t waste any of your meals. Hit up as many different places as you can while you’re in town. Budget for San Francisco prices, but also research some of the stellar hole-in-the-wall spots to keep everything balanced.