I've been in San Francisco this past week for work. The week started out great with the Free to Succeed Tour at the Sheraton down by Fisherman's Wharf. It was probably the most inspiring four hours that I've sat through -- but unlike any other four hour meeting, it went by so much faster than I could ever imagine. Eventually it had to end, and reality soon set in.
I set out to San Francisco Tuesday morning, after going to bed pretty late on Monday. I was so pumped from the show that it was hard to fall asleep. I was so excited, my heart kept racing. It was like that butterflies in the stomach feeling after my first kiss. That exhilarating feeling, where you feel like you could turn cartwheels, or run a mile without breaking a sweat. Yeah, it was that kind of a feeling.
Reality kicked in. Oh yeah, I have a real-world job. I have that "safe" job that keeps me "secure". I got to sit in on presentations for our National Sales Meeting. I think it was the largest gathering of people from our company from all divisions. We basically took over the Downtown Marriott. The presentations went well, but I yearned for the outside world, where I could shoot freely in the street, and make the most of having to commute 45+ minutes to San Francisco.
So today, after my last session, we all had the afternoon free. I sat in the lobby (which has free wireless!) and listened to some of the [b] school podcasts. I haven't gone through all of them, but there hasn't yet been an episode that has disappointed. I can't wait until it officially launches. After checking my email and reading my blog feeds, I headed out on the town. I sort of felt like a tourist with my camera around my neck, but I didn't care. I was going to practice my craft and play with the manual controls.
I found that I was able to consistently take photos that had a good exposure. So apparently, I just discovered how to use the light meter. I always knew there was that thing in the viewfinder, but I didn't know that was the light meter. I felt kind of dumb after I realized it, but it also helped so much to nail the exposure! I was reading Bryan Peterson's Understanding Exposure at the airport last week, which led to my epiphany. Imagine, all this time "guessing" aperture and shutter speed! As well as constantly checking in the histogram -- I do know how to read those. :)
I walked from the Metreon, up to Union Square, and into Macy's. I knew that the little DJ had been found, but I went up to the spot that Jasmine* hid DJ. I found the spot and unfortunately for the guys in front of me, they got pooped on by the pigeons perched above.
I walked past Neiman Marcus and saw this awesome jewelry cart. I stopped to snap some photos and this lady walked by. I wasn't focusing on her, but she got in the shot. She clearly wasn't too pleased. Then I meandered up to Grant Avenue.
I finally saw the Chinatown Gate after a long time. I think I was probably a little kid the last time I had seen it.
Then I walked a bit through Chinatown and back up Bush past the French Consulate -- where I was issued my student visa for my year abroad. I enjoy my alone time. This afternoon was just what I needed after a long week.
I'm learning more about San Francisco bit by bit. I often feel like a tourist in the city, especially since I usually go into the city when I'm with visiting friends.