Photo Corners

A   S C R A P B O O K   O F   S O L U T I O N S   F O R   T H E   P H O T O G R A P H E R

Enhancing the enjoyment of taking pictures with news that matters, features that entertain and images that delight. Published frequently.

Friday Slide Show: West Portal Mural Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

29 September 2017

You're probably as tired of our views of San Francisco from Twin Peaks as we are of biking up there to shoot them. But did you realize there is a tunnel running under those 900-foot hills? When it was built 100 years ago, the Twin Peaks Tunnel changed San Francisco forever.

The 2.27-mile-long tunnel is strictly for streetcars. There's no auto or foot traffic. And there is just one stop inside it at Forest Hill station. To get to ground level there, you have to either climb a series of stairs or take one of the two elevators.

When it opened in February 1918, it connected downtown to the western half of the city, leading to the development of new neighborhoods and communities that had simply not been feasible before.

One of those is West Portal, which we like to think of as our village in San Francisco. The city is full of neighborhoods, each of them distinct cultural communities, and West Portal is ours.

Last Saturday West Portal celebrated its centennial.

Last Saturday West Portal celebrated its centennial.

The merchants took over one of the two parking lots in the village and put up a jumpy house and a stage. There were a few booths for local businesses to make new friends and two food trucks to keep everyone happy.

But the real attraction was the painting of a new mural on the parking lot's short brick wall along the sidewalk.

Designed by Sirron Norris (his first name is his last name spelled backwards), who also did the mural on the facade of El Toreador up the street, the actually painting was being done by passersby with a spare minute or two. Including children, who Norris supervised gently, enthusiastically encouraging their work.

When we were there, the whitewashed wall had been outlined with the design, with a schematic taped to the top of the wall for reference, and the kids and adults were busy painting in the blue sky. We even saw a couple of photographers grab a brush and a plastic cup of paint.

In the parking lot itself, the day's events were presided over by an energetic mistress of ceremonies who kept things jumping even between the main acts.

The local ballet school sponsored a performance of the Nutcracker with one of its young stars leading a chorus of very little kids in a page-by-page reading of the ballet from a children's book that ended with their sparkling magic wands blowing bubbles into the bright morning sky.

A few local luminaries took the stage after the ballet but for some reason they were barely audible.

In other words, it was a perfect day.

BackBack to Photo Corners