Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Point Lobos

Inside the Camera Obscura.
Point Lobos is an interesting place in San Francisco to visit.  Every city has its iconic tourist trap restaurants, and the Cliff House at Point Lobos is one. The Cliff House has been there  since 1863 and has wonderful views, but I have never actually tried the food.  When we stopped by, busses were unloading throngs of tourists to visit the Cliff House.  But when we stepped behind it to see the Camera Obscura, we found it deserted. A camera obscura is a device used by artists in the Renaissance to capture landscapes.  It's basically a room made into a giant pinhole camera.  Artists had only to place their canvas onto the disc of a camera obscura and they could simply trace every detail.  They have their lens on a motor which can be stopped at any point, or made to rotate to get a 360º view.  Watching the moving image of the ocean outside projected onto the disc is mesmerizing. All around the inside of the room are framed holograms which are fun to see also. 

In addition to the Cliff House and the Camera Obscura, Point Lobos once was home to Playland at the Beach, a historic amusement park, and the Sutro Baths.   The Sutro Baths were a massive complex of public saltwater baths built in 1894 and burnt down in 1966. I was once captivated by old photos of the baths, which make the ruins left today quite mysterious and evocative. Visitors are welcome to explore the ruins, walk through a sea cave next to the ruins, and ramble around on the trails at Point Lobos.  The trails lead to a monument to the USS San Francisco, a Marine vessel that was legendary for its role in the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942.  The bridge wings were damaged in the battle and removed, and later used to make this memorial.  Visitors can read about the battle and touch the holes blasted into its sides.  
Ruins of the Sutro Baths.
Sutro Baths.
Sutro Baths.
Sutro Baths.
Inside the sea cave next to the ruins.
USS San Francisco Memorial.

No comments: