Chapter 1. Alcatraz


A view of a cell block inside Alcatraz Prison. Taken at ISO 800, f/1.4, 1/200 second with a 50mm lens.

Why It's Worth a Photograph

Alcatraz Island is one of Golden Gate National Recreation Area's most popular destinations, offering a close-up look at a historic and arguably the most famous federal prison. Often referred to as The Rock, the island is located in the San Francisco Bay, 1.5 miles offshore from San Francisco, California. The small island served as a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison, and a federal prison until 1963. In 1972, Alcatraz became a national recreation area. Today, the island is an historic site operated by the National Park Service as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and is open to tours. Visitors can reach the island by ferry ride from Pier 33, near Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. The island of Alcatraz is one of the marvels that San Francisco has to offer photographers. On any given day, you can go from crystal blue skies surrounded by sea green water and intense warm sunlight to layers of fog surrounding this infamous mysterious island.

Where Can I Get the Best Shot?

Besides Alcatraz Island, there are three mainland locations that will offer you a different perspective when photographing Alcatraz. The first is at Hyde Street and Lombard Street, the second is St. Francis Yacht Club, and the third is ...

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