The best photography spots in San Francisco: what can data tell you?

In yesterday morning time, I was reading Danny Dong‘s wedding photos and amazed by his captures in the Golden Gate Bridge, City Hall in San Francisco. And I got this question: what the best photography spots are in San Francisco, besides these two places? If we know this, photographers do not waste time of searching for a good spot. To answer this question, I needed some data.

Fortunately, in SF data, I found this data set of Film Locations in San Francisco. There were about 200 movies filmed in San Francisco, from 1950s to present. In my mind, if professionals took photos at some spots, these spots were great photography spots.

Just the addresses themselves were not enough, I wanted to put them on to the map. Google map has the Geo service which can translate one address into a latitude/longitude location, for example:

Metro (1997) filmed at Bush Street at Jones, can be translated into “Bush Street & Jones Street, San Francisco, CA 94109, USA” and the location is 37.7895596 -122.4137276

With python, this is easy. I installed geopy (in pip), and used this simple piece of code:

from geopy import geocoders
g = geocoders.GoogleV3()

....

location+=', San Francisco, CA'
#I changed the source code of geopy and it returned multiple locations if ambiguity.
place, (lat, lng) = g.geocode(location)[0]

We can use google fusion table to draw these locations on the map. It looks like this:

Using the filming location from 200+ famous movies filmed in SF, we can extract the best photography locations from these movie professionals.

Using the filming location from 200+ famous movies filmed in SF, we can extract the best photography locations from these movie professionals.

One can click this link for the interactive map and go to the location (with streetview!): https://www.google.com/fusiontables/embedviz?q=select+col2+from+1nYwvzx2bNvANTwV03mQ-gge0imwW1iSz7WIxveg&viz=MAP&h=false&lat=37.801855527505346&lng=-122.43532960000005&t=1&z=13&l=col2&y=2&tmplt=2&hml=GEOCODABLE

However, SF is so beautiful that too many locations to read. A heat map works better. I used myheatmap and generated this hot spot map for photography locations. It looks like that the pier area is super hot: quite consistent with my opinion.

Using the filming location from 200+ famous movies filmed in SF, we can extract the best photography locations from these movie professionals.

Using the filming location from 200+ famous movies filmed in SF, we can extract the best photography locations from these movie professionals.

We can click this link and find out the details http://www.myheatmap.com/maps/u6o5WNbTIrM= (one may need to change the ‘decay’ to a smaller value on the right top of the interactive map).

In short, we now know what the best photography spots are, from data. Enjoy photography in San Francisco.

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