San Francisco Sightseeing with Photographer Catherine Karnow

san francisco sightseeing workshop with catherine karnow

Photos © Doug Workmaster, Catherine Karnow.

Spend a weekend shooting in iconic San Francisco with National Geographic photographer Catherine Karnow!

Join us for this fun, casual, and packed three-day weekend of San Francisco sightseeing with Bay Area-based National Geographic photographer Catherine Karnow. Whether you’re local or from out of town, you’ll enjoy shooting some of San Francisco’s classic icons from unusual vantage points, as well as some hidden gems and an entertaining street festival.

We will charter our own sailboat (and captain!) for an afternoon sail around the Bay to capture the San Francisco skyline and dramatic views of the Golden Gate Bridge from the water. We’ll take a ferry to explore little-seen areas of Alcatraz Island, learn the intricacies of street photography and meet characters in the quaint historic neighborhood of North Beach, photograph the characters and colors at the Sunday Marin Farmers Market in San Rafael, and enjoy the lively Nihonmachi Street Fair in Japantown complete with a Doggie Parade!

We’ll learn to shoot people, scenes, action, icons, dusk, and street photography with plenty of guidance in the field and critiques in the classroom.

This action-packed weekend includes an afternoon of shooting the nooks and crannies of Alcatraz Island! Photo © Stuart Schwartz.

The workshop will be led by Catherine Karnow with the help of her accomplished co-instructor Tricia Cronin. Through this small-group workshop with two instructors and a maximum of 12 students, your individual photographic needs and challenges will be met and addressed.

Class Schedule:

Day 1: The day will kick off at 11AM at The Image Flow with an instructional slideshow and a discussion of camera settings followed by lunch at Bar Bocce in Sausalito. After lunch we’ll take a three-hour sailboat tour of the San Francisco Bay, followed by shooting the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands at dusk.

Day 2: We’ll meet at The Image Flow at 9AM to look at the previous day’s images and answer questions, followed by an early lunch at Sol Food in Mill Valley. The afternoon will be spent shooting on Alcatraz Island, followed by a group critique, and then street photography in North Beach and Grant Street at dusk.

Sunday morning will start with photographing the characters and colors at the Marin Farmers Market! Photos © Catherine Karnow.

Sunday morning will start with photographing the characters and colors at the Marin Farmers Market! Photos © Catherine Karnow.

Day 3: We’ll meet at The Image Flow at 8AM and travel together to the Farmers Market in San Rafael for a morning of shooting. We’ll then travel to San Francisco’s Japantown where we’ll spend the afternoon shooting the Japanese Festival. In the evening we’ll return to The Image Flow for sharing our San Francisco sightseeing photographs and a final critique to wrap up the class.

“I learned more about photography and the essence of capturing a photographic narrative in three days of listening and watching [Catherine] than I had over my four years of college. I also gained a new perspective on not only viewing the world through the lens of travel photography and photo journalism but the ability to see the emotional connections of human interaction that makes each and every photograph speak to the audience. It has been an experience of a lifetime for me.”

— Former student of Catherine’s

Price: $925.00 Sold Out

Please review our Registration Terms & Conditions

Call 415-388-3569 for more information or to register.

August 5 – 7, 2016  (Sold Out)

Who should take this workshop: 

This workshop is open to all levels of photographers interested in photographing the iconic aspects of San Francisco from unusual angles.

Pertinent details:

  • Maximum 13 students
  • Two instructors
  • Action-packed three-day workshop with in-class and in-the-field sessions
  • Transportation between locations will be via private carpool or Uber

Required equipment:

  • DSLR camera and lens (both long lens and wide-angle lens are suggested)
  • Tripod
  • Laptop computer with Lightroom installed

Further reading:


Catherine Karnow photographerInstructor Bio: Born and raised in Hong Kong as the daughter of an American journalist, San Francisco-based National Geographic photographer Catherine Karnow has covered Australian Aborigines; Bombay film stars; the victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam; Russian “Old Believers” in Alaska; Greenwich, Connecticut high society; and an Albanian farm family. In 1994, she was the only non-Vietnamese photo-journalist to accompany General Giap on his historic first return to the forest encampment in the northern Vietnam highlands from which he plotted the battle of Dien Bien Phu. Her retrospective, Vietnam: 25 years Documenting a Changing Country opened at the Art Vietnam gallery in Hanoi in April 2015. In May, Catherine was profiled in a PBS documentary about art in Vietnam.

Her work also appears in Smithsonian, French & German GEO, and other international publications.

Catherine’s passion for photography carries into her love for teaching. She currently teaches National Geographic weekend photography workshops in San Francisco, as well as private workshops and teaching seminars all over the world for private, corporate, and editorial clients, as well as her own annual signature photo workshops in Umbria, Italy, in May and Vietnam in October.