Bay Area photographer Michael Lax has captured the attention of over 90,000 people on social media through his masterful work. We caught up with the pro on his go-to spots in the city and how he shoots the dreamy photos we can't get enough of.
Lax’s shot of the Golden Gate Bridge from Marin Headlands at nighttime.
You so uniquely capture the beauty of San Francisco in your photos. What inspires those shots? Out in the field, I’m inspired by real-time weather conditions and the environment I’m in. Good light is all it takes to get me in the zone.
What do you like best about photographing San Francisco? I’ll never forget a quote from a friend who was visiting me several years ago; we were hiking Lands End on a foggy morning—foghorns blaring—and he said, ‘There’s a heaviness here that I can’t quite put into words.’ I loved that word he used: heaviness. We dissected what he meant and agreed that no place marries nature with a bustling city quite like San Francisco. For all of its architectural charm, rich cultural history, world-renowned food, tech innovations, etc., nothing is as dominant as the presence of Mother Nature here.
What tips do you have for shooting iconic San Francisco landmarks? It’s all about following the dynamic weather patterns of the Bay. I use the Salesforce Tower webcams daily to keep an eye out for dramatic conditions like fog, rain, haze, etc.
What’s your favorite area or landmark in San Francisco to photograph? The easy answer would be the Golden Gate Bridge, which of course holds a special place in the hearts of all San Franciscans, but my go-to is the Palace of Fine Arts. I love how European-feeling it is—it reminds me of being in Italy, which is one of my favorite places on Earth. The palace photographs beautifully from almost any angle, including from the sky with a drone.
You co-founded the Explorest app, which helps people discover and photograph incredible places. How does Explorest connect people to these destinations? It was built out of my own necessity and is a tool I genuinely use all the time. The app features thousands of iconic locations, each packed with tips to get the shot, exact GPS coordinates and much more, all curated and written by professional photographers. The level of detail within each Location Insight includes seasonal tips, what to do nearby, magic hours, accessibility and more—all curated by local creatives. Nobody has more intimate insider knowledge than artists who spend countless hours immersed in these beautiful destinations. Our ultimate mission is to inspire people to get outside and explore the world around them.
Photography by: PHOTO BY MICHAEL LAX