San Francisco Panorama from Twin Peaks

The view from Twin Peaks hill is one of my favorites in San Francisco. You can observe part of the city from Golden Gate Bridge to Bay Bridge, with downtown in the middle and San Francisco Bay in the background.

The Twin Peaks viewpoint in San Francisco is one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations and is always busy. It sits atop two hills and provides breathtaking views of downtown San Francisco and San Francisco Bay. The city’s famous landmarks, such as Alcatraz Island and the Transamerica Pyramid, can also be seen. Twin Peaks is great for taking unique photos and enjoying the city’s skyline.

Because of the ever-changing weather in the San Francisco area, you never know what kind of view you will find when you visit Twin Peaks.

On the day I took the featured photo, the air was perfectly clear, but somehow, only the bay was covered with a combination of clouds and fog that made it difficult to locate iconic landmarks like Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. But, at the same time, the clouds and fog created an out-of-focus, blurred background effect that pointed the viewer’s attention to the city. I did not complain.

The view from Twin Peaks also makes you realize how unique San Francisco is. Instead of typical city colors like grey, yellow, and brown dominating the city, San Francisco’s predominant color is white. This creates such a distinctive urban pattern.

San Francisco Panorama from Twin Peaks 1
San Francisco. Twin Peaks
Loc: 37.756433, -122.451392


The challenge of shooting from the Twin Peaks hill is that is not easy to create a meaningful composition with some kind of foreground interest. Since I could not find anything interesting around me, I decided to use the part of the road switchback below me as part of the composition.

Editing & Processing

It was a single RAW processing workflow.

Lightroom (60%)

I changed the aspect ratio from the original 3 x 2 to 16 x 9 to make the composition more panoramic. I used the Crop Overlay Tool.

Next, I used Point Lobos preset from my Landscape Preset Collection as the base for Lightroom Rapid Editing. Then I used TOOLKIT to boost the Contrast and the Clarity.

The Lightroom Preset Editing Formula: Point Lobos (13, 16, 21)

Photoshop (40%)

I used the Stamp Tool in Photoshop to erase the cyclist and the road sign in the foreground. Also, I covered some distracting elements in the bottom right corner. The rest was a simple boost of details and noise reduction.

Plugins: DeNoise (noise reduction), Topaz Detail (local contrast boost).

Total time: 12min

Before & After Transformation

by Viktor Elizarov
I am a travel photographer and educator from Montreal, Canada, and a founder of PhotoTraces. I travel around the world and share my experiences here. Feel free to check my Travel Portfolio and download Free Lightroom Presets.

2 thoughts on “San Francisco Panorama from Twin Peaks”

  1. Could you get the same effect as Topaz with Bracketing?

    • Don, you have to be more specific. What effect are you referring to?


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