Alcatraz Island: The Adventure Begins!

So, are you ready to tour “The Rock”?

Big question: How can I best share my journey without overwhelming (ummm, boring) you? For better or worse, my solution is to break down my posts by location and to keep words to a minimum 🙂

So, in that spirit, my first post is simply an introduction to the island with views taken from the ferry. You’ll get to see it in all its 360-degree glory before setting foot, so to speak, on the dock and following me up the main road to and around the prison. Sound good? Hope so. Here we go!

First ferry of the morning, catching the sunlight over the Oakland-Bay Bridge. 

On the Alcatraz Ferry, with Bay Bridge in background

Day ferries take visitors directly from Alcatraz Landing on the Embarcadero to the Alcatraz dock. For those of you with a discerning eye, you’ll notice the wake of the ferry is between me and the isand. So I confess: this is actually a shot leaving Alcatraz, after finishing my day tour and before returning on the night ferry. But it does mimic the wonderful “approach” view of Alcatraz from the day ferry.  The southern span of the Golden Gate Bridge is in the distance. 

Alcatraz Island seen from Alcatraz ferry

Approaching the dock, Building 64 (military officers’ residence) in the foreground, the lighthouse and burned-out shell of the warden’s home above left. 

Alcatraz Dock and views of Building 64 and the lighthouse from Alcatraz Ferry

Guard Tower #6 (at the dock)

Alcatraz Island Dock and Guard Tower

Alcatraz Dock

Alcatraz Island Dock

Unlike the day tours, the night tour ferries visitors clockwise around the island beginning at the southeastern tip, so you get a 360-degree view of the island from the bay.

Lighthouse with the cellhouse behind it.  

South side of Alcatraz Island seen from Alcatraz ferry

To the right of the lighthouse is another view of the warden’s house. 

Alcatraz Prison and Lighthouse seen from Alcatraz ferry


West side of Alcatraz Prison as seen from Alcatraz Ferry

Water tower, New Industries Building (where prisoners worked for money) below the stack of the power plant, Model Industries Building (laundry) far left. 

West side of Alcatraz Island seen from Alcatraz ferry

Northwestern tip of the island. Cell block top right. Oakland-Bay Bridge in the distance. 

North side of Alcatraz Island seen from Alcatraz ferry

Model Industries Building and San Francisco skyline to the right. 

North side of Alcatraz Island seen from Alcatraz ferry

Coming around to the dock. The building sheathed in white is the old storehouse, under refurbishment.

East side of Alcatraz Island as seen from Alcatraz ferry

East side of Alcatraz Island seen from Alcatraz ferry

Sunset beginning as we near the dock. The sally port (the original fortified entrance to Alcatraz when it was a military fort) is the white building on the left. The post exchange/officer’s club is the building to the left of the storehouse. The main cell block is through the trees on the left. 

Alcatraz water tower from the Alcatraz Ferry

Next post: Welcome to The Rock

57 thoughts on “Alcatraz Island: The Adventure Begins!

  1. How did I miss this post? It is amazing that, limited by angles and set ups that everyone else would have- limited by your position on the ferry- you still were able to get some great shots, probably a combination of the lighting, that beautiful sky, your talent with the camera, and with your processing. You just seem to be uping (upping?) Your game dramatically. I approve.


    • Aww, thanks so much, Emilio! Truthfully, I was amazed by the sharpness of the shots! Though the camera being so small really must have factored into it as it’s easier to hold steady. I also have recently learned how to use PS unsharp mask, the effects of which have blown me away! And that sky was just fantastic. As for being limited by my position on the ferry, I was a woman with a mission! I knew in advance the path around Alcatraz, so I knew what side of the boat to be on and I knew I wanted to be near the front. I mowed down a few people to get my spot 😉 No, not at all. Luck was just on my side!


    • That was my favorite too (and why I chose it as the featured image) 😀 I was really drawn to the lighthouse and the shell of the warden’s house looking “over” the scene (and that wonderful sky provided by Mother Nature)!


  2. Sis, I’ve been there and NEVER saw all that you have so incredibly presented. Can’t wait to tour the INSIDE! I love all the interesting places you take this armchair traveler!


    • Well, that’s what happens when you spend hours and hours there, sis 🙂 And I STILL didn’t shoot everything I could have/should have. Seems I’ll just have to go back next fall – wanna come?? ❤️


  3. Fantastic images! I visited Alcatraz 15 years ago and am keen to take my children to see it when we next venture to the west coast. Your photos capture it perfectly and make me even more keen to return.


    • Thanks, Laura! I’m so glad you enjoyed “revisiting” Alcatraz through my post 🙂 It really is a wonderfully kept national park. I was so intent on taking pictures that I didn’t take advantage of the various programs being offered. Guess I’ll just have to go back 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • It’s ALOT bigger than I thought, too, Pauline! And the buildings were fascinating (more to come on those). There were times when I was on a path all by myself for a while, not a soul to be seen. A bit spooky, but oh, so wonderful too 🙂


  4. Those clouds are awesome! The waters are perfect in the early morning! Your photos are spectacular. Makes me want to go there… Which just might happen very soon!
    By the way… Since the clouds were awesome that day… Have you ever tried an HDR effect? Just curious…


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