Now and Then

Posted in san francisco at 11:06 pm by danvk

I plugged in my cross streets on the San Francisco Library’s digital photo archive and found this picture. The image is mislabeled. The street in the foreground is actually Fillmore, not Webster. Which means that this photo, from 1945, was taken from my roof!

This past weekend, Miriam and I did a Now and Then shot. There’s a higher-resolution image there, but you can fade between them using the slider here:


Update (2014): check out a high-resolution before/after!

There are more trees now, more cars and more power lines, but one less cable car. But the coolest difference is only noticeable if you look at the tall building in the upper right. It hasn't shrunk. No, the trees in Buena Vista Park have grown!


  1. Adam said,

    December 3, 2008 at 12:16 am

    Pretty cool (idea and photos), but you should know that, for some reason, the slider thingy doesn’t work in Chrome (it just shows 2008 for the whole slide-region).

  2. danvk said,

    December 3, 2008 at 12:24 am

    Safari/Firefox/IE all have different ways of setting image opacity. Yuck. Should work now.

  3. Adam said,

    December 3, 2008 at 12:45 am

    Works great now!

  4. Elizabeth said,

    December 4, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Dan! You are so artsy and deep…. Life in San Fran seems so elegant. WHen are you going to come back to your roots in the midwest? We’re waiting for you at the Italian village!
    ~TFW! blearse

  5. Eamonn said,

    December 10, 2008 at 9:56 am

    Very cool photos, and nice JavaScript hacking!

    Based on the angle of the shadows, it looks like the 1945 photo was taken in the early morning, while your photo was taken in the afternoon.

    If you feel inspired to work on this more, it would be cool if you were to take a picture in the morning to get similar shadows and also to avoid losing detail in the upper left. Of course to get the angles exactly right you would have to take the picture in July which is when the original photo was taken — and sunny mornings in July are scarce in SF.

  6. Hein said,

    December 12, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    Nice! All old images show SF devoid of trees and I seem to recall that they started planting trees systematically only in the eighties or so… go http://www.fuf.net/ !

  7. daisy said,

    December 19, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    omg i’m such a now&then addict. i can stand drooling looking at old pictures forever in museums and whenever they randomly have them decorating the outside of safeways and in the library and in those wonderful books they have of old sf (and also seattle, where i’m from).

    i just stumbled across http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/sets/72157603671370361/show/ — apparently the library of congress has a modest photostream, and they’ve done the best job i’ve ever seen of coloring in black and whites of the forties. some pretty amazing shots in there…

  8. Interactive Map Enables Bernal Heights Time Travel | Bernalwood said,

    August 26, 2011 at 10:07 am

    [...] put together a now-and-then shot, but it always bothered me that the mislabeling of the image was so crucial to my finding it. [...]

  9. joanne chandler said,

    August 26, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Lived in the East Bay. Spent a lot of time in San Fransisco. Went to college there. Live in Mississippi now, Syre do miss it. Would move back in a minute if I could but I would have to leave my husband.

  10. About Old S.F. | ExploreSF said,

    April 6, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    [...] put together a now-and-then shot, but it always bothered me that the mislabeling of the image was so crucial to my finding it. [...]