Small Town Charm by Su-Lin Meyer in Alameda

Su-Lin Meyer is an architect and photographer who knows how to capture the soul of her surroundings. Her portraits of the buildings and bridges of Alameda, CA, give us a new perspective on this tiny island town. Su-Lin’s feed will inspire you to look at the architecture in your hometown in a whole new way. Check her out at @resonate.

Name:Su-Lin Meyer

Place you live: Alameda, California

Place your Instagrams were taken? Alameda

Can you sum up the place you live? Alameda is an island town of 75,000 in the middle of the San Francisco Bay area. Despite being in the geographic center of it all, Alameda maintains a relaxed vibe and small town charm.  It has an impressive amount of vintage homes in a variety of architectural styles, and it is often said that Alameda has the most Victorians per capita than any other city in the US.  Alameda is friendly, diverse and family-oriented.

What is a perfect day in Alameda? Take a walk down Park street and check out the many shops, restaurants and independent merchants. See a movie at the beautifully restored art deco Alameda Theater. Buy lunch from one of the food trucks at South Shore Center from 11am to 3pm on Saturdays. Rent a bike from Pedal Beach and enjoy a beachside ride down South Shore Drive.

How long have you been using Instagram? Since May 2011

Do you shoot with your phone or other cameras or both? I mostly shoot with my iPhone because it’s my one-stop shop. It’s easy to take photos more discreetly, edit, and then post directly online. I shoot with my DSLR occasionally, but mostly for personal and family shots. 

What is your editing process? I shoot with the native iPhone camera and typically use one or more of the following apps to edit: Snapseed (general editing and cropping), VSCOcam (occasionally used to add filters), Filterstorm (more advanced editing), and/or SKRWT (perspective correction).

Has Instagram/phoneography affected how you shoot? The convenience of using mobile devices has helped make photography a part of my daily life instead of just an occasional hobby. The instant feedback and interaction that I receive from Instagram has helped me to refine my photography skills and to constantly strive to improve. I’ve learned so much from the variety of creative people on Instagram. It’s expanded and enriched how I see the world.

Can you give a couple tips to aspiring Instagram photographers? Follow photographers with a range of styles. Allow yourself to be inspired and open to learning new techniques. Shoot a ton of photos of the same subject from different angles.  Don’t necessarily feel you have to compose the final shot in the field – you may be surprised by what you can come up with when you crop later.  One tendency I see with beginning architectural photographers is that they don’t pay enough attention to cropping and composition.  Think about what inspired you to take the shot – was it the geometry, the ambiance, the light? The best architectural photography has some soul in it.  Lastly, filters and textures can be fun but are easily overused. Don’t ruin an elegant shot with a juvenile filter. 

Who are your three favorite Instagrammers? Other architectural photographers that I would recommend are @nicanorgarcia, @_ingo_1 and @80degrees. Their feeds are visually stunning and always inspiring!


Name:Su-Lin Meyer

City:Alameda, CA

Best place to eat:

Burma Superstar, Trabocco, and Scolari’s.

Best place to drink:

Forbidden Island tiki bar for cocktails. Also there are a growing number of tasting rooms along Monarch Street on the former Navy base at Alameda Point. St. George Spirits, Building 43 Winery, Faction Brewing Company, Hangar 1 Vodka and Rock Wall Wine Company are part of the ongoing revitalization of this area.

Best outdoor activity:

Alameda is flat, making it a bike rider’s paradise. Bike or stroll through one of the many charming neighborhoods or down South Shore Drive, where you can enjoy great views of San Francisco and the bay. Kiteboard or windsurf at Crown Beach.

Must do:

Take a walk through the Gold Coast neighborhood in the heart of town. It has a gorgeous collection of vintage mansions in a range of architectural styles.

Local tip:

Despite being right next door to Oakland, Alameda is a little off the beaten path with only six ways in and off the island (two tunnels and four bridges). The nearest BART stop to downtown Alameda is Oakland’s Fruitvale station. For an unforgettable commute, take a ferry from San Francisco and come visit Alameda for the day.