On Saturday I went to the Paramount Theatre in Oakland and took the tour, which is offered twice a month on the first and third Saturdays. It costs only $5 and lasts two hours. There were about 10 people in my group. The guides explicitly tell you that you’re free to photograph whatever you want.

It’s a great photo location! I usually come back from a day-long photo excursion with two or three images I like—maybe. From this two-hour tour, I got 26! That’s unheard of. If you want to see them all, go here

This is the exterior, seen from across Broadway. 

The rest of the images were taken inside. I was shooting all day with a fixed-lens 28mm camera at f/1.7. There’s not a lot of light, and I didn’t want to use flash, so a fast lens and fairly high ISOs (400 to 5,000) were necessary to capture the scenes.

This is the fabulous lobby, taken from the second floor. The architect of the theatre is Timothy Pflueger, and he was a remarkable architect, interior designer, and lighting designer. 

This sculpture of a fan dancer is famous, and the marble table it sits on is an original and a work of art in itself. 

Artworks like these decorate the walls throughout the theatre. They all glow like gold in the warm lighting.

There are many rooms and inviting spacious lobbies like this on all three floors. 

This is a three-shot pano from the third floor. It gives you an idea of the size of the theatre (3,040 seats) and how elaborately decorated it is.

So, if you’re a photographer in the SF Bay Area, this is a photo op not to be missed. Even if you aren’t interested in architectural photography, the tour itself is well worth the time.