I love San Francisco at night. It's one of those cities that has so much to see, and so many different neighborhoods and iconic locations that it feels like it's always different with each turn. Capturing it with a camera is probably one of the best ways to explore the city after dark. Phil and I had the pleasure of working with 8 very eager photographers for a night of fun shooting San Francisco, on what turned out to be a “boys night out.' As we had no female photographers for this go around.
Our first stop was the awesome Palace of Fine Arts. This cool piece of architecture is one of my favorite spots, and arriving just as the sun draws down means that the sky is a great shade of blue that meshes well with the orange tones of the lit structure. It's a super nice image…we worked on helping the students with all the settings needed for the location, and how to begin a night shoot. We covered aperture, shutter speed, and ISO why we don't mess with it for the most part during a night shoot, and also white balance. Once the basics were covered we helped the class with their compositions and made the most of the great light.
From the Palace we drive up Lombard Street until we hit the curvy part…and there we split up into two smaller pods and Phil and I work with the classes on capturing moving taillights and headlights as they meander down the twists and turns of this fabled brick road. There are different approaches for shooting this location, and it's fun for the class to get a couple different ways to photograph the scene, and the pictures they come away with are always great…really a lot of fun here. We continue to emphasis the settings needed to get the right exposure that we cover during the first part of the trip….nothing much changes here, the only thing we are modifying really is shutter speed…and that adds or subtracts depending on the overall brightness of the scene.
After a brief stop in North Beach to grab a snack we headed down to the Embarcadero to shoot the Bay Bridge. They have temporarily removed the LED lights form the bridge, which some people think ruins the aesthetic of the bridge, but in terms of getting a more balanced exposure in parts of the bridge it's actually a better situation…also it's important to shoot it this way now because the LEDs are returning next year for good, and it'll be a historically important picture to see the bridge without any lights…haha. The settings here again, are similar, so it's just reinforcing what we've gone over all night, and working to help the students fine tune their compositions, and man there were some nice images!
Our final stop is perhaps the most iconic…the Golden Gate Bridge. This bridge always yields amazing images…and for our class it was one final time to put into practice all of those settings we had been working on all night long…and a perfect way to cap off what had been a really fun night. The class by this point was simply confirming their settings, and then really setting in to get the composition…Phil and I only had to make a few minor suggestions.
Once we finished our final images it was time to pack back up and get the group back to their cars so they could make the drive home and begin the really fun part of processing all of those images…
Until Next Time,
Brian, Phil, and the rest of the Aperture Academy Team
P.S. If you'd like to join us at one of our workshops, you can find the schedule/sign up here. (More photos below the comments.)