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San Francisco Night Owls Photography Workshop - August 24th, 2013

Night Owls Night Photography Workshop Students with Aperture Academy

On this warm Saturday evening in August, our group met at Baker Beach to start a fun filled night of photography around various parts of San Francisco, learning the nuances of their DSLR cameras

The ocean at sunset makes an awesome way to start the evening off. Our intrepid instructors Scott Donschikowski and Matt Granz gathered all of the participants together, and after introductions were made, set off towards the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge which looms in the distance at the end of Baker Beach.

The shoreline makes for a wonderful foreground that leads the eye to the Bridge. A thin band of fog was drifting in and out of its two towers and catching a little warm glow from the setting sun. A perfect subject to start off with! After some brief one on one instruction with various students, and making certain all of the settings were correct from student to student, our class started feeling more confident to find their own picture postcard frames that abounded all around us on this evening.

As soon as the sun was set we hurried back to the ApCab 1, our fifteen seater Mercedes Benz mode of travel, and set off to the Palace of Fine Arts. The reflecting pool was very calm and as we started shooting 30 second long exposures, the mirror effect was giving our class great images worthy of using as desktop pictures for their home computers! After a while we turned our attention to shooting closer to and inside the beautiful buildings that make up the palace. Lots of fun was had in playing with assorted angles and points of view and... lens zoom effects!

After a quick break for warm beverages and snacks we headed for the famous Lombard Street. This spot is always the most fun for the class, shooting light trails on the "crookedest" street in the world!

Here, the participants split into two groups, to capture the cars descending down the winding twists and turns from either above or below. Both vantage points have their inherent rewards, and so we give both groups the opportunity to switch places. During the short car-less lulls, the instructors did a little light painting fun for the students, spelling out words and making various shapes with their flashlights and iPhones.

After a lot of fun in this spot we gathered back into the ApCab and headed to our last destination of the evening, the Embarcadero, with the recently LED illuminated Bay Bridge standing over the unusually calm Bay. We set up by the pylons from an old pier, which always makes a perfect foreground for multi-minute exposures.

The students were eager to use their new skills that they had been learning throughout the workshop. By now all the students had a chance to play with long exposures, setting custom white balance on their cameras, and using depth of field tricks to make sharp star bursts out of various lights.

Having come away with many print worthy images from this night in the city our little class made it's way back to their cars at Baker Beach, happy and with a brand new set of skills that gives each student a better understanding of their DSLR cameras, which translates to all aspects of their future photography using the manual mode and implementing the power it gives the user.

On behalf of Scott, Matt and all of the Aperture Academy team, thank you for a great time!

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.)



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