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The iconic views of San Francisco are captured by locals and tourists 365 days a year. Although most of those captures are taken from sunrise to sunset, this was not on the Aperture Academy's agenda this beautiful Friday evening in September.
12 happy and eager students met up with Aperture Academy instructors Ellie Stone and Alicia Telfer, to learn some new skills on capturing these iconic SF views " at night"!
The evening would begin, first with introductions. Ellie and Alicia learn their students abilities and expectations, as well as the equipment they've brought with them. This allows the instructors to tailor their teaching style to each individual, ensuring that everyone has the best possible workshop experience.
First stop of the night was the interesting and beautiful, Palace of Fine Arts. Originally constructed for the 1915 Pan-Pacific Exposition, as an exhibit for works of art. The building and surrounding columns of Grecian architecture are themselves works of art. Ellie and Alicia led the students around to the ultimate view, a reflecting lagoon. After the sun sets a stunning vibrant blue sky is accented by the golden lights on the Palace. This blue sky is what's known as the "blue hour", even though it does not technically last for an hour.
The instructors assisted everyone with their camera settings and the best composition possibilities, to capture the beautiful architecture and reflections.
Once the blue hour turned to darker skies, they made their way inside the rotunda for some architectural images. Ornate and symmetrical the interior can prove challenging for some. This type of photography can force a photographer out of their comfort zone. Ellie and Alicia assisted by demonstrating different points of view, to capture some dynamic angles.
As the sky darkened the group piled in the van to head for San Francisco's famous Lombard street. After a quick stop for a hot beverage and a potty break, everyone was ready to tackle night shots at this charming and curvy brick road.
Ellie and Alicia demonstrated techniques on capturing long exposure images, which included the lights from cars and motor cycles as they snaked down the street. These night shots not only contained very cool light trails, but a background of the iconic city, including Coit tower and both famous bridges. After a fun group photo, which included a lesson in light writing, all were excited to head for the final stop.
Last on the agenda of iconic night shots was the Bay Bridge as viewed from the Embarcadero. From this vantage point are some very cool old pilings, that work as an interesting and solid foreground element. The instructors helped with exposure times, aperture, and also an important element of night photography, white balance.
The varied colors of city lights will affect the cameras white balance, so shooting in auto, is not going to lend the best results. By making some simple adjustments, students images were looking vibrant and colorful. Every student walked back to the van with stunning night images and of course some new skills. An outstanding evening of night photography as come to a close.
From Ellie, Alicia and the rest of the ApCad crew, see you next time....
P.S. If you'd like to join us at one of our workshops, you can find the schedule/sign up here.