What's not to love about San Francisco in the spring time...nice weather, sunny skies, the colorful hillsides of the Marin Headlands...really, a photographers paradise!
Aperture Academy instructors Stephen Oachs and Ellie Stone met a group of 13 photographers at Baker Beach for a day of learning, shooting and fun. After getting to know each other a bit better during orientation we headed out to Baker Beach to a fantastic sky of high clouds and nice even sunlight bathing the Golden Gate Bridge. The surf could have not been more perfect, lapping at the beach and creating a nice smooth sandy foreground for strong compositions leading the eye out to the distance and up to the bridge.
With everyone getting a feel for their cameras we packed up and headed to one of the best locations in San Francisco for photography -- Fort Point. If you've never been to Fort Point, nestled tightly under the Golden Gate Bridge, you're really missing out. This is a war time fort build in the early 1800's and it's truly a stunning display of architecture. You could easily spend an entire day in the fort capturing it's many dark and interesting corners. But, we only had a couple hours so we made the best of the time we had, capturing images of the many never-ending hallways, spiral stairways and the famous "powder room". Our time in the fort allowed us to work on longer exposures as well and some really interesting compositions. We also worked with white balance and black and white options to add interest to our images -- I saw so much great stuff on this workshop on the students camera screens!
From fort point, we headed to a fun little lunch/dinner spot in Sausalito for a little break. After our break we made our way up to the top of the Marin Headlands which looks down over the entire San Francisco Bay Area...this has got to be one of the most famous views in the entire world and it never ceases to take our breath away as we crest the hill and peer down on all of the city, and Golden Gate Bridge.
Over the next 30 minutes we captured images of the Golden Gate Bridge, with San Francisco framed nicely in the distance. This was a good chance for everyone to work with higher aperture settings to ensure a sharp depth of field. As the sun began to set we got some nice color in the sky, on the horizon and so we adjusted our white balance to cooler settings and that helped us really pull some nice color into our images. The lights on the Golden Gate snapped on and then the fun really began...NIGHT SHOOTING! We shot about 30-40 minutes into the heart of the blue hour, taking advantage of some of the very best light of the day.
With many great images to reflect upon, the group packed up and headed back down the hill to the van...and one of the best parts of the workshop...Stephen locking the keys in the RUNNING van. So there we were, standing at the overlook parking lot, van running, keys inside...14 people OUTSIDE. Wind starting to pick up, sun is set so the temperature is dropping and the good news...the class is a great group of people and they laugh it off and enjoy another 30 minutes of night photography from the lookout as we awaited Triple AAA to come break into our van...and they did!
Back in the van, 30 minutes behind schedule, we arrived back at everyone's parked cars to say our goodbyes and put a wrap on another fantastic day of photography in the San Francisco Bay!
Until next time...Stephen, Ellie 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.