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Aperture Academy, how to be a photographer, Photography Workshops
Aperture Academy

San Francisco/Marin Headlands Photography Workshop - April 2nd, 2011

Grand Canyon Photography Workshop Students

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.


Ken Wilson - April 3rd, 2011 (2:13pm)

It is easy to read a book on photography, but it is another thing to put it to work in your own photographs. The staff at Aperture Academy are experienced, friendly and compassionate. Adjusting to individual skill levels and willing to do what ever it takes to make sure all attendees receive a personalized experience with helpful tips and tricks that get you that great shot and make you the envy of others. I highly recommend Aperture Academy to anyone, newbie or experienced, that wants to learn practical application of photography techniques, update their skills or just want get THE SHOT!!!

Mike Corbo - April 3rd, 2011 (11:08pm)

I really enjoyed this workshop I will definately recommend it.

Ellie Stone - April 4th, 2011 (12:23pm)

It was really great meeting you all. Looking forward to seeing you on some workshops in the near future.
Keep up the good work!

Steven - April 4th, 2011 (2:34pm)

Another great workshop by AA. Stephen and Ellie did a great job, very educational and a lot of fun. Even being locked out of the van turned into a good time!!

Troy White - April 5th, 2011 (10:05am)

I just wanted to thank the Aperture Academy for a GREAT workshop!! I cant say enough about the professionalism and kindness from both Stephen and Ellie... They made my 2 day trip from San Diego well worth it. I also came home with some amazing pictures! Thanks again and I'll be seeing you soon!!

Paul Komarek - April 12th, 2011 (11:33pm)

Another great workshop! I'm a professional photography student at San Jose State and trust me, the Aperture Academy workshops will blow away the college classroom instruction any day. Spend a quarter in a classroom or a weekend in the field and see the difference for yourself. Stephen and Ellie were great instructors on this workshop and look forward to the next workshop in Oregon next month.

Sunny Dhillon - April 16th, 2011 (9:55am)

I was fortunate enough to be introduced to this academy by San Jose Camera team who understood my needs to enhance my skills in photography even though I have been doing it for over 25 yrs as an Auto Shooter. This worshop provided the knowledge and exposure to real time hands on training and understanding your camera, the object, the moments to capture. Stephen and Ellie are so skilled and proficent, which provided a greater confidence in the money spent and the skills learnt. In life, moments are to be captured and treasured and after this workshop I am definitely capturing them to its best. I have already signed up for more classes and looking forward to the educational edge I can attain in handling the camera, the time, moments and my objects.

Thank you dear instructors and it was nice meeting other students on the workshop.

ganesh ragavaan - April 19th, 2011 (10:10pm)

i really wonder about the photographys.
i want to see more your photographs.
please send me your photographs.
iam learning from your photographs
thank u

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