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Write up by Instructor Brian Rueb
I knew today was going to be great. Even before our class began a huge pod of dolphins swam along the shoreline. They would’ve been hard to photograph even if we were in the right place, but seeing them was still REALLY a treat, and a perfect way to start out.
After orientation we went down the beach to start our shooting on Baker. The class had a wide variety of backgrounds, and Scott, Matt, and I were really looking forward to working with them.
Almost immediately upon arriving on the beach the tide shifted, and large waves began to hit the beach. It was only about five minutes after we set up that the class had to make the grab and go with the gear to avoid getting wet. Once we had adapted it was time to shoot. We worked with the class here on some beginning settings for aperture and shutter speed as well as composition. Composition is a big area of interest for many students, and we can really address that here with little tips like using the leading lines of the surf to pull you into a frame.
We also talked depth of field here, and I shot a few images of a beach dog to demonstrate how shallow and deeper depths of field work.
The next spot was Fort Point. I’m always surprised how many locals we have that have lived in the city for a long time and never been to this classic fort. We broke the group up into two smaller groups, and then took them to a few of our favorite spots that really addressed symmetrical composition elements as well as some trickier lighting. Once we have worked with the groups a bit on the lighting, composition, and some light filter use we turn them loose to explore.
Though we spend about 2 hours in the fort everyone says they could have spent a lot longer there. It’s really a great place.
The next stop was in Sausalito for a brief lunch/dinner break before heading out to the Marin Headlands for sunset. Big thanks to the Taste of Rome restaurant for making tasty food at reasonable rates, and in a timely manor that helps keep our classes fueled for more photography.
The waves at Rodeo were quite large, and for safety reasons we avoided shooting closer to the water and shot some higher vantage points from on the bluff. We worked a lot with using polarizers and graduated neutral density filters to help create wonderful, and balanced exposures. We all talked composition a lot and I helped a few people use some ultra wide angles to include some of the brightly colored ice plant as a foreground element.
Sunset was REALLY pretty, and the color lasted a long time. Everyone got some good shots of the golden evening light reflecting off the pounding surf. The last stop of the night was technically past our designated stopping time, but we often get so wrapped up in shooting, that we go over…but when everyone is having so much fun it’s hard to stop.
The last spot was a brief adventure in night photography, and the use of long exposures shooting the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. We only had time for 4-6 exposures of this wonderful bridge, but everyone got a good taste of the settings, and some nice shots to boot!
The weather was perfect, as was the enthusiasm of the class and the images we saw coming off the cameras. What a great day of photography!
On behalf of myself (Brian), Scott, Matt and the rest of the Aperture Academy team, thank you for a great workshop!
If you'd like to join us at one of our workshops, you can find the schedule/sign up here.