Ahh, California in July. A truly sublime canvas offering up all the wonders that nature has to offer; beautiful sunsets, summer foliage in bloom, clear skies and warm weather.
However, San Francisco is a different kind of animal. As Mark Twain once said, "The coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent in San Francisco." Normally the Aperture Academy and its students are extremely fortunate to have mother nature grace us in all her glory. But in the instance on July 10th, she must have taken a day off.
Our San Francisco - Marin Headlands workshop started out like any other. Arriving at Baker Beach around noon, we had a horde of hungry shutterbugs anxiously awaiting a break in the clouds to view the surrounding areas in full splendor. However, it did not come. As before, the class strolled their way along the banks of Baker Beach towards the usual spot to warm up their trigger fingers for a full day of shooting. But, to our surprise, there was no usual band of nudists at the far end of the beach on this day. Foreshadowing?
As we waited, and pleaded, on deaf ears for a glimpse of sunshine to grace us, we trod on to our second stop of the day, Fort Point. The weather there surely would be in our favor. And it was. As we walked through the hallways and firing points, we grabbed some truly awesome pictures highlighting the architecture of this massive stone and brick compound.
The powder room, officers quarters, and brick arches were adorned by the even light of a sun hiding behind the clouds and rolling into the bay from the west. The view from atop the fort was more interesting than usual on this day, as winds gusted at what felt like 50 miles per hour. However, the view from underneath the bridge was especially majestic, as the sheer size of its construction was obstructed at two thirds by the low hanging clouds.
As 5:00 rolled around, we began to see an opening in the clouds to our north, so we heeded its beck and call and drove over to Sausalito to share our experience over food and drink. The food was amazing as usual, which led many of the students to pontificate on fare at other more legendary restaurants around the bay. Laughter and comraderie ensued and we all took a break to bask in the sun, for we all knew it might be the last time in the day that we might see it.
As we made our way through the tunnel to the Rodeo Beach area, the familiar sight of grey once again accompanied us into the sunset. But this was a hearty group, and led by Aperture Academy's very adaptable instructors, we all setup our tripods and such to await the sunset...which didn't ever really appear. We used it as a great learning experience as we awaited twilight, which turned out to be as eerie as the micro climates of the San Francisco Bay allows. Erratic and changing weather is something that a photographer must expect, so although our usual spot on Rodeo Beach might not have delivered the best weather, we turned it to our advantage and were able to grab some great shots. We then made our way to the final point of the evening.
The weather on this workshop presented challenges and excellent opportunities for learning, and to have fun. No one got wet, it didn't rain on us, and we walked away with better photographic skills, new friendships, and some great shots.
Thanks to Scott Davis, Scott Donschikowski, the Aperture Academy Team, and most of all The Students (you guys did so well in the adverse conditions; we commend you for being good sports!)
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.
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