San Francisco in June is a wonderful time. The temperature is mild and the city is starting to swing into full gear as summer takes over. This weekend was no exception as our intrepid group gathered together at Baker Beach. Everyone was excited with the prospects of learning their cameras, and taking photos of some of the city's iconic attractions under the clear sunny skies.
Traditionally we start with an orientation where the instructors Scott Donschikowski, and Matt Granz let the class know the places and things they'll be taking pictures of, and let each participant introduce themselves and give an overview of their skills and experience so that the class can be contoured to fit everyone's needs as best as possible.
After the orientation was over the class loaded into the ApCab 1, a fifteen seater Mercedes Benz to begin our journey to our first stop, an overlook at Battery Godfrey which has a fantastic view of the bay and the world famous Golden Gate bridge. The theme on this day was that sometimes in San Francisco, everyone in the city decides to travel in the same direction at the same time. As it turns out, this was one of those days. Let's just say we raced someone who was walking and barely beat them. Once we arrived, we found ourselves with the coastline to ourselves. It was great! Scott and Matt immediately started teaching the basics, and making certain everyone's camera is set up correctly. Lots of great shots were gotten!
Getting to our next stop at Fort Point also took us a bit longer to get to than usual because of the crazy traffic congestion. Scott veered the ApCab through many side streets to eliminate the wait time and keep the group on schedule. He did an amazing job and once we arrived, the whole bus applauded him. Our group still had plenty of time to explore the old Fort that was built in the mid 1800's directly below the south side of the Golden Gate bridge.
Here we split the group in two in order to more fully explore the place and fully get to shoot the various nooks and crannies of this historic old building. The powder room, officers quarters, and brick arches were nicely illuminated by even light of the midday sun. We had fantastic light and shadow going on, and our class just ate it up. We did a few experiments with long exposures, teaching a few of our students how to make a person transparent like a ghost. It was great fun! After a while, we set the participants free to explore the place and use their new found skills. Many go to the top for a less oft seen view of the big red bridge that adorns the bay. The view from atop the fort was be3autiful as always and many shots were taken. After the fort closed down we all jumped back into the ApCab and proceeded once again through thick traffic over to Sausalito to share our day's experiences over food and drink. Everyone was very hungry and once again Scott was able to bypass some extremely clogged roads and get us to the restaurant in a very timely manner. As we arrived he was once again met with applause. The food was amazing as usual, and everyone had a nice relaxing time as we waited for the sun to begin lowering for our last stop, sunset at Rodeo Beach. We didn't wait too long however... we knew there would once again be some delays due to all the people driving the small two lane roads that were before us.
That said, we arrived with plenty of time to spare, and were please to see there was a nice layer of high flying, cloud-like fog adorning the cliffs, and shoreline at the beach. Perfect for making more interest in getting a sunset shot! Our group unloaded and began our hike to the south end of the beach where the iconic rock sea stacks are found. It was a low tide and everything was looking beautiful. Here we get to play with gradient filters, polarizers and ND filters for the different varrying effects that each give to a scene. As the sun began to set the sky had a touch of gold and the high floating fog was tinged with a magenta color proving that not every sunset has to be epic to be full of grandeur and beauty. After the sun was fully submerged behind the horizon we taught the class how to flatten out the waves and create a misty feel through long exposures. So many great shots were being gotten! It was fantastic!
After we were done we all packed ourselves back into the ApCab one more time and wouldn't you know it, the traffic had died down. It was another fabulous day around the bay, and everyone did a great job.
On behalf of Matt, Scott and the Aperture Academy team, we sincerely thank you for another exceptional workshop in San Francisco and the Marin Headlands. We hope to see you again in the future!
P.S. If you'd like to join us at one of our workshops, you can find the schedule/sign up here.
NOTE: You can see more workshop photos below the comments here.