When most people think of San Francisco, they think of the classic Golden Gate Bridge. However, there is truly so much more to this city and the surrounding area as you begin to explore it. Some of the most amazing areas to visit are right under our noses.
On this particular Saturday, a group of 13 eager photographers joined Scott Donschikowski and I for a full day of photography in the Marin Headlands and some of the more secluded areas around the Golden Gate Bridge.
We began class with an orientation, got a gauge of everyone's skill levels with a camera, and let them know the schedule for the day. Today, our group was great and came with a variety of skill levels, which always makes the day fun.
Our first stop was Battery Godfrey with one of the most unique views of the Golden Gate Bridge, commonly known as the alignment… where the two bridge towers perfectly align with each other while framed by a pair of 50ft plus tall cypress trees. Here we really started to touch on the basics of photography (aperture, shutter speeds, ISO, composition, white balance).
While it is fun to work with the class on the basics, the real fun of photography is exploring it on your own. Showing the class a couple of other spots along the cliffs that over look Marshall's Beach, some students took to photographing the Golden Gate Bidge from different views while others focused in on the blooming flowers or how the birds would swoop down in a hunt of fresh fish.
After working our way around Battery Godfrey, we all jumped back into ApVan and headed down towards the harbor for a stop at Torpedo Wharf for a water level view of Golden Gate Bridge. Some folks took the time to shoot panoramic photos of the Bridge while others shot the details of the pier overlapped with the classic San Francisco city skyline.
At this point, it was time to head to Sausalito for an early dinner. While at dinner students asked questions, shared stories and hopefully got to make some new friends.
After our meal break, we headed through the Marin Headlands to Rodeo Beach. Once there we noticed how the recent winter storms had changed the landscape near the seastacks by washing away the sandy beach and exposing many rocks to provide all sorts of new foreground opportunities. Some students jumped right into the spirit of the seascape photography and up as close as they could the breaking edge of the waves, resulting in a couple pairs of wet shoes… but lots of laughs and smiles. Here we brought out the neutral density and graduated filters; showing everyone how to get those long silky exposures and how to use water movement to create long leading lines to the seastacks in their photos.
Even though we had already photographed the Golden Gate Bridge earlier in the day, there is nothing quite like seeing "Goldie" shine in the night. So we left Rodeo Beach and headed back up thought the Headlands over to Fort Baker to get a little taste of night shooting. This gave the group a chance to work with longer exposures required of night photography.
At Fort Baker we have the added benefit of being able to shoot from the Moore Rd Pier giving everyone a wonderful view of the Golden Gate Bridge from the water while not having to get into the cold harbor water. As the group grabbed their gear bags and tripods from ApVan, we continued discussing long exposure photography, reminding everyone to make sure their tripods where on stable ground to prevent movement and blurring of their photos and using a balance of shutter speed and iso to set up their compositional shots before shooting their longer higher quality "keeper" photos. As sounds of shutters clicked, they were almost immediately followed with voices of "ohh, that's beautiful."
Until Next Time,
Aron, Scott 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.
NOTE: You can see more workshop photos below the comments.