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Did you know that the SF Marin Headlands Workshop was our very first workshop offering? Nearly 10 years ago, this was the only workshop we taught…now we offer up about 300 workshops at year…but it all started here. With a few small exceptions, this workshop is the same as it was when we started. It’s still one of our most popular workshops as well!
Scott and I met a group of eleven awesome photographers for a full day of shooting in and around San Francisco. Our first stop after orientation is always Battery Godfrey. Here we have a couple nice vistas of the Golden Gate Bridge. This location is perfect for giving Scott and I a chance to go over the basics of shooting. Many folks are in some level of manual mode…usually using one of the auto-manual hybrid modes like Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority. We go over all the modes here, and talk about the pros and cons associated with each. Our goal is always that people understand how to shoot in full manual mode, and that when they elect to shoot in one of the other modes, they’re confident enough in their skills that they know what to look for should something not be coming out the way they like.
For beginning photographers there’s no better way to learn than to be in the field shooting and learning hands-on style! So many students don’t get a subject as fantastic as the Golden Gate to shoot while they’re learning!
Our next stop is Haw Hill. This vista offers up a nice view of the city and the Golden Gate from a “Hawks-Eye” perspective. Here we continue the instruction on the settings, and also talk a little about the polarizing filters and what they can offer.
The sun sets early this time of year, so we move next to Rodeo Beach where we’ll set up for sunset. Some lovely sea-stacks, and craggy rocky foreground make for a tremendous shot. The tide level is PERFECT; low enough we can safely get to our shooting spot, and high enough that each large set of waves will completely cover our foreground, giving us the perfect chance to capture the silky movement of water as the wave recedes.
We’re after long exposures here so we encourage higher apertures, and low ISO…to help give us longer shutter speeds…as the sun sets, this of course becomes even easier. We had a lovely sunset as well to help make all the shots even more aesthetically pleasing. The use of graduated ND filters helps us balance this exposure as well…shooting into the setting sun can make for some really tricky exposures. The group got so many nice images, it was fun to see them all.
Our next stop was for dinner. Shooting takes it out of you, and we needed a little bit of a nourishment break before our night stops.
Our evening shots were from a couple stops along the Headlands looking at the Golden Gate. Probably everyone’s favorite spot is Battery Spencer. Here a short walk takes you right to the Cliffside where it feels like you can reach out and touch the bridge and city in the background. This is probably one of my all time favorite spots in the city to see the bridge. This isn’t a night photography workshop, but we do like to give the group a little taste of what this kind of photography is like…and the images they get are amazing! This is SF though, so the wind is really whipping us around, and we’re all getting cold…so that’s a good time to pack it up and call it a night. All things considered, we had a great day and night of shooting, and everyone came away with a few really great images to add to their collection…and hopefully, learned a few things as well!
Until Next Time,
Brian, 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.