When you think of National Parks I would think San Francisco would be one of the last places you'd think of. Yet, Golden Gate National Recreational Area is a National Park, and probably one of the most diverse in the country. From the Bridge and surrounding urban areas all the way through the Marin Headlands and all of those wild areas...it's a truly amazing location...and full of photography opportunities as well.
Scott Donschikowski and I met a group of 9 photographers in Sausalito for a fun day exploring all of the wonderful locations that we could find in and around Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Our first stop is the Civil War era Fort Point. I always marvel that San Francisco actually has a Civil War era fort...you wouldn't think the war stretched all the way here...but there it is. The Golden Gate Bridge has since been built over the top of the fort, giving it the best view of the bridge anywhere. The goal of the time in the fort is to get the photographers travelling with us familiarized with all of their camera's manual settings. This is the basics, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and white balance. For those of the group who already understand these, we're there to help with composition..and finding new ways to see things. There's so much to see in the fort!
We show them powder rooms filled with row upon row of old powder barrel replicas...There's a hallway filled with doorways, a line of brick archways, and many, many other nooks and crannies. We don't want to take up all of the time they have...so after showing them a few of our favorite spots, and helping them to familiarize themselves with their gear we turn them loose….here they can meander the spiral staircases, roam the top of the fort and photograph the wonderful Golden Gate Bridge...or just lose themselves in the many hallways, and alcoves.
Time flies in the Fort, and before we know it our time together is almost half done, and we're heading to shoot a view vantage points of the Golden Gate from some of the old fort batteries. Here we talk about the polarizing filters, and just offer up some tips on composition.
We take our customary lunch break in Sausalito before heading out to Rodeo Beach for our crack at sunset. Sunset was looking NICE when we arrived...perfect rocks for foregrounds...great sea stacks just offshore; and a bunch of clouds and waves to make the whole scene come together. Scott and I helped the group pick out foregrounds, and utilize grad filters to help them balance their exposures. It was a misty evening, so the group was encouraged to wipe their lenses often. The waves were perfect, and we're out to get movement in our shots...so the idea is to time the exposures for when the waves start to recede. This process sounds easy, but sometimes it means coming up close and personal with the waves in order to get that perfect movement and foreground. The sea was angry this day, and many a good photographer took a little water aboard their clothing. It was smiles all around though, as everyone was really enjoying the weather, and getting some tremendous images.
With soaking feet we made the short trip back up the beach to the van, and our last stop; a night shoot of the Golden Gate. What trip to the headlands is complete without one!
Once we've set up on our perch overlooking the bridge it's time to get the shot. This is a little intro to our night owls photography workshop. The sun has just set, the lights in the city have turned on, and the mix of city lights and twilight are amazing. Scott and I help the group to set up and capture a few images of this amazing scene before we have to get back.
A lot was seen, a lot was learned, and there was even some wet feet to boot. What a fun day! Scott and I would like to thank the whole group for a fun day in the city!
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.