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Aperture Academy, how to be a photographer, Photography Workshops
Aperture Academy

San Francisco/Marin Headlands Photography Workshop - May 9th 2009

With introductions complete, Stephen and Brian led the group out on Baker Beach, which provides some great scenic views of the Pacific Ocean and Golden Gate Bridge. Time was spent working on composition with use of the waves as leading lines. Time was also spent on filter use (mainly the benefits of the circular polarizer) to bring out depth in the sky and intensify colors. Baker Beach provides a great beginning to the workshop.

With the beach under our belts, it was time to hit Fort Point. Fort Point provides students with opportunities to photograph during the mid-day, which is usually during the suns brightest and least photographic period. Inside the fort there are opportunities to work with low light, long exposures in the dark corridors of the forts hallways. Using symmetry in compositions can be challenging and workshop participants have ample opportunities to use the arches and curves of the forts architecture to create aesthetic and balanced compositions. Fort Point also provides numerous windows, and columns to use in creating images with repeating shape patterns. Under ideal circumstances the group spends a couple hours exploring the fort and its various photographic options....due to the time we spent on Baker Beach, we had a conflict with schedules and the group divided and shot the fort whirlwind style...making the most of the 40 minutes we had inside.

While the inside of the fort is a great place for photography, the outside ain't bad neither....and amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge are found from spots right outside the fort walls. This place is also popular for surfers and students had time to photograph some of the colorful individuals riding the waves.

We spent time photographing the bridge, so it was only fitting to drive across it into Sausalito for a coffee break, and a lesson on using larger lenses for creating compression in images....where the background appears magnified, and commands a larger portion of the image. The sky cooperated all day, and the group benefited from great cloud formations during each and every shoot....from beginning right through to sunset.

Sunset on Rodeo Beach, in the Marin Headlands, was the highlight for many of us. The clouds were perfect, and the spot...ideal to capture some of the Pacific's true beauty. Sea Stacks and pristine sand (in most places....stupid dogs) created some truly dramatic images...and again was a great opportunity to work on use of filters and composition with the students. GND, ND, and Polarizing filters all helped make the images the eye saw come to life on the viewing screens of our cameras. Timing is an important part of beach photography and there were plenty of chances to make sure everyone got that beautiful streaking surf in their foreground.

If the day ended there, I think everyone would've been extremely pleased with the weather, and the numerous places they saw and photographed....but there was still one last treat in store for the group.

The San Francisco workshops always conclude with a night shoot of the city and its bridge. They light up so magnificently...and what better way to teach on exposures longer than 30 make things extra special Stephen and Brian pulled a few strings and arranged a full moon AND a fireworks display for the do they do it!?! (alright....they didn't arrange the moon....or the fireworks...but it was still an awesome treat)

All said, the workshop was a total success...and the group dynamics were amazing. We had an amazing and fun filled day working with a bunch of determined and creative individuals all working to improve on something they obviously have a lot of love

Look like fun? Why not Join us....opportunities are available all year long in a variety of amazing locations.

Until next time!

Stephen & Brian

P.S. If you'd like to join us at one of our workshops, you can find the schedule/sign up here.


Steve - May 13th, 2009 (4:44pm)

Hey guys! Thanks for the great workshop experience. It was my first one and you guys really have the heart of teachers. Hoping I can join you for the Shasta one in June. I'll let you know how my finances are once I get back from my Grand Canyon trip, but I'm sure I'll do it anywayz. Gotta love credit cards! Can you send me the large size of the snapshot of me? Thanks!

Larry - May 13th, 2009 (4:45pm)

Stephen...many thanks for all that you did....I learned a lot, had a great time, and got a few good photos, will send/post them soon.
Again, many thanks and hope to be with you again!

Rao - May 13th, 2009 (5:19pm)

Hey Stephen & Brian. Thanks for putting together a great photography outing. Learned a lot but more importantly enjoyed it greatly.

With "fireworks" and the "moon" on tap - you guys take care of everything! Looking forward to other such lessons.

Thanks again.

Ray - May 13th, 2009 (10:14pm)

Stephen - this was my first photography course and I'm glad I took it, I learned a few techniques, learned that cool "blinking" feature in my camera too :) I hope to put the knowledge into work and join you guys for another class soon. The group was a lot of fun and you guys are great. Will send you some of the shots from that day.

Charlie - May 15th, 2009 (4:03pm)

What a fun group to experience and share the photography field trip with. By the looks of things everyone was very focused on their focus. Also, the running commentary by Stephen and Brian produced many good tips and advice that the group could put in to practice immediately. Great job! Lots of fun. Many mahalo's.

Gabor - May 19th, 2009 (9:26pm)

Thank you for the very informative and fun lesson. I had a great time and learned a lot. :)

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