There is nothing like the view from atop the Marin Headlands. A true birds-eye view, one doesn’t need much of an imagination to dream of soaring down through the giant red towers of the Golden Gate Bridge, over the bay and on toward the bustling city. The hills of Marin were once fortified and used as a place of defense against any sea faring or airborne attacks before and after the first and second world wars. With the highest point at over 900 feet in elevation you can see why they chose this location to defend their lands. From a photography stand point it just doesn’t get better than this. Which is why professional outdoor photographer Brian Rueb and I took thirteen enthusiastic photographers from all over the world, on a fun-filled tour around the majestic headlands.
We met our group in the fancy little town of Sausalito where we all grabbed some coffee and prepared our minds for our big day. After getting to know everyone a little Brian got everyone thinking by going over how to achieve a large range of focus in a landscape photograph. After going over how to create a good exposure using Aperture, Shutter speed, and ISO we were ready to visit our first location.
We all got into the van and headed up to the headlands. We found some parking up near the top and the view was great with some light fog rolling in over the city and the bridge. Brian and I got everyone comfortable with using manual settings and taught the group how to use their polarizing filters. After about an hour everyone was feeling pretty good about their camera knowledge and we decided to head south to Fort Point.
Fort Point is located on the San Francisco side of the bay and is another seacoast fortification. The fort is now preserved by the National Park Service and sees thousands of visitors every year. Once our group got inside Brian and I split them up into two separate groups. Brian took the beginners and I took those who felt more comfortable with their settings. My group started in the powder room. An old storage unit for gunpowder this makes for an interesting lesson in both white balance and depth of field. After everyone got a few shots here we went upstairs to the top of the fort. From the top you have views of the underside of the Golden Gate and sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay. Here we set up our tripods and worked on achieving maximum depth of field. After a few shots I let everyone go through the fort while Brian and I played photography hide-and-seek with individuals to make sure they were ok.
After hanging out in the fort for a few hours we were hungry and ready for an early dinner. Back over the bridge we went to one of our favorite little Italian restaurants in Sausalito. After a quick meal we loaded back up into the van and zipped on over to our sunset location at Rodeo Beach. This time of year high tide comes in later on and so we walked right out onto the beach until we found some nice rock formations to shoot. When shooting sunset it can be tough to capture the entire range from the deep shadows to the bright highlights in the sky. Fortunately for our group we brought a few filters down to the beach to cut the contrast and trick our cameras into seeing the way that we do. The sunset was short-lived but beautiful. Now it was high time we drove back up the hill to shoot the Golden Gate after dark. After a quick bathroom break we did just that.
We arrived back up to Hawk Hill after dark to see the orange bridge lights permeating the heavy marine layer that had swept in after dark. After a few minutes it had lifted slightly to expose part of the towers and the roadway. Brian explained some key settings for night photography everyone took 5 or 10 shots before the bitter wind drove us all the way back down to Sausalito where we dropped everyone off at their cars.
Until next time,
Phil, Brian and the rest of team ApCad!
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.