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San Francisco/Marin Headlands Photography Workshop - September 14th, 2013

San Francisco Photography Workshop Students

Being a native born San Franciscan, having lived in this incredible place for much of my life, my favorite time of year is the late Summer season. The city bustles with tourist, and is so alive, while the weather is a grab bag of different climates, from mild and sunny, to mini heat waves in the low 80's, or fogged in and windy... you just never know what the day will bring.

On this particular August day, a group of 13 eager students met their instructors and professional photographers Brian Rueb, and Matt Granz for a day and evening of photography, and good times in the famous city by the bay.

The class began (as is our custom) with an orientation and shoot on Baker Beach, which provides us with one of the best views of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. After introductions, the class was ready to do the sort hike down the beach to set up, and take images of the world's most famous bridge. Here we worked with the students on composition and how to approach a scene in terms of settings. Our attendees tend to come to us with a wide variety of skills and experience. We use this time to better understand where each participant is skill-wise to ascertain what they know and help take them from where they are now and help them up to the next level.

After getting some nice picture postcard images, our next location that we head on to is a civil war era fort that resides under the same Golden Gate Bridge that we had just been shooting. Fort Point has a great variety of imagery to offer photographers. Interesting textures, and shapes, with sometimes repeating symmetry, and stunning different views of the Golden Gate Bridge! We start off working on photographing interiors. The class breaks up into 2 smaller groups. We spend the first part of our time in the fort showing the students some of the best locations while working on exposure settings indoors as well as out. We covered some topics related to depth of field, and how to use it creatively to bring drama and interest to the images we take.

Shooting only in Manual mode makes everyone know all the settings by day's end and while so much new information can be overwhelming, we set it up that it becomes easier as the day goes along, in different setting inside this old fort where light and shadow form high contrast to experiment with. After a while we set the students free to explore the Fort in order to go practice and play with what they've been learning on their own. It helps put the lessons we've been teaching into practical use. During this time that the students explore the fort and work individually on their skills, the instructors walk around and find them in order to provide individual feedback and instruction as might be needed.

Shooting this old place can really zap you after a while. Lucky thing the place closes at the exact time we need to refuel before shooting sunset. We all get back into the ApCad 1, our fifteen seater Mercedes Benz, and head from Fort Point directly to A Taste of Rome in Sausalito, where the students can refuel and recharge as well as continue to get to know their classmates and instructors more.

When our dinner is finished it's now time for sunset photography at Rodeo Beach! Rodeo Beach provides a great opportunities to work on a dynamic changing seascape scene. Here we also teach how to use filters to help balance exposure as well as add creativity to images. The moving surf, rocks, and sea stacks help to provide opportunities for excellent compositions.

It's a lot of fun to show the students who come with Neutral Density filters how to make those silky moving water shots. It's so awesome seeing our class come away with nice images as well as a much better understanding of the concepts needed to make the images. Though everyone was having a good time, eventually the sun was fully set, so we finished up as the last bit of color faded from the sky.

There was still one stop left as San Francisco began to light up under ever increasing darkening night skies... a return to the Golden Gate Bridge!

The class was still eager to photograph as we pulled up to park along the Marin Headlands. The view of the Golden Gate Bridge with San Francisco glittering behind it is amazing! Here we begin to teach the concepts of night photography from this most excellent vantage point. The class took some super nice "blue hour" images here as Brian and I walked along the lineup and helped everyone with their settings, and going over how white balance affects the photos, and just how the f/stop and ISO can help to create dynamic and impressive images.

The van ride back to the meeting point was much more silent as our students peered into their camera back screens cycling through a memory cards full of fantastic new images. The smiles and thank you's at the end of our sojourn let us know that the students were happy with their results. What a great way to spend a beautiful late summer day in San Francisco!

The van ride back to the meeting point was much more silent as our students peered into their camera back screens cycling through a memory cards full of fantastic new images. The smiles and thank you's at the end of our sojourn let us know that the students were happy with their results. What a great way to spend a beautiful late summer day in San Francisco!

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 here.



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