San Francisco is one of the most fantastic cities in the world to photograph! At night, its many iconic location and vistas become even more spectacular. It's awesome to shoot images in a new world where light and shadow take on extra meaning as they reverse their respective rolls
Our eager group met at Baker Beach where along with their instructors Jean Day and Matt Granz. The first order of business was to conduct our traditional class orientation. Here we tell the basics of what we would be doing this evening, as well as learning about our students, and their experience, and gear. After getting to know one another during and laying out what our plans are along with some first bits of instruction, we set out for Battery Godfrey and it's unique view of the Golden Gate bridge.
As is our custom, we instruct the students in shooting in Manual Mode to find the best combinations of aperture (f/stop) and shutter speed to capture the scene perfectly. We all worked on a variety of compositions and got everyone familiar with some of the basics of long exposure photography.
After the sun set it was time to head to our next location to start the night right -- the Palace of Fine Arts! This location is an iconic historic building with a lovely pond in front of it that can produce incredible reflections. Here we teach the essentials of long exposure photography including white balance and the effect of the aperture on the overall appearance of the photo. After shooting this for a while, we move under the canopy of the dome of this building where we proceed to teach creative framing in this place of exciting architectural shapes.
As soon as we are finished the group takes a quick break for snacks and refreshing beverages, but we keep it short because Lombard Street awaits! We love this location for light trails! This spot hosts the "crookest street in the world" and is one of the best places for creative, long exposure night photography. Here we divide into two groups. One group stays up high on the hill to take pictures of car taillights streaming down the curvy road, while the other group heads to the bottom to get pictures of headlights doing the same. While we waited for cars we even used flashlights to do some light painting and help illustrate just how much fun night photography is.
We had to drag our students away from this spot...they were having so much fun! The last stop of the evening was at the Embarcadero with it's view of the wonderfully lit up Bay Bridge. This is probably one of the most photographic places in the city, second only to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. We spent the last hour showing the class the miracle of exposing an image for more than two minutes. The water goes flat and the reflections become very dramatic. Everyone was getting great stuff and excited about their new skill set. With cameras full of new great images and heads full of lessons and new concepts learned, we headed back to Baker Beach at the late hour of one in the morning to conclude our night photography shoot.
Until Next Time,
Jean, Matt 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. (More photos below the comments.)