The night time is the right time… Who am I kidding? Every time is the right time for photography! San Francisco is arguably just as beautiful at night as it is in the day and the city lights make for a spectacular display. I met a small group of photographers in Marin prior to the workshop so I could get read on what folks wanted to work on and so we could all get to know one another.
Our first stop of the night would be The Palace of Fine Arts. This is by far, my favorite building in San Francisco. If you didn’t know any better, you would think that you were in the middle of Greece when looking at the structure. Once everyone got their cameras secured to their tripods I began to explain camera settings and answered any questions that came up. As the sun sank in the sky, the group captured the the blue hour with beautiful reflections of the building in the water. Eventually the blue hour turned to night and the students were able to see the difference that light can have on a scene.
The next stop of the night was the famous Lombard Street. Although this place is a major tourist trap in the day, there usually are very few people there at night when we arrive. We photographed the switch-backing road from a number of locations at the top allowing us to capture the beautiful trail of taillights as the vehicles weaved their way down the road. After a while the group moved a little bit further down the road to try out a few more compositions. Lastly we moved even further down the road to a position that allowed us to shoot the headlight trails coming down the street. Lombard Street is a prime example of how dramatically a composition can change just by walking a short way from where you started.
After the students had their fill of warping time and space it was time to move on to the Bay Bridge. A few years ago, the City of San Francisco installed the worlds largest LED art installation on the cables of the bridge. This art piece has been a huge bonus for photographers who are looking to capture the beautiful landscape of San Francisco. The group lined up and fired away at the bridge, capturing wonderful imagery as the fog seeped into the bay.
The night was slipping away from us, but we had one more stop before we would call it a night. We drove to Fort Baker to shoot the Golden Gate Bridge from below. This location gave the group an opportunity to switch from their wide angle lenses to a mid range lens for a little more reach. Before we knew it, it was almost one in the morning and well past our bedtime. The workshop concluded where we had started in Marin and I can only assume everyone went straight to bed as soon as they arrived home after a long night of shooting.
Until Next Time,
Mike 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.