The Marin Headlands in the Golden Gate National Recreation area is a jewel of the west coast, located just above the inlet of the San Francisco bay. The headlands boast some of the most spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the cityscape beyond. This is a great workshop for landscape photographers and architecture lovers alike.
Brian Rueb and I met up with our photography friends in the quaint town of Sausalito where we did a quick orientation to get to know everyone. That afternoon was one of those foggy days that San Francisco is so well known for. This can create some great opportunities for photographing the bridge as it emerges in and out of the heavy fog. We decided to start off the day by heading up to the headlands for a look at the bridge.
Everybody hopped into the Apcab and we were off to our first shooting location. When we arrived at our destination we were met with a thick a river of fog and we couldn’t see the bridge. We all piled out of the van and within a minute or two we were starting to see the red towers fading in and out of view as the wind blew the fog around. Brian and I walked the students through dealing with tough lighting situations, using white balance and how to shoot in Manual Mode. After happily shooting for about an hour we got back in the van and headed across the bay to the historic Fort Point.
The fort was originally used as a Spanish Mission named Castillo de San Joaquin. The fort changed hands when Mexico gained its independence from Spain and again 14 years later after the Mexican-American War. The U.S. Army then used it as a coastal defense against warships just before the Civil War.
Fort Point is a photographer’s playground. The winding corridors snake through moss laden red brick, ammunition rooms, canons and spiraling cement stairways. Brian and I split up into two groups and took the students through the narrow hallways and walkways. We took this time to explain compositional techniques and how to shoot in low light situations while using a tripod. After touring the Fort we were surprised to see several surfers riding the waves outside. Taking this as a sign we decided to stay awhile and photograph the brave souls shredding the incoming tide. We popped in with the students giving pointers and going over a few different techniques to use.
All this learning and using our brains was making us hungry so we drove back over the bridge to Sausalito for a bite at a local Mexican restaurant. Sausalito rarely disappoints with its small seaside businesses and restaurants spotting the funky town. After filling our tummies with some good local flavor we were ready to get back out there for sunset.
We headed back to the headlands to Rodeo Beach. Since it was still foggy and sunset looked questionable we decided to focus on shooting longer exposures with the waves. The students practiced some techniques while Brian and I walked around offering our advice and perspective. After we finished shooting we took a quick group photo and hiked the short walk back to the van.
On our way back we attempted one more time at Hawk Hill but by this time the fog had only gotten heavier so we all agreed to head in for the night.
Until next time,
Brian, Phil and the rest of the Aperture Academy!
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.