Saturday might have been the nicest day in the year in San Francisco. The temperatures hovered near the 70 degree mark (which if you live in the city, you know is sweltering) It seemed EVERYONE and their relatives were out in force this day. Parking at our Baker Beach meet up was a nightmare, and traffic was crazy throughout the city. Despite this setback we managed to get everyone parked, and have our orientation within only a few minutes past our start time.
Everyone had a great level of enthusiasm and all were excited to spend a fun day in the city learning some new techniques with their cameras and coming away with some great images.
We began our one day adventure on Baker Beach, and the flavor of the city was instantly observable as members of the nude beach decided to grace our shots of the Golden Gate Bridge with naked frivolity as they streaked back and forth from their beach towels through our frames, and into the sea. While I'm not sure it made great foreground subjects, it provided some laughs...which is always fun to start the class.
Luckily most of the city-goers were more interested in relaxing on the beaches, and parks as opposed to learning something for US History, and we had no trouble parking at Fort Point. The fort is a great spot photographically, and Alicia and I waste no time getting the class broken up into smaller pods and taking them to a few of our favorite spots throughout the fort and talking about the lighting issues with each spot as well as compositional issues dealing with the high level of symmetry in these location. Repetitive doorways, brick archways, and rows of old barrels...there's so much to see in this place!
I could easily take people to a dozen great spots in the fort, but part of what makes the location so great is that it offers the class a chance to explore the place on their own and find their own memorable locations. While the class explores Alicia and I walk the mysterious hallways looking for them and seeing what has caught their eye and helping to answer any questions they might have in capturing those images.
We stay in the fort until they kick us out at closing time...then it's off to Sausalito for a food break before we make our way to Rodeo Beach for some sunset/wave photography.
When we arrive on the beach we spend the first portion of our time working on capturing faster shutter speed shots of the waves crashing against the rocks. With water photography there's really only two camps with how to capture it. You're either stopping the action, or you're capturing it in some form of movement...if you're getting the water moving then the issue becomes HOW MUCH movement do you want?
Once the light of the sun has dropped below the horizon we switch from capturing the action of waves to capturing various length exposures of the moving water. This is also a great place to work with neutral density filters as well, either solid or graduated.
The class is enthusiastic and captured some great photos. I walked the group to help those who didn't have their own graduated neutral density filter see how it worked and get some shots using the filter.
It was nearly dark when we finally got back into our ApCad van and set off towards the Golden Gate Bridge for a last shot. The bridge at blue hour is so pretty, the red of the steel mixed with the twilight blue sky and twinkling city lights makes for some jaw-dropping photos. We don't spend too long here, it's late and people need to get back to their families, but even in 20-30 minutes people come away with some great exposures, and learn a little of the basics of night photography.
It was a fun last stop, and everyone was giddy with the shots they'd come away with from that stop, and from the entire day...the only thing left at that point was to get them back to their vehicles so they could get home and process them!
UNTIL NEXT TIME!
On behalf of Brian, Alicia and the Aperture Academy team, we thank you for a another great workshop!
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.