Photography has exploded in the past few years ‘thanks in large part to the ever-expanding technology created with the digital SLR. Now everyone has a camera that can take quality images and wants to learn how to use it. That's where we come in. The Aperture Academy is designed to help photographers of all skill levels learn more about their cameras in some of the best spots around the globe, and what's better than San Francisco for a day of fun and photography!
Phil and I met a group of 8 eager photographers just outside the Marin Headlands for a day of fun and exploration. We conduct a brief orientation to familiarize everyone with the schedule, and learn more about the experience level and educational goals of the class. Once everyone has taken a turn it's time to shoot!
We head first to the wonderful Fort Point. This fort is just amazing, and has SO many wonderful nooks and crannies to explore. We take our group in smaller factions around and showcase a few of the brick walled garrison's more iconic locations. These locations offer us the chance to discuss almost every aspect of learning a camera. We cover composition with the highly symmetrical arches and rows of doorways. We cover white balance as we are inside and outside using vastly different light sources. Then of course we cover the basics of aperture and shutter speed as well…and how ISO comes into play.
Once we shot the class a few of our favorite spots, it's time for them to go out alone and find their own wonderful portions of this historically aesthetic building. The recent “storm-a-geddon” brought much needed rain to the state, and that left puddles throughout the fort that provided very interesting reflections and opportunities to create some different perspectives of this wonderful building. One puddle on the 3rd floor in particular provided what I felt were some of the strongest opportunities for new compositions…and provided a chance to work with polarizers, and some longer exposures…as well as sneaking in a grad filter as well.
A couple hours in the fort FLEW by and we all were ready for a small lunch break in the wonderful Sausalito community along the bay. Over dinner we talked photography and everyone got to know one another a little better before it was off to the sea stacks of Rodeo Beach.
The recent storms also churned up the waves to frightening heights, so rather than risk a wet shoot, we opted to take to higher ground and shoot the stack from the top of the bluffs. This perspective, is different, and I felt with the golden light on the water provided us some really unique perspectives…and also allowed Phil and I the chance to cover filters, and the other techniques we use at this location. While we shot we noticed a few other people who deiced to go to the lower vantage points, and I can honestly say, they ALL looked very wet, and unhappy with their choice in shooting locations! Glad we went high!
After the sun and warmth faded we retreated to the van and off to our last stop of the night, a shoot of the Golden Gate Bridge from the headlands overlook. This gives us a chance to begin to cover some of the techniques we cover in our night courses. Phil and I both saw some really great shots on the backs of the cameras from this spot as well as all day long. What a really nice group of photographers with some great eyes for composition!
7 hours flew by and at 6pm we were back at the cars dropping off a van load of fun folks so they could go home and sift through the mountains of images they had taken throughout the day.
Until Next Time,
Brian, Phil 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.
NOTE: You can see more workshop photos below the comments here.