Warm, beautiful San Francisco weather greeted our Marin class this weekend! I've spent some COLD days in the city, so to have this bluebird sky and these pleasant warm temps it's ALWAYS a welcome addition to any workshop.
Matt and I were excited to get to work with a diversely experienced group of eager photographers, several of which were a part of our class the previous night!
We always start with the introductions before heading out to Baker Beach to shoot the Golden Gate Bridge. The tide was way up and more than once some members of our group had to dash, gear in hand to avoid getting soaked!
This first spot is always a good spot for us to work with students on really making sure they have the basic knowledge of the aperture and shutter settings. We also talk depth of field, polarizers, ISO, and composition here. It really depends where each student is in their skill level as to what we focus on in our talks.
The next stop is the iconic Fort Point, and old civil war era fort set right beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. We break the group up into smaller pods and then Matt and I show them a few different lighting situations in the fort, and some of our favorite little spots. The fort is ALWAYS windy, so many people had to run and get their coats at some juncture in this stop…myself included. I have no idea how the soldiers put up with that freezing, swirling wind. Just 10 feet OUTSIDE of the fort it was 15 degrees warmer, and far less windy.
Once we had shown the class our spots, we turn them loose to explore, and many of the students went right to the roof for the view of the bridge. I can't say I blame them! When it was almost time to go I went out to water to work with some of the students on shooting surfers, a kind of impromptu sports photography lesson. There were a few pretty good wave riders, and it's always fun to shoot them.
After a delicious meal break in Sausalito it was off to the Rodeo Beach sea stacks to shoot sunset. Though we had some large waves in the beginning of class, the tide had slowly receded during the rest of the day, and we arrived to low-tide at Rodeo beach. I have never seen so many great foreground rocks on the beach as I saw with this class. The tide WAS PERFECT!!
Matt and I lined up the students along the shore and while we waited for the sun to drop, we worked a lot on composition, the basics of grad filter use, and how to get some neat effects on the rocks with slow exposures of ¼ to 1/6th of a second…just enough time to get a little bit of movement. The sun was low in the sky, so the golden light on the rocks and water was really a nice abstraction.
When the sun finally dropped the sky hit a nice pinkish-salmon colored hue, and we helped the students to really dial in the compositions and work on long exposures, anywhere from 4 seconds, eventually up to 20-25 seconds as the light faded.
In typical ApCad fashion, we go over the given ending time and found our class high atop the Marin headlands shooting the Golden Gate Bridge as the night takes over the city. This was one of the crazier times I've ever seen there. Not only did some bold raccoons try to take one of our students camera bags (I thought they only shot large format?!?!?) But there was a band setting up to shoot a video, with amps, drum sets, and the works. Two firsts for our group!
While the band set up Matt and I helped the class with longer exposures, and some introductory settings in night photography…a warm up to our Night Owls class is what we like to call it. Though we don't spend too long, the class got some REALLY nice stuff….and no camera gear was stolen by varmints.
We're always a little late when we get back, but it's always worth it, and we see a lot of happy faces and great images on those cameras!
Until next time,
Brian, 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.
NOTE: You can see more workshop photos below the comments here.