The Golden Gate Bridge Area
The Golden Gate Bridge is such an icon that most people think that there is no way to capture an original image of it. But with a lot of climbing, hard work and a bit of luck, it is possible. There are many difficult to reach vantage points that are much better for landscape photography than the numerous tourist spots where everybody congregates, if you don’t mind scrambling down crumbling cliff sides in the dark that end abruptly with a 300 foot plunge to the ocean below! Also, it is possible to anticipate rare fog and tidal conditions that may happen only a few times per year. Those are the moments you never see in postcards. I am always on the lookout for those moments.
When the waves are small, it is easy to set up this composition, though you have to be meticulous about it. The chain can not touch the rocks/concrete or it loses its impact. Also, you want the top of that rusty post to not go above the horizon. After a bit of fiddling around, this always seems to be the best composition, at least for me. You can’t fiddle around much during big surf or you will be sucked into the bay. No kidding! Be careful here.
Then the sky turned red to the right which turned everything red. The rest was done with the 2-minute exposure, which really brings out the chain nicely.
Fog never fails to create lots of atmosphere and mood. The Golden Gate is both a passageway for people as well as for lots of ocean fog to cool off the inland areas. A long exposure shows the way the fog flowed through the gate. The last light of the sun and the lights of the bridge in equal amounts illuminated the fog. This even light lasts for only a few minutes, so in the course of one evening, only one or two chances for a long exposure such as this are possible.
It took me three years to capture this moment and I have never seen it happen again.
Soon after I made the photo “Passageway”, my first flickr upload, the moon came out and with the last remaining light in the sky I saw this scene. Most of the light is from the intentionally overexposed moon. It is a thin crescent but it looks full because I exposed the scene for the light on the water, not for the moon! 2 minutes also allowed the moon to move a bit, making it appear even larger!
I have never seen this before or since!
September and October are great months for capturing low fog at the Golden Gate. The inversion is weaker but still there and the fog is often not as deep. So I got up at 2 hours before sunrise, checked the weather and headed out. You need to get here before sunrise to capture the best light. As I left the hillside after sunrise, a bunch of other photographer were setting up their tripods but the light was already harsh and bright because the high clouds were thin. Too bad I was alone to see this!
This is a small portion of a gigapixel panorama of San Francisco. The entire panorama is over 80,000 pixels wide and could be printed 50 feet wide with fine resolution. This portion is over 10,000 pixels and would have super-fine resolution at 40×60 inches or even larger. Much finer that a 8×10 film view camera.
This image is comprised of several images stitched together. This is all about the people watching the spectable of another incredible San Francisco sunset from the hill on the left.
Some people were busy snapping photos while others were just taking in the scenery on this warm November evening.
The prospect of a perfect alignment of the lowest tide of the month, at sunset, with a clearing storm and the sun setting furthest south (to the left) to light up the Marin Headlands (on the right) was too good to pass up, so I headed out for some shooting!
When I got here, the sky was dark and heavy, and the tide was about a foot higher, so this scene was hard to imagine at that point. But the storm might broke!
Every single element I had hoped for came together.It is moments like this that make me glad that I took up photography.
Usually you see photos from this angle from the top of the cliff directly behind and above the camera with no foreground included in the shot. So I climbed down the 300 foot crumbly cliff in the dark before sunrise to get to this spot before the sun rose. I just like those foreground rocks. Even the poison oak that I knew was there was not enough to stop me. And I got a good bit of it too! Unfortunately some of the best spots are so heavily fortified with poison oak that I may never reach them.
The sun way very bright as it rose over the city, but then it hid behind that thin ribbon of cloud, allowing the light to spread across the landscape and even between the city buildings. 1 minute later and the light show was over. Kirby Cove is in the lower left of the frame.