San Francisco. Songs are sung about it, book written, movies made, and of course photographs taken.
On this gorgeous October evening Aperture Academy instructors Ellie Stone and Scott Donschikowski, led a group of 13 adventurous students, into this glitzy city for a night of epic proportions!
The goal for Scott and Ellie, share their vast photographic knowledge with the excited and eager pupils. This was not just any photography workshop, but one that focused on capturing the spirit and romance of the city lights.
Ellie and Scott got the evening underway with the important task of introductions. Knowing every students skill level and expectation, allows the instructors to cater to each individuals ability level, for the best possible learning experience.
Once the introductions were complete the group headed out for the first of three amazing locations, the Palace of Fine Arts.
With Grecian architecture and a stunning reflection pond, the Palace is the perfect spot to get the students feet wet. Scott & Ellie got everyone into position just in time for the "blue hour". The 15 minuets after sunset wen the sky is a vibrant blue. The warm lights that illuminate the architecture, provides a perfect balance of warm against the cool tones in the sky. Right from the get go, the instructors covered the foundational basics of composition and exposure, to ensure some stunning shots with the Place and reflection. Once the blue sky made way for true darkness, the group moved inside the rotunda of this amazing structure. Now the instructors would change everyone’s focus to more intimate details. This can push some outside their comfort level, but this is how we learn. Changing ones point of view and never forgetting the foundations of composition is a way to work through the seemingly difficult task. Of course Ellie and Scott where available to assist at all times during the eye opening image capture experience. It was hard to pull the students away, but it was time to move on, and experience another thrilling nighttime location.
Stop number two was the iconic Lombard Street. Best known for its section on Russian hill, where the one way, downhill traffic, twists and winds on a brick surface at a 16-degree angle. Scott and Ellie would again help with composition and exposure, to ensure everyone would be able to capture the lights of passing cars, in a long exposure light trail. These natural "S" curves provide the perfect element of composition, to lead ones eye comfortably through the image. Once everyone was in position to capture the strong and fun composition, it was a matter of waiting for the cars to begin their decent. It doesn’t take long, as people travel to San Francisco from all over the world, every day. Most will have Lombard Street on their agenda. Some tourists will even partake in the thrilling decent multiple times. This helps our students get ample opportunity to capture that perfect shot of car tail light trails curving in the foreground, with Coit tower and the Bay Bridge in the background. Scott and Ellie had some fun in between cars and demonstrated some light painting techniques, with flashlight letters, which is not quite as easy as it sounds. Batteries were getting drained and we still had one more amazing location, before the evening would come to a close.
Stop number three and the final of the evening was the Embarcadero. Here Ellie and Scott would assist the pupils on how to capture the Bay Bridge and its beautiful sparkling lights. Proper aperture is one of the keys to achieving the best results at this location. Old pier pilings offer an interesting foreground element, for this stunning nighttime city scene.
Before the stunning San Francisco night would come to an end, Ellie and Scott gathered the entire group together for a quick group shot. With memory cards filling and yawns beginning, it was time to head back and close the book on a fantastic evening of photography.
From Scott, Ellie and the rest of the ApCad crew, see you next time....
P.S. If you'd like to join us at one of our workshops, you can find the schedule/sign up here.