San Francisco Night Owls Photography Workshop | Jan. 4th, 2013

San Francisco Night Owls Photography Workshop - Jan. 4th, 2013

Night Owls Night Photography Workshop Students with Aperture Academy

Write up by Instructor Brian Rueb

6:00 p.m.- After a great sunset, Alicia and I meet our class at Baker Beach.

It’s dark but they all seem like a nice bunch of photographers who are all eager to learn some new techniques and get out in the city for some night photography.

Our first stop is the Palace of Fine Arts. I love coming here and seeing the reflection and how well the orange glow of the building reflects in the water.

For the second workshop in a row the swans are loitering near our shooting site. I think they have been fed regularly, and might think everyone has food for them. They are ruining the reflection, so I’d rather they leave.

After working with the class on settings, and composition we work our way from the front of the building to underneath the dome.

Along the way one of the students stopped to photograph the unlit fountain with their Nikon D800. Normally that shot is impossible with the cameras, due to noise and tricky lighting. I’m always surprised at how well the new cameras work with low light and tricky situations.

The next stop of the night is the twists and turns of Lombard Street. Alicia and I work here to demonstrate a couple different techniques to capture the moving headlights and taillights moving down this curvy, iconic street.

A few things that I always can count on when teaching in this location is

1) A car will stop in mid drive right in the wrong place for our images.

2) Someone in a car will stop in the middle of the road, and use a flash to shoot the scene. I always laugh because their shots will be horrible, but our classes will be done correctly with long exposures and tripods.

3) The minute we start an exposure a car will need to turn down the side road we set up on and cause us to move.

Once the Lombard experience is over, it’s off to North Beach for a small snack break before heading to the Embarcadero to shoot the Bay Bridge.

Five minutes into our Bay Bridge experience, a whole lot of fire trucks arrived to ask if we knew who pulled the fire alarm. One lady in our group saw some kids lingering near it. I thought they were going to make us move our van. I was glad we got to stay and finish our shoot.

This shot is so iconic. It’s fun to see the class put together the exposure knowledge and things they’ve learned during the night to use on this great stop. We also get to really delve into white balance here, and help the class understand a bit more on how that works.

It was a beautiful night in the city and great for photography. We had a great time driving them to some of our favorite spots, and helping them become a bit more familiar with the world of night photography.

On behalf of myself (Brian), Alicia, and the Aperture Academy team, 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. (More photos below the comments.)

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