San Francisco Night Owls Photography Workshop | March 23rd, 2013

San Francisco Night Owls Photography Workshop - March 23rd, 2013

Night Owls Night Photography Workshop Students with Aperture Academy

The weather on Saturday in San Francisco was beautiful and our class was all able to find parking despite the overwhelming number of people at baker beach enjoying the warm, sunny, spring day. Having good weather just helps the class get started off on the right foot. Everyone was smiles, and Ellie and I were really excited to work with a bunch of eager photographers.

Our first stop was the bluffs overlooking the bay and Golden Gate Bridge. The class was met with a stiff and chilly breeze. Ellie and I worked with the students on composition, and the newer photographers we helped with some of the manual settings. I try to help students develop a pattern with how to approach a scene. Having a system to mentally run through will help you deal with the image more, and spend less time working on the settings. Aperture-Shutter Speed-ISO if necessary. That’s the way I go through each image once I set up my composition.

We were also able to work with a few students on using a polarizer. While the night course doesn’t require any filters, we’re lucky in this time of the year we’re able to get in a sunset shoot with our class due to the longer days.

A few clouds rolled in, and made a perfect little cap on the bridge for the best part of the sunset, and the class was able to get some really nice images. It was windy as heck though, so everyone was glad to get back in the van and move inland where the wind was a little less intense.

We spent almost an hour and a half at the Palace of Fine arts. We took advantage of the great blue twilight hour after sunset along the pool in front of the building and got some great reflections. Even though I’ve see countless blue hour images from the Palace of Fine Arts, every time I see those blues and oranges on a screen I still think, “wow…that is SO cool looking.” The students thought so too.

We spent some time under the dome of the structure capturing some more intimate vantage points of this cool building before we set off for Lombard Street.

Lombard Street is always a humorous adventure in photography. We split the group into two smaller pods. I work with the group shooting upwards, Ellie worked with those shooting downward. Each requires some slightly different camera settings so it’s great practice for students in acquiring new skills dealing with different situations.

For my group it was great the first round, as we only had to move once for a car…the second group was CRAZY I think we moved 4 different times during exposures for cars that needed to turn down the little side street we shoot on. We also had at least 3 different cars stop and ask us “what are you shooting?” My answer is always the same. Brad Pitt.

After Lombard Street it’s off to a break at the Deli in North Beach…everyone gets a drink or snack to warm them up and it helps wake us up for our last stop at the Embarcadero, and the Bay Bridge. The water was SO still this time…it was awesome. I’ve been to this spot over 100 times, and this was one of the calmest I’ve seen it…it was great! With the new art lighting display it really made some nice images for the students. They all got some terrific stuff. It’s funny for Ellie and I to see how many other photographers the display has brought out. We’ve been doing this class for a long time, and under most normal circumstances we’re the only ones out…now with the “newness” of the bridge…we’re seeing more photographers out. It’s funny in another way because I know our class is getting the shot right, and I watch a lot of other people show up and are NOT doing it the right way…wonder what their shots look like? Our group left with some winners, I know that much…and that’s what makes Ellie and me happy.


On behalf of Brian, Ellie and the Aperture Academy team, we 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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