In crazy times, it's nice to get out and enjoy some fresh air...and go take some photos. With the COVID-19 virus causing chaos throughout the world, it was nice to take a break and put on an old fashioned photography workshop. Mike and I met what should've been an eager group of 8 photographers in San Francisco for a fun 3-days of photography education. The global news was bleak, only to be outdone by the weather forecast for the weekend...which called for rain. Three of our workshop group dropped out to practice social distancing, and the remaining five were ready to go.
We've dealt with bad weather before, so it's not a huge deal for us to figure out ways around it...and if you know anything about San Francisco weather, you know it can and does change often. Our first night shoot was Marshall Beach. This beach is an awesome location for using rocky foreground and shooting the lovely Golden Gate Bridge. We had some great clouds and little pleasant bits of color that dotted the edges of these clouds. Mike and I helped our small, hearty group with setting and compositions. It was a really nice way for our workshop to begin.
The next morning we woke to rain, and a soggy and small group of photographers. Our group, due to outside circumstances had dropped to 3 people. We made the easy hike down to Kirby Cove. This little gem of a beach is one of the best vantage points of the GGB as well...because of the walk 95% of the tourists never make it down here. We battled rain the entire time, but every few minutes we would get a nice break and be able to grab some nice moody shots.
From there it was a trip back to the hotel for a break.
Our afternoon was spent shooting some fantastic architecture in downtown SF. Plenty of parking everywhere, and the city had an odd calm to it. From there we set off down to Pacifica to work on some long exposures of Pacifica Pier. This pier is one of the more photogenic in the state. Mike and I helped students to learn the ins and outs of their ND filters as well...for some they don't get a lot of use with these filters. They give the water a very cool effect, and when made into black and white. These images take on a whole new vibe.
The next stop was Pigeon Point Lighthouse. The plan was to shoot sunset here, but the weather and clouds weren't as good as they seemed at the pier, so we grabbed a few images and set off back to the pier to enjoy what ended up being a very colorful and nice sunset. The tide had dropped some so Mike and I were able to get the group onto the beach area to grab a few different compositions.
The final morning, we started at the Bay Bridge, our group of 5 had dropped to 2 eager students. Though it rained a bit when we arrived, we timed it perfectly and before long the clouds began to break and we had a morning with dramatic skies and bits of color as well...really a great start to our final day. The second shooting spot for the morning was looking back at the city from Pier 14...fresh from a new rain the city looked clean and crisp.
The afternoon was a post processing session where Mike and I helped our small group learn some new tips and tricks using Photoshop and Lightroom. Most people use these programs but never quite make the most of all that it can do. Seeing some of their images start to pop, is always a big part of the experience for our clients.
The afternoon was spent around Fort Point, again using the GGB as a major subject...The fort was under construction, so exploring it's nooks and crannies wasn't as exciting as it can be. If you ever have the chance to visit Fort Point, it's a must for any photographer!
For sunset we set off to the Marin Headlands. The storm had broken up, and the city was filled with great clouds. It's funny how wrong weather forecasts can be in SF. That's why we go out...because you never know what mother nature is going to throw at you.. It's better to be there and not get anything, than to watch the sky explode from your couch because you thought it was going to rain.
Until Next Time,
Brian, Mike, 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.