San Francisco Bay and Marin Headlands Photography Workshop | September 17th, 2022

San Francisco & Marin Headlands Photography Workshop - September 17th, 2022

Saturday morning began as a gloomy day with clouds and showers all over the Bay Area. The weather forecast still looked promising though for today’s workshop around the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands. As the morning wore on, the clouds began to break and the rain dissipated. Heading into San Francisco to meet with our group of photographers, glimpses of the sun increased, as did some large distinctive clouds. This was a great sign for the adventurous afternoon ahead.

Our group of photographers gathered at Battery Godfrey just past lunchtime. This historic location offers great viewpoints of the ocean, the bay, the Golden Gate, and interesting history. With all of the photographers present, we did a round of introductions to understand each other’s experience level in photography and goals for the day. With that, we were excited to commence shooting.

We shot several different angles from the battery. This included the 1.7-mile-long Golden Gate Bridge, the Marin Headlands, and cypress trees framing the bridge. The recent rain allowed us to look for reflection-based shots as well, which is not possible in dry conditions. With the rolling clouds, we were treated to beautifully changing conditions that would alter the lighting quickly.

From here we moved a short distance to Fort Point. We took a nice hike down the hill to the bay where we started shooting with great anchor chains as a photography element. This heavy anchor chain, rusting and pitted, created great foreground elements and was also a perfect standalone photography subject. We worked on different compositions with various focus points and different depths of field. With some good-sized waves, we also practiced with fast shutter speeds to freeze the spray from the wave in the air as it crashed ashore. It was a blast to watch everyone look at the back of their camera screens and realize what images they were able to create by making even slight camera adjustments. After creating numerous images here, we hiked back up to our cars and discussed our next stop, Hawk Hill.

We headed north across the Golden Gate bridge for our next stop in this afternoon’s adventure to get to Hawk Hill. It sits high in the Marin Headlands with expansive views of the ocean, the bay, and the San Francisco skyline. After wandering around and hiking a little bit while gathering more great images from different angles, we gathered again to discuss our next stop, which we could see from our vantage point high on Hawk Hill.

We headed downhill to the Pacific Ocean and Rodeo Beach. Though our intention was to capture the sea stacks, heavy tides and high surf prevented us from getting there. That changed nothing for us though because we were still on a beautiful beach that was unseasonably warm with a great view.

As the sun dropped through some thin clouds, it provided tremendous backlighting to the crashing waves. We were treated to golden skies while the mist was blowing from the crashing waves. The heavy surf also created lots of sea foam on the beach. It was just another item that we could use to make fun and creative images.

From there, we were off to our final stop of the night. Heading back up into the Marin Headlands, we stopped to shoot blue-hour photos at a beautiful vantage point of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline. With the darker conditions, we shot on tripods to get steadier shots and longer exposures. This allowed us to capture light trails on the bridge and capture the lights of passing boats. As everyone was smiling and creating frame-worthy photos, we were well over our workshop end time. It was all worth it though! With lots of lessons, tips, and techniques discussed and practiced, our time together came to an end.

We gathered all our gear and walked back down back to our cars. Following a brief round of goodbyes, everyone was heading home with memory cards full of unique images. There is no doubt, everyone created some frame-worthy shots!

Until Next Time,

Kevin 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.

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