Planning and Shooting the Golden Gate Bridge

Sony A7rii with Sigma 24-105 Art at 28mm 30 seconds at f/8.0 ISO 125

Sony A7rii with Sigma 24-105 Art at 28mm 30 seconds at f/8.0 ISO 125

Last year in April I made a drive from Portland to San Francisco. I had a early flight scheduled out from San Francisco to Las Vegas to shoot a music video. I drove all night and made it there a several hours before my flight. I used this opportunity to scope out a location for a sunrise shoot at the Golden Gate Bridge.

I had a few criteria when selecting a location to shoot the bridge: 

  • I wanted a perspective well below the bridge
  • It needed to be close enough to the bridge so that even if I shot really wide the bridge would still be prominent in the frame
  • Foreground elements (in this case rocks)  near the water to show motion
  • I wanted to get a few different shots, One before sunrise, where the lights of the bridge were still lit up and hopefully a nice contrast with the blue water. And Also I wanted one later on where the sun had risen a little more and that golden light illuminated the scene

I did a bit of research and found a perfect location, Marshall Beach

 

As luck would have it, there was an abundance of sea foam present that I focused on for the blue hour shot, as I figured the blue water would contrast nicely with the white foam. I was extremely lucky with the location of the sunrise as you can see it's sun star as it rose through the bridge. 

 

Sony A7rii with Sigma 24-105 Art at 33mm 10 seconds at f/10 ISO 200 Formatt-Hitech 10 Stop Firecrest Neutral Density Filter

Sony A7rii with Sigma 24-105 Art at 33mm 10 seconds at f/10 ISO 200 Formatt-Hitech 10 Stop Firecrest Neutral Density Filter

Instantly Improve Your Landscape Photography

One of the easiest and most impactful ways to instantly improve your landscape photographs is to get the camera low. I mean super low. I'll give you an example:

In this photo of half-dome which I took in late October, my camera was literally an inch away from the water. Why? 

  • it makes my foreground object (in this case the leafy log) much larger and prominent in the frame
  • allows me to establish a relationship between the foreground and background
  • the motion in the water creates a powerful leading line to the mountain in the distance.
Sunset at Half Dome from The Merced  in Yosemite National Park