Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge, San Francisco Skyline, Morning. Marin Headlands, Marin, California. February 28, 2011. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.
Yes, this could possibly be the longest title I have for a blog entry and photo. Very early on in my photographic career, I applied some interpretive names to my photos and they took some thought. Not anymore. The names are now as objectively boring (but descriptive!) as possible. You can only be creative that many times before you start stretching it or become more boring by default. There are three photos I submitted into competition in July 2010 that do have interpretive names and when I eventually blog about them, I’ll use those names.
So for this day in February my plan was the following: arrive at the Marin Headlands to catch sunrise at the Golden Gate Bridge, spend the rest of the morning and early afternoon shooting at Muir Woods (since it’ll be somewhat shaded from the midday sun), eat, hang out in Sausalito and mark future photo locations for long exposures, then finish the day shooting sunset in the Headlands at Point Bonita Lighthouse and/or the sea stacks at nearby Rodeo Beach. It was an ambitious itinerary and I should have known something would throw in a monkeywrench to jumble the day. Due to precautionary measures from weird acceleration issues with my car, I made it to Sausalito part of the schedule, drove through Sausalito, and then drove home.
When you arrive at a location as iconic as the Golden Gate, it’s hard to find a composition that millions of people have not taken already. But that’s ok. It’s the same way when I go shoot at Yosemite. Shooting those iconic shots is one way an amateur photographer can compare their work to much more seasoned professionals. You can compare technique, composition, lighting, etc. You can see if your photographs are as pleasing to you as the “same” photos you admire from other photogs.
So in addition to shooting all the shots everyone else has, and I will do that because how can you not, I’ll start looking for close-up compositions of specific elements. In this case, we’re talking about close-ups of cables, bridge towers. The second element was figuring out where to place elements in the background such as the towers of the Bay Bridge, the San Francisco skyline (such as the Transamerica Pyramid Building), and the sun. I tried to center as many architectural elements within the Golden Gates’ lines.
Also, you’ll notice a couple of lens flares in the photograph. This happens when you shoot into the sun, but it can also happen when the sun is not in the frame but still physically in front of the plane of the lens. In those cases, a lens hoods greatly reduces the possibility of flares. Of course, there might be instances where you intentionally want to have flares in your photo!
EXIF data: Nikon D50, patterned metering mode, 55mm, ISO 200, 1/160 sec, f/16