Pier, Starfish, Morning Light

Fort Baker Pier

Pier, Starfish, Morning Light. Fort Baker Pier, Marin, California. May 16, 2011. © Copyright 2011 Steven Tze – all rights reserved.

A HDR photograph from underneath the Fort Baker Pier in San Francisco Bay.  On the itinerary for this photo day was to potentially capture long exposures of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Fort Baker Pier, capture a few compositions from underneath the pier, and finish off with the usual stop at Muir Woods.

After another slow start and leaving home about 30 minutes later than I intended, the opportunity to shoot Golden Gate while the sky was still dark passed.  That seems to happen to me quite a bit when departure time is 3 or 4am.  It might have a lot to do with my habit of staying up late (usually between midnight and 2am).

I had almost forgotten about shooting under the pier before taking a walkway and then onto a very small “beach” that had more pebbles than sand.  Checking the tide charts for the day (5:14am -1.4ft low tide, 12:14pm +4.7ft high tide) before let me know that there would be some land for me set up my tripod and camera.  High tide would have prevented this shooting opportunity.

The reason I bracketed 3 exposures for an HDR is because from underneath the pier it is fairly dark and the light coming from the end of the pier is very bright.  So exposing for either of the spectrum wasn’t a good option.  Bracketing was set a -1, 0, +1 exposures, the shots were then set to “Camera Standard” profile in Adobe Lightroom, exported as TIFFs into Photomatix Pro 3 and tonemapped, and then brought back into Lightroom for final post processing.

Maybe I wasn’t paying attention or maybe it was just dark beneath the pier, but I didn’t even realize all the starfish clinging to all the pier pilings.  In fact, there is a starfish at the far end of the pier on the center piling.

This was entered into competition and took home a 1st place for color manipulated photography.  Woo-hoo!

EXIF data: Nikon D50, patterned metering mode, 55mm, ISO 200, HDR [25 sec, 13 sec, 6 sec], f/18


8 thoughts on “Pier, Starfish, Morning Light

    1. These under bridge shots are addicting, aren’t they? It’s about finding the not so common views that is exciting. I’m hoping to have another go at this photo again in the future and play around with aperture and whatnot…with a higher MP camera. This photo suffers a bit when printed large.


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