Self-Critique: Richmond Bridge, Bay Bridge

Peacock Gap, Marin, CA

Here’s one of those fun photographs that I hope to go back and re-shoot in the future.  Less than 30 minutes north on the Marin side of the Golden Gate Bridge is a location where the Richmond Bridge (foreground) and Bay Bridge line up almost perfectly.  It’s located near China Camp State Park in San Rafael and is in an area called Peacock Gap. >>>Google Map<<<

So let’s talk about some issues with the photograph.

Reflections: I’m rather sure I didn’t think about this specific location when checking the tide charts for the day.  If I checked at all, it was to find out for the “Pier, Starfish, Morning Light” photograph.  What would have been much better here is higher tide.  In the foreground are the light reflections from the Richmond Bridge, but it’s broken up partially by the exposed mud flats due to the low tide.  I’m not sure I necessarily needed high tide, but I’m sure I’ll find out next time.

Color Temperature/White Balance: There’s a distinct orange cast in this photograph.  First, much of the obvious orange light is from the sodium vapor lamps.  Second is the orange tint in the sky.  Once again, I’m a little late at arriving in this location.  I was driving down from the north and had elected to drive through China Camp State Park instead of a much quicker freeway exit a bit more than a mile further down.  That cost me at least 20 minutes and I could slowly see the sunrise coloring the clouds as I was taking this photograph.  Then again, here’s the advantage of processing photos through Adobe Lightroom (or a similar application like Apple’s Aperture) – I can adjust the color temperature via slider settings.  So in the end, if I decide to go process another version of this photograph, I have the added bonus of the sunrise lighting up the clouds, and yet still be able to remove the predominant orange color cast.  Ok, to demonstrate what I’m talking about, I just went into Lightroom, pulled up this photograph and made only one adjustment.  I changed the color temperature from 6200K to 4069K.  I initially tinkered with a temp of 3609, but it was a bit too cold/blue.  Here’s the result:

Peacock Gap, San Rafael, CA - Color Temp Adj

Miscellaneous Critiques: The wind was a bit strong in this location and at a 30 second exposure, I probably should have used the hook on my tripod to hang my camera bag on and weigh the tripod down a bit to reduce the inevitable camera shake a little more.

Overall, I liked the composition but the execution was slightly flawed.  It’s one of these photographs that’s exciting because I was excited when I drove to this location and saw that the bridges did line up, and now it’s captured on camera.

EXIF data: Nikon D50, patterned metering mode, 165mm, ISO 200, 30 sec, f/8

Richmond Bridge, Bay Bridge.  Peacock Gap, San Rafael, California. May 16, 2011. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.

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