After a month of delays, mostly due to storms deciding to visit Northern California during the weekends, I was finally back to Marin and San Francisco for a quick day of shooting. It is strange to realize I have not been back to SF or Marin for over a year. Most of the photography trips during this past year have been to Yosemite, the Eastern Sierras, and Mono Lake. I suppose I wanted to take as much advantage of my National Parks Annual Pass. At $80 per year, it is one of the best deals around.
One of the difficulties of shooting the Golden Gate Bridge (which turns 75 this year!) is the fact that millions of photographers have taken millions of photographs of the famous span. As with other iconic sites, how do you find a view or angle that has not been shot already? One of the easiest ways is to have great clouds and light while the other is to focus on smaller sections of the bridge. It becomes a game of revealing only a portion of the structure, but enough that a viewer could eventually figure out the location.
Shooting from the popular Battery Spencer location, I focused on the north tower and the cables. And by the way, when you see photographs of people standing with the Golden Gate behind and to the left, it was probably shot from Battery Spencer. Back to the photograph here. While I liked the original color version with a slight blue tone throughout from the morning fog, I wanted to go a step further and export this photograph from Lightroom and into Silver EFex Pro 2. I began with a previously saved preset (from the Alcatraz in fog shot) and started making changes from there. The last touch was to apply a “Copper Tone” tone to provide a nostalgic feel given the 75 anniversary of the bridge. Some final sharpening and noise reduction completed this post process session.
An interesting note as I was considering a possible crop was that this composition fit the “rule of thirds” perfectly. The tower is aligned as well as the cityscape in the background.
If you look at the EXIF data, you can see that the focal length is at 145mm while the shutter speed is at 1/80 sec. While it may be possible to handhold this shot using IS/VR and end up with a sharp image, it would be difficult without a tripod. As a rule, I shoot with a tripod and a wireless remote trigger.
EXIF data: Nikon D7000, patterned metering mode, 145mm, ISO 100, 1/80 sec, f/5
North Tower, Cables, B&W. Marin Headlands, Marin, California. April 15, 2012. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.