There are times I lived closer to the San Francisco Bay Area, not that 2.5 hours is really that long of a drive time. Yet the area has so much to offer photographically. Each well-chosen location yields a handful of compositions and a handful more if you have the time and patience to revisit a location for the various atmospheric and weather conditions.
This day in the Headlands was not the usual photography exploring free-for-all (translation: finding slightly original compositions in overly shot locations) that I am used to. I usually pick one or two sunrise locations, leave the house extra early for the drive, shoot said locations, and explore for the rest of the day. This day was centered around the sunset hike workshop we were lucky enough to be chosen for with Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy (web, Facebook) photographer Mason Cummings (web, Facebook). The two of us, two more lucky photogs, and Mason.
He contacted us a few days prior and asked what type of photography or locations we wanted to do or see. I had requested less seen compositions of familiar sights, a place to shoot panoramas, and maybe some macro-type shots using kit lenses. After scouting a few locations near Mt. Tam and the Headlands, he decided on a ridge above Fort Cronkhite and just below Hill 88. The location provided sweeping views of San Francisco and all the way up the coast, Mt. Tam, macro work, and the sunset dipping into the Pacific.
The conditions were a bit tough since we were mostly shooting perpendicular to the sun on a windy cloudless day. I had to be aware of lens flare from the sun, intended and unintended silhouetting of foreground objects, and just the overall high contrast of the scene. Of course, when given the opportunity to capture layered hills, I am all over it. While the brief 90 minute shooting time frame did not help a low-volume shooter like me, it was helpful to hear how Mason close the location (rock outcroppings forming leading lines to the sunset — that somehow none of us remembered to shoot). At least now I know of additional spots to shoot from. It is a matter of walking a few (thousand) extra steps, taking that trail, and finding that shot.
EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center-weighted metering mode, ISO 100, 68mm, f/13, 1/60 sec
Marin Headlands (CA), Layered Hills, Pacific Ocean. Marin Headlands, CA. April 05, 2014. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.