I mentioned the other day that I’d be in San Francisco this week and was looking for some places to shoot. I’ve also posted (several times before) of my bad luck when it comes to photographing the Golden Gate Bridge. Seriously… I’ve been up to the Marin Headlands to photograph the bridge at sunrise about 6-7 times over the past few years. Each time I’m there it’s fogged in. And not the cool fog layer that shows the top of the bridge. I mean fogged in to the point that I have yet to see the Golden Gate bridge at sunrise… EVER! 🙂
Anyway, after I posted about my trip the other day, Doc Miles (a local photographer/photo tour guide) sent me a message that he was taking a client out, and that he’d pick me up if I wanted to go along. So I did what any rental-car-less photographer would do in San Francisco and jumped at the chance.
We headed out at 5:15am to the Marin Headlands. As soon as we set out I knew my curse had lifted. I could actually see the Golden Gate Bridge! I realize this may seem silly to some of you, but you have to understand my luck when I’ve been in the Bay area. I never even see the bridge. Unfortunately, there wasn’t one bit of fog so I knew we weren’t going to get that classic shot of the bridge poking through the fog.
We arrived at Slackers Hill and hiked up. It’s about a 15 minute walk uphill. It’s not dangerous, but it’s all uphill so make sure you’re ready to get your heart rate going if you ever visit. When we got to the top the wind was ripping across the hill. So much so that I could see the tripod moving. I moved over the hill a bit to try to get out of the way of the wind and got down low. I captured a few twilight/blue hour photos there, but it was tough. Luckily the wind was coming across the direction I was shooting so I stood in front of the camera to try to block the wind.
From there, we tried to go to Hawk Hill, but the wind was directly in our faces and there was no way that we’d ever get a sharp photo. So we retreated to the entrance to the main road, where just about every tourist in the world stops to see the bridge 🙂 We waited for sunrise (which was happening directly in front of us) and I set my aperture to f/22 to try to get that nice sun-star as it came up over the horizon.
(click to see the photo larger)
Camera: Canon 5D Mark III
Lens: Canon 24-105mm
Aperture: f/22 (to get that sun-star in the distance)
Shutter Speed: 1/6
Doc (the photo tour guide who picked me up) wasn’t shooting because he was spending his time with his client. But he asked how I did. I joked that he’d be jealous because I got a very rare photo of the bridge – no fog, no clouds, absolutely clear (hey, it was rare for me). I’m definitely not winning any awards with the photo, but Doc (and Martin, the photographer he was touring that morning) had a fun time, and I was happy enough to finally catch the Golden Gate Bridge at sunrise.
A huge thanks to Doc for letting me come along and to Martin for putting up with me for the morning. Both guys are great photographers so make sure you check out their sites. If you’re ever in the San Francisco area and you want a photo guide, make sure you give Doc a call. He rocks! Have a good one!
Fantastic website. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to a few pals ans also sharing in delicious. And naturally, thank you in your sweat! dbdadfcfggcc
Doc took me out last October. I shot from this exact location at Sunrise. I’d highly recommend Doc Miles for others that are traveling to San Francisco. I had one of the best days of my life shooting with him.
One has to admit it was a fantastic marketing strategy by Canon loaning Scott all that gear for the football – now Matt and RC as well. But at the end of the day, it’s just the end results that matter, not the camera. Nice shot Matt
I was standing in that exact same spot about a month ago, only for sunset shots. Looks like I’m going to have to get up early one of these mornings and take a drive into the city.
Great Shot, glad that you finally got it.
My wife and are are planning an Oregon/California coast trip in September. We did a similar one two years ago and loved it. I took down Doc’s info and may very well give him a call. Thanks for the post and i love the photo.
Oh yes – there it is – sun-star and the whole bridge. Could it BE more perfect!! BEAUTIFUL.
Great photos, colors are just perfect…
Just a point of interest for me-a long time Nikon shooter. I am wondering what is prompting you and Scott Kelby to start shooting Canon? I know your principle camera is the D800, yet this is done with the Canon. Hope you guys can set me straight here.
I’m with ya Joe… The 5d m3 is a great camera for portraits but for landscapes like this it just doesn’t have any…. “balls”… like a nikon does. I’d assume it’s from canon’s lower dynamic range and color bit, great for skin, terrible for big dr’s.
When I started shooting I got the newly released 30d and started learning with the kelby books and would drool over all those deep & luxurious photos and thought someday i’d get those colors too. Couple of months later I decided i needed a weatherproof one and my options where stick with canon and part with a small fortune to get a 5d (was cheapest weathersealed canon at the time) or sell my canon gear and get a d200 which I did with a 18-200 vr. It came in and I loaded up some test pics and there it was… the “kelby colors” as we called them and my heart fell in love with photography. I realize it’s not always the gear but in this case I can say it was because I didn’t want to go to nikon but i had a need and nikon filled it and I was truly frustrated with canons pix at the time and about to give up as it was. I can truly say that kelby books and that d200 are why I stayed with it.
If they like shooting them then that’s great… as a fan and admirer of them both i’m disappointed, not that they are using them but that now the pix look just like everyone elses and lack their trademark punch. Having a look that people associate with you is the golden key in my book and it’s just not there in their canon shots.
Sorry Matt… not being a nikon fanboy and god knows I respect you like crazy but it’s just not the same “I wanna pixel peep” feeling I get from your nikon shots.