"Happy 75th Birthday!!!" , Golden Gate Bridge

I am in LA so I will miss the incredible fireworks display that is planned. So please get out there and get a few shots for me!
(Expand post, to see the big version!)


Canon 5D
Canon 17-40L @ 23
2-minute exposure @F20
2 LEE soft ND grads (100x150mm) 0.9
(2 grads will cause reflected bridge lights)
Lee foundation kit filter holder with Lee 77mm adapter ring
ISO 100
No polarizer
RAW file processed with Capture One by Phase One
TIFF file processed with Photoshop
Small Slik Sprint mini II tripod
Manfrotto 322RC2 pistol-grip ball head

The Story

It is amazing to think that this incredible feat of engineering prowess was completed 75 years ago. My grandfather was there to walk across the bridge on opening day. Here is a shot of the first cars going over the bridge on opening day in 1937.


Description of my photo:

Fog never fails to create lots of atmosphere and mood. The Golden Gate is both a passageway for people as well as for lots of ocean fog to cool off the inland areas. A long exposure shows the way the fog flowed through the gate. The last light of the sun and the lights of the bridge in equal amounts illuminated the fog. This even light lasts for only a few minutes, so in the course of one evening, only one or two chances for a long exposure such as this are possible. Since there is no time to take light readings, a good guess for the camera settings based on experience is the best way to go or you will miss the shot. Even though it was getting dark, the sky was still much brighter than the sea, so I used an ND grad filter to even out that contrast. It worked just the same as during the day. It took me three years to capture this moment and I have never seen it happen again. Nobody was down here. There were dozens of tripods set up on the well-worn hillside to the right of the frame, but they were pointing in the wrong direction to see this reflected light on the water and how it moved through the fog and clouds.

Other stuff

My pictures are featured on the front page of California Governor, Jerry Brown's website http://gov.ca.gov


I wrote a 325 eBook that describes exactly how I went about learning photography starting in 2006. I did not learn the usual way. I have studied the great masters of painting and hope to find that light in the real world.


A great weather mashup map of the world with local temperatures, weather and nice popups. See where it is hot and not! (Must wait for slow commercials first, but worth it!)
Google Earth

Simply the best way to scout out locations that there is. You can see sun angles and pre-visualize light under lots of different conditions. Sometimes you can actually pre-compose your shots! This has saved me many thousands of vertical feet of climbing by avoiding spots with blocked views etc.

Satellite imagery (choose 'National' for a local US region or use your fave website)

Tide charting and preditions: (chose your area in US, other countries have similar websites)

Wave Heights (I choose 'North Pacific from Global')

Or Here:

Photos of every inch of the California coastline from a small plane. Excellent for close in detailed views.


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