On My Way to Visit Katie Rose

Tuesday evening I gave a presentation to the Marin Photo Club about night photography, then drove into San Francisco to visit Katie Rose in the hospital. My drive took me across the Golden Gate Bridge, and I pulled off in the Presidio Bluffs area for a little night photography of my own.


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It’s easy to get to the Presidio Bluffs, just to the southwest of the Golden Gate Bridge on the San Francisco side. There’s some construction going on among the military ruins in the area, but as night locations go it doesn’t feel remote.

To get the views in this story, I followed a path to a stair up an old battery, and then climbed a ladder to the top. From there I had a straight shot at the bridge.

Compared to some of the places I shoot at night, this didn’t feel at all precarious. All the same, I was glad to have my headlamp with me.

This had been a hot day in the Bay area, so I almost didn’t carry my sweater with me. I’m glad I did, because fog rolled in through the Golden Gate, along with a chill wind off the ocean.

The fog hit the bridge, and diffused the light, creating the pools of light of different color temperatures in the atmosphere aroung the bridge.

Golden Gate Nocturn

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Mostly, these were short exposures in terms of some of the deep night images I make. I made two five minute captures, but the rest of the series were of shorter duration. I spent about an hour taking pictures, then my patience wore out, I packed up, and went off to hold my darling Katie Rose.

Briefly noted: The more distant view of the bridge is a composite of five exposures with 150X range (see the technical data below). I layered these different exposures to make a composite in Photoshop, with the bright light stars of the street lamps coming from the longest exposure. It’s interesting that the scene presented exposure values with such a wide dynamic range.

Related link: 100 Views of the Golden Gate.

[Both images: Nikon D300, 70-200mm VR zoom lens, tripod mounted. Far above: TC-20E 2X teleconverter for an effective focal length of 380mm (570mm in 35mm terms), 10 seconds at f/11 and ISO 100. Immediately above: 90mm (135mm in 35mm terms), five exposures at time durations from 300 seconds (5 minutes) to 2 seconds, f/22 and ISO 100.]

This entry was posted in Digital Night, Photography, San Francisco Area.

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  1. […] at the Marin Photography Club about night photography techniques. (Here’s my story about after that meeting.) The presentation was to help prepare the group for an afternoon-to-night photo shoot on Mare […]

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