This is a two minute time exposure of the Golden Gate and San Francisco, taken at night in cold and foggy conditions, from the rather oddly named Slacker Ridge (one of the high points in the Marin Headlands directly above the Golden Gate Bridge).
On Monday night Mark and I had gone hiking on the Coastal Trail high above the 101 Freeway. We reached a ridge that looked towards Gerbode Valley in one direction and back at the Golden Gate Bridge in the other. It may help you to picture the spot to think that we were above and to the west of the Waldo Tunnel, what my family calls the “Rainbow Tunnel.” You go through this tunnel just before you cross the Golden Gate Bridge to reach San Francisco.
Monday was balmy, and as we returned to the car through the almost tropical night I kept looking with longing at the dark heights above us. Clearly, I am becoming obsessed with night photography.
Looking at the Park Service Marin Headlands trail map, I could see that the Coastal Trail made its way around these heights (which were unnamed on the map) to met McCollough Road. The AAA Sausalito-Mill Valley map had a little more detail, and showed a spur trail going up the back of the heights (also unamed on the AAA map) not far from the junction with McCollough Road.
Last night, I decided to try my luck. The evening was variable with some wind and fog, and I figured I’d either face a white-out or maybe get some interesting photos. One of the appeals of night photography, of course, is that you just never know.
I dressed warmly, in woolies top and bottom, a polypro vest, and a down jacket. There was room for my headlamp under my Patagonia balaclava.
It was easy to find the side trail marked on the map. In the physical world, the heights were named on a Park Service sign. As I’ve mentioned, the name was somewhat odd: Slacker Ridge. I didn’t feel like a slacker having marched up there in the gathering night with my camera gear and tripod in my bag on my back, and with the wind and fog from the Pacific getting my clothes and camera gear damp.
The weather may have been chill, but the photo looks warm to me with the drifting fog illuminating the scene unpredictably as the fog moved across the area being captured by the long exposure.