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Gold Rush

Published April 25th, 2012

It's such a wonderful time to be a photographer. All the new gear and technology available to us. It still comes down to the basics, time of day, and planning your shoot. Or, just decide at 5 am and drive around San Francisco to the GGB, getting lost along the way, and having a minor accident. that works too.

The Golden Hour

We took a trip to San Francisco this past weekend. Being promoted a week ago, I saw this as an opportunity to unwind before my stress levels go overboard with my new duties as Manager. My in laws arrived from Peru and me, my wife and son decided to drive up north to SF. This was my 7th time visiting San Francisco. Somehow it was difficult to schedule family time with photography, especially for a landscape photographer. We are chasing after that golden hour, where the sun is low on the horizon, and gives out a nice orange glow. Twilight hours are the best. But if you have family, you have to schedule things around. Getting to San Francisco was no brainer. It's once I'm in SF, where things get crazy. I always end up lost, even with my GPS. Last Friday, we were rushing to eat dinner since I wanted to catch the sunset by Baker Beach on the south east of the GGB. Took an hour from the hotel to Baker Beach, since I got lost again. Finally got there, 20 mins before sunset, popped open the trunk, grabbed my camera bag, tripod. To my surprise, no Camera! That was the worst day ever, I was thinking in my head - how could I have left my DSLR? I didn't want to ruin the moment and saw it as an opportunity to scout for a location, and just enjoy the sunset with my family. To tell you the truth, I did enjoy it. With out worrying about exposure settings, composition (come on, those technical things are going on in my head). Anyway, beautiful sunset. Good thing I still have my 8gb camera phone to capture the moment. Went back to the hotel, feeling somewhat disappointed at the sane time satisfied. I was just thinking to go the next day for another sunset photoshoot. Went to bed early ~ 10pm. Woke up several times since my father in law snores so loud. I looked at the time and it was 2 am. Tried going back to sleep and I just woke up every 30 mins. Finally just decided for a sunrise instead of a sunset photoshoot by the GGB. I told my wife I'm leaving early, like 5 am. She gets worried like she usually does but I just reassured her I'll be ok. Got cell phone GPS set to Bakers Beach. As I was leaving the hotel, streets were empty, which was strange for SF. Following that female voice from the GPS, it hits me.... the sun will rise from the east side of the bridge, and Baker Beach is on the west side. Baker beach will be best for sunsets but not sunrise. I'm trying to beat the time and I only have 45 minute window. Sure enough the stress hits me and I got lost, ended up in Sausalito (north end). Turned around and finally got to a bike/walking trail. Sun is almost out if the horizon. Carrying like 30 lbs of gear in 50 deg F with no sweater. I found a nice spot overlooking the bridge and bay. Still not satisfied with current location, I decided to go down to the shoreline for a different perspective. There were boulders on the shore which would make a good foreground element. As I stepped down onto one of the rocks I slipped and my right leg buckled and wedged my knee between the wet and mossy rocks. Instinctively, I was able to prevent from dropping my gear, and smashing my head. I was in a dilemma, if I continued down to the shore, I might not make it back up, since my leg was hurting, and boulders were so slippery. The sun was already rising. I decided to run back up to my original location, 50 steps up the trail. My heart was pounding so hard, my leg was hurting, I'm short of breath. Good thing setting up my camera, tripod and wireless trigger comes second nature to me. Framed and composed my scene and took several exposures. Previwed them and I was happy with what I have. Have to rush back to the hotel, clean my wound, get breakfast and make it to the 9 am Alcatraz tour. Everyone is Happy.

  • April 21st, 2012
  • Canon EOS 40D
  • 17mm / f/23 / 3 sec

The Golden Hour 1

Woke up early, drove to Fort Point, walked the trail to find a good spot. As the sun rose from the horizon, it gave the bridge a glow.

  • April 21st, 2012
  • Canon EOS 40D
  • 17mm / f/16 / 8 sec

The Golden Hour 4

  • April 21st, 2012
  • Canon EOS 40D
  • 17mm / f/23 / 6 sec

The Golden Hour 5

  • April 21st, 2012
  • Canon EOS 40D
  • 17mm / f/16 / 4 sec

The Golden Hour 3

  • April 21st, 2012
  • Canon EOS 40D
  • 17mm / f/23 / 1 sec

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