You have to be blind to have not seen the gazillion photos of the Golden Gate Bridge’s 75th anniversary on May 27, 2012. The GGB is a special structure for many of the local San Francisco photographers and although I don’t get up here as much as I’d like, I always admire the beauty of not only the bridge. Knowing that parking would be limited and photographers would be out for this special celebration I arrived early (9 hours early or so) with Zack and Wilson and hiked to the top of Slacker Hill. Shortly after Jave, Alan, Carl, Toby, and Jared showed up and a number of photographers followed.

During the time we waited we hung out, got to know each other, grilled some sausages, and eventually started debating if there was a better spot for the fireworks. Alan disappeared and when he came back he swore that there was a better spot. So off Jared, Alan, and I go, down a steep hill and over to a bunker that was lower, further west, and hopefully had a better view. While ”better” may be relative, we all decided to stay and shoot from this location instead of the normal Slacker Hill composition.

We had some time to kill before the fireworks and as the sun set and blue hour began I could hear photographers all around me firing away. The color in the sky was behind us but blue hour is always pretty sweet when you’re looking at the Golden Gate Bridge and I noticed a lot of boats had gotten into position waiting for the fireworks to start. I thought they might pose an interesting subject for a photo so I dialed the ISO down, set the aperture to f/13 for some decent light-stars, and clicked away. It took 90 seconds to get the exposure right and in that time the boats moved all around, creating an interesting abstract effect of color, movement, and an almost semi-firework in the water. I have another photo with much sharper boats (at a higher ISO and faster shutter) but I thought this was much more interesting.

Nikon D700 w/Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S:
24mm, f/13, 90 sec, ISO 250, Tripod
No filters used because I was too lazy. I under-exposed slightly to keep the sky from blowing out and then pulled the rest of the photo up.

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Aaron M Written by:

Aaron Meyers is a landscape and wedding photographer living in Silicon Valley, CA. His love of the outdoors makes for frequent forays into the Californian wilds, where he delights in the stunning vistas of Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe, Big Sur, and the Pacific Coast.