Morning Light at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Gardens

Steamin' - San Francisco - 2013

This morning I headed up to San Francisco to try my hand at some street photography during the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. This parade is a big deal in San Francisco – and it was my first time heading out to try to shoot it. In hand, I had my Nikon D600 with the Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II AF-S Nikkor Zoom Lens that I’d recently acquired. This lens seems close to ideal for street photography – it has that extra reach at 300mm yet can go wide at 28mm when required. It’s about as perfect a lens as it gets for daytime street shooting.

But, before the parade began, I headed to another one of my favorite San Francisco venues – Yerba Buena Gardens. As I left Menlo Park this morning, we were fogged in – and I wondered what I would encounter weather wise as I got to San Francisco. As it turned out, no fog and brilliant morning sunlight washed across the beautiful Yerba Buena scene.

As I headed into the gardens, I noticed a lot of steam rising from over by the waterfall. As I headed closer, I could see a fellow was using a high pressure water blaster to clean the payment around the waterfall. This turned into a classic example of a “stage” – a place where you think something interesting is going to happen and you plant yourself as a photographer and just wait for it to unfold.

Earlier, he was working in the shadows to the left – a relatively uninteresting area given the poor light. But when he came out into this area – and began working the pavement and tiles being lit by the morning sun, everything got a lot more interesting. As I was shooting it, I thought this would probably work out best as a monochrome – but I left in just a touch of selective color on the worker’s face and hair. Such beautiful light!

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