Golden Gate Nik Software Photography Photography - Nikon D600 Photoshop San Francisco/California

Washed Up on Baker Beach

Washed Up - Baker Beach - 2013

On New Year’s Day, I’ve got a tradition of heading to San Francisco to take pictures. I usually head for the Golden Gate Bridge – exploring various vantage points as I get closer to the bridge.

Baker Beach is often a favorite – and this year the view was gorgeous. I headed down closer to the edge of the surf for this show – taken with my Nikon D600.

I processed it simply – bringing it into Photoshop CS6 from Lightroom, applying two Nik Color Efex Pro 4 filters (Brilliance/Warmth) and Tonal Contrast followed by a Lab color layer – before using Imagenomic Noiseware to remove the noise and then bringing it back into Lightroom. The colors in this version are much more postcard like (warmer) than the original.

Black and White Golden Gate Nik Software Photography Photography - Black & White Photography - Nikon D600 Photoshop

Both Sides Now at Battery Boutelle

Both Sides Now #2 - Battery Boutelle - 2013

Another one of my New Year’s Day explorations at the Golden Gate Bridge was Battery Boutelle. The symmetry of this image is what captured me – shot handheld with my Nikon D600. I converted it to monochrome in Photoshop CS6 using Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2 – and then brought it into Lightroom and applied another one of Trey Ratcliff’s Lightroom Presents – A Crisp Start – to add this particular tone.

Golden Gate Photography Photography - Nikon D600 Photoshop San Francisco/California

Head Strong – Golden Gate Bridge on New Year’s Day

Head Strong - Golden Gate - 2013
Head Strong – Golden Gate – 2013

While I was exploring around the Golden Gate Bridge yesterday as part of my New Year’s Day tradition, I parked at the parking lot on Merchant Road just south of the bridge entrance and walked briefly up one of the bluffs in the area to take this shot.

It was taken handheld with my Nikon D600 and cropped/tweaked in Photoshop CS6 using ALCE, some Lab color techniques, etc. The upper crossbeams in the south tower and the eastern side cable both seem to be in need of a paint job! Click on the image to see a larger version on Flickr.

Golden Gate Lightroom Photography Photography - Nikon D600 San Francisco/California

New Year’s Day 2013 – Dreamy at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach

Dreamy at Ocean Beach

For the last few years, I’ve had a tradition of heading out on January 1st for some San Francisco photography – always of the Golden Gate Bridge – but usually some other spots as well.

Today was bright and sunny – although not especially clear. My first stop was on the hill up by the Cliff House above Ocean Beach. This is such a simple shot – shooting straight down the beach – and it captures the late morning mood on the beach perfectly.

Shot with my Nikon D600, I post-processed the image in Lightroom 4.3 using Trey Ratcliff’s Lightroom Presets which added the dreamy effect and tones. This particular preset is named “Under the Stars” and is in package 3.

After Ocean Beach, I headed into the Presidio and on to Baker Beach where I caught this view of the Golden Gate – I titled it “Smooth”.

Smooth - Golden Gate Bridge - San Francisco - New Year's Day 2013
Black and White Golden Gate Nik Software Photography Photography - Black & White Photography - Nikon D600 Photoshop San Francisco/California

A Stormy December Day at Baker Beach

Golden Gate #2 - Baker Beach - 2012

This morning I headed for San Francisco – hoping for some interesting clouds for a break in between the rolling waves of tropical rains we’ve been having.

Afterwards, there was a nice break in the rain and I headed for Crissy Field and then to Baker Beach – either side of the Golden Gate Bridge. I thought the most interesting – stormy – shots were from Baker Beach. (See some of my earlier images from Baker Beach – it’s a dramatic spot!)

Here are three treatments of the same image of the Golden Gate Bridge from Baker Beach. Immediately below is the right out of the camera (Nikon D600) version. Up top is a black and white version (my personal favorite) created by blending a couple of layers of Nik’s Silver Efex Pro treatments into a composite black and white image. The black and white version was based on the color treatment shown at the bottom of this post – the result of putting the image through a modified version of Lee Varis’ technique for image enhancement.

More details of my Lab-centric workflow can be found on my earlier post laying out that particular process. Just appreciate how this workflow is such an evolving process!

Golden Gate #0 - Baker Beach - 2012
Golden Gate #1 - Baker Beach - 2012

By the way, I started my morning by first visiting my friend photographer Chris Honeysett who’s holding his holiday show this weekend in the Gatehouse at Fort Mason Center. Chris is a great photographer – one of the few that I’ve actually collected over the years! If you have a chance to stop by his holiday show this weekend, it’s very worthwhile. While he was initially known for his black and white photography, he’s recently been doing some amazing work in color.

Golden Gate Monochrome Photography Photography Photography - Canon 5D Mark II Photoshop San Francisco/California

Night from Day – Golden Gate from the Marin Headlands

Night from Day - San Francisco - 2011

I’ve had an earlier monochrome version of this image as my desktop wallpaper on my 27-inch Apple Cinema Display for many months. It’s a very pleasing image – surprisingly sharp for a non-tripod, handheld image shot at 200 mm with my Canon 5D Mark II.

Tonight I thought I’d process this image again – using some of my newly learned Lab color tricks – but late in the game I veered off back into monochrome, seduced by Photoshop CS6’s new toning options. Blue’s always been a favorite color of mine – and, somehow, this “Night from Day” preset just grabbed me as being right for this image. Time to let it age a bit – this is definitely one image to come back to!

Golden Gate Photography Photoshop San Francisco/California

The Golden Gate – Working on Older Photos

Last night, for a bit of relaxation (!), I took a browse through some of my older, unprocessed images – among the over 15,000 of them in my Lightroom library.

I came across several images that I ended up taking into Photoshop CS6 and applying some new techniques I’ve been learning – mostly from Ben Willmore’s excellent Photoshop for Photographers course on CreativeLive – but from some others as well.

My favorite from last night’s editing session was the image below of San Francisco’s Golden Gate – which I shot on February 24, 2008 using my Canon EOS 40D Digital SLR. I really liked the composition/angle of the shot – and the moody overcast skies.

I worked in Photoshop to enhance the details in the bridge itself – and then added a subtle painterly effect (using Photoshop CS6’s Oil Paint filter) to the ocean itself. The tighter crop helps keep my eye in the frame – with there being lots of fun stuff to look at! Hope you also enjoy it – be sure to click on the image itself to see a larger version!

Stormy Gate
Black and White Golden Gate Nik Software Photography Photography - Black & White Photography - Canon 5D Mark II Photoshop San Francisco/California

The Golden Gate from Fort Barry

Night from Day - San Francisco - 2011

Last December, Doug Kaye and I met up out at Rodeo Beach and then traveled up to Battery Mendell and Fort Barry. This image of the Golden Gate Bridge and the skyline of San Francisco was shot from Fort Barry Road just above the Point Bonita Lighthouse. From here, you’re down closer to the water than elsewhere on the Marin Headlands.

This image was shot with a Canon 5D Mark II with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L lens at 200mm. The exposure was 1/800 at f/6.3, ISO 100. This version was post-processed in Adobe Photoshop CS6 using HDR toning, Nik Color Efex Pro 4 (detail extractor and tonal contrast) and, finally, in Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2 where final contrast and toning adjustments were made. My goal was to make a moodier version of this image through the post-processing.

Golden Gate Photography San Francisco/California

At 75 – An Appreciation

Golden Gate Sunrise - 2007

Can you ever forget the first time you saw her?

As you approached – from San Francisco and US 101 most likely that first time. Soon, those twin towers so high up ahead came into view. Such majesty. So perfect.

Some of you might have had the top down – and the radio up loud.

Some of us walked across – on that first time. Oh, such fun!

She’s just about ten years older than I am – celebrating her 75th birthday on Sunday, May 27. I’m looking forward to growing old(er) together!

Enjoy her birthday – and the Memorial Day that follows! A special time to remember in San Francisco.

Golden Gate History Photography San Francisco/California

A Wild Flight of the Imagination – The Story of the Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge (Canon PowerShot S90 HDR)

Be sure to download this free iPad app from the California Historical Society celebrating the 75th birthday of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Beautiful photographs! And great lessons from history!