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.

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!

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!


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

New Year’s Day 2012 at the Golden Gate

New Year's Day - San Francisco - 2012

In what’s become sort of a tradition for me, on New Year’s Day I head for the Golden Gate and see what I can find to start the new year off right.

Today, my favorite venue was blocked by construction fencing – so I headed to my next favorite venue – Baker Beach. I happened to arrive just as the California Hornblower sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge.

This image was shot in RAW with my Canon 5D Mark II and then processed tonight in Photoshop using Nik’s Color Efex Pro 4 and Silver Efex Pro 2 before importing into Lightroom 3 for final cropping (16:9), toning, sharpening and noise reduction.

There were a lot of people enjoying Baker Beach when I shot the original image – but they were removed using the content-aware healing brush in Photoshop CS5 – yielding this final image. I’m sure they don’t mind! 😉

Black and White Golden Gate Photography Photography - Canon PowerShot S95 San Francisco/California

Sail Away – San Francisco – 2011

Socked In - San Francisco - 2011

Yesterday, I headed north to Sausalito to join the Marin Photo Club’s charter boat heading out onto San Francisco Bay for the Blue Angels air show performance.

Coming north across the Golden Gate Bridge, the fog was still blowing through and under the bridge and created this lovely view toward the skyline of San Francisco. I shot this using my tiny Canon PowerShot S95 – handheld – from the View Point on the north side of the bridge.

When I noticed the sailboat in the image, I decided to post-process it a bit – using curves and masks in Photoshop CS5 to isolate adjustments in the sky/skyline, the fog, and the water/sailboat at the bottom of the image. A final curves layer added the toning – tweaking the blue and green colors just a bit.

Golden Gate Nik Software Photography San Francisco/California

The Golden Gate Bridge at Sunrise

Golden Gate Sunrise - 2007

As I’ve been learning new post-processing techniques (mostly the Nik and Topaz filters in Photoshop), I’ve been having some fun going back and working with older images – mostly not shot in RAW and, as a result, I’m not post-processing them as HDRs.

As I was reviewing my older images, this one caught my eye mostly because of the juxtaposition of the rock in the lower left and the lone tree up on the hill on the right. Plus, the light is lovely too and, in this case, the usual boring blue sky actually works nicely against the International Orange paint of the bridge itself.

This particular sunrise image of the Golden Gate Bridge was taken using my original DSLR, a Canon 30D, in March 2007 – almost five years ago. I used Nik’s Viveza and Topaz’s Adjust and Simplify to create this version. Simplify, in particular, is a new tool I’ve been learning – and, in this case, just a bit of Simplify helped smooth out the dirt and grassy areas of the image very nicely. The result, no surprise, is a bit simpler than the original which seems more pleasing to my eye.

Golden Gate Photography Photography - Canon PowerShot S90 San Francisco/California Textures

The Golden Gate – in Texture

Golden Gate

Here’s another of my experiments in adding textures to an image. This image is a texturized version of this original shot below taken on January 1, 2010 at Baker Beach in San Francisco using my tiny Canon PowerShot S90.

Golden Gate

I also tweaked the image a bit to make the bridge towers more vertical – and then applied the Purple Prose texture from French Kiss Textures. This particular texture has script elements on the left side of the image – and I thought those elements worked well into the sky and mountain area on the left side of the bridge itself.

I love how the texture adds dimension to the image – making it much more interesting to my eye as I want to explore it for longer than just the original image. For me, that’s the power of adding textures – making the image much more interesting and something you want to spend time exploring – similar to how a great painting captures your eye and mind.

For more examples of my texture experiments, see this image of the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, this image of the FV Point Reyes aground at Inverness, and these early experiments in blue and gold texturized images of San Francisco taken from Fort Point.

Palace of Fine Arts - San Francisco   FV Point Reyes aground at Inverness   San Francisco - Jan 1, 2010   San Francisco - Jan 1, 2010

If you’re interested in textures, here are some resources I’ve found very helpful:

Are there others? Yourself? Tell me about them in the comments below!