aneeshkothari
aneeshkothari

Golden Gate Sunset



This was taken during a beautiful sunset at Marshall's Beach. The sky around the Golden Gate Bridge lit up with color for over an hour as the sun started ...
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This was taken during a beautiful sunset at Marshall's Beach. The sky around the Golden Gate Bridge lit up with color for over an hour as the sun started to set. I love the soft water and boulders leading the eye towards the bridge in the background.
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4 Comments | Report
JDLifeshots
 
JDLifeshots September 14, 2016
Beautiful! Congrats.
aneeshkothari
aneeshkothari September 21, 2016
Thank you!
Merbert
 
Merbert September 14, 2016
Fantastic shot.

Norbert
aneeshkothari
aneeshkothari September 21, 2016
Thanks!
ThelmaKellyPhotography PRO
 
ThelmaKellyPhotography September 29, 2016
I love the soft yet vibrant colors and how they are reflecting in the water. The composition is excellent in how the boulders lead the eye towards the bridge. Also great job on the post processing!
aneeshkothari
aneeshkothari September 29, 2016
Thank you for the kind words! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the image, that was exactly what I was going for!
brucebrodie
 
brucebrodie March 02, 2017
A well seen and composed image. Lovely angle.
aneeshkothari
aneeshkothari March 06, 2017
Thanks, Bruce! I really appreciate the kind words

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Behind The Lens

Location
This photo was taken from Marshall's Beach in San Francisco. I was only going to be in San Fran for one evening and I wanted to make the most of it. I spent some time time on Google Maps checking out possible shooting locations and happened upon this small strip of sand. It looked interesting and much more untouched compared to the much larger and more well known Baker Beach so I decided to give it a shot. I also loved that it had unobstructed views of the Golden Gate Bridge. I had no idea the sunset was going to end up looking like that - that was just pure luck!
Time
Since I had never been to this location before, I had made sure to give myself plenty of time to arrive before the sun started to set. Unfortunately, my Uber driver took a couple of wrong turns and got us stuck in traffic so I really had to scramble to get down to the beach. By the time I arrived, the sky was exploding with color. I took a few moments to just take it in and then started scouting the scene. There are a number of rocks and boulders scattered around the beach, resulting in a myriad of compositional possibilities. I tried out several until I happened upon this one. This was taken on Wednesday April 6, 2016 at 7:47 PM.
Lighting
The light and colors in the scene were incredible and changed quite a bit during the shoot. I took a number of shots and chose this one in the end because I loved how the pink clouds draw you into the scene and lead right towards the bridge. The orange and yellow light on the left side of the image from the setting sun complement the pinks and deep blue of the sky well and add some more dynamism to the overall scene. I used a 4 stop ND filter to streak the clouds a little and smooth out the water. I knew that this would also help bring streaks of color in the water from the sky reflection which was terrific.
Equipment
I used a Canon 6D with a 17-40mm wide angle lens. Wide angle lens is key for an image like this to really capture the entirety of the scene. I also used a Slik Sprint 150 Aluminum Tripod with corresponding Slik ballhead. There are always tradeoffs when it comes to tripod selection. For me, compact and lightweight has so far outweighed absolute sturdiness and rugged. Finally, I utilized a 4 stop ND filter from Formatt Hitech. Camera, wide angle lens, tripod, and ND filter - the essential tools of any good landscape photographer!
Inspiration
I'm forever searching for the perfect composition. For this shot, I had been walking around the beach for a little while until I gingerly walked through some rocks to get to this spot. I absolutely love the way the boulders look so massive compared to the bridge in the distance yet they don't overwhelm it. There's great balance through the picture with the rocks in the water on the left and the mountains in the distance. All of the various elements lead your eyes through the image to the Golden Gate Bridge from the rocks angled towards it to the waves in between to the finger-like clouds all but pointing to it. I stood on the sand, my legs and equipment getting soaked from the incoming tide and really tried to enjoy the moment (all the while firing off shots of course!). The spectacular show that the sky was putting on was just an amazing bonus. While it didn't make the image, it certainly elevated it to another level. To me this is San Francisco at its finest, a beautiful blend of incredible landscapes and world class architecture. I hope to showcase a little bit of that rugged beauty with this photo.
Editing
I took bracketed exposures in the field to account for the wide dynamic range of light in the scene. I manually blended 2 exposures in Photoshop using custom luminosity masks to end up with a balanced final image with vivid colors and dynamic contrast. To add further interest to the scene, I manually dodged and burned the boulders and foreground beach/water. I really didn't have to do anything to the sky as it was amazing as is. I finished off the post-processing with some sharpening on the rocks and bridge.
In my camera bag
I use a Canon 6D, a great full-frame body that won't break the bank. My two go-to lenses for this type of photography are the Canon 17-40 f/4 and 24-105 f/4. For landscape and cityscape photography, you really don't need to shell out extra money for fast glass as you typically will have the camera on a tripod and will be shooting at around f/8 which is the sweet spot for most lenses. Along with the other usual gear (tripod, ND filters and filter holder, remote shutter release, microfiber lens cloths stuffed in every pocket of the bag), I also carry a GoPro Hero 3+ Black, a gorilla pod, and a couple of clamps. The GoPro is a great way to capture time-lapses while you're out on a shoot. In this case I had it set up on a rock near my tripod and started it on a time-lapse while I went about capturing my main images. Just don't forget it when you're done shooting! Finally, my most interesting piece of kit is my DJI Phantom 4 drone. It has elevated my photography (in more ways than one) to a whole new level. I love the freedom and perspective I get when flying the Phantom and I have been able to capture some terrific images with it. Unfortunately, the entire Golden Gate Bridge area is a no fly zone (for legitimate safety reasons) so I was unable to use it during this particular shoot.
Feedback
While it's always fun to be spontaneous and just start exploring a new place with your camera, I have continuously found research to be the best way to get great shots. Before my trip to San Francisco, I spent time on Google Maps to scout locations and then I cross-referenced what I found with The Photographer's Ephemeris to precisely determine the optimal location for the sunset. I knew exactly where the sun would be setting and I knew (actually I hoped) that it would be casting beautiful light onto the scene. San Francisco is full of amazing photographic opportunities. Get up early for sunrise, stay out late for sunset and plan ahead. While you're enjoying being a tourist in the city during the day, keep an eye out for interesting compositions that you can come back to during optimal lighting conditions. As with all landscape or cityscape photography, what's happening in the sky can easily make or break the image. While you can't control the weather, you can certainly do your best to plan for it. Interesting clouds or the famous low fog (known as Karl to the locals) can help make your shot unique. For those looking to go to Marshall's Beach, plan for a tough descent down to the beach and even tougher ascent back up. If you're going for sunset, make sure to bring a flashlight because odds are you'll be trekking back up in darkness. You will definitely want to bring a wide angle lens and ND filters. Use the rocks as interesting foreground elements in your shot and experiment with different looks at different focal lengths. Always remember safety first - with the tide coming in, conditions can get treacherous quickly so be mindful of your surroundings. Also try not to leave your sunglasses on a rock while you're taking pictures. Before you know it, the tide can carry them away!

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