Photography 101: Landmark

Golden Gate Bridge at night, from Battery Spencer. Nikon D7100, 18-200 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens @ 20mm, 10 sec @ f/11, ISO 400

There is no better recognized San Francisco landmark than the Golden Gate Bridge. One of the very best views of the bridge and the city is from Battery Spencer, north across the bridge. And while this vantage point is a popular spot for photographers, it was a unique point of view for me. Walking in the darkness through the remains of the Battery — following dirt paths past crumbling and decaying buildings, up an old flight of concrete stairs, flashlight guiding our way — is fairly spooky late at night. But then to come upon this sight? Breathtaking. Being able to shoot it like this? Pure magic.

Today’s Photography 101 Assignment: Landmarks are everywhere: iconic places, meeting points, markers on a map. Today, consider a unique point of view as you photograph a landmark.

37 thoughts on “Photography 101: Landmark

  1. Very nice image. I’ve been to that spot a few times and I know it’s not an easy shot. And, actually, I think the star effect did show up–at least when I clicked on the image and saw the larger size on my screen. After all, F/11 isn’t that far awat from f/16! Excellent job.

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    • Thanks, Robin. It was such a rewarding experience, and I credit you with having the opportunity to do this. Had it not been for you mentioning that I should book a photo tour, I would have been off on my own, never even dreaming of all these incredible vantage points, let alone having the ability to get to them. So thank you for that! Still wish I had thought about the f/16 though 🙂

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  2. Absolutely breathtaking!! Love your account of the tortuous path you took to get the shot — sherpa, mountain climber. Metaphorically reminds me of my days as a ‘journalist’ in Cheboygan and the time President Ford visited Mackinaw Island. Our fishwrapper paper couldn’t get me a press pass while he was present on the Island, so I went over AFTER he visited and talked to various people who provided services, such as the fudge shoppe owner who waited on him. Not a Pulitzer contender but very well-received. You should send this photo to the Chamber of Commerce or tourism bureau for area — I should think SOMEONE would love to buy it from you for tourism purposes! Hey, let’s start making you famous, Sis! You KNOW I would love to be your publicist. XOXO

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    • Ha! Never knew about that story, Debby. You always have thought “outside the box,” even before there was a term for it 😉 As for selling this photo, truly, this is one that is captured on so many postcards already. It was just such a kick to actually shoot it myself! And the tale to go with it just makes it all the better! But you’re my number one publicist if the occasion every arises ❤

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    • Hi, Madhu! Seeing you pop up in my comments just made me smile. It’s been too long since we’ve connected – I must get over to your blog and see what you’ve been up to! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. Hope all is well!

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    • Ha! I guess I did 🙂 I ventured out yesterday with my camera, but came home empty. So this challenge gave me a chance to cull through my San Francisco photos and work on this image – something I’ve been wanting to do, but just haven’t. So glad you like it – thanks 🙂

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    • Oh, what a nice thing to say. So glad you like it. Truly, coming round the bend and seeing it in all its glory was a sight I would forever remember, even without the picture! And you’re welcome about the settings. Revisiting them helps me learn too. Thanks for commenting!

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  3. Brilliant photo. I have a weakness for night shots and especially for good night photography like this.
    Personally I would probably have used a smaller aperture, to get the “stars” from the artificial lights more clear, but it looks very nice at F/11 too!

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    • Thanks so much for your comment. And, yes, as I was looking at the metadata for the image, the first thing I thought was “What was I thinking shooting at f/11??” I had learned that f/16 was the sweet spot for the star effect (thanks, Robin Kent!). I think my nerves (and excitement) just got the best of me – being with a professional photographer, using my tripod and timer for the first time, and it being about 11 at night my time by the time we hiked to this spot. Lesson definitely learned and one I will not forget the next time 🙂

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