Thursday, August 22, 2013

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge - Night and Day Long Exposures
John Brody Photography

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge Long Exposure Photography  - / John Brody Photography
San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge and Sausalito Long Exposure Photography - / John Brody Photography

I never quite understood the old quote often attributed to Mark Twain, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco,” until the night I took these photos...

A few hours after sunset on a warmish mid-July night, I showed up at the recommended hillside overlooking the bridge with all my camera gear and tripod, dressed in a toasty flannel shirt that was way too warm for the night. In fact, after the little hike to the hillside, I was flat out hot, uncomfortably so. I mumble-cursed Mr. Twain for obviously writing for effect instead of accuracy.

Three hours later I was begging his forgiveness. The temperature had dropped impossibly while the sea breeze had turned into sea blasts that brought an icy chill at unbelievable force. It literally flapped my shirt so hard that it unbuttoned itself and was snapping like a flag at 90 degrees. The shirt issue became a non-issue because I was hanging on to my not-inexpensive camera gear with both hands and still lost a lens cap and a few lens cushions that got sucked out of my camera bag - gone. The tripod stood no chance and was being blown over even with fully spread legs and a 20+ pound camera bag hanging on it for stabilizing weight - It didn't matter. The whole rig would blow over and head for the ground the second I let go of it.

Another battered photographer and I teamed up to deal with the mess. We had the brilliant idea of lashing the tripods to a sturdy post we found but felt fools for thinking there was any twine or cord for miles... His sweet petite girlfriend overheard us, reached in her purse and pulled out a 50-foot spool of yellow and black twisty 1/4 inch nylon rope, still on the spool. He and I looked at each other with puzzled amazement, but a heavy blast of frigid air made us forget about wondering why she had 50 feet of rope in her purse and what the hell else might be in there...

Well, I'll try to wrap up this one sentence description that went totally out of control... The other gent and I secured our cameras, trading off blocking the wind with found cardboard - we each shot a hundred or so photos, shook hands and got the hell out of there. To this day, I still wonder what else was in that purse…

I probably should just delete the little remembrance above, but I doubt anyone will read this anyway :) - If they do, maybe it will serve as a cautionary tale if they're as clueless as I was. Read the brief excerpt from Wikipedia below the following photo - If I only knew that tidbit of info before I headed out that night.

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge Long Exposure Photography  - / John Brody Photography
San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge HDR. One of my favorite shots of the bridge on a very moody day Long Exposure Photography - / John Brody Photography

Wikipedia Excerpt: "The Headlands just north of the Golden Gate Bridge ....... create strong gusty Pacific winds which prevent dense forests from forming. The many gaps, ridges, and valleys in the hills increase the wind speed and periodically ..... these winds can reach hurricane force. In summer, breezes can still be very gusty, when the oceanic air and fog cross the hills.