I’m back from my recent trip to California and my most recent video features a shoot at San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge. I got some epic conditions for the shoot, with atmospheric fog blowing infront of the bridge and a glorious sunset lighting it up from behind.
My initial choice of location was from the Fort Point Overlook, listed as “Postcard Viewpoint” on Google Maps. Here’s one I got from that location when scouting for spots.
Although this is indeed a great spot to capture a shot of the bridge, in the end I decided it to be too obvious a choice for my sunset image. Over 10 million people visit the bridge each year, and I’m willing to bet the vast majority of them capture almost the exact same shot.
A secondary candidate from which to capture the shot can be found just a short walk from the Fort Point Overlook. Heading east a path takes you downhill, through a picnic area and a tunnel. A gravel path continues after the tunnel, and after a short walk, a widing, paved path begins on the left, bending its way down the hill. Half way along this path, one can find the Golden Gate Viewpoint. Not disimilar to the view on offer at Fort Point Overlook, but different enough to make a shot of the bridge a little less identical to the thousands taken each year by tourists visiting San Francisco.
I chose to look further however. Continuing downhill a series of steps can be found that heads toward the water’s edge. Here, a pier extends into the water and is open to the public, providing great views of the bridge from a lower vantage point. This is where I chose to capture my sunset image of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Seeing the bridge from this lower, more side-on angle is, admittedly, not as compositionally strong as the view from the overlook. That’s not to say it’s a bad composition though, and what it loses in this regard is easily made up by the fact it benefits from being in a superior position to include the setting sun behind it. It’s also a lesser photographed location, and allows for more unique compositions that can include the beach, rocks, water and boats.
Here is one of my sunset images from this location.
For an even less common image, one can head over the bridge to the Golden Gate Viewpoint on the way to Sausilito. However, looking east, this location is better suited to sunrises.