Favorite Photos – San Francisco Sunrise

The next photo I wanted to share is an image I took while in San Francisco for my honeymoon.  We like to travel, and thankfully, my wife understands that when we travel, I travel with camera (and gear).  And I’m going to use it.  That means extended stops at places that normally wouldn’t necessarily merit more than a minute or two if I see something that catches my eye, her finding ways to amuse herself while I “work a scene” (often this involves her taking self-portraits with our point-and-shoot – future blog post maybe?), and depending on where we are, going out early morning to catch a sunrise.  This was one of those days – I decided I wanted a sunrise picture of San Francisco from the Marin Highlands, so we left our downtown hotel in the dark to find the right spot.

Unfortunately, this was my first trip there, so I wasn’t quite sure where “the spot” was that you see so  many photographs taken from.  But, being a guy, I figured I could just cross the Golden Gate Bridge and find it.  When you get to the Marin side of the Golden Gate, there’s a scenic overlook on the side of the bridge away from the ocean.  So, to shoot at the sunrise, you wouldn’t necessarily see the bridge.  Not quite what I had envisioned but I figured I’d check it out anyway.  After taking some nice night shots of the bridge (with car light trails, etc.), I noticed that the sky was starting to light up.  Time to find “the spot”!  But when I started watching the sun come up, I saw all kinds of magical colors appear – this was truly different from an ordinary sunrise.  So I set up closer to the water and started shooting.  I was bracketing a bit, thinking I may have to make an HDR image, but it turned out to be unnecessary.  I found out later that the amazing colors were due to a large fire to the southeast of the city – the particles in the air caused the extraordinary colors.  This is one of my favorite pictures from that trip – not just because it’s a good photo (IMO), but because it reminds me that sometimes the best laid plans don’t work out…and that’s for the better.

PS – after taking these images, we took off to find the overlook on the other side of the bridge, not realizing that we just had to cross under the highway to get there, and after driving for an hour and ending up in a forest, came back to the hotel…passing by the correct exit in the process.  But we did get there a couple of days later at sunset!

San Francisco Sunrise


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