I spent last weekend in San Francisco bay area. At the end of my trip, I had the opportunity to take a ride on the U.S.S. Potomac, a vessel converted from a coast guard ship to Franklin Delano Roosevelt's presidential yacht. After quite a colorful history, it opened to the public in 1995 after having been through a 12 year restoration. It is open for cruises from May to November.
Despite unseasonably cool weather, the evening was clear and the bay, calm. Our cruise took us from the Port of Oakland underneath the Golden Gate bridge and back. I'm pretty sure that anyone that has ever gone to San Francisco and brought a camera has taken a photograph of this bridge. With it's striking color and massive span it truly is an impressive icon. While photographing from the water, I was struck with the graphic simplicity and marveled at the silhouettes of cars and people. I began to think about how it was not only visually stunning and an engineering marvel, that the function of the bridge is to move people. Taking advantage of the clean simple background and back lit sunset, I chose to focus on details as opposed to the entire structure.
Equipped with my Tamron 28-300 VC lens I took advantage of the 300mm telephoto end for two of the images and the 200mm focal length for the third. I was shooting my camera in manuel mode and underexposed the scene in order to get a more saturated background. The camera's meter can sometimes get fooled with backlight which can include sunsets. Use manuel exposure or EV (exposure value) Compensation and underexpose (that's the minus side). Hint: The EV Compensation will work with P, A or S mode but not usually in full "green box" or auto.
In the tightest detail shot, one can see tiny figures walking across as the bridge is suspended in the frame. The next image is simply the suspension of the bridge against the sky. While the third image shows the Golden Gate intersecting with the natural landscape. The next time you are out photographing, experiment with using your telephoto focal length to focus on details.