Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘golden gate bridge

The Golden Gate’s 75th Anniversary

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Olympus OMD E-M5 + Lumix G Vario  7-14mm f/4 at 13mm | 1.6 sec, f/5, ISO 200

This past Sunday marked the 75th anniversary of what is my opinion the most beautiful bridge in the world. After a long hike up the Marin Headlands in the afternoon, we settled down at an ideal spot to view the evening’s fireworks show. To stay light during the long hike, I left the dslr at home and brought along my smaller Olympus OM-D E-M5 to cover the event. The show was beyond amazing! I originally thought there’d be fireworks out over just the water with the bridge as a backdrop, but I had to pick my jaw back up off the floor when fire started shooting from the bridge itself.

On the drive home, I discovered that the OM-D has a pretty neat image overlay feature. I used it to cobble together some composite images in-camera, which you can output as JPEG or RAW files. It’s a great way to kick your fireworks photos up a notch:

Happy 75th, Golden Gate. I’ll never tire of photographing you!

Written by Jonathan

May 29, 2012 at 6:48 am

Still My Favorite Bridge

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Fuji x100 | 30 sec, f/11, ISO 200

The Bay Bridge may have just celebrated a milestone anniversary, but the beauty of the Golden Gate is unmatched. Combining beautiful weather with a holiday weekend, there was just no way I’d be able to shoot from the headlands yesterday. It was just too packed with tourists up there. So I opted for a less known area to the east of the bridge. Besides a few scattered people here and there, Suki and I basically had the whole place to ourselves.


Nikon D700 + Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 | 16mm,1/320 sec, f/2.8, ISO 800

While this is quite an enjoyable sight for me, hanging out by the water here couldn’t be more boring for Suki, who prefers to be on the move. It’s still nice to have a little bit of company, even if its reluctant company :)


Fuji x100 | 30 sec, f/16, ISO 200

This shot was taken about 5 minutes after the one up top. I tweaked the white balance to give the sky a cooler, bluer look, whereas the top image shows the color as I set it at the camera. Can’t decide which one I like better, but the top image is a more accurate representation of how the scene actually looked. I hope to get more fiery clouds in the background next time, but at least there were more clouds yesterday than there were when I made my last attempt at this location.

Written by Jonathan

November 14, 2011 at 10:25 am

Morning Fog over the Golden Gate

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Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G AFS (view large)

Warm, clear days are often followed by mornings with low fog along the coast here in San Francisco. Yesterday was particularly warm and clear, so the wife and I woke up extra early to spend today’s sunrise together in the Marin Headlands, hoping to take a nice shot of the Golden Gate Bridge with low fog.

We’ve made a couple of trips out here before work in the last few months, but have always been met with an overwhelming amount of fog on arrival. On our last attempt, we almost hit a deer as we drove through fog so thick you could only see 10 feet or so ahead of the car. We screamed. Really loud. And we came back with exactly zero images of the bridge.

We were really hoping for a clearing in the fog as we drove up this time around, because hey, the Golden Gate Bridge toll is outrageous and we wanted our six dollars to count for something. Thankfully, conditions were perfect.


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G AFS

These shots were taken from the very popular Battery Spencer area of the Marin Headlands. I had another location further up the mountain in mind this morning, but our time was limited, and it wasn’t long before we had to drive back over the bridge and head to our respective day jobs. We did, however, have just enough time to grab a few frames, and then put the cameras away and just soak in the beautiful sunrise together.


Fuji X100 | 1/30 sec, f/2, ISO 200

This was the best seat in the city this morning.

Written by Jonathan

September 29, 2011 at 9:24 pm

Blue Hour Photographs

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Fuji X100 | 9 sec, f/11, ISO 200 (JPEG output: Astia)

On the way to meet friends for dinner in downtown SF last night, I stopped by the pier to grab some night shots with the X100. It was a surprisingly warm evening. Perfect for a relaxing stroll with the camera.


Left: Fuji X100 | 1/10 sec, f/2, ISO 200 (hand-held) ||  Right: Fuji X100 | 2sec, f/11, ISO 200

At this point the light was falling fast. After a couple of hand-held snaps, I brought out my trusty gorillapod for some long expsosures:


Fuji X100 | 7 sec, f/11, ISO 200 (JPEG output: Astia)

I would normally shoot RAW when doing night photography, but out of curiosity I recorded RAW and JPEG files simultaneously. To put it simply, the X100 puts out a fantastic JPEG file.


Fuji X100 | 30 sec, f/16, ISO 200 (RAW: Processed in LR3)

The built in 3-stop neutral density filter came in handy for giving the water a more glassy look and smoothing out the clouds, though I do prefer the more dramatic sky that resulted from the 7 second exposure over the 30 second exposure above.

I continue to be amazed that such a relatively small camera packs such a serious image quality punch. I feel like such a ninja with the X100. Silent, extremely portable, and incredibly quick to deploy:


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G AFS |  1/125 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600

Tonight I wanted to get a couple frames of the Golden Gate during blue hour. Arrived on site, jumped out of the car, climbed down on the rocks, plopped the small rig down and fired away. I was happy that the fog stayed high enough in the sky to be a sweet element in the photo without completely shrouding the bridge, which is often the case in this very foggy city.


Fuji X100 | 30 sec, f/11, ISO 200 (RAW: Processed in LR3/CS5)

Click on the image above to see a larger version on my City and Landscape gallery.

Written by Jonathan

August 19, 2011 at 10:55 pm