Shooting Photos In San Francisco


Hey everyone. I’m heading out to San Francisco today for an Adobe event. It’s not really a shooting event and I’m not sure how much time I’ll have, but the Bay area is one of my favorite places so I packed up my camera gear with me as well. Just searching around (which is what I do whenever I go on a trip somewhere for inspiration and cool places to shoot), I found a ton of great long exposure possibilities so I’ve got my ND filters too. But, if anyone reading knows so good photo spots, by all means please let me know. I’ve always wanted to get a photo of the top of the Golden Gate poking through the fog, but I’m not even sure if this is a good time of year for that. All I know is that any time I go to shoot it, it’s totally engulfed in fog ;-)

Anyway, here’s a couple of photos I took on my last trip out there. I went to one of the popular beach areas (Baker beach, and no I didn’t see any nude beachgoers ;) ) to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset.

(click to see the photo larger)


But as it got closer to sunset, some hazy stuff started to roll in and covered the bridge. So I switched gears,

ran up to the rocks you see in the distance here, and did some longer exposures there. This is one of my favorites.

(click to see the photo larger)


Again, if you know of any great spots, please drop me a comment here and let me know. Have a good one!

  • Doc Miles

    Matt, I am taking a client on a Sunrise and Sunset shoot of the Golden Gate Bridge tomorrow. You are welcome to come along. Let me know and I can pick you up. It will be clear, but there has not been any fog in the past few days. You have helped me a great deal over the years, so this one is on me.
    Doc Miles

    • Matt Kloskowski

      Thanks Doc. Emailed you :)

  • William Beem

    That’s lovely. My one trip to San Francisco was at the same spot as I was just getting into photography again. Just before I went down, the front element of my Nikon 18-200mm lens fell out and cracked on the floor of the Cliff House restaurant. All I had left to shoot there was a Tokina 12-24mm lens. Didn’t quite get what I wanted, so I’ve always wanted to return some day. This just makes me want to return even more.

    I didn’t know it was a nude beach, though. Nobody was out during my trip.

    • Matt Kloskowski

      Yeah, it’s always been cold when I was there but apparently it’s a nude beach :-)

  • njtrout2000

    Matt, I would drive south down the coast from SF heading to Santa Cruz. There are some great cliffs out in the water (Four Mile Beach) etc. You might also catch some wind surfers which are a challenge to photograph. Get a map and break off to your East to some of the lesser know Redwood Forests that dot the area. Andy

    • Matt Kloskowski

      Thanks Andy!

  • Craig Pessman

    This fall I was out there during the government shut down and wasn’t able to get to the Marin headlands on the Pacific side of the bridge at sunset. Apparently that is federal land. Needing something new, I went over the bridge and went down to the old fort on the bay side at the water level. It isn’t an area I thought of right away but there is a pier to shoot from at water level. It was a different angle to view the Golden Gate and you could get water and big sky if you wanted too. This would have been the NE lower corner of the bridge. I was fortunate to get some good color in the sky as the sun went down and the lights on the bridge came on at dusk.

    • Matt Kloskowski

      Hey Craig. Yep. I’ve been to the Fort. It’s a very cool view and definitely different than shooting up in the headlands.

  • Wanderer

    If the fog is going to present your desired effect is a matter of luck. You just have to be there & see. Last Friday I shot the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge from Treasure Island after dark. It made a really nice shot. You can shoot the SF skyline from the other side of the parking lot.

  • John Wright

    Matt, if you haven’t shot at Sutro Baths before I think you’d enjoy it. There are usually lots of people there but plenty of options for shooting.

  • Ronne Vinkx

    Hi Matt, this got me thinking of Adrift:

  • JebBuchman

    Great shots Matt. Thanks for the explanation of why you started using Canon more…I am a die-hard Nikon user (D800E) but have always been curious about how a Canon would feel and work in my hands or on my tripod. I’m almost afraid to try one out, because if I do find myself yearning to make the switch, my budget is nowhere close to being able to afford the changeover of body and lenses.

    I haven’t had the pleasure of shooting in San Francisco yet…but I did a workshop down along the beaches in the Santa Cruz/Davenport area a couple months ago, and it was a fabulous experience. There is seemingly unlimited potential for beauty to catch at sunrise and sunset along the coastline down there.

    • Matt Kloskowski

      You’ve got a great camera in the D800 Jeb. I wouldn’t sweat it. Aside of the Sony A7R, there’s really not even a 36MP competitor to it on the market, and it’s still one helluva camera.