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Golden Sunrise, San Francisco

Posted by
Gary Hart (California, United States) on 2 April 2009 in Cityscape & Urban and Portfolio.

I try to avoid anything manmade in my images, but I make an exception where San Francisco's concerned. "The City" (that's what we call it out here, with no apologies to "The Big Apple," which gets first choice in most everything else) has so many long established beautiful vistas that it feels almost natural anyway.

I took this from my favorite spot to photograph San Francisco, the Marin Headlands, immediately north of the Golden Gate (the bridge was named for this narrow passage between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean, not the other way around). There are many great views along the headlands road, but I particularly like this spot because it's the only place I can line up the GGB North Tower and Transamerica Pyramid.

This is a sunrise shot, intentionally underexposed to emphasize the shape of the bridge and bring out the color in the sky. Because I was shooting toward the rising sun, exposing to bring out color and detail in the bridge would have completely blown out the sky. This silhouette approach is something I encourage my workshop students to try when we're confronted with a backlit sunrise scene--sometimes the only way to deal with the bright sky is to find a shape that stands out against the sky and make the image about the object's shape. Finding a shape to silhouette can sometimes be difficult, but that certainly isn't a problem here.

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Thanks for visiting. Even if I don't respond, your comments are always read and appreciated.

Didier DE ZAN from somewhere, France

Great shot

2 Apr 2009 5:12am

"Marie" :-) from perth, Australia

Amazing shot, and gorgeous colours. Love the silouhette buildings too. Very well captured.

2 Apr 2009 7:29am

Uday from Fishers, United States

Great shot. Nice contrast of colors. Looks like the Sun is wrestling with the clouds to come out. Nicely captured.

2 Apr 2009 12:33pm

Tracy from La Selva Beach, United States

Beautiful Gary. I love the way the Transamerica just peeps out in the "window" you've created!
I will be in the city this weekend doing a "re-cert" of my wilderness first responder training- I hope I have a chance to do some photographing- I am staying at the Hostel at the Marin Headlands, so I have lots of choices!

2 Apr 2009 1:24pm

Ana Lúcia from Leiria, Portugal

Fantastic silhouette, the colors here are amazing.

2 Apr 2009 4:26pm

DarkElf from Perth, Australia

fantastic composition and superb use of the morning light to create the silhouettes! it really is a nicely structured shot - very pleasing to the eye! love the golden tone too and clouds complete the whole frame very well!

3 Apr 2009 1:57am

Jason Kravitz from Brussels, Belgium

beautiful symmetry and tones on this one -

3 Apr 2009 1:15pm

Eleftheria from Athens, Greece


3 Apr 2009 2:51pm

Eleftheria from Athens, Greece

...And congratulations! Spotlight, yes! :-)

3 Apr 2009 2:54pm

@Eleftheria: Thank you, Eleftheria.

"Marie" :-) from perth, Australia

Hi congratulations on making spotlight, well deserved.

3 Apr 2009 3:54pm

Viewfinder from Bradenton, FL, United States

This is fabulous; congrats on the spotlight feature. Well-deserved, IMO. I am very excited - my wife and I are planning a trip to San Francisco and the surrounding country (like Big Sur) in July if all goes according to plan. It will be my first venture there.

3 Apr 2009 4:01pm

@Viewfinder: Thanks, Viewfinder. Northern California's coast is spectacular, all the way from Big Sur to the Oregon border. It's much different than anything you see in Florida. Not so great for swimming (cold), but the photography is world class. Have a great trip.

Daniel from Kenmare, United States

excellent composition.

4 Apr 2009 2:08am

Claus Petersen from herfølge, Denmark

Really a wonderful composition, and the colors really underline the title! Nice job!

4 Apr 2009 2:19pm

Ajay from Pune, India

This is exceptionally a beautiful shot. Love the way you've framed it. Those buildings look so neat like graph bars. Congratulation for being on the spotlight.

4 Apr 2009 3:21pm

Marie LC from France

Congratulations for spotlight. Beautiful sunset

5 Apr 2009 5:22pm

Quark from Netherlands

Great composed in this wonderful romantic photo....

6 Apr 2009 5:53am

Andrew Gould from Sydney, Australia

Saw this on the spotlight page, where it certainly deserves to be! Fabulous image in every way!

7 Apr 2009 3:11am

Judy from Brooksville, Florida, United States

What a wonderful image for the Spotlight ... you do marvelous work!

7 Apr 2009 7:42pm

@Judy: Thanks, Judy.

Drey from Toulouse, France

really beautiful shot!

16 Apr 2009 12:33pm

MahGol from Paris, Iran

this is truely a great photo ..

26 Jul 2009 12:52pm

k@ from Paris, France

Wow, that compo through the sunset !
You are a great one, and I'm happy to discover your page ~ bravo*

8 Oct 2009 7:14pm

PHILIPPE from Montreal, Canada

All your photos are totally pro and beautiful. This one, I especially appreciate. Love the composition, with main frame of bridge almost in the middle, as few photographs would have done. Great!

3 Jun 2015 3:49pm