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The Planning and Shooting of the Golden Gate Bridge Fireworks 2012 | by Stew_Bayarea
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The Planning and Shooting of the Golden Gate Bridge Fireworks 2012

I had been planning for the fireworks shoot for weeks, especially since Tosin had told me he'd be flying to SFO on the Memorial Day weekend. We decided to meet on Golden Gate Bridge's 75th birthday, May 27. Initially planning to meet at Fort Point, i was dismayed to learn later that there wouldn't be any parking in the San Francisco waterfront. I decided that we'd meet at the Marin Headlands across at Sausalito as the Headlands provide a better view - plus it's got parking to boot.


After a get-together with friends on the 26th that went past midnight, I got up early on Sunday checking the morning news and googling furiously for a good alternative plan as I didn't want to disappoint anyone (Tosin and myself - as well as my friends who wanted to join me at the last minute). I usually stayed away from July 4th or New Years Eve festivities in the City because i knew it would be so crazy out there, but not for GGB's 75th birthday - after all, this is a historic day everyone present in the SF Bay Area on that day would want to be a part of. I suddenly thought of Fort Baker as I had done shooting of the GGB at this location before and I guessed it would probably make a great place to view the fireworks as well. I finally decided on Fort Baker because of two factors - parking and restrooms - which Marin Headlands sorely lacks (it helps to be on both these areas before). Plus the thought of being exposed to wind gust at the Headlands for five hours made me cringe and I didn't thnk my out of shape body (lol) would be able to endure that misery for 30 minutes, let alone five hours.


So I immediately called up Tosin and my friends and informed / explained to them my sudden change of plans, and requested to meet early so we won't lose out on parking space just in case (park officials were going to close the Fort to traffic at 5 pm or when the parking is full, whichever came first). Finally, I got to Fort Baker with my friends with still ample parking spaces at past 4 pm - and got to meet TOSIN THE MAN as well!


As darkness came upon the City, ships from all across San Francisco Bay started to converge around the GGB. On land, everyone had his/her camera / tripod set up for the show. Then at 9:30 pm, the lights over the bridge shut down, and the 20-minute fireworks display started amid the cheers from the crowds and foghorns. I did non-stop shooting - hoping that I would hopefully get one good shot - as I know I suck at taking fireworks from my previous experiences. In the duration of the fireworks show, I had to change the shutter speed (between one to five seconds, never over five secs) to see how the shots would come out at these varied speeds. The fireworks initially started far left from the Golden Gate bridge and out of my frame but it was at the last five minutes of the show when the fireworks finally came closer right next to the Bridge. At the end of the night, everyone was happy to be there to witness this historic event, and us photographers happy and hoping/praying that we got at least a good shot from the spectacular show. And I was happy that the late change in plan worked out well as I later found out that the Marin Headlands were closed at 3 pm because of the scarce parking.


And of all the shots taken that night, I was lucky to get this shot after a few tweaks and contrast/ exposure adjustments.


Thank you for the visit, my friends!


Please note: This image is protected under copyright laws and cannot be printed or reproduced without my prior permission

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Taken on May 27, 2012