Morning Has Broken on the Bay Bridge
The Bay Bridge, or officially the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, is a set of bridges connecting San Francisco and Oakland with two spans meeting at Yerba Buena Island in the middle. The 10-lane bridge was completed on November 12, 1936 and had a grand opening that was even attended by former US President Herbert Hoover. The western span is dual levels and part of the original design while the eastern span was rebuilt after a section collapsed during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. The new eastern span earned the Guinness World Record for the widest bridge in the world at 258.33 ft (78.74 m) wide and is built to withstand the largest earthquake expected in San Francisco over a 1500-year period.
This early morning shot was taken on the San Francisco side close to the San Francisco Ferry Building with an exposure of about 2 minutes using Sony’s downloadable ($4.99 USD) in-camera Smooth Reflections application that allows for stacking of multiple pictures in-camera to produce a long exposure raw file. I think the application is wonderful as it works with any lens regardless of filter size, and with control over the number of stacked shots can simulate a wide range of ND stops. For longer exposures though it’s still nice to have a ND filter to reduce the number of exposures needed for stacking. I’ve found the sweet spot to be one 6-stop ND filter that allows me to comfortably cover from 1 to 11 stops without ever needing more than 32 shots. And I can still get up to 14 stops if I wanted to stack 256 shots. This greatly reduces the number of ND filters I need to carry and has allowed me to avoid carrying a big 100mm square ND filter kit as I know I have at least 8 stops with any lens, even 15mm or wider that usually require yet more specialized adapters. Sorry for the tangent, but this application has been a godsend for me when trying to travel light and small. It is also much cheaper and less likely to break than a ND filter kit with different glass filters, holder, and varying adapter rings. One caveat is if you wish to use physical graduated ND filters or polarizers you’ll still probably need a filter kit. I have moved to doing graduated ND work in post (Sony does make an app for that although I haven’t tried it) and don’t really have a strong preference for polarizers so your circumstances may be different.
Back to the picture, I spent about 1.5 hours at this location, but this special hue of light only lasted about 5 minutes. I was expecting the city to be quiet at around 6:00am, but there were a surprising number of joggers and also a surprising number of homeless in this area. It’s certainly not as beautiful or well-known as the Golden Gate Bridge, but the Bay Bridge undoubtedly has its own charm.