• A mix of city, and moon light.
  • amazing!!! - ShuhuaQQ
  • like in heaven!!! - ShuhuaQQ
  • would love to see a monochrome square of it as well ... - nlwirth
  • Quirky and cool to have just the one light switched on - not sure if that's normal. - flatworldsedge


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Golden Gate Bridge - California

Originally I had a plan to do some extra long night exposures on film, but yet again... A boat blocked my view. The moon was two days away from being full, and the weather was nice and warm, so I wanted to try something new while the conditions were nice. Trying to stay away from the usual subjects, I remembered a spot out on the Marin coast that I've been meaning to get to.

As I made my way through Sausalito I noticed that San Francisco was not visible, but the moon was.... Fog? I can't pass that up.... As I drove up through the tunnel just before the Golden Gate, a giant flash lit the sky! Fog? Moon? Lightning? Nahhhhh..... It can't be. I came through the tunnel, and snaked my way up through the Marin Headlands. I could see the tops of both towers and more lightning! When I reached the high point I jumped out, setup, and watched as the lightning lit the bay and fog. I noticed that most of the lightning was about 40 miles south east of San Francisco, so I zoomed into the South tower, and composed as much sky as I could without making the composition look bad.

Having never shot lightning before (because its rare here) I had no clue what would be the best settings to capture this sight. With the bright moon above, I decided to stop down and stay at ISO 50. With these settings I knew I could keep the shutter open for a few minutes, greatly increasing my chances of getting something.

Though I had a chance to see about 10 strikes throughout the bay, this is the only image I came away with that featured the bridge, fog, lightning, and the bright glow of the moon. There is no digital trickery here.... What you see is what it was. The long exposure enabled me to capture two strikes, and the moon lit the fog blanket perfectly. I find it interesting that the tower ended up almost centered between the lightning strikes, but I guess it was simply luck. The lights off in the distance are soft due to the fog that covered and uncovered them throughout the 3 minute exposure.

***** I've tried over and over to correct the digital banding with this jpeg, but it seems it is a due to the compression that Flickr applies during uploading. The final print tiff file shows zero signs of banding*****

Jazpar, LJ., Mr Bultitude, and 1625 other people added this photo to their favorites.

View 20 more comments

  1. krazykrayons 15 months ago | reply

    Neat shot...great timing!

  2. Sam ♑ 14 months ago | reply

    Your photo is invited to 14 Karat Gold !

  3. Nat.Images -OFF 12 months ago | reply

    AWESOME,outstanding L/E,magnific and magic,love tones1

  4. Indigo Skies Photography 12 months ago | reply

    I'm speechless! Fantastic!!

  5. Neuronico 12 months ago | reply

    I have never seen lightning in SF, I didn't think it existed - but today my friend was talking about the first time she heard thunder after moving here, and now I see this. Awesome!

  6. pdxsafariguy 11 months ago | reply

    how did I not have this faved before?! sweet!

  7. kacam 9 months ago | reply


  8. Jared Ropelato 8 months ago | reply

    still one of the most amazing shots of this bridge I've ever seen Steve.

  9. Borisbadanoff 7 months ago | reply

    fabulous shot I am most jealous :)

  10. BeSigma 6 months ago | reply


  11. Ania.Photography - travelling 3 months ago | reply

    Steve,remarkable and powerful photography! it's really incredible to see how the bridge appears amid this sea of fog, those clouds are so silky and smooth and the lightening is incredible! Perfect timing with the fog and light and extraordinary colors!! Best regards.

  12. me*voilà 3 weeks ago | reply

    May I add to the accolades?!!!!!!!!!! Tremendously beautiful and successful image!!!

  13. Terry Long Photography 2 weeks ago | reply

    Its pictures like this that make photography a beautiful art form. Now where's my camera.

  14. JHC_818 2 weeks ago | reply

    very nice.

  15. cucgomhinhchiecdep 2 weeks ago | reply

    beautyful sight *_~

  16. William Miller 21 2 weeks ago | reply

    mind blowing, and a great example of incredible skill, knowledge of the subject area, and a bit of luck coming together to create a photographic masterpiece.

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