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International Orange #2 - Golden Gate Bridge

I had to contend with baby raccoons walking around my legs to get this shot! They kept trying to climb up onto me and the tripod. Oh the price we must pay...


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The color of the Golden Gate Bridge is orange vermilion, deemed International Orange. The color was selected by consulting architect Irving Morrow because it blends well with the natural surroundings yet enhances the bridge's visibility in fog. I think they made the right choice! The Reds and Oranges were so intense that I had to slightly desaturate them to retain detail! See the big version. There is a heron that stood still for the entire 30 seconds!


See the 1200x1200 pixel version!



Settings etc.:



Canon 5D Mark II

Canon 17-40L @ 40

30-second exposure @F7

No filters! (I usually use LEE 100x150mm soft ND grads)

No polarizer

ISO 100 (a higher ISO to keep it at 30sec @F7)

(I didn't want to go more open than F7 so

everything would be in focus)

2-second shutter delay.

Small Slik tripod with Manfrotto Pistol-grip ball head.

RAW file processed with Capture One by Phase One

TIFF file processed with Photoshop


I've been waiting for a while to get a better version of this composition that I made with my original 5d. I wanted more fog flowing through the bridge and more resolution. Usually it is very hard for me to duplicate a previous photo, but the fog here can be quite reliable. I lucked out having the half moon here with the sun setting to the right. I was not planning on it, but I left it overexposed to show how it lit up the scene just a bit.


Well, it often seems like the fog is reliable but actually it was looking good until about 1 hour before sunset and then it drifted away from the bridge and things were looking bad. But then about 5 minutes before I made this photo, it moved in to save the day! I was lucky once more!


I was here for a few hours before sunset so I waited up on the top of the hill with the tourists and other photographers, where it was much warmer. It was about 86 (30c) on the hill above the 500 ft. thick fog and about 59 (15c) at this spot! I walked around on the hill without my camera listening to everyone talk in amazement in many languages about the fog and the foghorns. It is quite an impressive sight even though I've lived here my entire life. I did take quite a few photos of couples on request. No way to get out of that. And no need to understand what language they were speaking! A few hand gestures and you're in business.


It is also interesting to watch the other photographers, but I'll leave that for another day.


The map shows exactly where this is. You can drive right up to this spot and do a short scramble down the small cliff.


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Taken on September 25, 2009