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Suspensions - Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California

Finally we had a few clouds come in yesterday morning. A brilliant red sunrise to the right lit up this scene nicely for a 2-minute exposure. No HDR required! Super-easy to process with good light. Feel free to try this composition. I do not own it! Nobody owns a composition.


Free wallpaper for over 100 of my images in 6 different screen sizes is now available!


See the rust flakes on the chain in the super-detailed 1500 pixel version!!

(though I must admit that it is softer than the verion I see now in Photoshop on my PC)


Here is the same composition under extremely violent conditions. Over 3,600 faves/160,000 views now!






Canon 5D mark II

Canon 17-40L @ 26

(I focused on the front of the chain, then backed off halfway to infinity mark)

(It is all super sharp in the 5600 pixel version, chain is 1m from the lens)

Live preview

2-minute exposure @F16 (I wanted lots of DOF, F22 makes things too soft..diffraction..)

Lee Big Stopper 10-stop super dark glass filter.

(BTW, it dropped out of the filter holder to the

concrete, halfway through one exposure. Not a scratch! Sounded awful though!)

ISO 160

1 Lee soft grad filter (4x6 inch, 100x150mm, 0.9, 3-stop)

No polarizer.

RAW file processed with Capture One by Phase One

TIFF file processed with Photoshop cs4

Small Slik Sprint mini II tripod

Manfrotto 322RC2 pistol-grip ball head



The Story



Yes, I've done this composition before, but not at sunrise on a spectacular morning. The waves were small which meant lots of reflections were coming off the bridge and the red bricks of the 150 year-old Fort Point.


When the waves are small, it is easy to set up this composition, though you have to be meticulous about it. The chain can not touch the rocks/concrete or it loses its impact. Also, you want the top of that rusty post to not go above the horizon. After a bit of fiddling around, this always seems to be the best composition, at least for me. You can't fiddle around much during big surf or you will be sucked into the bay. No kidding! Be careful here.


Then the sky turned red to the right which turned everything red. The rest was done with the 2-minute exposure, which really brings out the chain nicely. I took a short exposure shot beforehand to test the sharpness and the temperature. Then I put on the dark filter and did a series of long exposures. They always turn out blue-ish compared to the short exposure shots. So I use the short exposure shots as a guide when adjusting the temp in post-processing to get it back to looking natural.


There were lots of runners out but they do not show up in this long exposure. Also, extremely large ships always seem to come and go at sunrise/sunset so you have to anticipate that in a long exposure. They take 2-5 minutes to pass through the scene and have wrecked several trips here in the past because they can often pass by just when the light is the best. Uggh!


The map shows the exact location.



Other stuff



My pictures are featured on the front page of the

state Government. of California website and the new Governor, Jerry Brown's website too. Have a look! It is Flash with my pics cut into layers for a 3-d slideshow. If you are into building apps, the State has opened up lots of data to the public, so check it out!






A great weather mashup map of the world with local temperatures, weather and nice popups. See where it is hot and not!


Google Earth


Simply the best way to scout out locations that there is. You can see sun angles and pre-visualize light under lots of different conditions. Sometimes you can actually pre-compose your shots! This has saved me many thousands of vertical feet of climbing by avoiding spots with blocked views etc.


Satellite imagery (choose 'National' for a local US region or use your fave website)


Tide charting and preditions: (chose your area in US, other countries have similar websites)


Wave Heights (I choose 'North Pacific from Global')

Or Here:


Photos of every inch of the California coastline from a small plane. Excellent for close in detailed views.


1,173 faves
Taken on April 15, 2011