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Friday, January 21, 2011

San Francisco Night Photography from an Unexpected Source

Well, well, well. The Geeky Guy (AKA my hubby) has become a shutterbug. To make a long story short, remember how I took that DSLR Beginners' Photography Class last summer with one of my favorite professional photographers, Chung Li? While I learned a lot and have applied much of it to my tiny point and shoot camera, since then I decided that I just wasn't interested in hauling around a camera bag full of equipment and lenses for two reasons:
  1. It's heavy. Especially when I'm already hauling around my purse.
  2. It can be too obtrusive when other professional photographers are already the official documentarians of an event I'm attending.

So, hubby took over the Canon T1i body I bought for the class and began collecting an assortment of lenses to go with it. He loves taking moon pictures and recently announced he was going to photograph birds that coming weekend. In our backyard. Um, we live in a city full of great parks several of which have lakes, streams and marshes and we're just a short hop to the ocean. All attract a wide assortment of birds. So really? Our backyard? Realizing he needed some prodding to broaden his horizons I recommended we stop in at a super cool photography studio called Aperture Academy.

While there are plenty of stunning photos to admire or purchase by Stephen W. Oachs, owner of Aperture Academy and an award-winning nature photographer himself, the cool thing is rather than just sell his work Stephen has chosen to educate. He, and his very qualified instructors, teach lots of photography field trip workshops around the Bay Area and beyond. There are also in-house classes for computer programs like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom so that students can learn to do their own post-edit on the shots they take at the workshops.

So we dropped by one afternoon and had the pleasure of meeting Stephen, the studio owner, and chatting with him about hubby's growing interest in photography. Right there on the spot hubby decided to sign up for a six hour, Night Owl's photography class later that week in San Francisco. He and a small group of amateurs went out with Stephen and another instructor from 6:00 till midnight and these are some of the raw images he shot that night:

The Golden Gate Bridge

With just a little adjustment in Photoshop he could softly bring out the water, waves and beach in the foreground of this Golden Gate Bridge shot.

The Palace of Fine Arts

Light Study on Lombard Street

The Bay Bridge from the San Francisco side of the Bay

The Bay Bridge from the Embarcadero

What do you think? I think it looks like I may soon have a second shooter to assist me at some future events with photos for my blog!

Along with learning shooting skills he had fun and photography is the first common interest we share. We don't like the same food, tv shows, movies or music (well, with the exception of INXS. We both love INXS). Sometimes people think it's odd we ever hit it off. But now, now we have photography and that's something we can do together wherever we are. What's especially great is I love taking macro (close up) detail shots and he likes taking scenic and distance shots so our styles will complement each other really well and I think we'll become a great shooting team.

Now I just need to upgrade my camera! Tomorrow I'll do an entire post about my new dream camera I'll be getting in a few months. And once I get it, we can take classes together at Aperture Academy!


  1. Wow some very nice night shots there! On the subject of cameras, I'm also looking to purchase one this year. Just a regular compact digital though methinks as I am not very clued up on cameras and photography! I need a new one to replace my old, outdated Canon Ixus 65! My Ixus cannot take good decent night pictures AT ALL without them looking all blurry and messy. I'll be visiting San Francisco in May so cannot wait to see the photos on this blog for real :)

  2. Hi mumji,

    Thank you for your comment :)

    I was just looking at the specs on your Ixus 65, and yes, it's time for a new camera! I tend to replace my point and shoot camera every two years. As the technology improves there is such a big difference in, well, everything.

    I hope you have a wonderful time when you visit SF in May! The weather should be quite nice by then.

  3. Beautiful photos. Nighttime photography is my favorite because we can extend our vision and see the unseen.

    I wish my wife shared my passion for photography. As it stands now, I currently get 2.5 seconds in any given trip to get that 'perfect' shot.

    Best of luck with your next camera purchase.

  4. Thanks for the comments Oren.

    I agree about seeing more through night photography. I often think "this must be what cats and dogs see at night."

    Though it makes me sad for you that you only get 2.5 seconds to take pictures when with your wife. We're very patient with each other when someone wants to take some pictures. I guess NYE was a turning point for me because hubby brought the T1i along and we were both out there on the deck of the yacht photographing the fireworks over the bay together :)


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