I hadn’t been to San Francisco since I was about 8 years old. So, I thought I would do something a little bit on the cliche-tourist side of things well I was there: photograph the Golden Gate Bridge. In fact, it’s the one really iconic thing in the United States that I had been dying to photograph. Thus, I decided to turn my goal of getting some cool images into a bit of an article, assuming there are many other people wanting to find the best places to photography the Golden Gate Bridge.
In the end, I shot three locations. However, I’m sure there are probably a couple dozen different spots that offer different perspectives of the bridge.
This was my experience in San Francisco, and below is some information on the different locations I photographed.
Best Places to Photograph the Golden Gate Bridge
Though I obviously didn’t have time to go everywhere to photograph the bridge, I think I did find the 3 best places to do so. I didn’t get the classic fog on any of my shoots, and got fairly average light on 2 of my shoots, but the bridge and landscape surrounding it makes it fantastic no matter what.
This is likely the most typical postcard photo of the Golden Gate Bridge. The location atop an old military battery offers nice clean views of the bridge. It also gives you the opportunity to put the San Francisco skyline in the back of your Golden Gate Bridge photos. From what I saw, this was the favourite spot for tourists to come and get that classic image of the bridge and city. There is only a very minimal amount of parking available up near the battery, so you might need to be patient when coming here. There actually weren’t a lot of photographers up shooting with us, but there was a constant stream of tourists. Anyways, here are a couple of the photos from this viewpoint.
Presidio Park is essentially on the opposite side of the bay from Battery Spencer. The views are fairly similar except for the fact that you have a nice green backdrop to the images of the Golden Gate Bridge from here rather than the city light as is the case from the other side. I actually preferred photographing this side to Battery Spencer because there were far more compositions available for photos here. There were nice rocks down on the beaches below, you could shoot straight onto the bridge, and I even found a couple giant Cedar trees that I used to frame the bridge within. Here are a couple of images I took from Presidio Park:
On the day I left San Francisco, I got up before 5am and headed to Marshall Beach. I had actually spotted this beach the day before and it looked like a fantastic place to get a different perspective of the bridge. I was right. Hiking down to the beach gives a sense of nature in the foreground of the bridge. I even managed to get a couple photos where there are stars visible over the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a bit tricky getting down here in the dark, and would likely photograph better at sunset rather than sunrise, but this was easily my favourite location to photograph the bridge. The rocks and beach make great anchors to the photos. Unfortunately, the light I got on the morning of my visit to Marshall Beach was fairly average. However, I still managed to get a couple cool images.
Other places to Shoot the Bridge
Here are a couple other places that you could photograph the Golden Gate Bridge. However, I didn’t photograph these locations. But, if you have more time than I did and you want to shoot as many location as possible, you could add these to your list.
Down at the wharf, there are a couple places that might be interesting to photograph the bridge. It’s a bit off in the distance, but using things like the piers and sea breakers might make for some interesting images.
This location is above Battery Spencer and is a favourite spot for photographers to capture the bridge when there is low fog. Had there been fog, this is exactly where I would have headed.
The Bridge Itself
Some Bonus Photos
What’s Next on the Travel Photography Blog
I’ve got one last article from the US before heading to South America for about a half a year. Stay tuned, lots of interesting stuff on the horizon.