One of the signature landmarks of San Francisco is the Golden Gate Bridge. When photographing for my book on San Francisco Bay, I wanted to cover the movement of the fog which sweeps in off the Pacific many summer afternoons, and then recedes in the morning. Often it flows over the hilltops and shrouds the bridge deck in a white cloth.
There’s a small hilltop in Marin Headlands, just above the northern anchorage, which seemed promising as a vantage point. It was a fogbound morning. Driving out there in the predawn darkness I doubted if I’d get anything at all. Sometimes you don’t. I parked and hiked the fire trail to the ridgetop; it was windy, dark and cold. With my tripod fixed, and mid-range lens set on my Nikon, I waited.
Imperceptibly, the light changed. A gradual brightening, then visible clouds, then a golden hue as a distant sun rose over the Oakland hills. Then the mist cleared with a swift breeze and the bridge tower appeared.
It was a surprise of course. It always is.