Monday, August 18, 2014

Golden Gate Under Low Clouds

Golden Gate shrouded in low-hanging summer clouds

The best laid plans....

It was supposed to be an evening with great night photography at the Golden Gate during the blue hour, Palace of Fine Art and later at the Bay Bridge to see the moon rising in the late evening.  I had made these plans for an out-of-town visitors to whom I already explained that the city experiences more of a winter cold wind and fog during our summer days.  As I drove up on 280, the ominous clouds were unmistakable in the early afternoon pushing in from the ocean over the sunset district of the city.  From the high point at Divisadero, the business district was bathed in sunshine with only puffy clouds making it that far into the Bay.  As the afternoon proceeded the low cloud overcast pushed more and more over the city and into the Bay.

View through the North Tower from Battery Spencer

I hadn't been on Hawks Hill on a Saturday late afternoon in August - and the vista points along the road were not just packed but there was chaos on the road with the parking lots overloaded.  Walking up to Spencer Battery, we were greeting by fierce wind funneling into the Bay.  The tip of the Golden Gate towers previously still visible were progressively swallowed in clouds with more fog rolling in.  Timing our arrival before sunset, any hopes to catch the blue hour with the light coming on were blown in the wind or swallowed in fog!

It was time for alternative options!  By now the cloud cover extended pretty much all the way into the bay and maybe Fort Baker on the East side of the bridge would give us a better view.  Sandwiches, hot tea and granola bars bridged the time until the light fell.

Golden Gate shrouded under a low cloud ceiling

With all the moisture in the air, the warm colors of the night were reflected in the water.

Next alternate stop was the Palace of Fine Art with its reflection pond that invites any night photographer to stop and linger.

Palace of Fine Art

Forgetting moon rise at the Bay Bridge (!) our next stop was at the Legion of Honors.  I had photographed there in the past and experienced a nice reflection in the pond, but tonight the fountain was going giving us a different experience.

Legion of Honor

Horse and Rider Sculpture at the Legion of Honor

As midnight approached, I bid good bye to my friends.  Although I had planned quite a different evening the city of course offers many wonderful sights during the day and the night, and  I was happy that we captured some nice images at these alternate locations.

By now, Bill and Russ are back in the Midwest, but I am sure they will come back during the winter time when the skies are clear and we again can go out, and this time hopefully can capture the Golden Gate in 'better light" during the blue hour and into the night.

Until then, happy travel wherever your journey takes you!