No Sticks Needed!

25 second blue hour shot of the Golden Gate Bridge ©Deborah Sandidge

25 second blue hour shot of the Golden Gate Bridge ©Deborah Sandidge

By Deborah Sandidge

I recently traveled to San Francisco, one of my favorite cities, for a photo shoot. One of the highlights of being in San Francisco is the opportunity to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge. I packed my Platypod Max and Ultra for the trip. My Platypod Ultra is set up with the Really Right Stuff BH-30 ball head that I keep handy in a compartment in my backpack.

I hiked a rugged 400 feet down the Batteries to Bluff Trail to Marshall’s Beach for an extraordinary view of the ocean and Golden Gate Bridge. On that evening’s hike, my group of friends and I descended to the beach for sunset where we waited to set up in 20+mph winds for beautiful blue hour shots. In this instance space was limited on the bluff where we were standing. The wind was intense, and stabilizing a traditional tripod was questionable for the long exposures that would be needed to capture the beautiful light during sunset and beyond.

Behind the scenes setup at Marshall's Beach ©Deborah Sandidge

Behind the scenes setup at Marshall's Beach ©Deborah Sandidge

Once I got into position for my shots, it was impossible to set up my tripod because I was standing in gusting winds. It would be too risky to setup my tripod on narrow surroundings for my long exposure shots. Platypod was my clear choice for low to the ground rock-steady shots. I set up my camera on a rocky area leading down to the shore. From there, I didn’t have nearly the wind impact as I did when I was standing with a tripod.

For extra security, I wrapped my camera strap around a pillar on the rocky area, as seen in the photo. It was sunset as I set up my camera for a 13 second exposure to record the beautiful clouds and golden glow. I used a Singh-Ray Gold-N-Blue Polarizer to accentuate colors which were more muted with the impending rain.

Platypod made it possible, “no sticks needed” to shoot during impossible weather conditions. With this setup, I could shoot long exposures with complete stability without the risk of wind battering my camera and gear. The weather held long enough for an expressive 25 second blue hour shot. Starbursts from points of light and reflections along the shoreline accentuated the Golden Gate Bridge during the beautiful blue hour.

13 second exposure of Golden Gate Bridge ©Deborah Sandidge

13 second exposure of Golden Gate Bridge ©Deborah Sandidge

About the Author: Deborah Sandidge is a professional photographer specializing in world travel and artistic imagery. Deborah is a photography instructor and the author of the book Digital Infrared Photography.

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