Hopefully as each year passes by, we, as photographers, learn from our past mistakes and in turn become better photographers. A year ago I left things up to chance. Today, most of my photography is planned: I've learned to check weather forecasts, watch the "WunderMap" to follow cloud patterns, and even tried to understand what makes the low marine fog that we want so badly. I learned to check the SF webcams before I go to sleep and made a great new friend who could check the fog from his bedroom window and tell me if I should go back to bed or not (thanks Alan!).
The night before this particular morning I had checked both the weather and the webcams and text messages about the following mornings fog started rolling in. I was so excited that I actually woke up *before* my 4:15am alarm! Alan almost instantly messaged me to tell me: "get up here, it's going to be amazing! EVERYONE is coming!" I arrived early, ran into Yan and began taking photos. Alan and Wilson arrived shortly after and we started trekking up to Hawk Hill. I also ran into Jim Patterson, Joe Azure, David Yu, and Della Huff, who are all great local photographers!
The fog on this morning was pretty much a dream come true! The fog was just above the bridge deck when I arrived and throughout the sunrise I watched the fog move lower and lower. By 8am the fog was completely gone! I photographed the bridge from several locations on the road to Hawk Hill and had so many great photos that I had trouble deciding which was my favorite.
Ultimately I chose a photo from the blue hour of sunrise (which is really only about 10 minutes), when the sun was still somewhat low and the sky had purple tones to match the fog. A couple minutes later and the sky started to turn light blue, orange, and red, washing out the lights of the city in the background. I experimented with different aspect ratios of either 2:1 or 3:1, and found that a slower shutter smoothed out the fog while a faster shutter left more texture and bumps. Ultimately I chose quicker shutter speed of 10 seconds and a 2:1 crop so that I could include as much of the amazingly textured fog as I could.
Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S:
29mm, f/11, 10 sec, ISO 64