Zack and I have a Christmas tradition to wake up at the wee hours of the night on Christmas Morning and drive to San Francisco to photograph the sunrise. It started a number of years ago, before I had family obligations, partially because I don't celebrate Christmas and partially because Zack was away from his family. Regardless, we've done this for about 6 years now and it's a fun little tradition (minus being super sleepy).
Looking at the weather forecast, I wasn't quite sure where we should head this year. We'd done the Golden Gate Bridge, we'd photographed the Bay Bridge, we'd been to the ferry building ... most of the iconic SF photos had been done. Fortunately, the decision was made very easy when I woke up at 4am and checked Escaype (our favorite sunrise forecasting app) and it said "HEAD TO THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE."
Despite Zack being a few minutes late, we arrived at the Golden Gate Bridge quite early. Looking at the clouds, I knew we needed to be close to the bridge ... the views from Hawk Hill would have had too much empty sky. Battery Spencer became our go-to spot. Here we ran into another photographer, a visitor to SF, Eddy Lin, who asked to tag alone. We were in for a treat, the sunrise pre-burn was absolutely *stunning*. I find the Golden Gate Bridge looks its best during Blue Hour, when the bridge is still lit up, the lights are on and visible in the city, and the sky is still mostly blue, with a star or two to be found left in the sky. Sure enough, the entire cloud system lit up like an explosion and we snapped away for a good 20 minutes.
Once it burned out I packed up my gear and walked back to the car and took a pit-stop at the bathroom. When I walked out the door I realized the sky was on fire again. Grabbing our gear we raced back to the bridge and took a few iPhone snaps, by now the sun was coming up and the real burn was on, but with the city and the bridge lights washed out, I didn't even bother with the real camera.
Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8:
20mm, f/11, 20 sec, ISO 125