Monday, June 17, 2013

Making the Most of the Situation

Every now and again I take a trip somewhere with the specific intention of taking photos. Some of these photo runs are extended week-long epic road trips to places like Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park, while others are to nearby San Francisco for the afternoon and evening.

Recently I did the latter type of photo run with the family to scout out a few more locations to add to my San Francisco photo spots guide. I knew I wanted to hit Bernal Heights again, then on to the Bay Bridge to see the new Bay Bridge lights. I charged up the batteries, grabbed my gear and warm clothes, loaded up the family, and we made our way to the City by the Bay. 

I had been to Bernal Heights before, capturing a great sunset with photographer +Toby Harriman (in fact, I found the spot in Toby's awesome San Francisco Photo Spots guide), and was hoping for a repeat performance. This time, however it was not to be – dull, gray overcast skies with a high chance of boring. 

We took that as indication that it was time to eat (not to mention our rumbling tummies), so we found a great Peruvian restaraunt nearby, warmed up, relaxed, and ate a wonderful meal while San Francisco turned from dull gray to city-lights night. 

Next we went to the Bay Bridge, where I was hopeful to capture the new Bay Lights lighting "sculpture" on the bridge. We found a great parking spot, unloaded, started raining. I didn't have much in the way of rain gear (for myself, my family, or my camera), but after a few minutes debate we decided to go for it anyway. 

The rain sputtered out for a bit, started up again, and went back and forth again. I started to get a little bummed thinking about my two wasted efforts (Bernal Heights and the Bay Bridge), until I looked down at the ground.

It was then that I realized just what an incredible opportunity I had been handed. Looking down I noticed puddles, and with puddles come reflections. Plus, I realized, because of the rain there was virtually nobody there, affording me an unobstructed view of the Bay Bridge with the lights (which by the way is awesome if you are in the area).

I learned an important lesson that evening. While you're out shooting landscapes, urban photography, or anything really, make the most of the situation you're handed. Often times it's the uniqueness of the situation that makes for the best photos. And who knows, you might end up with a great meal and a wonderful collection of new photos.

For these two San Francisco photo spots and more, take a look at my San Francisco photo guide, Left My Heart in San Francisco.