During my recent trip to San Francisco, I was the most excited to photograph one of my favorite landmarks, the Golden Gate Bridge. This iconic red beauty makes me so happy, and through trial and error, I found some great spots. I also found out where not to go for sunset…so you’re welcome. 🙂
I first headed out to Crissy Field. I quickly realized that the lighting was all-wrong and it was making the image dark and the bridge backlit. Below you can see one photo that I took.
Some others that I took below were not bad, but still wasn’t really what I was wanting. From Crissy Field, the bridge is in the distance and quite small. This is nice if that’s what you’re going for, but I wanted the bridge to be more of the focus and the color of the bridge to be more vibrant.
I stumbled upon this location because it’s close to Crissy Field, where I already was. As you can see, the photo from here is still a bit backlit, but the lighting wasn’t as bad because of the way it reflects off the water. However, I didn’t stay long because although the photo was nice, it still wasn’t exactly what I was going for.
If you’re crossing the Golden Gate Bridge headed in the direction of Marin Headlands, Vista Point is the first real exit you can get off on. It’s a super touristy spot for taking photos, which is why I almost skipped it altogether. I normally like to find unique locations and angles for my photographs, but I am so glad I stopped here! And I’d recommend you do, too. Hey, sometimes touristy spots are the best spots. Why fight it? 😉 From this location the lighting for sunset was amazing, and exactly what I was looking for. Surprisingly, parking wasn’t too bad either.
Marin Headlands was the location I was the most excited to photograph from, and it did not disappoint. I headed this way after Vista Point, and my only recommendation would be to come earlier in the evening because parking can be tough. I struggled with parking, and when I finally parked the sun had unfortunately set quite a bit. A great perk from this location is as you wind your way along the road you’ll see there are many great viewpoints where you can stop and take a photo.
This spot would have been great for a long exposure shot, but I unfortunately forgot my tripod. Now I know for next time!
There are other great locations I would have liked to go to, but I was out of light and out of time. If I return to San Francisco, I’d love to explore Marin Headlands more and hopefully find some secret spots. I also think photos from Baker Beach would be nice, but since I didn’t have a chance to go I can’t personally speak on if they’re any good.
Do you have any favorite spots for photographing the Golden Gate Bridge? I’d love to know in the comments below!