For the third year in a row, I went on a trip with the main purpose of taking photographs, hoping one or two would be up to some imaginary standards I set for myself. As in the past years, I had my friends and photography brothers-in-arms with me, Scott Jones, John Rav and Tyler Westcott.

The idea was to meet up for the weekend in San Francisco, where Tyler used to live and where Scott still lives (sort of), and then go to Yosemite National Park on Monday morning. As it turned out, Tyler and I had a Saturday evening to ourselves and I wanted usĀ  to spend it shooting the Golden Gate Bridge.

It’s probably the most photographed landmark in the world, Golden Gate Bridge, After Sunsetalong with Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal and maybe a few others. So, I had no illusions of new perspective or ideas; on top of that, while the sunset was lovely, the lack of fog and clouds removed the drama that usually follows San Francisco and the Bridge.

Nevertheless, we went down to Marshall Beach, lesser known than Baker Beach, but closer to the Bridge. We walked up and down the beach, trying different perspectives. I had a few nice snapshots of the surf breaking on the rocks, with the bridge in the background, but my most successful shot was one of my last.

It came when I decided to put the 85mm f/1.8 lens on my Canon 7D. It is my favorite lens and it provided a really tight view of the bridge. And although I think a bit more context would have been fine, there really wasn’t anything interesting outside this frame. I liked the glow of the street lights and the even-numbered sunstars (the lens aperture has 8 blades), and I even liked that ship passing under it during the 13-second exposure. I rotated the image 1 degree clockwise and made a mild contrast adjustment to reduce the haziness in the sky, but overall, I think this was a successful first evening of shooting. And we didn’t even get to Yosemite yet…