The Golden Gate Bridge was painted International Orange when it first opened in 1937 and only touch-up of the lead-based paint was required until 1965. The paintwork is now acryclic, with a zinc primer, and is maintained by a chief painter, 28 painters and five assistants.
San Francisco – Photo Tip

How can you photograph a familiar sight in a new way?

Photo by David Sanger

San Francisco – Photo Tip How can you photograph a familiar sight in a new way?

I have been photographing San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge for over 20 years and am always amazed to discover new angles, new perspectives, new details I have not noticed before.

David Sanger
David Sanger

Photographing a well-known landmark is always a challenge, especially if it as famous as the Golden Gate Bridge. You want to show the subject in a different manner, in a new way that reveals something uncommon, and seldom seen. It is easy to do so just by picking a bizarre angle or lighting, or by over-editing a digital image. A better way is to spend time with the subject, to explore its nuances, to get to know it, and let it reveal its secrets.

One of my favorite locations is at the north end of the bridge, in Marin County, in the rough and grassy headlands that rise above the water. Here a marine fog often shrouds the bridge in mystery.

In this particular shot (above), I set up before dawn and watched as the sun rose and gradually the fog began to clear. I like the hint of red in the cables, leaving just the suggestion of the rest of the bridge for our mind to fill in.

Get out before dawn, watch the weather and focus on the little evocative details that let the viewer imagine the rest of the scene. Or you might be lucky enough to get permission to climb the bridge (below).

Real friendship – share your travel tips and your commission!

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Photographer David Sanger poses on the Golden Gate Bridge, an experience currently only offered to media. Bridge officials are considering allowing a public climbing experience, modelled on the one of Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia, which could raise as much as $9 million a year. Photo by David Sanger

David Sanger

David Sanger

Nikon SUPER COOLSCAN 4000 ED

Photographer David Sanger poses on the Golden Gate Bridge, an experience currently only offered to media. Bridge officials are considering allowing a public climbing experience, modelled on the one of Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia, which could raise as much as $9 million a year.

Other stories about San Francisco

When Steve Jobs launched the iPhone at San Francisco’s 2007 Macworld convention he called it, with typical understatement "a revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone.” It took $150 million to develop and Apple paid $1 million for the iphone.com domain name, but sold a million devices on its first weekend.

The Pioneering spirit that never died

What can you say about San Francisco, a city that shaped and continues to shape the world as we know it? The history of San Francisco is the promise of gold that brought settlers West, until they could go no further; the pioneering spirit has never died. The Flower Power generation, which originated here in the 1960s, shaped modern beliefs; a new generation is defining our virtual world through companies like as Apple and Facebook. In the history of San Francisco is our present: in its past, our future.