Slow Steep Grade Sign at Marin Headlands (San Francisco)

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Hawk Hill in Marin Headlands is one of my favorite spots in the vicinity of San Francisco. I’ve already featured it in my Photo Location Guide article  What to See and Photograph in San Francisco If You Only Have 2 Hours. During my trips to San Francisco, I try to visit this spot every day, even if I have only a few minutes to spare. The main reason for that is the complete unpredictability of the weather; the cold air from the ocean clashes with warmer continental currents which always causes changes. Sometimes change in weather is good for your photography and sometimes not, all you have to do is keep trying.

California. San Francisco. Marin Headlands
Loc: 37.826281, -122.499935


The main challenge I had with this shot was the guy who refused to move away from the side of the road, ruining my composition. When I was planning this shot, I waited for 10-15 min for guy to leave. He kept standing, I kept waiting and the light kept changing. I had two choices: to start throwing rocks at him or to take my shots and to “exterminate” him later in Photoshop. I chose later. I used the Stamp Tool to mask unwanted presence.

Deconstructing Featured Photo

Travel Photography Blog: 4 Bracketed Shots ( -2, -1; 0; +1)


Lightroom: import, tagging, color balance, export to Photomatix
Photomatix: I used 4 bracketed shots to tone map image (-2, -1, 0, +1 ), 16-bit tiff image was exported to Lightroom. (check my tutorial Before & After – HDR With Photomatix)
Lightroom: straightening, cropping, export as PSD image
Photoshop:  cleaning, I use the Stamp Tool to mask the guy standing at the side of the road, contrast, vibrance.