San Mateo Bridge

San Mateo Bridge

Tech Info: Single exposure from Nikon D300s using Tokina 12-24 @24mm with Hoya NDX400, ISO 100, f/22 for 61 sec.

The tech info that you see is not a typo. The exposure was indeed 61 seconds and that too just after noon. The reason I was able to get such a long exposure time during broad daylight is by attaching a Hoya NDX400 filter to the lens. This filter reduces the light by 9 stops and thats a huge amount of reduction in the intensity. Also I stopped the lens down to f/22 and reduced the amount of ISO which I generally use; from 200 to 100.

Before I headed out to this location, I actually wanted to take a shot at the old fishing pier which is right next to this bridge. Getting under that pier (with my broken back) is little risky. So I wanted to have a friend keep a watch – not just on me, but also to the skunks, raccoons, cats that frequent this area. Ok, did I say “cats” there? I’m actually not that afraid of them, but you never know…one might just jump on me or something.

Till my friend arrived at this location, I wanted to try that filter and had a composition which included some foreground element. But during post I realized that since the bridge was my actual object, why not crop the entire foreground out and I’m actually pleased with that crop. So went ahead with processing that.


  1. Import the image to Lightroom and do the basic adjustments.
  2. Export to Photoshop and did some cleanup. The filter had some dust on it and I was too lazy in the field.
  3. Cropped the foreground.
  4. B&W conversion layer using Channel Mixer.
  5. First curves layer to brighten the overall image.
  6. Second curves layer to get some contrast to only the bridge.
  7. Third curves layer only to the water for some luminosity increase and contrast.
  8. Fourth curves layer for the clouds.
  9. Fifth curves layer for vignetting effect.
  10. Flatten the image and resized for web.
  11. A smart sharpen layer and Added border and copyright.
  12. Added metadata and keywords through Bridge.



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