Golden Gate National Recreation Area & San Francisco

Adventure Series Night Photography Workshop

Like a beacon at the end of the world, San Francisco’s diverse land and skyscape will guide our exploration into our first urban workshop. We will focus our lenses on the winding streets and bright city lights, but also explore the coastline, bunkers, bridges and ruins that intersect the beautiful Bay Area. We will challenge you to re-interpret the city with a multitude of long exposure and processing techniques that will leave you with a unique and fresh view of The City by the Bay.

Workshop Gallery

photos © Tim Cooper & Gabriel Biderman

Workshop Details

November 3-8, 2019 — Sold Out, Join Waitlist Below

This is a 5-night, 6-day workshop. Your adventure begins at 10 a.m. on November 3 and ends after a final slideshow on the afternoon of November 8.

$1,750 + applicable taxes. Register below.

Workshop Leaders

Tim Cooper

Tim Cooper

Gabriel Biderman

Gabriel Biderman

Skill level

Open to all who have an understanding of the basic principles of photography and of their cameras.

Class size

14, with 2 instructors — 7:1 ratio

NPS website

Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Register Now Waitlist Only

HOPING TO GET A SPOT? Sign up Below for our no-fee WAITLIST.

  • Deposit of $500 is required to reserve your spot at the workshop.

  • Balance of $1,250 due on August 5, 2019.
    Pay Balance here.

  • You may choose the “Pay in Full” ticket if you desire to pay all at once.

  • Last day for a cancellation request is August 4 (see cancellation and refund policy).

  • The workshop fee does not include transportation to and from the shoot locations, lodging, food or the park admission fee.

The Workshop Experience

Both Gabe and Tim bring a vast knowledge of the Bay Area to share with you. Gabe was born in San Francisco and spends time every year with his family exploring areas that only the locals typically visit. Tim has taught several workshops here already and loves the variety of architectural and landscape subjects that lie in and around San Francisco.

This Adventure Series workshop will be based on the Marin side of the Bay Area to give us easy access to the incredible vistas from the Headlands. We will spend five nights exploring some of the iconic locations in San Francisco as well as some of the less-visited but very inspirational sites that make the city so unique.

Come with an open mind, because we are going to push you to see beyond the typical capture and create your own vision of how the city moves, breathes and never sleeps!

Our lecture time will consist of group review as well as one-on-one time to help you really refine your night visions.

What You Should KNow

Participants must have at least basic photo skills, know their cameras well, and be comfortable shooting RAW in manual mode with a DSLR or high-end mirrorless camera.

Night photography experience is not necessary, but even folks with extensive experience shooting at night will find this class challenging, stimulating and inspiring. For more advanced night photographers, we can offer a portfolio review, specific challenges and goals, and will offer guidance in the field if you mainly want to concentrate on creating portfolio images or learning more advanced techniques.

If you would like to attend this workshop but are unsure whether you have adequate night photography skills, we can offer pre-workshop tutoring to get you ready for your adventure with us. Alternatively or additionally, a few of us have written books that may be productive pre-workshop reads.

What You WILL Learn

Our Adventure Series workshops are designed to take advantage of the many locations that exist outside of our national parks, such as San Francisco, where the ultra urban meets the natural beauty of the Pacific Coast. In this workshop we’ll focus on combining both of these aspects in your night photography.

Areas of focus:

  • urban night photography

  • car trails

  • stacking images to create star trails in an urban environment

  • HDR and blending techniques

  • capturing long exposures with the ocean at night

  • honing your night visions

  • and much more …

Night Conditions & Opportunities


On this workshop you can expect the following night-sky conditions and nocturnal photography opportunities:

  • quarter moon

  • street lights

  • light painting


You are responsible for your airfare and car rental. If you are interested in sharing a car rental, let us know and we will try to connect you with someone in the group. We wholeheartedly encourage carpooling! The workshop will be based in Marin County just north of San Francisco in the town of Corte Madera.

Nearby Airports:

  • San Francisco (SFO) — 1 hour to hotel

  • Oakland (OAK) — 1 hour


Food & Lodging

To gain quicker access to the Marin Headlands and northern areas of San Francisco, we’ll be staying in the sunny town of Corte Madera. This hotel is conveniently located with quick access to the highway (it takes about 10 minutes to get to the Golden Gate Bridge!) and many good restaurants. You are not required to stay at the official workshop hotel, though doing so makes it easier to meet with the group for critiques and field shoots. Booking info and a group code will be sent after registering.

We encourage eating two meals per day—a good breakfast and a great late lunch. When on the night shoots, you may wish to bring snack food or a sandwich for late eats.

You are responsible for arranging and paying for your own meals and accommodations. If you are interested in sharing a room with another participant, let us know and we will try to connect you with someone like-minded in the group.


We’ve all heard the saying “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” Not entirely untrue. Believe it or not, fall actually offers some of the city’s warmest temperatures. It’s typically mid-60s to low-70s during the day and low-50s at night. While these numbers may seem temperate, remember that standing still for long periods of time while photographing can make you feel colder than you would otherwise. Couple that with the possible winds along the headlands and we could have some pretty cool nights.

Recommended attire: Casual. Jeans, hiking pants, hiking shoes, tennis shoes, long-sleeve shirts, sweaters, warm jackets,  gloves and hats. It can get cold and windy around the bridge. 


No vigorous activity will be required on this workshop. In a few places there are steep stairs heading down to ocean viewpoints, but no real hiking is planned. Many of the locations are within a couple of hundred yards of our cars.

Please read our FAQs section for more information about skill and gear requirements, and other information that pertains to all our workshops.

If you have questions, please contact us—we're happy to talk it over with you.


GoinG Home ...

There are very few places you can find dramatic coastline and then turn the bend and be entranced by the ever-glowing Golden City.
— Gabe

San Francisco will always be home. I was born there, left and then spent many years trying to get back.

The West always seems to beckon. There are very few places you can find dramatic coastline and then turn the bend and be entranced by the ever-glowing Golden City. San Francisco is a place of constant change—for proof, just look at the ever-shifting land that it sits upon.

I moved back to The Bay after college and had a steady stream of friends come to visit over the nine years of living there. One of my favorite places I like to share with people—after driving them a bit too fast over one of the “Streets of San Francisco” hills—is Sutro Baths. The Sutro Baths, an opulent “mall and pool” that took the rough waters of the Pacific and warmed them into multiple swimming areas, opened in 1896. Now in ruins and maintained by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, they’re as impressive as some of the ancient bathhouses of the Mediterranean. The clash of old and new is constant from the bunkers of Marin to the always-growing skyline.

I can’t wait to play ambassador to you and see if you also leave your heart in San Francisco!

Surprised for all Good Reasons ...

The San Francisco I fell in love with was a city perfectly integrated into a landscape and seascape of rugged beauty.
— Tim

I’ve been enchanted with San Francisco since I read my first Kerouac novel. I imagined it to be a place where people gathered to share ideas, art and music. So my first visit was filled with an abundance of preconceived notions. While not exactly finding the beat city of the 1950s or the city of love of the 1960s, what I did find was so much more interesting.

The San Francisco I fell in love with was a city perfectly integrated into a landscape and seascape of rugged beauty. I did find the art and the music and heady conversations, but it’s the combination of the innovative and photogenic man-made structures merged into the surroundings that really holds my heart.

I love photographing in San Francisco and look forward to sharing this unique city/ocean/landscape with you!

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