Fog Helps Photographer Capture Rare Photo of the Milky Way and the Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge and Milky Way by Michael Shainblum

Photographer Michael Shainblum proves once again that being in the right place at the right time and keeping yourself open to creative possibilities can have big rewards. Shainblum, who is known for his stunning astrophotography, recently took a photo that he once felt was impossible. Thanks to some fog, he captured the Milky Way and San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge in the same photo.

The Golden Gate Bridge has long been a muse for Shainblum and he's photographed it previously in extreme weather conditions. But nothing prepared him for that evening on the San Francisco Bay. Shainblum has always dreamed of photographing the iconic bridge under the Milky Way, but typically the city's light pollution makes it impossible. Luckily, he was in the right spot when the perfect weather conditions made his dream a reality.

“It felt really awesome to get a shot like that in such a familiar spot,” Shainblum tells My Modern Met. “Having gone up there for the last nine years, countless times. It was so cool to see a unique moment like this and spend the night gazing at the stars/fog. Overall the evening was just such a great mix of photography and timelapse.”

The low-lying fog provided the perfect cover for the light pollution that previously hampered Shainblum's chances at photographing the Milky Way. But in order to create the perfect exposure, Shainblum stitched together several horizontal images until he was satisfied with what he had created. The end result is a beautiful cityscape where the Milky Way is clearly visible above the San Francisco Bay. As fog rolls across the landscape, the lights of the bridge and one of its towers are visible in the left part of the frame.

But this wasn't the only incredible image that Shainblum captured that evening. He also took the time to get creative with the Golden Gate Bridge and the fog. These highly atmospheric images are a unique, artistic look at a well-worn piece of architecture. As an extra treat, Shainblum also published a fascinating video that takes us behind the scenes of this special evening.

Go behind the scenes with Michael Shainblum as he photographed the Milky Way over the Golden Gate Bridge.

The evening fog helped block light pollution from the city and let the Milky Way shine through.

Milky Way Over San Francisco Bay by Michael Shainblum

The fog also allowed for some incredibly artistic photos of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Fog Over the Golden Gate Bridge by Michael Shainblum

Fog Over the Golden Gate Bridge by Michael Shainblum

Fog Over the Golden Gate Bridge by Michael Shainblum

Fog Over the Golden Gate Bridge by Michael Shainblum

Fog Over the Golden Gate Bridge by Michael Shainblum

Michael Shainblum: Website | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Michael Shainblum.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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