Many moons ago (pun intended), my buddy Paul was visiting and we decided to have a go at night light trails at SFO. However, we had not come well equipped so headed to Best Buy to pick up cheap tripods. They were very cheap and performed as might be expected. However, with Paul coming back, we decided to have a second go at this and to prepare properly this time. We also scoped out some locations that might be suitable to get good angles on SFO.
Two things conspired against us this time. First, SFO is having runway upgrades installed so the pair of 28 runways are the only ones in use. This cuts down on the possible angles for a while. Second, the great weather forecast turned out to include some low cloud over the location we had scouted out. The aircraft rapidly disappeared from view as they climbed. (It later turned out that they were still in the clear but above the thin layer of cloud which we were under.)
We went with a plan B and found a location along the lake-shore that would provide an alternative. It was not as good but it did work. I had actually brought a spare tripod in case Paul didn’t have his so I set up two cameras. One was running long exposures that I intended to blend together to get light trails. The other I point out onto the approach which was quite busy at that point and take a lot of shorter exposures for creating a time lapse. The blend is above and the time lapse video is below. Let’s hope for better weather next time. I shall also remember that warm weather does not include after sunset and bring something a bit ticker to wear!