Once I headed farther south and before reaching San Francisco, I made a stop at the Battery Mendell and Point Bonita Lighthouse area. The ocean views from both were quite amazing! Of course, that was till the marine layer hijacked the views!
Such an interesting place. According to California Military History, Battery Mendell was the first of the batteries built at Fort Barry. It was named after Colonel Mendell. Considering when the construction was completed, the battery had been 114 years old when I made the visit. How cool!
Battery Mendell and Point Bonita Lighthouse share the same parking lot.
POINT BONITA LIGHTHOUSE
Before checking out Battery Mendell, the first subject for my photography was Point Bonita Lighthouse. Especially it was getting close to the sunset time, I was quite excited about it.
Then, just like what happened at Point Reyes Lighthouse, Point Bonita Lighthouse was closed to the public that day. I saw people still walking down the short windy road and turning around and walking back from a vantage point where I took both photos above and below.
The view of the Golden Gate Bridge across Bonita Cove from the vantage point was quite impressive. Especially it was when the marine layer just started rolling in, to my disappointment at first, so it became quite an interesting sight where the sun was still shining in the foreground and middle ground with long shadows but Hawk Hill and beyond were slowly disappearing under the marine layer.
And when I turned south, it was definitely clear as to how enormous this marine layer was brewing over the ocean and rolling in fast toward Golden Gate straight.
I retrieved to my car and grabbed a jacket because the temperature was dropping rather quickly as the marine layer got closer and started blotting out the sun. I hurried past the battery to the lookout point. The sun was clear of the fog but I knew it would bail soon.
I hiked down the dirt trail beyond the lookout point area and followed it to an old abandoned concrete structure, which was colorfully tagged with ‘street art.’ I decided to settle there and caught the moment right before the sun completely disappeared behind the heavy blanket of fog. It was quite dramatic. Literally every second mattered on this shot.
Once the sun was gone, I found myself getting totally submerged in the fog. I could not see anything beyond 20 feet ahead of me. However, I felt incomplete. I didn’t want to just pack and go then.
So, I went farther down the trail and around the small hillside.
And there I was. Standing at the cliff edge. It would be fatal – a sheer drop of probably 40 feet below into the ocean – with one misstep. Stayed on the ‘trail,’ however, it was quite tricky to frame what I wanted because there was no footing for my tripod legs.
After struggling for a good ten minutes, eventually I got a few shot, but I must say they weren’t shot at the best angle that I hoped for. And the marine layer didn’t help either in terms of visibility of the subjects and moist that kept blurring my lens.
I wrapped it up as hearing the foghorn constantly blowing in the distance to alert the ships and boats traveling in and out of the Golden Gate straight. I was hoping that I could catch some good sunrise shots of the Golden Gate Bridge next morning.
Have you been to Battery Mendell? How about Point Bonita Lighthouse? Was marine layer ever a problem while visiting the sites?
Thanks for reading.