As you drive off the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge, stay to the right and drive into the Overlook Parking Area. The best place for your tripod is located close to the highway. From there, you can line up your camera looking directly south, down the centerline of the bridge. You’ll need at least a 300mm lens. Longer lenses will produce more dramatic compression of this image. With a 600mm lens, the low arched rise of the roadway across the bridge will appear to be almost vertical, with traffic going straight up and down the paved lanes. Wet pavement reflects headlights and red taillights. Moving traffic stirs up a diffusing mist that softens this image and adds an atmospheric effect that makes your sunny-day photos of the Golden Gate Bridge look like snapshots. Mornings are best because the commuters are heading south, into the city. You want to see taillights, not headlights. Arrive here at the peak of commute traffic, early on a winter weekday morning during a heavy rain for the best photograph. Next best is a foggy summer morning when the pavement is wet.
Notes and images from Bob Hitchman.