Bay Area photographer facing legal action from Golden Gate Bridge officials over controversial photo

ByCornell W. Barnard KGO logo
Saturday, February 15, 2020
Photographer facing legal action from Golden Gate Bridge officials over photo
A Bay Area photographer is in hot water after a picture he took of the Golden Gate Bridge. Officials say he trespassed to snap the photo and are now threatening legal action.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- It's the famous bridge that's always selfie-ready, ask any tourist.

Photographer Bruce Getty says it's his favorite bridge to snap by far.

"I'm just a guy who likes to go on the rocks, and get a unique angle of the bridge, I'm not the only one who does it," said Getty.

But a picture of the bridge on Getty's website, with a photoshopped image of the 2018 blood moon got the attention of the Golden Gate Bridge District.

Photo of Golden Gate Bridge with a photoshopped image of the 2018 blood moon.
Bruce Getty

"They say it's an illegal angle," said Getty.

Getty just got a cease and desist order from a law firm representing the bridge district, which claims he trespassed into a restricted area underneath the span to get the shot.

"We actually did get a ticket in 2014," Getty added.

Getty admits he was cited for trespassing in 2014 and was stopped by police last December near the same area. He says a police officer requested Getty delete the photos he took. Getty refused.

Getty says he went around security fencing near the bay level at low tide.

The Bridge District is playing hardball. It's also asking for any profits Getty has made on the image.

RELATED: Marin County district attorney charges bridge climbing daredevils with trespassing

"We enforce the law when it comes to sharing pictures of restricted areas at the bridge," said Golden Gate Bridge District spokesman Paolo Cosulich-Schwartz.

Getty says he hasn't sold one of the pictures but adds he has no plans to remove it from his website.

"I'm just a nobody taking pictures, I like to have fun," said Getty.

The Bridge District has threatened Getty with prosecution if he trespasses near the bridge again.