Roman Holiday

Spritzes - Rome - 2016

Last week I was in Rome – in a street photography workshop led by Valérie Jardin. It was a very special week – with a great group of photographers from Australia, UK, Canada and the US.

This week in Rome was my third workshop with Valérie – having first joined her in the fall of 2014 in Paris and this past February in San Francisco for street photography workshops in both locations. She’s a great leader of these kinds of workshops – the best I’ve experienced.

For the workshop, I opted to go with minimal gear – my Fujifilm X100T, a new Fujifilm X70 and my iPhone 6s (with the Apple Battery Case). I left behind my interchangeable lens and bodies – wanting to just stay as minimal as I could. I was very happy with the results!

This was my first time in Rome where I had time to explore – and I loved it. The weather couldn’t have been better. Our group worked together part of the time and we had ample time to just go exploring on our own as well. A very special week with some wonderful memories was the result. I don’t think I’ve ever walked so many cobblestone streets in my life!

My Rome album is here.

Reader - Rome - 2016

Happy Together!

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Goodfellas - Rome - 2016

Your Turn - Rome - 2016

Bliss

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Trio + 1

Street Portraits – San Francisco Streets

Pals - San Francisco - 2016

Shooting street photography roughly splits into shooting with a fixed lens or shooting with a zoom lens. There are many other genres of course – but I like to think of heading out with my gear setup for one or the other.

For most of the last 18 months, my camera of choice has been the Fujifilm X100T – a rangefinder style camera that’s idea for the fixed lens genre of street photography. I’ve had a lot of fun with my X100T on the streets of San Francisco and other cities. Can’t recommend it highly enough for very enjoyable street photography.

But, there’s another style – I like to think of this as the Jay Maisel style of street photography. In this style, you want to go out with a long zoom lens – one that will enable candid captures from across the street. Today I went back to that long zoom style – shooting with my Fujifilm X-Pro2 using the Fujinon 18-135mm zoom. It’s a very different approach – but can also be a lot of fun. As I looked at my images from today, I was struck by the tighter portrait-like shots I captured.

Below are a few more images from today’s session on the streets of San Francisco.

Pals - San Francisco - 2016

Solo - San Francisco - 2016

Parasol - San Francisco - 2016

Life is a Mystery

Life is a Mystery - San Francisco - 2016

Yesterday Doug Kaye and I met up for one of our Friday photowalks in San Francisco. Along the way, we stopped by the Bank of America Building – at least that’s what it used to be called – at Kearny and California Streets.

The sun is still reasonably low in the sky – and it casts these dramatic light and dark shadows on the south side of the building. It’s a perfect stage – just takes patience to wait for a subject to walk into the frame. It was Good Friday – so there wasn’t a lot of pedestrian traffic into/out of this building in San Francisco’s financial district. But, we’ve learned to be patient – and I was rewarded when this woman walked out the door and into the frame.

The mystery part of the image for me is her quiet reflection in the column across from her on the right. I love her hair and hands in that reflection – balancing off her walking into the light. Sometimes we get lucky!

This image was shot with my Fujifilm X-Pro2 using the Fujinon XF35mmF2 R WR lens and processed with the Acros film simulation.

Here’s another edit of this image – suggested to me on Facebook by Theo Streibel.

Life is a Mystery #2- San Francisco - 2016

San Francisco with the Fujifilm X-Pro2

Experienced - San Francisco - 2016

The streets of San Francisco provide such a wonderful range of opportunities for street photography – it’s become a bit like an old glove that just fits.

Even on a mostly fog covered morning, we discovered opportunities to capture interesting images – with me shooting with a new Fujifilm X-Pro2 and the Fujinon 23mm f/1.4 lens (35mm equivalent). I shot both JPEG and RAW – and post-processed a few of these images using Lightroom’s camera calibration for the Acros black and white film emulation.

I love the tonality of Acros – and want to spend more time shooting with it in camera. Meanwhile, the X-Pro2 has provided a new challenge – with a bit of a learning curve.

Morning Coffee - San Francisco - 2016

Glance

Dudes - San Francisco - 2016

Friends - San Francisco - 2016

Super Selfie - San Francisco - 2016

Photo Editing on my iPad – Bay Bridge

San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge

Today I took a video workshop with Karen Klinedinst teaching me techniques for editing images on my iPhone and iPad. While I’ve had many of the apps she walked me through already installed on my iPhone and iPad, I hadn’t spent the time to learn how to use them. Karen took the time to walk me through them – and I came away inspired to try doing more image editing and creative processing on my iPhone and iPad.

This afternoon I grabbed my iPad and tried a few of the techniques she taught me – resulting in this image. Originally shot a few weeks ago with the Fujifilm X70, I used Snapseed and Photoshop Fix on my iPad to create this monochrome version. Snapseed does a superb job with black and white conversion – and Photoshop Fix has a superb healing brush tool. A great combination for this image!

Photographer David Burnett at Kepler’s

David Burnett

Photographer David Burnett spoke with Angie Coiro today at Kepler’s Book in Menlo Park – part of her In Deep Radio series. A selection of Burnett’s photographs are currently on display at Cafe Borrone. He also spoke this afternoon at Stanford’s Cantor Arts Center.

Coiro is a great interviewer – and David is a great story teller. The combination was just delightful! While just an hour, this interview could have gone on for two or three more – listening to Angie’s questions and Burnett’s stories.

A couple of the highlights for me included Coiro’s introduction of Burnett where she used the phrase “collectible whispers” to describe his photography. Burnett suggested he might just use that wonderful phrase for a book title!

Another was his description of his JFK photograph – shot as a young man in Salt Lake City. When he first looked at the film he shot that day he thought it wasn’t worthy – but 35 years later he went back and found the negative and found it told another story – an example of how photographs often aren’t technically perfect but are still powerful images.

Hearing Burnett describe photographing Olympic runner Mary Decker’s fall in the 1984 Olympics made me appreciate what he later called “the speed of life.” Sometimes it just comes together – and you’re in the right place at the right time – and it’s a gift.

There was a lot more – this is a very special interview worth listening to!

I met David last summer while attending a Peter Turnley workshop in New York City. I captured Peter and David heading out – with Dave shooting all of us from above! When I met him today and showed him this image – he said “Oh, you’re in my photo!”

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On the streets with the Fujifilm X-Pro2

Lantern

My Fujifilm X-Pro2 arrived a few days ago – and I headed out today on a very wet and ugly day in Menlo Park to take my first few shots with this new camera.

I mounted the Fujinon 35mm F2 lens on the X-Pro2 body and put the camera into Acros film simulation mode. On Crane Street in Menlo Park is the Nativity of the Holy Virgin Russian Orthodox Church – one of my favorite local places for architectural images.

Here’s an example – one of my first images shot on the X-Pro2 – shooting with the 35mm lens wide open at f/2.

Up High in San Francisco with my iPhone 6s

Up High

Sometimes you get lucky – you’re in the right place at the right time.

Such was my luck – up high over San Francisco and shooting with just my iPhone 6s – toward the Transamerica Building, Coit Tower, and Alcatraz and the bay beyond.

It’s amazing what we can capture with just the camera in our pocket…

Walking San Francisco

I'm Only Human - San Francisco - 2016

A special weekend in San Francisco – walking the streets with Valérie Jardin and her San Francisco Street Photography workshop participants. On Saturday, we had the beautiful bright sunny day that street photographers love. Today we had a mostly overcast day. Valérie is a great workshop leader – I had a special time with her in Paris in the fall of 2014 and will be going to Rome with her later this year. I highly recommend her workshops!

I was shooting – seriously for the first time – with a new Fujifilm X70. I came away delighted with the experience – this is a great camera for street photography – especially when mostly shooting in full automatic mode. I like to set the ISO to float between 1600 and 6400 – which helps push the shutter speed up and the aperture more open. The camera is ideal for those quick shots – where you really don’t want to bother with a viewfinder (the X70 doesn’t have one) and you can just learn to trust the 28mm wide angle of the fixed lens along with the camera’s programming to make great images.

For the last year I’ve been almost exclusively shooting with the Fujifilm X100T – loving its 35mm fixed lens and learning how to use its controls to help me shoot street images. For this weekend, I had the X100T in the bottom of my camera bag – as a backup – but I spent the whole weekend shooting with just the X70. I’ve included a few more images from the weekend below – my full album of my best shots is here on Flickr.

Sunflower - San Francisco - 2016

Look Away - Maiden Lane San Francisco - 2016

Light Fantastic - Ross Alley San Francisco - 2016

East of Grant Avenue - San Francisco - 2016

Adding the Fujifilm X70 to my camera bag

Fujifilm X70

[Update: Be sure to see this post talking about me doing two days of street photography in San Francisco with the Fujifilm X70.]

A couple of years ago I made the switch from Canon DSLR’s to Fujifilm’s X series cameras – initially to the Fujifilm X-E2, then an X100S (since sold), then an X-T1, then an X100T – and, just now adding the new Fujifilm X70 to my camera bag. I’ve come to appreciate Fuji’s approach to cameras – and love shooting with them. There’s something special for me about Fuji’s design esthetic that creates a delightful experience when I’m out on the streets shooting with one of their cameras.

So, what spot does the new X70 fill for me? It’s that camera that’s always with me – but a step above the iPhone that’s always in my pocket.

What’s going to be interesting over the next couple of years is how those two converge – or collide. My iPhone 6s has a beautiful sensor – and a delightful Camera app that let’s me create wonderful images. The X70 is just a cut above – a photographer’s delight with all of the manual controls plus the integration with my iOS devices. They’re converging – but still different enough to be separate experiences. I not going to carry my iPhone on a wrist strap while walking the streets – and I’m unlikely to pull out the X70 if I want to take a quick shot of friends, a beautiful meal or a street scene that just materializes.

In other words, we’re still learning – and I’m enjoying the process. Someone once said a smart man is known by his tools. Both of these tools are superb instruments – converging in ways I’m yet to understand.