Back to Kolkata

School Girls - Kolkata - 2015

A few days ago the Wall St. Journal ran this story “Kolkata, India: An Insider’s Tour for Aspiring Photographers” – which brought back memories of my two visits to this city in West Bengal. The author notes “Yes, Kolkata can be overwhelming. Perhaps it really is the deep end of the pool. But once you jump in, the water’s fine.”

My most recent trip was in January of this year – and this image was one shot from my iPhone while driving through the city on my way to a walking tour. More images from my visit to Kolkata are here in my Flickr album.

San Francisco Streets 2015

For the last few years, I’ve done an annual photography portfolio book for friends and family. In prior years, the range of my work was quite varied – as my photography interest evolved from landscape to street photography.

This year I took a different approach to just share the last year of my photography mostly shot with Doug Kaye on the streets of San Francisco.

Here are the images from this year’s book – San Francisco Streets 2015 – hope you enjoy!

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Street Photography Hawaiian Style

Street photography Hawaiian style

We recently spent a long weekend on the Big Island of Hawaii. Not exactly the place for great street photography!

But, on our way to dinner at Brown’s Beach House at the Fairmont Orchid I happened to notice this “street shot” – and captured it with my iPhone 6s. Does it qualify as street photography? No, of course not – there’s no street as such! But it captures a typical street photography scene – and that’s good enough for me!

By the way, today’s the 14th anniversary of my blog – with the first post here on November 25, 2001.

In the Shadows

In the Shadows - San Francisco - 2015

The plaza at 101 California Street in San Francisco is one of our favorite venues for street photography. The light in this space can be magnificent – and on the morning in late August is was shining right down the edge of the building.

With my Fujifilm X100T, I capture this shot of the guy walking into the foreground – with the shadowy figure in the background. Thus the title “In the Shadows”.

San Francisco Streets 2015

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Each year I do a portfolio book of the images I’ve taken during the year. This year, I modified the plan a bit – here’s what I wrote in the book:

For the last four years, I’ve been publishing a portfolio book of the best images I made during each year. The annual process of reviewing my year’s work is both rewarding and somewhat daunting – but it is a delight when the book is finally finished and I’m holding it in my hands!

This year I’m taking a new approach – focusing on doing more “thematic” books based on my travels, events, etc. during the year. For 2015, I’ve already completed separate photo books on my travels to India, Australia/New Zealand and my New York City street photography workshop with Peter Turnley. They’re beautiful mini-portfolios of those events.

This book has a singular focus on the images I made during 2015 on the streets of San Francisco. For the last couple of years, my photo buddy Doug Kaye and I have been regularly meeting at the Ferry Building in San Francisco on Fridays when our schedules permit. We head out from there – sometimes just walking the streets adjacent to the Ferry Building and other times hopping on a Muni bus or streetcar and traveling to one of San Francisco’s neighborhoods. We have a wonderful time – going out “empty” and looking for the good light. We’ve had great fun along the way – and some great lunches! Putting this year’s book together has brought back many good memories of our wandering on San Francisco’s streets!

Almost all of these 2015 images were shot using Fujifilm cameras – primarily the wonderful X100T.

On the Streets of San Francisco with the Leica Q

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My photo buddy Doug Kaye let me borrow his new Leica Q to shoot with during one of our regular Friday photo walks on the streets of San Francisco.

The Q is conceptually similar to my favorite camera: the Fujifilm X100T. I’ve been shooting almost exclusively using the X100T for street photography for over a year. It’s a beautiful camera for street work – and has been a joy for me to learn and enjoy.

What struck me about the Q was just how similar it is to the X100T. Both cameras are very easy to shoot with in full automatic everything mode – but both cameras also give you great control over all of the settings you might want to manage manually.

Looking at this initial set of images, I am struck by the tonality of the images – there’s something called the “Leica look” – and the images have just that touch of a special look to them – that’s hard to describe but very much there.

Here are a few more images from today’s exploration with the wonderful Leica Q.

On the Wall - San Francisco - 2015

Waiting for Uber - San Francisco - 2015

Reader - Chinatown San Francisco - 2015

Into the Light - San Francisco - 2015

In the Bag - San Francisco - 2015

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Harvest Time - San Francisco - 2015

Life’s a Rowboat

Life's a Rowboat - New York - 2015

Here’s an image from June 2015 – walking through Central Park in New York City.

As I processed this image, I first brought it into Photoshop CC 2015 and then used Topaz Simplify 4 to create a black and white simplified later – which smoothed the water and the foliage. Next I used a luminosity mask to have the simplified layer apply primarily to the darks in the image – having the lights and a bit of color punch through.

I like the effect – hope you do too!

The Importance of Letting Your Photos Marinate!

Take Out and Delivery - Havana - 2013

A couple of years ago, Eric Kim wrote one of his wonderful blog posts on the notion of letting your photos marinate “in order to really discover if they are any good or not.”

One of the things I most enjoy is looking back through my Lightroom catalog at images I’ve shot a year, or two, or more years ago. Sometimes I’ll just remember a situation – and go searching back through my catalog to try to remember. It’s always striking to me just how often I’ll something completely new in those images.

One of my first examples of this took place over a year from my first trip to Havana in January 2013. I was wondering whether I could assemble a book of portraits from my images shot in Havana – none of which were actually taken as portraits. I wanted to experiment with both black and white and a square format style – and it worked out beautifully. I found faces – portraits – in images I’d previously overlooked. Like seeing with new eyes all over again. See my Faces of Cuba images.

Last night I was back in a Havana mood again – this time looking forward to my next trip to Cuba in January 2016. I came across these two images – both of which just made me smile and remember the moments when they were taken. Marinate indeed – these two have been down deep in my Lightroom catalog for almost three years – and they resurfaced last night to my delight.

Break - Havana - 2013