Author Archives: Scott Loftesness

About Scott Loftesness

Street Photographer, Payments Professional. Follow me on Flickr, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Short Film: Cuba Cubano Cañibano

Raúl Cañibano Ercilla - Havana - 2013

I’m looking forward to attending next week’s screening of the short film Cuba Cubano Cañibano – about the life and work of Cuban photographer Raúl Cañibano. The event is being held on Wednesday, September 23 in Palo Alto at The Mid Pen Media Center. RSVP if you’re planning to attend as space is limited.

My image above of Raúl shooting was taken in Havana in January 2013.

More Multiples in San Francisco Street Photography

Clay Street Shooter - San Francisco - 2015

Last week I did a post about multiples in San Francisco street photography. It’s a fun – and, frankly, a pretty lazy technique. Why do I say lazy? Because you simply plant yourself at an interesting location (a carefully chosen interesting location!) and shoot away. The goal is to capture a series of images of the same area over a period of several seconds. Depending on your gear, you can fire away in single shot mode – or you can set your camera on burst mode – and just hold down the shutter button.

On my Fujifilm X100T, I typically set the Drive setting to Low burst and it works great. But you can just do this with your iPhone – simply hold down the shutter button and the iPhone will fire off a burst of images. The iPhone 6 fires at about 10 frames per second – so you’ll get quite a few images in just a few seconds of holding down the shutter button.

Doug recommends putting your camera in manual for these kinds of shots – so that the camera isn’t choosing different settings in between the shots. He’s more of a perfectionist in this regard than I am. I mostly just don’t worry about it.

The fun comes after importing the images into Lightroom and then editing them as layers in Photoshop. Photoshop’s auto-align will correct for any hand-held movement between the images. You’ll end up with a layer stack of images – all aligned. Now you need to look through the layers and decide how to blend them – to bring in details from various images/layers. That’s the fun part – and it can take a while to get it right.

The image above was shot by me standing behind Doug Kaye as he was using this technique on Clay Street in San Francisco’s Chinatown.

The image below is one that I constructed using these techniques while just standing along Stockton Street and capturing individual shots as people moved through my frame. One of the characteristics of these images that you’ll notice in this one is that people look just too close together. That’s because they weren’t – actually!

Busy Morning - San Francisco - 2015

Donald Neff: The Creeks and Rivers of Silicon Valley

Donald Neff

Donald Neff is an old friend and business colleague – who’s also a great painter of landscapes. We worked together as computer geeks in prior lives – and, while my journey into photography is a recent passion, painting is something for Don that goes way back. And he’s great at it!

This afternoon Don gave a talk at the Don Edwards National Refuge Education Center in Alviso about his most recent project – The Creeks and Rivers of Silicon Valley. Don started this project in November 2013 and, over the next twelve months, painted a series of sixty plein air paintings in the nooks and crannies of Silicon Valley. During today’s presentation, he told some wonderful stories about several of these places – full of suspense and delight. His exhibition at this venue will continue for a few more weeks.

Don’s got a lot of material about the project available on his website – and, if you like what you see, I’d encourage to to order his book on the project. It’s beautifully done – and in the same 8×10 size as his original plein air paintings.

Beautiful work indeed!

Some Fun with Multiples in San Francisco Street Photography

Walk My Way - San Francisco - 2015

On my last couple of outings on the streets of San Francisco with Doug Kaye, we’ve been playing with capturing rapid bursts of images and then blending them together in Photoshop (using layers and layer masks) to create “multiples” – images with repeated people as they walk through a scene. Doug has also been experimenting with bringing multiple people together in a single shot – see this image of his titled Convergence.

These are a couple of examples – the one up top was shot with my iPhone 6 in burst mode (just hold down the shutter button). The others were shot with my Fujifilm X100T.

Just a little bit of silliness that I hope you enjoy!

Triplets - San Francisco - 2015

Red Shoes - San Francisco - 2015

Deja Vu - San Francisco - 2015

Revisiting Paris in the Fall

Paris in the Fall

Last fall, I attended a wonderful street photography workshop in Paris led by Valérie Jardin. On one of our morning walks, there had been a bit of rain overnight which provided a lovely sheen to the streets. By mid-day, it was gone and the day turned sunny and bright. Turned out to be one of the gifts – a morning after the rain with the payment still wet and the skies beginning to clear.

Last night I revisited this image to post-process it again. I’ve recently subscribed to and yesterday watched one of the courses about Photoshop taught by Adobe’s Bryan O’Neil Hughes in which he revisited many old techniques and brought to light new and better ways to do things. As I watched his lessons, I was using this image as my test case. One of the points he stresses is using a non-destructive workflow in Photoshop – something I’ve not been doing but will certainly make much more use of in the future. With this image, I’ve got all of the layers saved in the TIFF file which is now in Lightroom. At some point in the future, I’ll come back to it – and continue a bit more post-processing doing some dodging and burning through luminosity masks.

I’m having fun revisiting Paris as I post-process this particular image. It was a quick “grab shot” at the time I took it – as I had fallen behind our group and was trying to catch up. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky – this was one of those times!

San Francisco Streets – Mid-August 2015


Summer in San Francisco is always unpredictable weather-wise. Mark Twain’s famous quote is the the “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” It’s always about the fog – and whether it’s dominating the local weather – or whether an onshore high pressure area is keeping the fog at bay.

Today was one of those beautiful summer days in San Francisco – where the two were roughly in balance. There was fog offshore along the coast but it was clear over The City. These kinds of days make for a delightful time – not the coolish foggy overcast but also not an overly warm day either. In other words, just perfect.

I got a late start this morning heading up to meet my friend Doug Kaye – deciding to meet up at 101 California and then heading to one of our favorites for lunch: Tadich Grill. This classic San Francisco restaurant continues to delight – great food at great prices served with attitude. I had the Ahi Tuna Salad special – and it just doesn’t get any better.

After lunch, Doug and I headed up California Street for some street photography. Couldn’t be much better than today!

Triplets - San Francisco - 2015

Window Stripes - San Francisco - 2015

Chicago - San Francisco - 2015

August Streets in San Francisco

F-Line Friday - San Francisco - 2015

It’s August – and we’re back out on the streets of San Francisco.

Here are a few images from last week’s photo walk with my good friend Doug Kaye. All shot with my Fujifilm X100T – except for that image up top which is an iPhone 6 shot.

The light is shifting – we can sense it and see it – and we’re looking forward to the sun dropping lower in the sky each day into the fall. We love those shadows – in interesting light!

The reflections of light continue to capture our interest. We’ve become “explorers of light” – as we turn each corner, our eyes quickly assess the quality of the light – and we move in where it’s great and move on where it’s not.

Turns out that there’s nothing much better in life than getting out on the streets of San Francisco – with a favorite camera in hand, walking with a good friend, sharing a great meal, and digesting the results!

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Fixtures - San Francisco - 2015

Heels - San Francisco - 2015

Reflections - San Francisco - 2015

Lean In - San Francisco - 2015


Featurephone - San Francisco - 2015

August Light - San Francisco - 2015

Hog Island - San Francisco - 2015

Playing with Color Grading for a Cinematic Look

Trouble Me - Coney Island - 2015

A few years ago, I became acquainted with the work of Jaime Ibarra. Around the same time, I started paying attention to color grading – initially in movies and later in photography.

Ming Thein has written about the cinematic look – it’s one of his favorite photographic styles. He says that “obvious hallmarks of the style are an abundance of out of focus areas, a narrow/wide format, and highly directional light.”

Add to that color – in particular, color in the highlights and shadows.

Jaime has recently updated his color grading workflow – which inspired me to dive back into that technique again. The technique delivers a very compelling cinematic image. It’s based on adding contouring highlights and shadows first to the image followed by the color grading. The effect is almost three dimensional – taking flat images into having depth. You’ll see that in these images – lovely depth of lights and shadows along with beautiful cinematic color grading. Enjoy!

Here are a few of my recent experiments – using recent images from New York City and Paris.

Toast - Paris - 2014

Cocktails - Paris - 2014

Summer Solstice - New York City - 2015

In My Hand - Paris - 2014

Market Time - New York City - 2015

Two Views of the Paris Skyline

Deuce - Paris - 2014

I’ve been having fun going back through some of my images from a year or two ago – including the images I shot in Paris last October.

Here are two examples – of the Paris skyline shot from the Pompidou Center – and processed a bit differently to get to monochrome.

Thanks to Valérie Jardin for her beautiful Paris workshop!

October Light - Paris - 2014