Chasing Light on San Francisco’s Streets

Black and White - San Francisco - 2016

Yesterday, I met up with my photo buddy Doug Kaye at San Francisco’s Ferry Building for a couple of hours of San Francisco street photography. I was just back from 10 days in India – and, frankly, in a bit of a time warp still recovering from a bit of jet lag. In spite of my handicap, we had a wonderful time!

I opted to shoot with my Fujifilm X-Pro2 with the 35mm f/2.0 lens (50 mm equivalent). I setup the film simulation for Acros with the yellow filter – my favorite for street photography with people – and also tweaked the highlights to +1 and shadows to +3 to add more contrast to the JPEGs coming right out of the camera. I was shooting in RAW+JPEG but, as it often turns out, the JPEGs were just perfect coming out of the camera so they were the only images I imported into Lightroom.

We spent the morning chasing light – over the last couple of years our eyes have become pretty finely tuned to seeing the light – and looking for opportunities to exploit it in interesting ways. We walked from the Ferry Building up California Street to Kearny and then to Sutter before settling for lunch at one of our favorite spots: E&O at 314 Sutter.

Looking at these images from yesterday, I’m struck by the light/shadow captures. We took our time, shooting slowly along the way. Just a great way to spend a Friday morning on the streets of San Francisco!

Rays - San Francisco - 2016

Take Out - San Francisco - 2016

Stripes - San Francisco - 2016

Waiting - San Francisco - 2016

Confident - San Francisco - 2016

Fujifilm X-Pro2 on the Streets of San Francisco

Flood - San Francisco - 2016

On Friday, Doug Kaye and I met up in San Francisco for one of our Friday Fotowalks (!) – a pretty steady ritual when we’re both in town at the same time.

I took the occasion to shot exclusively with my new Fujifilm X-Pro2 – this time with the Fujinon 18-55mm zoom lens installed on the X-Pro2 body.

For the last year or more, I’ve been shooting with fixed prime lenses – mostly the 35mm equivalent lens on my Fujifilm X-100T. More recently, I’ve added a Fujifilm X70 to the mix – with its 28 mm equivalent lens. But I decided to try the 18-55mm “kit” zoom on the X-Pro2 after seeing images from another X-Pro2 shooter on Facebook.

I was very happy with the results! The 18-55mm zoom has always been highly regarded – and it was a lot of fun to shoot with it again.

Some of the resulting images follow.

In the Light - San Francisco - 2016

Gliding By - San Francisco - 2016

Friends - San Francisco - 2016

New and Old - San Francisco - 2016

Here comes the Sun - San Francisco - 2016

Prep - San Francisco - 2016

Moment - San Francisco - 2016

At the Pantheon in Rome

Pantheon - Rome - 2016

While I was in Rome in April in a workshop led by Valérie Jardin, we spent a lovely morning at the Pantheon.

A couple of us, including my new friend Ken Lyons, found a lovely cafe and had a cappuccino while watching the crowds. A lot like watching the fire in the fireplace – interesting little insights here and there.

After coffee, Ken headed over to stand behind this obelisk and spent a couple of minutes lining things up – as I watched – and waited – learning from him.

This image was my result – shot with my new Fujifilm X70. It sure brings back great memories of that lovely bright morning in April in Rome!

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!

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.

Scooter

Scooter - San Francisco - 2016

Yesterday was my first time on the streets of San Francisco after upgrading my Fujifilm X-E2 to the latest firmware update (V 4.0). One of the best things about using Fujifilm cameras is how they have regularly provided significant firmware updates to older cameras – and this update to the X-E2 is a significant one – especially to the autofocus capabilities of the camera.

This is an example – shot into the morning light using the camera’s zone focusing mode.

Hobart

Hobart Building - San Francisco - 2016

This morning I headed to San Francisco for a lunch meeting. I purposely arrived a bit early and did some street photography along San Francisco’s Market Street.

One of the special treats in San Francisco are the secret spots – the public spaces that aren’t well known. Since I was early, I headed upstairs to one of my favorites.

At the corner of Montgomery and Post Streets, there’s a Wells Fargo Bank branch. If you walk through the center door, you can take an elevator up to a roof garden that overlooks Montgomery/Post/Market. It’s a wonderful oasis in the midst of San Francisco’s busy Market Street scene.

This morning the light on the adjacent Hobart Building was just magnificent – both the direct sunlight on the right side and the reflected light on the left side.

That Glance

Glance - San Francisco - 2016

Today I joined a group of friends to visit the current exhibition of Paul Graham’s work at Pier 24 in San Francisco. Pier 24 is a beautiful gallery for the display of photography – with large neutral spaces in many different rooms – and controlled reservation-based entry to minimize any feeling of crowding the in the space. It’s a joy.

Graham’s work was organized into three bodies of work: American Night (1998–2002), a shimmer of possibility (2004–06), and The Present (2009–11). In his video, Graham talked about how each body of work was based on one aspect of the camera. American Night was based upon aperture – overexposing the images to create the soft white images. A shimmer was based upon time – snapping multiple images in a sequence to tell the story of something in a series of images. The Present was based upon the use of selective focus – or very shallow depth of field – to shift the viewer’s attention to a different point of interest in each image.

After watching Graham’s video explanation of each – and walking the exhibitions, I came away really liking his American Night collection best of all. These images at first look like nothing – you glance and them and want to move on. But when you stop and spend time with each image, your eye begins to see details that you originally overlooked. As you move closer to the image, the effect is enhanced – you start seeing more. A lovely treatment – and something I want to play with in the future.

Meanwhile, as we departed Pier 24, I came across this man walking toward me in the shadows under the pier’s overhang. I grabbed a quick shot and then he sat down. I continued walked toward him – and asked him – with a quick motion of my hand with my camera asking if it was OK to take his picture. He said yes – and then I captured him in this pose glancing off to his left. One of those great moments when it all comes together in street photography!