On the Streets with the Fujifilm X100F

Over the last five years or so, my photography interests have migrated from landscape to street – and, in the process, I’ve had an evolution in the kind of camera gear I enjoy shooting with.

Back in my landscape photography days, I used traditional DSLRs – both Canon and Nikon. I had the great lenses for those cameras and a big backpack with which to schlep all of that gear around. But in January 2013 my interests changed. I participated in a person to person cultural exchange trip to Havana Cuba and came back having fully enjoyed waking the streets and just taking pictures of interesting people in interesting places.

Gradually after that trip my interest in landscape photography faded and my new interest in street photography blossomed. Along the way, I opted to get rid of my big, heavy DSLR cameras and bought into the then relatively new family of “mirrorless” cameras introduced by Fujifilm. 

My first Fuji was the XE-2, a great rangefinder style camera. Next was a Fujifilm X100S – an even more classic looking rangefinder design with a fixed lens that’s just perfect for working on the street. It’s small, fast, and beautiful – you look like more like a tourist than a serious photographer making it easy to take even more candid street photographs of people. I subsequently sold the X100S and upgraded to the X100T which had several incremental improvements over my X100S. 

A few weeks ago, I upgraded again – to the new Fujifilm X100F – perhaps the ultimate refinement of the rangefinder design by Fujifilm. For street photography, this is just a wonderful camera and the improvements in the F over the T make a great camera even greater!

Here are a few of the first photographs I’ve taken with the X100F on the streets of the San Francisco Bay Area:

One Front Street in San Francisco

One Front Street - San Francisco - 2014

One in a while I see an architectural shot that I find interesting – and it’s the combination of structure and light that makes it so.

Here’s an image from last year – shot with my Fujifilm X100S on San Francisco’s Market Street – and processed in Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro 2.

A hat tip to Joel Tjintjelaar for sharing some of his techniques in working on these kinds of black and white images.

Enjoying Life

Happy Hour - Paris - 2014

I think it was James Taylor who penned “the secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.”

I love getting out on the streets with my camera in a beautiful city – like Paris in this case – and just watching, looking for beautiful light and people enjoying life.

Here’s an example – shot with my Fujifilm X100S. Happy hour! Savor every moment!

Into the Light in Paris

Late Afternoon - Paris - 2014

We’d just arrived in Paris – and Valerie Jardin was walking us around the area near the hotel. I shot this with a Fujifilm X100S – looking into the light. Opted for the subtle color treatment instead of monochrome – seemed to add a bit more depth and interest.

A Brighter Version of Bikes at San Francisco’s Ferry Building

Bikes #2 - San Francisco - 2014

I recently published an initial version of this image – shot very quickly at San Francisco’s Ferry Building as we were heading into Slanted Door for lunch.

My friend Doug Kaye commented – gee, that image seems a lot darker than what I remember you showing me on the back of your camera! So I tried again – going back to the original and processing it another time. This image is that result – and, I agree with Doug, it’s brighter and better.

Shot with my Fujifilm X100S and processed in Lightroom 5 and VSCO Film.

Birmingham Electric along San Francisco’s Market Street

Birmingham Electric - San Francisco - 2014

On a drizzly Friday in San Francisco, we walked along Market Street heading back to the Ferry Building. It’s fun to get wet pavements – and, sometimes, even reflections – as they’re not all that common in the City.

This is an image of one of the historic streetcars that run on San Francisco’s Market Street – in the livery of the Birmingham Railway and Electric Company in Birmingham, Alabama. The car itself has a subtle sense of motion to it – and the fact that it’s only a partial shot seems to add a touch of drama to the image.

Shot with my Fujifilm X100S. Post-processed in Lightroom 5 and VSCO Film.

A Bit of Solitude at Stanford Memorial Church

Solitude - Stanford - 2014

I recently took a Sunday walk on the Stanford campus – something that was an almost weekly occurrence when Lily was alive. We always had a great time – she made lots of new friends and found lots of interesting smells along the way. And I got some nice exercise – which I’ve been missing!

On this Sunday morning, I had my Fujifilm X100S with me. Here’s one of the images – taken in the small area behind the Stanford Memorial Church. A great spot for peace and quiet – and for reading.

I post-processed this in Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CC – applying a bit of a painterly effect.

Lunchtime at San Francisco’s Ferry Building

Lunchtime - San Francisco - 2014

Friday’s weather was drizzly in San Francisco. Perfect for my kind of street photography. Rain’s an unusual event this year in the City – but when it comes, it sets a whole different tone – umbrellas come out, we seem to walk faster and closer together, the reflections capture our eyes. Special times.

We were walking from the Vivian Maier exhibition at a gallery on Geary Street down Market Street to the Ferry Building and lunch at Slanted Door. I was walking slowly – trying to take in the sights on this special drizzly day.

Shooting the folks coming across a crosswalk can be fun – especially on this kind of day. This image was shot across from the Ferry Building with my Fujifilm X100S. It’s lunchtime, let’s go pick up something – and enjoy it!

Channeling Vivian Maier on San Francisco’s California Street

Rainy - San Francisco -2014

We recently saw the Vivian Maier exhibition at the Scott Nichols Gallery in San Francisco. We’d seen the documentary film “Finding Vivian Maier” a week before.

At the exhibition, many of her photos struck me in terms mostly of composition but also with respect to tonality and how she used light/dark. A favorite – which also had some truly beautiful film grain is this untitled image of a woman laughing. She’s totally out of focus in the shot – but the story is there nonetheless.

As we were walking down California Street in the rain recently, I was about to snap an image of the cable cars when this man, coincidentially another photographer, walked in front of me. I thought the shot was a throw away – but decided to channel a bit of Vivian Maier into the shot – with tonality and adding grain in Lightroom. While it’s certainly not up to Maier’s composition, it’s a fun image – and that smile on his blurry face makes me smile!