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:
Two years ago I attended a Paris street photography workshop led by Valérie Jardin – see my first post about that here. Most of my Paris posts are here.
This year I repeated the exercise – heading back to the City of Light for another superb week of street photography. Valérie is a superb workshop leader – and my photo buddy Doug Kaye was also signed up to go. I couldn’t resist flying back to Paris for a week on the streets in late September!
The weather was ideal – one rainy morning but otherwise spectacular fall days with beautiful light and the lower sun angle that this time of year provides such niche light/shadow contrasts.
I traveled light – shooting with my Fujifilm X100T and the even smaller Fujifilm X70 – both are superb cameras for street photography.
Below are a few of my favorites from the trip – you’ll find even more here in this Flick set. Enjoy!
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.
From last April on San Francisco’s Market Street.
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”.
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!
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!
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!
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!
Street photography has become my favorite genre – after having gone through a serious period of landscape (including HDR) photography. Landscape is beautiful – you shoot from stunning locations – but the hours are tough (up very early before sunrise – and out until after sunset). Seems a younger person’s pursuit.
Street shooting prefers crowds – typically at mid-day. You can sleep in – and not stay up late.
But there are at least two genres of street photography. One is based on shooting with a wide angle lens (think 35mm). The other is based on shooting with a zoom (think up to a 200mm). They’re very different – but both can be fun. In May 2014, I took a workshop in New York City with Jay Maisel. Jay’s a proponent of the zoom approach. More recently, in June 2015, I took a workshop in New York City with Peter Turnley. Peter’s a proponent of the wide angle approach.
Late last year, after I signed up for Peter’s workshop, I decided to exclusively shoot with my Fujifilm X100T – a classic 35mm rangefinder camera. I came to love the images it produced – and it taught me how see in that 35mm format.
Today, for the first time since I made that commitment, I shot with my Fujifilm X-T1 with the 18-135mm lens. For some street work, having the extra reach of that zoom is just perfect for the street candid style of photography. But the X100T is beautiful for street portraits.
Both genres have their place – I’m going to continue to explore them both!