Category Archives: Monochrome Photography

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 Lynda.com 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

IMG_5300

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

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

Lily and Me

94240004

This image was most likely shot in 2009 by my good friend – the late Chris Gulker.

We recently came across a roll of unprocessed film in one of Chris’ Leicas from that era – and my friend Doug Kaye had it processed.

Twice a week Lily and I would go for a 1.5 mile walk with Chris around his neighborhood – and then we’d come back to his place, have coffee and solve the world’s problems. Chris made this image during one of our problem solving sessions! Linda Hubbard Gulker put up with us as we did our thing.

We all miss Lily and Chris a lot. Those were very special times!

Exploring New York City Streets with the Fujifilm X100T

DSCG4964

I’m just back from a beautiful week of street photography in New York City. Here’s the story about this remarkable week.

My friend Doug Kaye and I happened to learn about photographer Peter Turnley during a visit last fall to the new Leica Store in San Francisco. Their first exhibition was of Peter’s work – and we were truly struck by his wonderful work, all displayed in black and white prints.

After that visit to the Leica Store gallery, we began learning more about Peter and his work – and about his workshops. Sometime late last year we both decided to sign up for Peter’s New York City workshop to be held in June 2015. Doug and I had thought we were pretty much done with workshops – but we both really appreciated Peter’s work so we signed up. We weren’t disappointed – this was a beautiful workshop, one which I would highly recommend.

I’m still thinking about the teachings Peter shared with us during the week – and will post more about that soon. Meanwhile, here are a few of the images that resulted from Peter’s encouragement – all shot with my Fujifilm X100T.

DSCG4988

DSCG4984

DSCG4821

DSCG4771

DSCG4788

DSCG4708

DSCG4641

DSCG4259

DSCG4067

On the Streets of San Francisco: An Hour in Noe Valley

Flower Stand - Noe Valley - 2015

I wasn’t able to do much photography this week – and felt a need to both get out to shoot – and just to exercise! I love walking with my camera in my hand – looking for the light, beautiful backgrounds, and great people. My muse today was the recently published book “See San Francisco” by Victoria Smith. She lives in San Francisco’s Noe Valley – and the first chapter in her book is based there.

24th Street was my playground. I was lucky and found a close by parking spot on Jersey Street, just south of 24th. It was a beautiful early afternoon in San Francisco – and I had a great time exploring this new territory for me with my Fujifilm X100T.

Hope you enjoy these images!

Noe Valley - San Francisco - 2015

Glance - Noe Valley - 2015

Ricochet - Noe Valley - 2015

Complete Auto Repair - Noe Valley - 2015

Glow - Noe Valley - 2015

Dream - Noe Valley - 2015

On the Streets of San Francisco: Black and White (Monochrome)

Rider - San Francisco - 2015

Here’s an image from a recent San Francisco photo walk along Market Street with my friend Doug Kaye. This particular image, while interesting in color, actually needed to be processed in black and white. Why? Sometimes the colors in an image just add “noise” – in the sense that they’re distracting. By processing the image in monochrome, that color “noise” falls away and you can focus on the lights and shadows – and, more importantly, on the actual subject of the composition.

This is a great example where monochrome was just right.

On the Streets of San Francisco – Black and White or Color?

Old News - San Francisco - 2015

For street photography, the genre is perhaps best known for black and white images. But, for me – perhaps as a result of the strong influence that Jay Maisel had on me last year – I often choose color. But not exclusively. Jay’s mantra is “light, gesture, color” – and for a lot of images that combination is very powerful and products the best result.

But, there are many images where the monochrome treatment of black and white yield a more “powerful” image. I’m not one to prefer one over the other – each image I take provides me with the option to choose either monochrome or color. I shoot my Fujifilm X100T in RAW+JPEG mode – with the JPEG style often being one of the monochrome styles. But, sometimes, I opt for my JPEGs to be processed in the X100T using one of the color modes – with Classic Chrome and its subtle color treatment increasingly being my favorite.

This image is an example. I opted to leave it in color – Classic Chrome – as I love the rose color in both the signage and the bricks on the sidewalk along San Francisco’s Market Street.

Each image has its own personality – treat each image that way and decide which is best: color or monochrome. Today’s digital cameras give us that option!