Memories – On the Streets of Havana with Raúl Cañibano

Raúl and Leysis - Havana - 2013

There’s a wonderful exhibition of the work of Cuban photographer Raúl Cañibano underway at Foothill College in Los Altos.

Today I wrote about my experience shooting with Raúl in Havana two years ago on A wonderful memory!

Lobster Eye and Crab Shooter at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf

Lobster Eye - Crab Shooter - San Francisco - 2014

Here’s a fun shot from a recent visit to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco with my photo buddy Doug Kaye.

We were walking along outside where for as many years as I can remember they sell these shrimp cocktails, fresh crab, sourdough bread bowls with soup inside, and more! It’s quite a marketplace in action and fun to just stand and watch.

One of the stands had this really big lobster – and I caught this image of Doug shooting the crab while I focused on the lobster’s eye.

Shot with a Fujifilm X-E2 and processed in Lightroom 5 using VSCO Film 05.

Birthday Boy

Chris Gulker - Menlo Park - 2010

Today was my friend Chris Gulker’s 63rd birthday.

I had the great good fortune of meeting Chris a few years before he died in late October 2010. We had a wonderful routine of twice weekly Tuesday/Thursday 1.5 mile walks around his neighborhood. I’d bring along Lily, our Cavalier King Charles spaniel, and the three of us would make the route together. Lily exploring all of the smells and sounds, Chris and I talking about the tech and photography news of the week. It was just wonderful.

Today is Chris’ 63rd birthday. This image is from October 11, 2010 as he was showing me some of his beautiful black and white prints from his years as a photographer in Los Angeles. Such a gentle man and a great teacher.

The Magic of Photography at San Francisco’s Pier 24

Pier 24 - San Francisco - 2014

My friend Doug Kaye and I recently visited Pier 24 to see the current exhibition: “A Sense of Place”. We’d been wanting to go for several months but it’s a hard place to get into. They limit attendance and require an advance (but free) reservation. Only 20 people go in at one of three times each day. Once you’re inside, you really appreciate the lack of any crowds – so the reservation process definitely helps create a much higher quality experience. We got lucky one day and found a couple of slots open.

The space inside is just perfect for photography. The provide you with a booklet that provides the details for each photo – no little signs on the walls next to the photos.

My favorite photographers from the current exhibition are: Todd Hido, Stephen Shore, Jeff Wall, Andreas Gursky, Lee Friedlander, Eric William Carroll, Paul Graham and Rinko Kawauichi. Beautiful work from each of them! Doug and I spent the most time exploring a Vancouver nightclub shot by Jeff Wall – In Front of a Nightclub – a fascinating work! From a distance, the image seems flat but when you get up closer – within say 5 feet or so – it begins to really show some depth. Very fun!

Here’s another image shot inside Pier 24 – these are street shots of New York City by Paul Graham. I like how some of the images are mounted low. Graham’s using the “stage” technique – seeing first an interesting background and waiting for it to fill with subjects of interest.

Pier 24 - San Francisco - 2014

In the Field along Tomales Bay in August

In the Field - Tomales Bay - 2010

In August 2010, I took a workshop focus on Tomales Bay and Point Reyes. One of the other participants – Jack – was shooting with a set of classic cameras. It was a joy to watch him work.

Here’s a shot of Jack taken early on a late August morning along Tomales Bay. He’s shooting the famous Point Reyes fishing boat – aground at Inverness. The morning sun is on his back. I can smell the scene.

Shot with my Canon 5D Mark II and the Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS lens. Post-processed using Lightroom 5, VSCO Film and Photoshop CC with Topaz Simplify 4.

The Fisherman

Fisherman - Havana - 2013

I’ve been trying some new kinds of monochrome conversions – and here’s an example – a shot from the ferry in Havana last January. He was fishing out the side door of the ferry – and working to bait his hook. This edition has a bit of platinum toning in the midtones and shadows.

The Fisherman is the first image in my Faces of Cuba portfolio.

Seeing Annie Liebovitz’s Pilgrimage at the San Jose Museum of Art

Annie Liebovitz Pilgrimage - San Jose Museum of Art

The San Jose Museum of Art in downtown San Jose is currently featuring an exhibition of Annie Liebovitz’s photography titled “Pilgrimage“. I went to see the exhibition last Sunday – my first time actually visiting this beautiful local art museum! – and really enjoyed it. It runs through September 8, 2013 in San Jose.

This exhibition isn’t the photography of people that Liebovitz is famous for – rather, it’s a show that explores those individuals and places that have been somehow special to her in her life. The exhibition of 70 photographs was organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum where it was originally shown in 2012.

I highly recommend this show – a very worthwhile hour of photography of people and their places, clothes, etc. The lighting in all of her images is superb – as you’d expect! A lot to study! I had about a dozen favorites out of this collection. Perhaps the two I enjoyed the most were her Niagara Falls image that’s on her book’s cover – taken from a near perfect angle looking across Horseshoe Falls and shot up close – and one of Pete Seeger’s workshop – chock full of tools, trinkets, and other fascinating details that kept me absorbed for a long time!

A beautiful book – Pilgrimage – is also available which includes a lot of discussion by Liebovitz about why she chose the subjects in this exhibition – including Elvis Presley, Annie Oakley, Pete Seeger, Ansel Adams, Niagara Falls, Walden Pond and many more.

Inspiration: Art Wolfe’s “The Art of the Image”

Today I watched Art Wolfe’s recent talk at Google – “The Art of the Image”.

This talk is an inspiring panorama of Art’s interests – and how he’s been influenced by artists who have come before. The range of his work is exhilarating – his combination of travel with seeing differently yield some beautiful – and striking – images.

His shift over the years to more abstract images – after an early focus on wildlife – provides a valuable lesson. Do take a look! And, for more inspiration, see my Inspiration page!

Book Recommendation: How to Read a Photograph

Last Friday morning I had a business meeting in downtown San Francisco – just a couple of blocks away from SFMOMA – the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. I have been wanting to catch the Garry Winogrand photography exhibition before the museum closes shortly for a three year makeover – so I headed for SFMOMA once the meeting finished.

How to Read a Photograph

The Winogrand exhibition is massive in its scope – and striking in so many ways to a novice like me. All black and white – beginning on the streets of New York City and ending up in the deserts of the southwest, and the political conventions and beaches of California – Winogrand’s images are so “in the moment”. That notion – the decisive moment – seems to define the essence of great street photography – and it’s strikingly shown in his work.

From an earlier time, there’s the differences in dress and – strikingly – the effect of cigarette smoke in so many of his images. He was amazingly prolific – must have appeared almost to be non-stop – and seemingly uncaring toward the processing – and, indeed, any editing – of his images. One wonders what he’d be like today with an iPhone camera in his hand – or Google Glass on his forehead – snapping away! The exhibition closes shortly – and is then on to shows in Washington, at the Met in New York City and then on to Paris.

As I was leaving, I visited the SFMOMA Museum Store and happened across this book – How to Read a Photograph: Lessons from Master Photographers by Ian Jeffrey. I thumbed through it – finding it to be a treasure of photographers’ work from the late 1800’s to perhaps a decade ago. It’s wonderfully illustrated with the great images from the photographers that Jeffrey decided to profile – and a delight to just pickup and browse – sort of like one of those annual almanacs but dedicated to great photographers and their work – including Winogrand.

When I got home, I checked on and found mostly good reviews – and a bargain price on the book (currently $15) compared to the $37.50 I paid for my copy at the Museum Store. If you’re interested in diving a bit deeper into the history of some of the great photographers of the last hundred years, I highly recommend this book. You’ll enjoy it.

By the way, SFMOMA published an extensive catalog to go with the Winogrand exhibition – here’s that title: Garry Winogrand (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art).

Note: I only include items here that I actually use and are worthy of my recommendation – there is no sponsorship involved. I do participate in a number of affiliate programs that compensate me if you find an item and decide to purchase it because of one of my links. You won’t pay any more – it’s just the affiliate’s way of saying thank you for a referral. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”