In the moment at 101 California

Scott Loftesness
Scott Loftesness

My photo buddy Doug Kaye caught me in the moment while we were both shooting in the bright Friday morning light in the plaza at 101 California in downtown San Francisco.

This plaza is a place we return to frequently – it’s just a delight – and the light is constantly shifting and moving across a tapestry of interesting people either traversing or taking a break and pausing for a few minutes. It’s one of those “life is good” kind of places.

Obviously, as Doug’s image shows, I was having a great time! One of these days I might get around to washing my jacket – it’s been all over the world with me and I’ve resisted “cleaning things up”!

Photographer David Burnett at Kepler’s

David Burnett

Photographer David Burnett spoke with Angie Coiro today at Kepler’s Book in Menlo Park – part of her In Deep Radio series. A selection of Burnett’s photographs are currently on display at Cafe Borrone. He also spoke this afternoon at Stanford’s Cantor Arts Center.

Coiro is a great interviewer – and David is a great story teller. The combination was just delightful! While just an hour, this interview could have gone on for two or three more – listening to Angie’s questions and Burnett’s stories.

A couple of the highlights for me included Coiro’s introduction of Burnett where she used the phrase “collectible whispers” to describe his photography. Burnett suggested he might just use that wonderful phrase for a book title!

Another was his description of his JFK photograph – shot as a young man in Salt Lake City. When he first looked at the film he shot that day he thought it wasn’t worthy – but 35 years later he went back and found the negative and found it told another story – an example of how photographs often aren’t technically perfect but are still powerful images.

Hearing Burnett describe photographing Olympic runner Mary Decker’s fall in the 1984 Olympics made me appreciate what he later called “the speed of life.” Sometimes it just comes together – and you’re in the right place at the right time – and it’s a gift.

There was a lot more – this is a very special interview worth listening to!

I met David last summer while attending a Peter Turnley workshop in New York City. I captured Peter and David heading out – with Dave shooting all of us from above! When I met him today and showed him this image – he said “Oh, you’re in my photo!”

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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 InMenlo.com. 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.