Category Archives: Photography – Black & White

On the Streets of Auckland

Watching - Auckland - 2015

On a recent trip to Sydney, I opted to travel for the first time with Air New Zealand – connecting in Auckland to Sydney and, on the return, spending an overnight in Auckland before heading home to San Francisco.

I had literally about an hour on the streets of Auckland with my Fujifilm X100T. I put the X100T into monochrome JPEG mode – with the red filter and cranking up both Shadows and Highlights to +2. The monochromes are extra contrasty – and I also dialed down Sharpness a bit further emulating a film-like effect.

I look forward to getting back to New Zealand for more photography. Air New Zealand is a great airline – they do a great job and their 777-300ER cabins are a delight.

Stuff - Auckland - 2015

Queen Street - Auckland - 2015

Friday Afternoon - Auckland - 2015

Champions - Auckland - 2015

Pier 1 - Auckland - 2015

Not Tea Time - Auckland - 2015

Solo - Auckland - 2015

Boots and Sneakers - Auckland - 2015

Waiting - Auckland - 2015

Drive - Auckland - 2015

High Fashion - Auckland - 2015

Barber Cut - Auckland - 2015

Queen's Arcade - Auckland - 2015

Hands Free - Auckland - 2015

Glance - Auckland - 2015

Waiting - Auckland - 2015

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.

Friday Fotos on the Streets of San Francisco

Yerba Buena - San Francisco - 2015

Doug Kaye and I headed out for one of our Friday photo shoots today on the streets on San Francisco. It was a beautiful day – we started, as usual, at the Ferry Building and walked up Market Street before jogging over on Fremont Street to Howard and then up to Yerba Buena Center.

I shot with my Fujifilm X100T – accidentally leaving it in JPEG only mode (I usually shoot in JPEG + RAW). Doug was shooting with his Leica M6 on film. As it turned out, my JPEGs felt a lot like I had shot the day shooting film!

Hope you enjoy the images! The full set is in this album on Flickr.

Solo - San Francisco - 2015

The Wall and Tree - San Francisco - 2015

Act Brilliantly - San Francisco - 2015

Stride - San Francisco - 2015

A Mighty Stream - San Francisco - 2015

Solitude - San Francisco - 2015

Rapture - San Francisco - 2015

Checking In - San Francisco - 2015

Glance - San Francisco - 2015

Raúl Cañibano: Storyteller

Raúl Cañibano: Storyteller

Tonight I attended the talk by Raúl Cañibano – one of Cuba’s great photographers – at an event at Foothill College organized by Ron Herman. I spent a week in Havana two years ago – in January 2013 – and Raúl was one of the photographers we worked with. He’s an amazing street photographer to watch – very quick on the trigger, knows his settings and image dimensions – and makes beautiful images.

This new exhibition of his work by Ron Herman is beautifully done. If you’re in the Bay Area and interested in this kind of monochrome street and fine art photography, be sure to check out this exhibition!

A Tailor in Kolkata, India

Tailor - Kolkata - 2015

While out wandering one of the neighborhoods in Kolkata on Sunday, I came across this tailor toiling away at his sewing machine in his tiny shop. Shot with my Fujifilm X100T and processed using VSCO Film 04.

Below is a color version – processed using the Kodak Portra 400 film in VSCO Film 06.

Tailor #2 - Kolkata - 2015

The Power and Beauty of Monochrome

Arise - Klamath Overlook - 2014

2014 has been an amazing photographic journey for me. For example, my Lightroom catalog currently has almost 68,000 images in it – spanning the years 2000-2014 – with over 25,000 of those (37%) shot just in 2014. It’s almost crazy how many images I’ve taken this year!

Something I regularly revisit is the split between my earlier work on landscape photography and my more recent interest in street photography. They’re very different – but, in some sense, both deliver very satisfying feelings as I look back on my work.

Another always interesting insight is the color vs monochrome difference – how color can really enhance an image and how monochrome can to – by reducing the distractions of color. It’s a dichotomy – one that’s always fun to explore.

I recently watched a brief series of videos by John Sexton – and he inspired me to look back and explore more fully some of the landscape shots I’ve taken this year. This is one example – an image shot with my Fujifilm X-E2 at early morning at the Klamath River Overlook in far northern California as part of Michael Frye‘s Mystic Forest workshop. The color image is quite beautiful – shot as the sun was rising in early June. But I think this monochrome treatment is especially good – with its drama, composition and mood. This is an image I need to print and frame – I think it’s one of those special ones!

In the December Light at Ocean Beach with an iPhone 6 in Hand!

Ocean Beach - San Francisco - 2014

I love the light this time of year – and, for those of us who live in northern California, we also might even get some clouds in the skies! The combination of low angle light and great clouds – when we get them – is magical. This morning was one of those mornings – the skies were in “clearing winter storm” mode with lots of low clouds beginning to break up, swirl around, mixing with the sunlight in dancing patterns.

I headed up to San Francisco – originally thinking I was just going to visit the galleries at 49 Geary St. where a new Group F.64 exhibition has opened at the Scott Nichols Gallery and a new retrospective show – “The Plot Thickens” – has just been put up at the Fraenkel Gallery. My plan was to drive to Daly City BART and then BART in to the Montgomery Street station and walk to the galleries at 49 Geary.

But, as I was driving north up 280, the skies were just magnificent. I kept resisting the urge to find a place to pull over to shoot the clouds hanging along the skyline of the coastal ridge – and just let me eyes enjoy the magnificent play between cloud and light. As I got closer to Daly City, I could see that this cloud activity continued further north over the western beach of San Francisco and, perhaps, even up to the Marin Headlands and the Golden Gate. I waved off my plan for Daly City BART and, instead, headed over Brotherhood Way to Sunset, then Sloat and up the Great Highway to the Cliff House.

That’s where this image was taken – shot handheld with my iPhone 6 and post-processed in Lightroom. What a beautiful morning!

That Discussion at San Francisco’s Ferry Building

Discussion - San Francisco - 2014

As I was leaving San Francisco’s Ferry Building, I came across this scene – in the bright sunshine and dark shadows I shot this image with my iPhone 6. The advertising posters provide curious backdrops to an intense discussion underway between this couple. And the guy off to the right is clearly wondering what I’m doing – as he’s looking right at me.

Jaime Ibarra told me one time that fingers in an image are all important. His background as a flamenco guitar artist influenced his view – but he’s right. Most of the best gestures in an image include fingers – including this one.

What makes a great image? Not sure I know – but I find the multiple areas of interest in this one capture my eyes. The contrast, the posters, the curves of the shadows – and the people.