Category Archives: San Francisco/California

Into the Mission

Morning Light - San Francisco - 2015

Doug Kaye and I met up today for one of our Friday photo walks – heading out from the Ferry Building and first moving into the light down by the Bay Bridge.

Along the way, we passed by the Boulevard Restaurant – and I captured this image with my iPhone 6.

Boulevard - San Francisco - 2015

We caught a 14 Mission Muni bus and traveled into the Mission District – our second excursion into the Mission. While there, we explored some of the beautiful murals on the walls of the Mission!

Generations - San Francisco - 2015

Circle of Life - San Francisco - 2015

Big Hat - San Francisco - 2015

Mission - San Francisco - 2015

Groovin' - San Francisco - 2015

Carlos - San Francisco - 2015

Photography in San Francisco’s Chinatown: Ross Alley and Vinton Court

News - Chinatown - 2015

San Francisco’s Chinatown is an area rich in photographic opportunities for street photographers! My friend Doug Kaye and I always enjoy a few hours on the streets of Chinatown – so many interesting places, always a lot of people out walking, etc. – it’s a perfect street photography venue. And, if you time it right – and get the sun angles aligned with the streets themselves, it becomes almost magical.

We’ve been to Chinatown twice so far in 2015 – the first time on January 2 and, most recently, last Friday March 20. On both occasions, we timed our visit to a align with the sun using the The Photographer’s Ephemeris, a very useful tool for this kind of advance planning.

While the sights along Chinatown’s main market street – Stockton Street – or along Chinatown’s “main drag” Grant Avenue are always fun, we’ve come to love the alleyways of Chinatown and can get lost in them for considerable stretches of time! Two of our favorites are Ross Alley and Vinton Court.

Ross Alley runs between Jackson and Washington Streets and is just a single block long. Part of what makes it fun is how narrow it is – and the fact that it seems to get a lot of foot traffic with folks walking through the Alley. I assume it has something to do with no automobile traffic – making it great for just walking. Here are a few images I’ve shot on Ross Alley.

Post No Bill - San Francisco - 2015

Breaktime - San Francisco - 2015

Ross Alley - San Francisco - 2015

Another favorite spot of ours in Chinatown is Vinton Court at Grant Avenue. Vinton is a street that is a half block long which intersects with Grant Avenue near Pine Street. What’s great about Vinton Court is that the street itself provides a great background for capturing people walking along Grant Avenue. It helps isolate them – they’re not up against some noisy background of shops and stores. Plus, it’s just interesting – with the steps going up on the right with the handrails, etc. Here are a few images I’ve shot at Vinton Court.

Glance - San Francisco - 2015

Shopping Trip - San Francisco - 2015

Solo - San Francisco - 2015

Walker - San Francisco - 2014

As you can see from these examples, both of these spots in San Francisco’s Chinatown offer some great street photography opportunities. If you go and take some pictures there, let me know – I’d love to see them!

Below is a Google Map image that shows the location of both Ross Alley and Vinton Court – you can click on it to open and explore:

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 8.27.36 PM

A Beautiful Friday in San Francisco

Strolling - San Francisco - 2015

Doug Kaye and I headed out today on to the streets of San Francisco. We met up at the Ferry Building – where Doug showed me his big surprise – a Leica M6 that he’d just acquired. The M6 is one of the classic Leica film bodies. Doug’s been accumulating a collection of Leica lenses to use with his Sony A7 bodies – and decided to try a film project – thus the M6. It was fun watching him shoot with this beautiful rangefinder body today! Here’s Doug shooting on Jackson Street in San Francisco’s Chinatown.

Doug Kaye - San Francisco - 2015

It was a wonderful day – we hopped on the F street car across from the Ferry Building and headed to Pier 39. From there, we walked to Fishermans Wharf and then up Taylor St. to the cable car turnaround.

Bay and Taylor - San Francisco - 2015

Pressing on up Taylor, we turned onto Columbus and walked into North Beach. We had lunch at a by the slice pizza place just off Washington Square – Tony’s Coal-Fired Pizza & Slice House – very tasty pizza!

Saints Peter and Paul Church - San Francisco - 2015

After lunch, we made a jog over to Stockton Street and walked into the busiest part of Chinatown – the produce markets along Stockton. I’m always amazed by the sheer humanity in this area – chasing great produce.

Produce - San Francisco - 2015

Our goal was to hit the Chinatown alleys around 1 PM – when the sun was going to be shining right down them. Those alleys are sheer delight for street shooters like us and today was no exception.

Post No Bill - San Francisco - 2015

We eventually wound back down to Grant Avenue and came across one of our favorites – Vinton Alley. A perfect background for street shots!

Glance - San Francisco - 2015

Wow, quite a day! My iPhone 6 reported 10,033 steps for the day – about 5 miles of very satisfying walking in the great city of San Francisco. It doesn’t get much better!

Red

Red - San Francisco - 2015

Along the streets in San Francisco, it’s always interesting when we can catch the sun beaming done parallel to the street itself. This is an example of an image taken under those conditions.

I was shooting with my Fujifilm X100T – standing at curbside after having noticed this lovely brick wall with the sun/shadow combination. I was waiting for someone interesting to walk into this particular “stage” – when this woman appeared.

It’s a combination of seeing the place and getting lucky with the actors!

That Glance

Glance - San Francisco - 2015

My friend Doug Kaye and I were back out on the streets of San Francisco yesterday – after a couple of weeks away. Doug went to Cuba – helping with a people-to-people exchange program there while I was in India. Talk about being on opposite sides of the planet – but with wonderful photographic opportunities at both locataions!

One of our favorite spots in San Francisco is 101 California – and the light yesterday didn’t disappoint. This time of year, it’s mostly about reflected light – from the sun striking buildings across the street and then being reflected back into the nooks and crannies on the other side.

This is a great example. Doug and I were both drawn to this light – and waited for the right subjects to appear. I got lucky with this shot – capturing her glancing back and him – and him with his glasses in his hand looking at her.

It’s all about gesture (thanks Jay Maisel!).

Early January Light in the Alleys of San Francisco’s Chinatown

Balance - San Francisco - 2015

On Friday, January 2, 2015, Doug Kaye and I met up for one of our regular photo walks on the streets of San Francisco. We had done a bit of planning in advance using The Photographers Ephemeris which showed that the sun would be streaming down the “north/south” streets of San Francisco beginning about 11:30 AM that morning. These are the streets north of Market St. in San Francisco – such as Kearny, Grant, Stockton, etc.

After meeting at the Embarcadero BART station, we walked over to Sacramento St. and caught the 1-California Muni bus up to Kearny St. where we got off and walked over to Portsmouth Square in Chinatown. We had fun shooting the game players in the park before moving on up Washington Street, eventually finding our way to Ross Alley where the sun was just beginning to floor the street. From there, we headed up to Stockton – but found the light too much on that wide street so we headed back into a few more of the alleys instead – preferring the much narrower streets with the light streaming down on the mostly brick walls of the buildings in this part of Chinatown.

I was shooting with my Fujifilm X100T – using the TCL100 converter which provides a 50 mm equivalent focal length. I also capture some shots along the way with my iPhone 6. Below are a few examples of the fun we had exploring the alleys of San Francisco’s Chinatown – with the low sun angle light at mid-day in early January.

News - Chinatown - 2015

Blue Smoke - San Francisco - 2015

Enroute - San Francisco - 2015

Post No Bill - San Francisco - 2015

Mops - San Francisco - 2015

In the Shadows - San Francisco - 2015

The Holiday Ice Rink at Embarcadero Center

Muffs - San Francisco - 2015

The holiday ice rink at San Francisco’s Embarcadero Center is a lot of fun. Doug Kaye and I were headed back to lunch at the Ferry Building when we came across the ice rink and started shooting. We had a great time – but, clearly, the skaters were having even more fun!

I especially had fun with the woman with the ear muffs! She was a great subject…

Shot with my Fujifilm X100T.

Muffs #2 - San Francisco - 2015

Muffs #3 - San Francisco - 2015

Proud - San Francisco - 2015

Glance - San Francisco - 2015

Pink - San Francisco - 2015

That Woman Reading on the Platform

Reader - San Francisco - 2014

Doug Kaye and I went exploring in San Francisco today – meeting, as usual, around Embarcadero Center and then heading out. We caught the 1 California bus on Sacramento St. and headed up to Portsmouth Square in Chinatown. Lots of interesting people – as usual – playing games and smoking in the park. From there. we began exploring the alleys of Chinatown – having figured out that the sun this time of year would be coming right down the alleys around noontime. We got intoxicated in one alley in particular – images from that venue yet to be processed!

After a wonderful lunch as usual at Slanted Door, we headed home. As I descended into the Embarcadero BART Station, I saw this woman reading on the platform – just as the BART train was leaving. My iPhone 6 captured the shot – with just enough motion and color to make it interesting against her silhouette.

Another magical day of street photography in San Francisco!

Captive on Irving Street in San Francisco

Captive on Irving Street - San Francisco - 2015

Tonight we were out to dinner up in San Francisco with my son, his wife and our two granddaughters. We had a wonderful New Year’s Day dinner!

While walking back to our car – parked on Irving Street – this N Judah Muni Metro streetcar came along and I couldn’t resist shooting the people inside the streetcar. For street photographers, streetcars are yet another “stage” – a place where we can wait and watch for interesting people.

When you’re shooting this kind of scene, you need to just fire away – it’s too hard to see whether the “captives” are noticing you – much less looking at you. Tonight I shot about a dozen images of this streetcar – in about 20 seconds. I came away with two images in which the “captives” were looking at me – and this was the better of the two. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Shot with my Fujifilm X100T in JPEG with Classic Chrome film emulation.

Light, Gesture and Color

Peppers - San Francisco - 2014

This a quick grab shot from one of my Friday photowalks in San Francisco with Doug Kaye. Shot with my Fujifilm X-E2, we were walking across an overhead walkway looking down at this food truck selling pizzas. These two women caught my eye – the first sprinkling red peppers on her pizza and the second frizzy blond with her 49’ers jacket on.

Combine them with the red shirt and finger gesture from the guy in the food truck and things get interesting!