I was in San Francisco today for some street photography with my friend Doug Kaye. After a lovely lunch at Café de la Presse, a French bistro at the corner of Grant and Bush (next to the Leica SF Store!), we were walking down Grant when this woman walked quickly by us – all dressed up in the Happy Birthday America spirit!
Happy Birthday America indeed – hope you have a lovely holiday weekend!
I’m now in my sixth month of dedicated street shooting with the Fujifilm X100T. When I began this journey, it was to help me prepare for a workshop with Peter Turnley coming up later this month in New York City. I decided I wanted to try to this particular workshop with a minimalist set of gear – and my choice of “weapon” was the lovely Fujifilm X100T.
Why the X100T? It’s a nearly perfect camera for street photography – in my opinion. Small, yet powerful in terms of image capture. Minimalist in terms of only two potential lens focal lengths in my case – the native 35mm equivalent and the TCL-100 conversion lens which offers an optional 50mm equivalent. The built-in 3 stop neutral density filter allows me to shoot nearly wide open – for a very shallow depth of field – in even bright sunlight. It’s just a magical combination for street work.
Here are a few recent examples from last week – out shooting on the San Francisco streets with my friend Doug Kaye. Hope you enjoy!
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!
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.
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!
When shooting street photography in San Francisco, we try to look for interesting “stages” – places where the background is interesting and we’re just waiting for the “actors” to show up and fill the stage.
Some of my personal favorites along San Francisco’s Market Street are the Muni streetcar stops. The stops are in the middle of the street – so they’re a bit closer – and the “actors” are often focused on what’s coming – looking up the streetcar line.
This is a classic example – with the “actors” sort of evenly space waiting for the Muni streetcar to arrive. Just one of the many street photography stages of San Francisco!
I recently shared some of my notes on shooting street photography with the delightful Fujifilm X100T rangefinder camera. Here’s a group of images from our latest street adventure in San Francisco – I was walking with Doug Kaye shooting with his Leica M6 also using a 35mm lens (just like the X100T).
We had a great day wandering up from the Ferry Building along Market Street, down Jessie by Golden Gate University and eventually working our way up Maiden Lane to Union Square. Doug had walked many of these streets recently with photographer Swee Oh – and I benefited from their sharing.
These images show the range of what’s possible in street photography with the X100T. I’ve been concentrating my photography on this particular camera – and it’s becoming second nature to me now as I’m able to see a scene developing and deciding quickly how to setup for capturing the moment. Doug mentioned at lunch how he’s gotten much better at walking and adjusting his manual controls on the Leica as he’s examining the light and subject just ahead of composing and taking the picture. Having this become almost second nature really adds to the delight of street photography!
Hope you enjoy these images from the streets of San Francisco!
Tonight I edited my first image in the new Lightroom CC – also known as Lightroom 6. This image was from April 9, 2015 when I met up with Doug Kaye at San Francisco’s Ferry Building.
I edited the image in Lightroom CC using Kodak Gold 100 from VSCO Film 05 along with a couple of gradient filters to darken the left side. I love to tonality and the color in this image.
One of my favorite photo adventures this year was on Friday, January 2, 2015, when I met up with my photo buddy Doug Kaye in San Francisco.
As usual, we met at the Ferry Building and then we headed up to Chinatown. At the time in January in San Francisco, the sun was coming straight down the alleys – making for some beautiful contrasts of lights, shadows and texture.
A beautiful time – in a wonderful place – with such beautiful light!
A few weeks ago Doug Kaye and I did a bit of exploring along Mission Street in San Francisco. This was a quick grab shot taken from inside one of those “construction tunnels” that get erected when they put scaffolding up in front of a building. There’s often a screening material that’s used – and that’s the case here – I was shooting through the material to the sidewalk and street beyond. A fun image with “layers” – the parking meter, that guy with the beard, the car and scooter on the street and then the store – King of Fashions – behind.