Street Portraits – San Francisco Streets

Pals - San Francisco - 2016

Shooting street photography roughly splits into shooting with a fixed lens or shooting with a zoom lens. There are many other genres of course – but I like to think of heading out with my gear setup for one or the other.

For most of the last 18 months, my camera of choice has been the Fujifilm X100T – a rangefinder style camera that’s idea for the fixed lens genre of street photography. I’ve had a lot of fun with my X100T on the streets of San Francisco and other cities. Can’t recommend it highly enough for very enjoyable street photography.

But, there’s another style – I like to think of this as the Jay Maisel style of street photography. In this style, you want to go out with a long zoom lens – one that will enable candid captures from across the street. Today I went back to that long zoom style – shooting with my Fujifilm X-Pro2 using the Fujinon 18-135mm zoom. It’s a very different approach – but can also be a lot of fun. As I looked at my images from today, I was struck by the tighter portrait-like shots I captured.

Below are a few more images from today’s session on the streets of San Francisco.

Pals - San Francisco - 2016

Solo - San Francisco - 2016

Parasol - San Francisco - 2016

Life is a Mystery

Life is a Mystery - San Francisco - 2016

Yesterday Doug Kaye and I met up for one of our Friday photowalks in San Francisco. Along the way, we stopped by the Bank of America Building – at least that’s what it used to be called – at Kearny and California Streets.

The sun is still reasonably low in the sky – and it casts these dramatic light and dark shadows on the south side of the building. It’s a perfect stage – just takes patience to wait for a subject to walk into the frame. It was Good Friday – so there wasn’t a lot of pedestrian traffic into/out of this building in San Francisco’s financial district. But, we’ve learned to be patient – and I was rewarded when this woman walked out the door and into the frame.

The mystery part of the image for me is her quiet reflection in the column across from her on the right. I love her hair and hands in that reflection – balancing off her walking into the light. Sometimes we get lucky!

This image was shot with my Fujifilm X-Pro2 using the Fujinon XF35mmF2 R WR lens and processed with the Acros film simulation.

Here’s another edit of this image – suggested to me on Facebook by Theo Streibel.

Life is a Mystery #2- San Francisco - 2016

San Francisco with the Fujifilm X-Pro2

Experienced - San Francisco - 2016

The streets of San Francisco provide such a wonderful range of opportunities for street photography – it’s become a bit like an old glove that just fits.

Even on a mostly fog covered morning, we discovered opportunities to capture interesting images – with me shooting with a new Fujifilm X-Pro2 and the Fujinon 23mm f/1.4 lens (35mm equivalent). I shot both JPEG and RAW – and post-processed a few of these images using Lightroom’s camera calibration for the Acros black and white film emulation.

I love the tonality of Acros – and want to spend more time shooting with it in camera. Meanwhile, the X-Pro2 has provided a new challenge – with a bit of a learning curve.

Morning Coffee - San Francisco - 2016

Glance

Dudes - San Francisco - 2016

Friends - San Francisco - 2016

Super Selfie - San Francisco - 2016

On the streets with the Fujifilm X-Pro2

Lantern

My Fujifilm X-Pro2 arrived a few days ago – and I headed out today on a very wet and ugly day in Menlo Park to take my first few shots with this new camera.

I mounted the Fujinon 35mm F2 lens on the X-Pro2 body and put the camera into Acros film simulation mode. On Crane Street in Menlo Park is the Nativity of the Holy Virgin Russian Orthodox Church – one of my favorite local places for architectural images.

Here’s an example – one of my first images shot on the X-Pro2 – shooting with the 35mm lens wide open at f/2.

Walking San Francisco

I'm Only Human - San Francisco - 2016

A special weekend in San Francisco – walking the streets with Valérie Jardin and her San Francisco Street Photography workshop participants. On Saturday, we had the beautiful bright sunny day that street photographers love. Today we had a mostly overcast day. Valérie is a great workshop leader – I had a special time with her in Paris in the fall of 2014 and will be going to Rome with her later this year. I highly recommend her workshops!

I was shooting – seriously for the first time – with a new Fujifilm X70. I came away delighted with the experience – this is a great camera for street photography – especially when mostly shooting in full automatic mode. I like to set the ISO to float between 1600 and 6400 – which helps push the shutter speed up and the aperture more open. The camera is ideal for those quick shots – where you really don’t want to bother with a viewfinder (the X70 doesn’t have one) and you can just learn to trust the 28mm wide angle of the fixed lens along with the camera’s programming to make great images.

For the last year I’ve been almost exclusively shooting with the Fujifilm X100T – loving its 35mm fixed lens and learning how to use its controls to help me shoot street images. For this weekend, I had the X100T in the bottom of my camera bag – as a backup – but I spent the whole weekend shooting with just the X70. I’ve included a few more images from the weekend below – my full album of my best shots is here on Flickr.

Sunflower - San Francisco - 2016

Look Away - Maiden Lane San Francisco - 2016

Light Fantastic - Ross Alley San Francisco - 2016

East of Grant Avenue - San Francisco - 2016

Into the Light in San Francisco

Spear Steet - San Francisco - 2016

Earlier this week I was in San Francisco for meetings – and I went in a bit early to do some street photography.

Here’s one of the first images I captured after just coming up from the Embarcadero BART station.

I was shooting with my Fujifilm X-E2 with the new v4.0 firmware. An amazing upgrade by Fuji to this great little camera!

Looking into the light is one of my favorite scenes – taught to me by looking at the amazing work of Fan Ho!

Scooter

Scooter - San Francisco - 2016

Yesterday was my first time on the streets of San Francisco after upgrading my Fujifilm X-E2 to the latest firmware update (V 4.0). One of the best things about using Fujifilm cameras is how they have regularly provided significant firmware updates to older cameras – and this update to the X-E2 is a significant one – especially to the autofocus capabilities of the camera.

This is an example – shot into the morning light using the camera’s zone focusing mode.

RCA Victor

RCA Victor - Havana - 2013

Along Havana’s Neptune Street was the old RCA Victor studio. This image is from January 2013. Apparently the building is mostly gone now.

Cuban Nights

Whites - Lady in Red - Havana - 2013
Whites – Lady in Red – Havana – 2013

I wrote yesterday about Paul Graham’s exhibition at Pier 24 in San Francisco. Graham’s exhibition features three different approaches to photography. One of his approaches he called “American Nights” – consisting of images that had a high key, sort of faded look.

While enjoying the whole show, I found Graham’s “American Night” images the most interesting of the exhibition – and wanted to try the technique on a couple of my images. Here’s my first example – “Cuban Nights” version of one of my favorite images from Havana in 2013 that I titled “Lady in Red”.

The whiteness was added to this image in Photoshop by adding a white Color Fill adjustment layer and adjusting the opacity to approximate what I saw in Graham’s images. The original image can be seen here – but don’t look at it until you’ve stared at this version for a bit of time and begin to see some of the details emerging. That’s the fun part of Graham’s technique – at least for me!

And it works especially well with large prints on the wall – more so than with this small web image version!

That Glance

Glance - San Francisco - 2016

Today I joined a group of friends to visit the current exhibition of Paul Graham’s work at Pier 24 in San Francisco. Pier 24 is a beautiful gallery for the display of photography – with large neutral spaces in many different rooms – and controlled reservation-based entry to minimize any feeling of crowding the in the space. It’s a joy.

Graham’s work was organized into three bodies of work: American Night (1998–2002), a shimmer of possibility (2004–06), and The Present (2009–11). In his video, Graham talked about how each body of work was based on one aspect of the camera. American Night was based upon aperture – overexposing the images to create the soft white images. A shimmer was based upon time – snapping multiple images in a sequence to tell the story of something in a series of images. The Present was based upon the use of selective focus – or very shallow depth of field – to shift the viewer’s attention to a different point of interest in each image.

After watching Graham’s video explanation of each – and walking the exhibitions, I came away really liking his American Night collection best of all. These images at first look like nothing – you glance and them and want to move on. But when you stop and spend time with each image, your eye begins to see details that you originally overlooked. As you move closer to the image, the effect is enhanced – you start seeing more. A lovely treatment – and something I want to play with in the future.

Meanwhile, as we departed Pier 24, I came across this man walking toward me in the shadows under the pier’s overhang. I grabbed a quick shot and then he sat down. I continued walked toward him – and asked him – with a quick motion of my hand with my camera asking if it was OK to take his picture. He said yes – and then I captured him in this pose glancing off to his left. One of those great moments when it all comes together in street photography!