Over the last five years or so, my photography interests have migrated from landscape to street – and, in the process, I’ve had an evolution in the kind of camera gear I enjoy shooting with.
Back in my landscape photography days, I used traditional DSLRs – both Canon and Nikon. I had the great lenses for those cameras and a big backpack with which to schlep all of that gear around. But in January 2013 my interests changed. I participated in a person to person cultural exchange trip to Havana Cuba and came back having fully enjoyed waking the streets and just taking pictures of interesting people in interesting places.
Gradually after that trip my interest in landscape photography faded and my new interest in street photography blossomed. Along the way, I opted to get rid of my big, heavy DSLR cameras and bought into the then relatively new family of “mirrorless” cameras introduced by Fujifilm.
My first Fuji was the XE-2, a great rangefinder style camera. Next was a Fujifilm X100S – an even more classic looking rangefinder design with a fixed lens that’s just perfect for working on the street. It’s small, fast, and beautiful – you look like more like a tourist than a serious photographer making it easy to take even more candid street photographs of people. I subsequently sold the X100S and upgraded to the X100T which had several incremental improvements over my X100S.
A few weeks ago, I upgraded again – to the new Fujifilm X100F – perhaps the ultimate refinement of the rangefinder design by Fujifilm. For street photography, this is just a wonderful camera and the improvements in the F over the T make a great camera even greater!
Here are a few of the first photographs I’ve taken with the X100F on the streets of the San Francisco Bay Area:
I don’t know if you use Snapseed or not but it’s become very much a part of my iPad/iPhone photography workflow.
I initially started using it because it has a Frames tool that lets me simply add a border to an image before uploading to Instagram/Facebook. But I’ve become increasingly addicted to a few of the other editing tools as well (tonal contrast, glamour glow, define (structure/sharpen), and faces. It also has a very nice healing brush as well as a dodge/burn tool that I use in monochromes.
This morning Google updated Snapseed to add a new Curves tool – which does what you think it should do – including allowing adjusting curves by red/green/blue channel. Very nice update/upgrade – this tool had become extremely useful for a mobile only workflow and it’s amazing that it’s all free from Google! If you haven’t played with it in a while, give it a try.
Two years ago I attended a Paris street photography workshop led by Valérie Jardin – see my first post about that here. Most of my Paris posts are here.
This year I repeated the exercise – heading back to the City of Light for another superb week of street photography. Valérie is a superb workshop leader – and my photo buddy Doug Kaye was also signed up to go. I couldn’t resist flying back to Paris for a week on the streets in late September!
The weather was ideal – one rainy morning but otherwise spectacular fall days with beautiful light and the lower sun angle that this time of year provides such niche light/shadow contrasts.
I traveled light – shooting with my Fujifilm X100T and the even smaller Fujifilm X70 – both are superb cameras for street photography.
Below are a few of my favorites from the trip – you’ll find even more here in this Flick set. Enjoy!
Yesterday, I met up with my photo buddy Doug Kaye at San Francisco’s Ferry Building for a couple of hours of San Francisco street photography. I was just back from 10 days in India – and, frankly, in a bit of a time warp still recovering from a bit of jet lag. In spite of my handicap, we had a wonderful time!
I opted to shoot with my Fujifilm X-Pro2 with the 35mm f/2.0 lens (50 mm equivalent). I setup the film simulation for Acros with the yellow filter – my favorite for street photography with people – and also tweaked the highlights to +1 and shadows to +3 to add more contrast to the JPEGs coming right out of the camera. I was shooting in RAW+JPEG but, as it often turns out, the JPEGs were just perfect coming out of the camera so they were the only images I imported into Lightroom.
We spent the morning chasing light – over the last couple of years our eyes have become pretty finely tuned to seeing the light – and looking for opportunities to exploit it in interesting ways. We walked from the Ferry Building up California Street to Kearny and then to Sutter before settling for lunch at one of our favorite spots: E&O at 314 Sutter.
Looking at these images from yesterday, I’m struck by the light/shadow captures. We took our time, shooting slowly along the way. Just a great way to spend a Friday morning on the streets of San Francisco!
Here on the mid-Peninsula of the San Francisco Bay Area – as in many places across the country, the fourth of July is a big day for parades. And, I love a parade!
We have a very big one nearby each July 4th in Redwood City – the organizers claim it is the largest parade in Northern California. I’ve enjoyed that parade several times over the last few years. For a street photographer, it’s great fun – although it can be a bit daunting logistically in terms of parking, etc.
On the other end of the spectrum is the Menlo Park 4th of July Parade – an event that focuses on kids and families instead of the big marching bands, drill corps, and parade floats. For a street photographer, it’s also great fun – much simpler logistically and a much shorter (15-20 minutes) event – but still a lot of fun.
This year I opted to go to the Menlo Park parade – along with InMenlo editor Linda Hubbard Gulker – see her post on InMenlo.com. I used my Fujifilm X-Pro 2 with the Fujinon 18-135mm lens for this photo shoot. I had face and eye detection enabled and, most of the time, shot in burst mode at 8 frames/sec. I came home with over 500 images from a 20 minute photo shoot – and then culled those down to about 15 keepers.
Good fun – always a delight to see the kids and their parents all decked out in red, white and blue having a great time together! I’ve included a few of those keepers below.
Yesterday I headed to San Francisco for my first visit to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) since its recent re-opening. It was a perfect day to do so – with light commute travel given the start of the Memorial Day weekend. I bought my ticket online for a 10:15 AM entry and was able to join as soon as it opened.
I’m a quick museum go’er – preferring to move quickly between rooms to get a sense and then circling back to look more closely at certain items that interest me. Definitely best done as a solitary pursuit as I’d frustrate a companion with my quick movements and subsequent zigging and zagging!
I spent about two hours exploring – and then stopped for an early lunch at Cafe 5 – which was lovely by the way!
I packed my Fujifilm X-Pro2 and X70 cameras in my shoulder bag – but, as it turned out, I only took pictures with my iPhone 6s. I enjoyed shooting light – and “light” – with just my iPhone.
Here are some examples. I’m looking forward to making another pass later this year!
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”!
On Friday, Doug Kaye and I met up in San Francisco for one of our Friday Fotowalks (!) – a pretty steady ritual when we’re both in town at the same time.
I took the occasion to shot exclusively with my new Fujifilm X-Pro2 – this time with the Fujinon 18-55mm zoom lens installed on the X-Pro2 body.
For the last year or more, I’ve been shooting with fixed prime lenses – mostly the 35mm equivalent lens on my Fujifilm X-100T. More recently, I’ve added a Fujifilm X70 to the mix – with its 28 mm equivalent lens. But I decided to try the 18-55mm “kit” zoom on the X-Pro2 after seeing images from another X-Pro2 shooter on Facebook.
I was very happy with the results! The 18-55mm zoom has always been highly regarded – and it was a lot of fun to shoot with it again.
A couple of us, including my new friend Ken Lyons, found a lovely cafe and had a cappuccino while watching the crowds. A lot like watching the fire in the fireplace – interesting little insights here and there.
After coffee, Ken headed over to stand behind this obelisk and spent a couple of minutes lining things up – as I watched – and waited – learning from him.
This image was my result – shot with my new Fujifilm X70. It sure brings back great memories of that lovely bright morning in April in Rome!