Choices

Here’s another photo from a recent walk along the Embarcadero in San Francisco. I came across this fellow obviously looking to rent one of the two scooters behind him. He seemed a bit frustrated – going back and forth while poking at his mobile phone – undoubtedly trying to activate one or the other.

I enjoyed the juxtaposition of him in front of the two scooters and the layers including the railing behind, the pier and then the bridge in the distance. Shot using my Sony RX100M6. Post-processed from the original RAW file using Lightroom Mobile and Snapseed.

San Francisco’s Pier 14

The San Francisco Embarcadero has become a wonderful venue – ever since the decision was made to tear down the Embarcadero Freeway following the 1989 earthquake. One of the many new features in Pier 14 – a pedestrian pier that is eminently walkabout from along the Embarcadero.

One of my favorite spots to shoot an image is this one – where the pier and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge “converge” with Yerba Buena Island in the distance.

The original image was shot with my tiny Sony RX100M6 at f/4, 1/1000 sec. and edited in Lightroom Classic. In Lightroom I used the range masking feature to selectively adjust a gradient in the sky portion of the image. Range masking allows adjustment of the tonal range (or color) to which the gradient is applied. In this case I wanted to darken the drama in the clouds without also darkening the bridge or the island itself.

Image Processing: The Overton Technique

My photographer friend Roxanne Overton has pioneered using an easy technique in Photoshop for creatively merging multiple images of the same subject. Doug Kaye wrote about the technique – and how to do it – on his blog a while back.

While multiple images taken from slightly different positions often generates the most interesting results, you can sometimes be surprised by the simplest approach.

Here, for example, is an image taken with my iPhone along the San Francisco Embarcadero yesterday that I processed using the Overton Technique. It was generated from one image. After opening the image in Photoshop, I duplicated the layer and then horizontally flipped it – creating a mirror image. Auto-blend then combined the two layers to generate this results – which I tweaked a bit further back in Lightroom to black and white, etc.

If you’re an Adobe Creative Cloud member and have both Lightroom and Photoshop, give this technique a try. After playing with a few image sequences, you might find one that feels downright brilliantly creative!

Playing with Day to Night

I’ve recently come across a couple of techniques (in both Lightroom and Photoshop) that help turn a photo taken during daytime hours into a moodier, darker image. These techniques involves both overall image adjustments to darken and change color balance along with selective edits to add lights, increase highlights, etc.

I recently tried a quick version of this technique on an image taken down San Francisco’s Ocean Beach on a moody morning. It’s been adjusted overall to add the moodiness along with tweaking a few of the highlights to enhance points of interest in the image. This took about 5 minutes in Lightroom CC to adjust.

Seeing the Future: Amazon Go

On Friday, while walking up California Street in San Francisco enjoying a morning of street photography, my friend Doug and I happened across the new Amazon Go store at 300 California Street. Neither of us had been in a Go Store before so we went in to check it out.

Turns out I had months ago downloaded the Amazon Go app to my iPhone – so I was enabled for the Store. I needed to login to the app to complete my setup. Once logged in, the app displays a diamond-shaped bar code which is scanned by the gate turnstiles to let you into the store – a process just like using a boarding pass to get on the airplane. 

I had a guest with me – so the helpful Amazon person by the door explained how I could take my guest with me into the store: let him walk in first, scan using my code, followed by me and a second scan of my code.

Once inside, we were surprised by the range of items available in a space that seemed a bit larger than most 7-Eleven convenience stores but smaller than the usual supermarket (Whole Foods?) store. There were lots of prepared food items – but many other things as well. Very nice assortment!

While in the store, I noticed one guy come in who must be a local regular – as he breezed through the turnstile, went to pickup his item (lunch) and then walked out.

One of the sections in the store has Amazon Go “merchandise” where I found a dark chocolate bar that would be my sole item purchased on this initial visit. I picked up the bar, turned around, browsed another aisle, and then headed for and walked through the exit gate. That was it – I was done.

My friend was curious about the technology being used – wondering if RFID on the items was involved. He asked and was told that basically a combination of overhead cameras along with weight sensitive shelves were used to identify the items we picked up to purchase.

All in all a very cool shopping experience! Having had to tolerate checkout lines many times at a 7-Eleven near my former office, I can see how this new future would quickly win me over!

Note that this Go Store at 300 California Street is open Mon–Fri, 7AM–9PM. Closed Sat–Sun. Amazon says it stocks: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks, Grocery Essentials

A favorite spot: San Francisco’s Ferry Building

Whenever I meet up with my photo buddy Doug Kaye for a few hours of San Francisco street photography, we almost always meet at San Francisco’s Ferry Building. I find it convenient to drive to BART and then take it to the Embarcadero station which is just across from the Ferry Building – a quick 5 minute walk and I’m there. 

This time of year, the sun angle (both low in the sky and the direction it is casting shadows) make for interesting photos outside the Ferry Building. Here are three examples – two were taken out the window on the Bay side of the building adjacent to Peet’s Coffee. The third was taken outside in front of the Ferry Building shooting directly into the sun.

There are a couple of other great photography locations here – especially the indoor marketplace area with its superb indirect overhead light – I’ll share a few examples of images taken there in a future post.

All three of these images were taken with an iPhone Xs Max and it’s superb camera! All of these images were also shared previously on my Instagram account.

Revival

It’s been a while since I have done any posting here – like five months! It’s time to get things rocking again. Lots of recent street photography – mostly shared on my Instagram page. I’ll share some of those images here along with some of the back stories behind them.

Let’s get started with this image from today: the magical staircase at the Mechanics Institute on Post Street in downtown San Francisco. I was walking from the Montgomery Street BART station to Apple Union Square when I walked by the Institute and was reminded by a friend’s post from this location that he shared on Facebook. A quick duck inside the front door, past the elevators into the staircase – and then simply look up! I used the Halide camera app shooting in RAW and post processed in the Darkroom and Snapseed apps.

Exploring San Francisco’s Embarcadero with my iPhone 7 Plus 

I often meet up with my friend Doug Kaye for a couple of hours of street photography in San Francisco. We often meet  at San Francisco’s Ferry Building and head out from there along San Francisco’s Embarcadero towards Pier 24 (which is directly under where the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge heads out over the Bay).

Pier 24 — a beautiful space dedicated to photographic exhibitions — (one reviewer calls it “the quietly spectacular waterfront cathedral for photography“) has a new exhibition that recently opened titled “The Grain of the Present.” Pier 24 requires advance reservations which we had made a couple of weeks prior.

This particular exhibition “examines the work of 10 photographers at the core of the Pilara Foundation collection — Robert Adams, Diane Arbus, Lewis Baltz, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Lee Friedlander, Nicholas Nixon, Stephen Shore, Henry Wessel, and Garry Winogrand — whose works share a commitment to looking at everyday life as it is.” It also features additional photography by Eamonn Doyle, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Ed Panar, Alec Soth, Awoiska van der Molen, and Vanessa Winshi.

It’s quite a collection of beautiful work,  and the opportunity to see it displayed in the beautiful space of Pier 24 makes for a great experience. If you enjoy great photography, do try to see this new exhibition at Pier 24, just remember that it requires you make a reservation a few weeks in advance. Pier 24’s reservation system helps pace visitor entry further enhancing the experience.

Along the way, both back and forth from the Ferry Building to Pier 24, we walked slowly — cameras in hand — and had fun capturing some moments of street photography. I had my favorite street photography camera long (a Fujifilm X100F) but I never pulled it out of the bag.  I was only shooting using the camera in my iPhone 7 Plus. Sometimes I enjoy going very minimalist, and using just my iPhone puts me in that frame of mind!

Below are some example images shot on the iPhone 7 Plus, post-processed using the Photos app on the iPhone, and tweaked using Google’s Snapseed application — also on the iPhone. This was a totally iPhone photography day! Follow more of my street photography on Instagram.

Four Corners//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Bay Glow//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Smile//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Just Resting//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Easy Rider//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Little Man//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Chasing Light on San Francisco’s Streets

Black and White - San Francisco - 2016//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

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!

Rays - San Francisco - 2016//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Take Out - San Francisco - 2016//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Stripes - San Francisco - 2016//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Waiting - San Francisco - 2016//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Confident - San Francisco - 2016//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js