Before the Auction

Posted on December 20, 2013

This was taken just before the annual benefit auction at SF Camerawork. I was strolling around taking some photos before the auction when I saw this coat hung on the back of a chair. I liked the repetition of the empty chair backs and thought the coat was a nice break in that repetition. As I was framing the shot, the man in the background caught my eye. I thought he would be a nice addition to the other elements in the scene. So I adjusted my depth of field to keep him in focus and then the rest of the elements just fell into place.

I’ve been thinking about what makes any one moment better than another in street photography and this is one of those moments that really illustrates that question. The moment in this photo is really not about anything at all but there’s something intriguing about this image. The composition is strong but there must be more to a good photo than just good structure. When I started shooting street a couple of years ago I was always looking for the “Bresson Moment” when everything comes together at the perfect time. But as I got better at shoot street, I started looking for the “In Between Moments” which were more ordinary but still had something about them that captured your imagination. (This is a common theme among many street photographers where they are seeking to create the extraordinary in the banal.) But lately I’ve been thinking that it’s really about being “In the Moment”. I’ve been calming my mind to keep it from wandering which helps me to realize the moment and discover something fresh…… I’ll be writing more about this in the future but for the time being, I felt as if I was “In the Moment”” when I captured this photo.

SONY, ILCE-7, FE 35mm F2.8 ZA
1/60, f/8, ISO 1600

A Cold Day in The City

Posted on December 10, 2013

Like the rest of the country the San Francisco is having some of the coldest weather in resent years. I shot this in the morning during a short walk from the train station. There was so much complexity to this original capture that I had make some deliberate decisions to keep the viewers eye from wandering. This overdose of visual input is always something I have to deal with when shooting the city. My solution in this image was to use very dark silhouettes to control the eye and simplify the design. Being too chaotic has a tendency to chase people away so I needed to give the viewer just enough information to tell a story and keep their interest.

SONY, ILCE-7, FE 35mm F2.8 ZA
1/50, f/8, ISO 64

Twilight Architecture

Posted on December 6, 2013

I’ve been taking advantage of the early sunsets in the city for my afternoon photo walks. Normally I go out around 3:30 but I’ve pushing it out an hour so that I’m walking at the start of twilight. There’s still just enough ambient light to keep my exposures from getting too dark while still having that warm soft glow feeing that you only get during twilight. This doesn’t last very long, maybe only 15 minutes so I have to work quickly.

It’s a real challenge taking abstract architecture with a 35mm but when I can fill the frame, I’m really rewarded with an interesting image. This lens is so small and light that I don’t want to shoot with anything else right now. The novelty may wear off in a few weeks but in the meantime I’m just enjoying not having haul around a lot of weight to get a quality image.

SONY, ILCE-7, FE 35mm F2.8 ZA
1/40, f/2.8, ISO 64

By Tags