Posted on January 7, 2014

I started the New Year off with a photo of a stranger. Michele and I were down in the Haight having a New Years breakfast and site seeing afterwards when this guy and his very young puppy caught my wife’s eye. She just had to say hi to the puppy and after a little discussion, I found that he really wanted some photos of his puppy Anupu. So I went to work and shot 20 photos in search of a quiet moment which is not so easy with a puppy.

The exposure was easy, he was already in an open shaded area so I used my electronic viewfinder to make sure his black clothes weren’t underexposed and just exposed to the right. I had to bring back the highlights a little in Lightroom but I didn’t loose anything from shooting this way. For the processing I tried to stay true to what I saw when I shot the picture. There’s a lot of black in this image so even though I exposed the the right, I still had to lighten up some of the shadows to keep the details from getting lost. I ended with a subtle vignette to draw the viewers eye in.

I really like the idea of shooting a portrait of a stranger at least once a week. I could never do a project like this every single day but maybe once a week is more reasonable and is enough of a challenge. I just need to remember to get a model release.

SONY, ILCE-7, Canon FD 85mm f1.8
1/60, f5.6, ISO 640

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

By Tags