Bus Stop

Posted on November 4, 2013

This photo was heavily influenced by Saul Leiter, a New York street photographer from the 1940s and 50s. Leiter was mostly known for his quietly different abstract compositions and helping get color photography more accepted in the fine art world. Up until then color photography was associated with snapshots and family photos. His abstract shapes and innovative compositions have a painterly quality that I’m really drawn too and I think are reflected in my current work.

This image has some interesting contrasts. Most dominant is a series of straight vertical and horizontal lines that are contrasted by a sharp diagonal light beam that cuts thru the center of the image. This is the most dynamic compositional devise there is, at least in western cultures where we read left to right, top to bottom. There’s a second significant contrast in this image and it’s with the gestures of the people waiting for a bus. The squatting person calls attention to himself with his low profile making him different from everyone else at the stop. It almost looks like he’s trying to get out of the way of the light beam which is interesting in itself. There in lies the meaning of the image; to be different you don’t always need to call attention to yourself. A subtle, quiet gesture can be even more powerful than even the most dynamic one. Leiter’s work has these same sensibilities.

SONY, SLT-A77V, 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM
1/90, f/8, ISO 125

Blue Schwinn

Posted on November 3, 2013

It’s hard for me to resist taking a picture of a classic bike locked to parking meter. They are everywhere in the city and the older and more beat up they are, the better the photo. I found this one near San Francisco’s Union Square. The light was just so incredible, it was a must take picture.

I always use natural light when I’m shooting in the street. I’m finding the light in California quit amazing and I haven’t found the need to add any electronic flashes yet. When I see incredible light it’s usually being reflected off a large surface, like the side of a building. What makes this light so amazing is its ability to illuminate the subject without any distracting shadows. It almost like the subject is self illuminated. This is the kind of light studio photographers strive for when they are able to control every aspect of the lighting conditions in the studio. But a street photographer has to be able to recognize the light when they see it and have only have a brief moment to capture it.

So when I find incredible light in the street, I normally look for a subject near by being self illuminated. Bikes locked to parking meters are readily available subjects.
ng conditions in the studio. But a street photographer has to be able to recognize the light when they see it and have only have a brief moment to capture it.

So when I find incredible light in the street, I normally look for a subject near by being self illuminated. Bikes locked to parking meters are readily available subjects.

SONY, SLT-A77V, 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM
1/750, f/1.7, ISO 50

Two Guys on a Wall

Posted on November 1, 2013

Here’s something different for me. Normally I like to have only one focal point in my compositions but I wanted to explore the use of multiple focal points. So I took myself out of my safe place and tried to create something new, something I never shot before.

This composition is a bit of a balancing act with the two figures siting on the wall with what feels like a weight scale. I liked that there are two sets of related items with a tension between them. The one person feels modern in the way he’s dressed, the fact that he’s reading a cell phone and has more modern bikes in front of him. While the other guy, the counter point, has a retro feeling like someone from the 70’s. The retro person is gazing at the modern guy and tries to create a connection the old fashion way, by talking. It’s an interesting contrast.

SONY, SLT-A77V, 50mm F1.4 ZA SSM
1/90, f/5.6, ISO 400

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