Tag Archives: X Pro 1

San Francisco Street Photography – May 22-23

I took a couple of days off this week and was able to spend some time just shooting without the need to be somewhere else.  Not feeling the pressure of time freed me up to be creative and patient, and I believe the images reflect that creativity and patience.  Having the luxury of time totally transforms the street shooting process.  Standing in one spot for twenty minutes waiting for the right shot to come to me is not something I’m able to do ordinarily.  What a treat it was.

Yesterday I packed along my X-Pro 1 with 35mm and my X100 for a walk from City Hall to Bush and Market via the Tenderloin. I took my time. Watched what was going on. Soaked it all in. I hadn’t walked that way before.

I noticed I was being followed and photographed repeatedly by a very animated young woman with a cell phone camera. She approached me at the corner of Turk and Hyde and asked (I’d have said demanded, but the conversation turned out fine) in a very suspicious manner what I was doing, why I was taking pictures. What I did with the photographs once I’d shot them. If I was working with the Po-lice.

It was a conversation that will stick with me for awhile because it was the first time that I had had to explain what street photography was to someone who had absolutely no idea what it meant, what it was or why anyone would take photographs of strangers doing seemingly mundane things.

To her, I was a threat.  What I was saying didn’t make sense, or she didn’t initially believe me.  I hadn’t taken her photo either before or after the encounter, but it was obvious she was looking out for her neighborhood and I had nothing to hide, so I was open and friendly and took the time to talk with her.

I told her that I liked taking photographs of people just living their lives, going from here to there, and of people whom I thought looked interesting. That I didn’t photograph homeless or destitute people, that it was a hobby and something I’d done for years for fun, to pass the time and to help me remember what I’d seen when I’d been out walking. That I loved the city and loved being in the middle of it. She said that all back to me at every pause in my explanation, perhaps believing me.  Her body language got less and less aggressive until finally she said good bye and we went our own ways.

I’m not an aggressive street photographer in the first place and I always ‘read the room’ in terms of neighborhood and vibe so as not to rile the locals. Whatever she saw that made her approach me, I thought it was worth the time it took to reassure her that I wasn’t up to anything nefarious.  Nothing happens in a vacuum and I believe that it’s important in situations like that one to just be respectful and friendly and move on.  Your mileage may vary, heh.

With all of that having been said, I only took 2 or 3 photographs in the Tenderloin – the one of the two boys running along the barricade in front of the Federal Building and of the gent wearing a Pacific Trail jacket with the Emerson quote about leaving a trail.  It was a great day, and the encounter with the young woman – which could have spoiled the entire experience – served to make me feel better about what I do, why I do it and how.

Hope you enjoy.

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Things in 3’s, Slow Club, X100

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Reflections and shadows, X100

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6 stages, X-Pro 1 with 35mm/1.4

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City Hall Staircase, X100

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Contrasts, X-Pro 1 with 35mm/1.4

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Passing through, X-Pro 1 with 35mm/1.4

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Leave a Trail, X-Pro 1 with 35mm/1.4

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Play, X-Pro 1 with 35mm/1.4

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One Bush Street Single Point, X-Pro 1 with 35mm/1.4

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Profile, X100

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Big Feller, X100

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He draws the eye. George Lucas lookalike and motorcycle guy are both captivated, X100

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Yin and Yang, X-Pro 1 with 35mm/1.4

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Josh, Burritt Room, X100

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Foggy Santa Barbara – a series in Black and White

We finally made the trip to Santa Barbara for the weekend.  After over a year of saying that we should, that we would, we did it!

My girlfriend graduated from college at UCSB and has a special place in her heart for Santa Barbara.  Having spent one evening there in some forgettable company many years ago, I was eager to see it again through the eyes of someone who had lived some of her formative years here.

We stayed at a hotel between East Beach and State Street down by the water and, although the weather was uncooperative for the most part, we spent a great deal of time walking and exploring (well, *I* was exploring – she knew exactly where she was going).

I really loved the proximity of everything on State Street:  Fine restaurants, funky bars, cafes, sidewalk bistros, shopping – it’s all around you.  The pace emanates a laid back feeling that caused me to slow my usual pace.  To actually FEEL like I was on vacation.  It was a good feeling.

The variety of architecture demands your attention.  Given Santa Barbara’s history, there is definitely a preponderance of adobe and terra cotta, but throughout the Lower State area there is enough variety to keep your eye entertained and shutter finger itchy.  For neon sign aficionados, there are several examples sprinkled about the area.

For this trip, I wanted to be a tourist and to have a light camera close to hand at all times.  The two cameras I brought were (as they have always been) perfect.  I found I preferred the x100 for its wider view and quiet shutter in interior spaces but the X Pro 1 performed admirably when I had it with me.  Images from both cameras are included below.  The X Pro 1 was equipped with the 35mm/1.4.

There was so much more to see and to do.  Next time maybe we’ll stretch it out by a couple more days.

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Brooks Photography Gallery, x100

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Writing the Return Address, Anacapa Post Office, x100

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Balancing act – Father and Daughter at the train station, x100

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Overcast, x100

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Living wall at Hotel Indigo, State Street, x100

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Whiskey Richards, State Street, x100
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Cup of joe at Joe’s on State Street, X Pro 1
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Tradition – photographs of yesteryear’s servers supervise today’s staff at Joe’s, X Pro 1

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Courthouse, X Pro 1

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Courthouse interior just before closing time, X Pro 1

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Courthouse event prep – rolling in two tables at once, X Pro 1

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First day at the skate park for the little guy, according to his dad, X Pro 1

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Post office Detail, Anacapa Post Office, x100

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Decisions, x100

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#9, Meridian Studios, x100

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Silhouettes, State Street/101 undercrossing, x100

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Victor the Florist, x100

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The courthouse in the evening – 180 degrees from Victor the Florist, x100

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David (X Pro 1)

Flora Grubb with Fujifilm X Pro 1 and Canon FD 50mm/1.4 SSC

A couple of months ago we stopped in at a spot we’d both been talking about visiting for some time.  That place is Flora Grubb – a little slice of gardening heaven.  Replete with a knowledgeable, friendly staff, a great selection of succulents, high- and low- light indoor and exterior plants, Ritual Coffee and a cat with eyes that shine like pale sapphires, this place is a must-see for decorators, gardeners, plant nerds and admirers of all things tasteful.

We spent the better part of an hour strolling the grounds, sipping at lattes and ooo-ing and ahh-ing at the well thought-out appointments throughout the interior and shaded exterior spaces.  I won’t spoil all of the fun for prospective visitors, but spotting an entire 60s-era car in the exterior section that is positively bristling with plants made me giggle like a kid.  The succulent centerpiece table (see below for images of both) is a masterpiece of simple, well thought-out beauty and craftsmanship.

I work in the plant business.  As such, I am familiar with many of the species I saw here at Flora Grubb because I see them regularly during the course of my work.  Usually, however, when I’m looking at a plant, it is with a critical eye in the context of how it appears to the client, whether it is being cared for properly, how it reflects on my business.  Here, I was able to see their beauty and appeal simply for their own sake.  I even managed to learn several things that I did not know prior to setting foot here in this quiet, beautifully-decorated and -appointed space thanks to Zeni, our very helpful guide.

If you’re in or near San Francisco, consider spending some time and money here rather than at the big box stores when it’s time to tackle that garden project or to add some live, green accents in your home.  It’s worth the drive, the plant and accessory selection is out of this world, parking is easy, it’s kid friendly and man…that cat’s eyes.

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Insomnia + Camera = Late Night Street Photography!

Woke up the other morning (night) at 3 a.m. and couldn’t fall asleep again.  Rather than toss and turn any further, I got up and jumped in the car and drove around Oakland with the cameras.  The streets were deserted, for the most part.  Sadly, most of the lights were off at that hour, so there wasn’t much to see.  Shot with x100 and X Pro 1 with 35/1.4, post in Silver Efex Pro.

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