Every now and then we need to take a time out from our day to day lives. We need to re-charge, feed our soul, and do whatever it is that makes us happy. For me, this means getting on a plane and going to San Francisco, a city I photograph often and feel at home in.
I absolutely love San Francisco. I love staying in the same hotel every time I go. I love the people. I love waking up to the sounds of the cable cars in the morning. I love the food. I love walking along the ocean, even though I live on the same ocean here in Vancouver. And, above all, I love shooting street photography in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Unlike many cities that have small cultural communities, the Chinatown in San Francisco is the largest one in North America and the largest Chinese community outside of Asia. It has a vibe and a culture, especially once you get off the well travelled tourist streets. It is a fabulous location for shooting street photography.
I travelled extremely light this trip, taking just the Fuji X-Pro2 with the 35mm f/2 lens on it. I added a 16mm wide angle lens in one pocket of my jacket, a few extra memory cards and batteries in another, and I was good to go.
I think it is fair to say that most of my street photography is processed in black and white. Street photography for me is about capturing the moment, the gesture, and the feel of the scene. I am almost always of the mindset that if colour doesn’t add anything to a street photograph that it is best viewed in black and white.
This trip was different, however, because the light was amazing the entire week I was there. At mid day the light was hard and bright and there were brilliant shadows cutting through the streets. Earlier and later in the day the light was soft and beautiful. The colours in San Francisco’s Chinatown are vibrant, but they were especially beautiful when combined with the light I had this week so I decided to shoot the entire set in Fujifilm’s Classic Chrome film simulation.
I also decided to spend time this trip working on getting closer to my subjects. Every photograph in this blog post (except for the one in the intersection above) was shot from less than 10 feet away from my subject, and most were shot within 5 feet. Most were captured using manual zone focusing which allowed me to move quickly through the city streets and react to a scene instantly. With a light gear pack, manual zone focusing, and brilliant light it was easy to spend hours at a time just walking, observing, and occasionally shooting. The week flew by, and I came home with a set of images I truly enjoyed making. More importantly, I am re-charged and ready to tackle a busy holiday season.
This post and the photographs below are the first of two posts featuring new street work from this trip. I hope you like the images as much as I enjoyed taking them.
Part two of this series can be viewed HERE.