The Sun Still Shines…

I will remember the winter of 2020 as a long, dark period; one marked by feelings stirred up while helping others through their struggles and by the death of my father.  The long winter continues now of course, fuelled by the daily onslaught of COVID-19 related news and the cancellation this week of a family vacation to Disneyland (we were to touch down in LA the day they announced the park closures).

All of this can seem like a lot, can’t it?  Especially when you consider that we humans are wired with a negative bias (our DNA is still watching out for Saber-toothed Tigers), which means that it is easy to become overwhelmed by all of these negative feelings if we allow it to happen.  

Amongst the chaos of life’s challenges, however, there are still opportunities to find peace and simple moments of joy.  Such was the case earlier this year, when I finally had the chance to get away and be a photographer again.  I spent a few days in a city that I love, spending time with my amazing wife and with my photography friends.  I felt the sun on my face, I relaxed and watched the world go by, I dined with friends, and I made photos again with intention and purpose.  It was a wonderful reminder that no matter how dark the winter is… the sun will always shine again.

Even now, at a time when we should all be making realistic modifications to our daily lives to help slow the spread of COVID-19, the sun will continue to shine.  I won’t be travelling again for a while, but there are ways that I can find moments of joy while still doing my part to protect the herd and keep pressure off of our health care system:  I can spend time with my family, shoot landscapes, process old photos, read books, play guitar, re-watch old movies, go out and enjoy my city in a way that respects social distancing, do yoga, etc.

No matter how dark the winter is… the sun will shine again.

So, keep your hands clean my friends.  Don’t use hand rails when going up stairs.  Try not to touch your face while you are out and about.  Stay home if you feel ill.  Stay 6’ away from people when you can.  Perhaps phone or Skype at risk family members and friends rather than visiting them face to face for a little while (remember, you can be an asymptomatic carrier).  Understand that these common sense actions aren’t just about keeping you safe, they are about protecting the herd and our health care system.  They are about protecting immunocompromised people.  They are about protecting pregnant people.  They are about protecting our elderly who have co-morbidities.  After all, we are in this together, right?

Most importantly though:  Be purposeful in deriving joy from your life and your art, even during these troubled times.  No, especially during these troubled times.  Don’t let your passion get drowned out by negative bias or by the onslaught of news that the media sends our way.  Use common sense, but always let the sun shine in… for all winters come to an end.

And with that, I shall leave you with some new photographs.  I hope you like them.

Best wishes,

Ian

A Photographic Return to San Francisco

I start every year with a trip to San Francisco, a city that I have written about many times in the past.  It is a place I go to re-charge, to visit friends, to get inspired and, of course, to make new images.

Just before my last trip there I happened upon the following quote:

“I walk,

I look,

I see,

I stop,

I photograph.”

– Leon Levinstein

This perfectly sums up how I feel about San Francisco now.  I never make detailed plans when I am in the city, choosing instead to wander randomly for hours at a time.  I may shoot street photography for a few hours, grab a meal, then hop a bus somewhere to spend my evening making a new blue hour cityscape.  On other days I sit by the water and write for a while, then spend the afternoon focusing on making portraits.  There are also many days where I just put the camera away and live in the moment.  It is an instinctual, mindful, wonderful way to approach photography.  I walk, I look, I see, I stop, I photograph.  And, I always come home inspired to tackle the year ahead of me.

Here is an eclectic mix of new images from the city by the bay.  Everything here was taken with a Fujifilm X-T3 and the 23mm f/2 lens.  It’s all I need.

Best wishes,

Ian

The Streets of San Francisco – Part Four

“Leaving San Francisco is like saying goodbye to an old sweetheart.  You want to linger as long as possible.”  – Walter Cronkite

Years ago, when I first started going to San Francisco,  I focused on shooting iconic landmarks:  the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge, the view of the city from Twin Peaks, Coit Tower, Alcatraz, Crissy Field, Fort Point, The Presidio, Cupid’s Span, the waterfront and the beaches… the list goes on and on.

Over the years I have definitely felt a change though; those early photo focused trips have given way to unplanned days spent exploring with no agenda.  San Francisco is a remarkable city, full of charm and it is the simple things now that bring me joy and inspire me to shoot.  I am content to feel the energy on the streets, meet the people and find beauty in the day to day life of this city that I love so much.  San Francisco is like an old friend now.

With that said, here is the final set of images from January’s trip.  Until next time, my friend.

Cheers,

Ian

To view part three of this series click here.