The Streets of San Francisco – Part Three

“If you’re alive, you can’t be bored in San Francisco.  If you’re not alive, San Francisco will bring you to life… San Francisco is a world to explore.  It is a place where the heart can go on a delightful adventure.  It is a city in which the spirit can know refreshment every day.”  – William Saroyan

I’m working on this post while sitting on a balcony in Hawaii, looking out over the ocean while I write.  My wife is reading, my daughter is playing and I just finished a photowalk.  Life is good, and it got me thinking…

In the last 12 months I have spent time in Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Toronto, Amsterdam, Paris and now, Hawaii.  A few of these trips have been for family vacation, but most were photography related (either teaching workshops or creating work for upcoming projects).  I’ll be home for a few months now, giving me time to catch up and enjoy springtime in Vancouver and then I’ll be heading back to Paris to teach a street photography workshop in July.

I’m incredibly fortunate for this life  that I lead.  No, that isn’t right.  I am incredibly fortunate for this life that I built.  It was only a few years ago that PTSD, a gift from decades of working as a paramedic, had a hold on me. It was a turning point though, one that set me on my current path that I wouldn’t change for anything.  Now my time is spent shooting, teaching, writing, working with my amazing clients, traveling and perhaps most important of all… ensuring a proper balance of work and time with my family.  I know I am rambling a bit here, but I’m feeling pretty grateful right now and maybe…. just maybe… this post can serve to inspire someone else to make a change they want to make in their own life.

How does this relate to San Francisco?  The photos in this four part series were made on a trip there in January, and I consider a couple of them amongst my best work.  Not all of them, but one or two will go into my portfolio for sure.  I was able to visit this city, and make these photos, because I changed my life.  That’s a pretty cool thing.

So, here is part three in this ongoing series featuring new street work from San Francisco….

To view Part TWO of this Series click here.

To view Part FOUR of this Series click here.

The Streets of San Francisco – Part Two

“San Francisco itself is Art.  Every block is a short story, every hill a novel.  Every home a poem, every dweller within immortal.” – William Saroyan

For me, there is no quote that describes San Francisco better than this one.  Every day I am there I start shooting  early, as the sun rises, eager to explore.  This isn’t a big city, but in the blink of an eye the sun has set and I have walked over 20 kilometres.  My feet are sore, I am mentally and visually exhausted from shooting for so long, but I can’t bring myself to head back to the hotel because there is just so much to see and discover.  This is a city full of life, a city that embraces you, and there is always one more block to explore, one more corner to turn, one more person to meet, one more photo to take.

Being a photographer in San Francisco is a wonderful thing.  Here is another series of street images from my most recent trip there…

Note:  The next photograph has a funny story:  I pass through this tunnel on my way to Chinatown often and these steps have always intrigued me as a vantage point for a new photo.  I finally made this one, which I like, but something felt off about it as soon as I clicked the shutter… like it felt familiar.  It wasn’t until days later that I realized that my good friend Valerie Jardin had made a photo from this spot, which was published in one of her recent books.  I was going to just delete it, but I think I will leave it here as an homage to a friend.

All images in this series were shot with Fujifilm X Series cameras, either the X100F or the X-Pro2 (using either the 23mm f/2 or the 50mm f/2 lenses). I can’t think of any other camera system I would want with me on the streets of a city like San Francisco, or anywhere else for that matter. 👍

To view Part One of this Series click here.

To view Part THREE of this Series click here.

Toronto Street Photography Part One – Sunshine

In July I spent a week in Toronto on business:  a 3 day street photography workshop, a photowalk with my friends at Fujifilm Canada, meetings, and a day of private instruction with a student.  It was a whirlwind trip, to say the least.

When I teach, I rarely take photos as I am of the belief that my students should be the ones creating the images unless I am demonstrating something specific.  Experiential learning is so important to a student’s development, and every photo that I don’t take is one that I can help a student create instead.  Still, I did manage to grab an occasional frame during the week, mostly during walks between meetings, after each workshop day, or during quick meal breaks.  That last part is so important: never forget to carve out a few minutes here and there with a camera in your hands doing what you love.

Now that the summer rush is over I finally have time to get to these images.  This blog post will feature a few photographs taken during the sunny summer weather you’d expect in Toronto.  Don’t think of them as a series though, they really are just small snippets of life observed as I walked around the city.  We also had a few hours of torrential rain, however, and part two of this series will feature a few photos from that.

All of these images were taken with either the Fujifilm X100F or the X-Pro2 (usually with the 50mm f/2 lens).  All processing was done using either the Classic Chrome film simulation (colour images) or Acros+R (black and white images).

Talk soon!

Ian