Los Angeles street photography with the Fuji X100F – Part two

Note: This is part two of a two part series featuring street photography from a recent trip to Los Angeles. To view part one click HERE.

As I was getting everything together for this article I happened to look back on my blog posts for this year and was surprised to see how much street photography I have posted.  I consider myself a candid and documentary photographer, which to me is an encompassing term that includes my street work, my travel work, my candid wedding photography and of course the education I provide.  In previous years, I put a lot of effort into ensuring that I always presented a balanced mix from the above genres on this site, but in 2017 there has definitely been more of a focus on new gear and street photography.  I think this is a direct result of something that I read late last year:

“Just be. Let your true nature emerge. Don’t disturb your mind with seeking.”

When I first read this I interpreted it to mean, in the context of my photography, that I should allow myself the space to shoot whatever speaks to me right now (client work notwithstanding of course) and to spend 2017 allowing my creativity and my vision to guide my work.  I think it is important for photographers to seek out new knowledge, but I also think it is important sometimes to step back and let your creativity guide you at times too.  This is what I have been focusing on his year.

I am planning upcoming trips to Europe and California in the fall which will provide a lot of new travel content for this site, but the truth is that when I am left to my own devices street photography speaks to me more than anything else right now.  It isn’t a new genre for me, I have always shot it, but this year it is giving me so much satisfaction as an artist.  I don’t need anything but my camera and a good pair of shoes.  I can shoot it almost anywhere, at anytime, with little to no planning.  It is the antithesis of much of the client driven work I produced for years and I know the gains I make on the street this year are benefiting all of the other aspects of my photography too.

And, to be a street photographer who has the opportunity to travel often to places like Los Angeles? It is an amazing thing.

So, with that said, here is part two of my LA street photography series from my recent family trip in March.  As I mentioned in part one of this series, my shooting time was very limited on this trip, so all of the images in both parts of this series are much more spur of the moment shots than I usually take.

In my next blog post I will be writing about the process of editing a body of work for a small gallery showing Fujifilm asked me to do.  Stay tuned!

Cheers,

Ian

Los Angeles Street Photography with the Fuji X100F – Part One

Los Angeles.  The Angels.  The City of Angels.   La La Land.  Tinseltown.  LA.  The Entertainment Capital of the World.  Whatever you choose to call it, there is no denying that Los Angeles is an epic city to visit.  It is a place that has a soul.

I was in Los Angeles in March to spend some time in the sun after a prolonged and cold winter, and to give my girls time to enjoy the city, Universal Studios and of course a few days at Disneyland.  As always, I managed to sneak in a few hours of street photography here and there, including a day spent with fellow Official Fujifilm X Photographer Rinzi Ruiz in downtown LA.

I recently found  time to edit and process the images I shot during that trip, which I am happy to finally share with you in this two part series.  All images were shot as jpegs on a pre-production copy of the Fujifilm X100F, with a little post processing in Lightroom as needed.  If you are curious about my configuration and camera settings for street photography you can read about them HERE.

Before we get to part one of this series I’d like to share a few quick thoughts if that is ok:

First:  It is important to always try to create balance in your life.  This trip was very much about spending quality time with my family, but they know how important my photography is to me so we always strive to balance family time with my need to shoot.  I love them for that.

Second:  My style of shooting changed a bit for this trip.  I am usually a patient photographer, often waiting up to an hour for the right subject or the right light.  Because I was time limited on these short excursions, however, I found myself shooting in a more reactive and less methodical manner than I normally do.  I think it is good to come out of your comfort zone from time to time.  It makes you a better photographer.

Finally:  This trip, and some of the international attendees at my workshops this summer, serve as a great reminder to me of how small the world really is now.  It is an honour to represent Fujifilm as an Official Fuji X Photographer and to be in a peer group with amazing artists like Rinzi, people who I can connect with during my travels all over the world.  I am also so appreciative of the friendships that I have made with people from around the world through the Fuji community.  I count myself fortunate to know so many of you.

I hope you enjoy these images.   Part two of this series can be viewed HERE.

Until then,

Ian

The Magic of Light

The further I travel down the photography rabbit hole, the more light fascinates me.  When I started as a photographer I shot landscapes, and like many others, I scheduled my shoots to nail the golden hours of sunrise and sunset.  When I was focused on portraiture, I used off camera lighting extensively to create whatever look I or the client felt was appropriate for the image.  Both of these genres, however, were still subject driven for me:  the epic vista, the beautiful model, it was all about finding my subject first and then working light into the scene.

I would say that 90% of my photography is now candid in nature, with the majority of that being wedding and street photography.  While it goes without saying that at weddings the subject and the moment are the most important things to capture (aided by amazing light whenever possible), it is also true that more and more I am finding that the rest of my photography is driven by light these days.  I am enthralled with the way light sculpts a subject, with the shadows that it creates, with its colour and texture and with the depth it can bring to an image.

Light can tell a story all by itself.

When I teach, I find the number one request from my students is to learn how to see light better when they are composing a candid image.  I love the “ah-ha” moment that comes when a student really see light for the first time, when they learn how to incorporate it into their compositions, or when they realize how amazing shadows can be.  I think it is analogous to how an emerging portrait photographer learns how to light a subject:  at first new photographers often go overboard, nuking their subjects and eliminating all shadows, but with practice they learn how to shape the light, direct the light, and how to use the light to create shape and nuance in an image.  I love this quote from John Loengard, a picture editor at Life magazine, who once said:

”If you want something to look more interesting,

don’t light all of it.”

I think this quote is the key to successfully telling stories through the use of light.  Great light draws the eye and gives shape and depth to a photograph.  It is a language that can be learned.

Here is a short photo essay of images that exist because I saw the light first.  Some I have posted before in other essays, many are new, but all exist because of the light.  These images were taken exclusively with Fujifilm X series cameras (The X-Pro2 and the X100F), using the Classic Chrome and Acros film simulations.  The combination of beautiful light and Fuji colours is amazing.  I just love it.

One final comment:   I recently took a hiatus from writing for a few weeks, despite the fact that I have several articles in draft mode including new Los Angeles street photography posts, new wedding photography and some more thoughts on the Fujifilm X100F.  I found myself, however, experiencing a malaise with my writing.  When these artistic lulls hit I find there are two approaches you can take:  you can either push through and shoot like crazy (hoping for a breakthrough), or you can take a break and refocus your creative energy on other tasks.  I chose to take the latter approach with my writing this month and I am so happy that I did.  I am refreshed now, inspired, and looking forward to sharing a lot of new content with you over the summer (including some tips from my workshops on working with light in the candid setting).

Stay tuned!

Cheers,

Ian