The Wall

Photography can be a fickle thing at times:  some projects involve countless hours of planning, execution, blood and sweat, while others seem to materialize out of nowhere and come together quickly.

I was recently in Toronto for a week of work that included a 3 day street photography workshop, a photo walk with my friends at Fujifilm Canada, a day of private education with a student and a few other meetings with some of my peers.  It was a busy week, productive and incredibly fun.  On my first night in the city I walked past a brightly lit wall on one of the busier city streets.   I love shooting silhouettes, so of course I had to stop and shoot for a few minutes.

Walls like this offer so many photographic opportunities:  slower shutter speeds (in this case anything below 1/125th) will catch the entire wall when it is lit, but when you speed up your shutter speed you will catch some lights on and some off as they cycle.  The magical thing about this is how random it is… you never really know when you are going to catch the lights on or off.   Add in the variety of people walking past and the rapidly changing weather that week and it became so much fun to shoot at this spot.  Each night I would spend 10 or 20 minutes at the wall, coming back to my hotel room with some frames that didn’t work and a few that I liked.  Post production on images like this is very quick, usually just a black and white conversation, possibly a crop and adjusting the contrast as required.

While this series came together quickly it is worth noting that it only happened because I found a good location while out wandering, and then I was willing to invest the time to go back to it repeatedly to make photos.  Never forget that photography is an active process, you need to be out there!

I hope you enjoy this short series.  Until next time,

Ian

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