Tuesday, June 22, 2010
The weekend before last, I went out to Austin to visit my old friend Stephen (and, coincidentally, to see the Back to the Future marathon at the Alamo Drafthouse). I spent a fair amount of time down near 6th street, and I can safely say Austin is a great place to do some street photography.
Probably my favorite photo of the trip though is this one. My friend has a big family -- a wife, two kids, four cats, two dogs, and maybe some other animals (I'm never quite clear on this). Naturally, I spent a fair amount of time photographing his family, particular his daughter Harper, who's in that stage where almost every picture of her is cute. Equally apparent to me is that while all these photos are sentimental, they aren't photos that interest me as photos. I still enjoyed taking them -- it's technically challenging to capture a fast-moving 2 year old, and there's the hope you manage to catch a candid of something a little more.
This shot did that for me -- I shot it because I was looking at the way Harper was framed, and how she had this relatively diffuse light streaming at her through the door, and a little contrast to her sister in the foreground. What I got was considerably more. Every element of this scene feels like a distinct place to me -- the toddler, the kid, the cat, and my eyes are forced to digest each little miniature scene.
Monday, June 21, 2010
I took this at the Fourth and King Caltrain station, which frequently has a lot of nice light. This was on an overcast afternoon, and I noticed that my 28mm was "acting up" as I shot into the light. I've complained about it before -- probably the worst Nikon prime I've ever owned, but also one of my favorite lenses. Here, there was a lot of "fogging" as I shot into a bright light, drifting into the frame and messing with the contrast. I felt like this was an interesting visual effect, and it ended up working for me here.
I guess a lens hood could help clamp down on this effect, but I almost never shoot with them, particularly when on the street -- I feel like they instantly make your camera more noticeable, and people start assuming you're some kind of professional. Not exactly what I want. On the other hand, if you're trying to sneak into an event, the lens hood might help you pass as someone who should have a press pass. ;)
Friday, June 4, 2010
I had the day off work today, and decided to go to a photo exhibition up in the city. Last week, it seemed like everyone and their uncle were blogging/buzzing/twittering about Fred Lyon, along with his exhibition at the recently moved Modernbook gallery. I'd unfortunately never heard of him, but I spent a few days correcting this deficit, and as it turns out, he's awesome.
He did a lot of shooting at a unique time in SF's history -- in the 40s and the 50s, when the city was really on the rise after WWII. He has a great eye for composition and "moment" (kind of putting him in that Cartier-Bresson frame of reference, I guess), and uses all the pieces of the SF landscape as the setting for his shots. That includes the cable cars, the Bridge, Coit Tower, the hills, and (of course) the fog. I had a chance to meet him tonight and get him to autograph my favorite photo from his book. Very nice guy, and he was kind enough to tell me that he felt like that there was a bond between everyone who was a street photographer. Also, that he couldn't wait to get done selling these books, so he could get out on the street and take some more pictures.
Exciting to hear, but discouraging to learn the photo disease may actually be incurable.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
I went on a date at this little Cuban place in Palo Alto last Friday called La Bodeguita. Pretty awesome food (though I can't vouch for whether it's "real" Cuban or not), with a bunch of different spices there than you normally taste around these parts. This guy was playing a guitar near the entrance, and I felt like he was in a special pool of light and he had one of those really textured, wonderful faces. Donated a dollar, and then snapped this one of him as he was focused on playing.
Had hoped to get some attention on his hands, but they weren't in the good light -- and so this is what came out.
 What, you don't bring your camera on dates?
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Caught this one from the Caltrain as I was leaving the Maker Faire. Love those shots from the train, since you see a lot of spontaneous stuff happening without people being aware of you. Also of note, see how warmly everyone is dressed? I think the Bay Area is hurtling away from the sun or something, since it's only just now getting warm.