While the main purpose of the trip was the GGB and Alcatraz this did not mean that I did not just walk the streets taking pictures. We had a blast just getting lost in this city, knowing Uber was just a few clicks away. Rain or shine we had an Uber in minutes which gave us the confidence to get lost a bit.
We had a few days of rain, which we did not mind in the least. As our English friends insist, there is no such thing as bad weather, just poor clothing choice! I love umbrellas in photos and the contrast that is added from rain. I took full advantage of this and have some wonderful shots thanks to it
One odd habit I have begun to do is to photograph the hotel rooms where we stay. The objective is not to capture the entire room, or even make it appear something that it is not. The objective is to capture the light that comes through the window and the feeling the shadows capture around the room. Some are converted to B&W while others are left in colors. Either way, very little editing is done.
Below you have our window on the 23rd floor of the Francis Hotel. I love the shadows and focused on keeping the highlights from being blown out and letting the shadows fall where they may. The end result is exactly what I had hoped for with all the detail of the sun behind the clouds and the light fall off being very natural.
I took the liberty of getting some general street shots. These are not real street photography but more of an architectural exploration of how the city is laid out. This helps remind me of the feel of walking through those streets and the fun we had.
While in San Francisco I stopped by the Leica shop in order to pick up a 28mm lens that I have had my eye on for some time. The shop itself was just next to the entrance of China Town and had some wonderful windows which looked out onto some old buildings. With the overcast day, the light pouring in was delicious so I had to take a few pictures of it. Again exposing for the highlights and allowing the shadows to fall where they may.
I took advantage of the rain and captured some images through bus windows or Uber windshields. Again, this is not about lazy photography but has to do with the emotion rain brings to a pictures. The sense of protection from the elements while others are out exposed.
Night did not bring and end to the images available, just the way I tried to capture them. I did not take out the tripod and focused on the city lights to illuminate the scene. High ISO shots are not usually my cup of tea, but sometimes they allow us to capture things we would otherwise miss.
Here there is a shot with medium ISO but a wonderful capture of the night life, a firetruck that was returning from a call and a fellow tourist capturing the image with a cell phone. I have several images of these scene including some taken before the fellow tourist showed up, but this is the one that I liked the most. I used to regret it when people walked into my scene and now I love it when they do.
Any city shots are screaming for a regular lens (50mm or so) as well as wide. While extreme wide angle shots can add some energy to a photo, I only use it sparingly as it becomes a tiresome crutch. Most of my shots were captured on the 28mm but this is because it was a new lens. A 35mm works wonderfully well.
I took my Leica M10 and M6 to ensure that my lenses could serve double function. I shot most of my keepers on 28mm, 50mm and 38mm with a handful at 90mm. In retrospect I would not have taken my tripod but I did enjoy taking the Hasselblad 500cm. This heavy camera stayed in the hotel the entire trip save for the day I went out to GGB. This is the best of both worlds, the detail that Medium Format files camera can give you without carrying the bulk all day.
Patrick...confirmed film & digital photography addict.