Friday, August 07, 2015

Published 10:22 AM by with 0 comment

Visiting San Diego: The Land of Photo Opportunity.

My daughter Tara moved to San Diego to go to college about a year ago. It was time to catch up with her so I planned a two-week visit. Of course, I can't go anywhere without my trusty Fujifilm X-T1 camera and California is always an exciting place to photograph.
Back in 2001, I became seriously interested in capturing images. My first love was video and I was an active filmmaker for quite a while. Tara was my "test subject", as we called it and she would willingly model for me through the years. She has always been at ease in front of my lens and she is quite beautiful to boot. We planned on doing something together while I was there.
My daughter Tara. It's always a treat to photograph her.

In the Heat of the Day
The only place to escape the 90-degree heat while I was in San Diego was by the Pacific Ocean. Tara and I found a bench and enjoyed some people-watching for a little while. I've never seen such a variety of dogs and tattoos in my whole life :)

Stepping Out
We were sure to put down our iPads and phones for a while and witness the beauty that is a California sunset. There was something gratifying about sharing a natural wonder with others. In this modern age, it almost feels quaint to just drive somewhere and watch the spectacular colors of a dying day. Yet, countless people take and make the time and, in that brief moment, we are all one, brothers and sisters witnessing the same phenomenon.

Quality of Light
Each time I'm in this area, I notice the unique feel of the light. Maybe it has something to do with the sun's angle or maybe it's simply the fact that every day is cloudless and bright. Whatever it is, i have a compelling desire to capture it.

The historic Old Town district in San Diego with its Spanish-style architecture, is a real treat for the eyes. It's a total tourist trap, of course, but I went during a week day so it wasn't so busy. There are plenty of things to shoot there that are devoid of people. I am most interested in the broad variety of textured walls and odd-shaped structures. I say odd because I don't think I found a single building that was geometrically straight. No matter what way I held the camera, it still looked wrong. The X-T1 has a handy digital level so I had to put my trust in that.
San Diego is a feast for the photographic senses.
Something about this scene reminded me of South America, particularly the central figure.
The main thoroughfare through Old Town is abundant with antiques stores and restaurants. Each one adheres to a historic Spanish aesthetic. I was only there for a brief time one afternoon but I could quite literally spend days shooting photographs and all would have a unique look.
When I'm shooting architectural subjects, like the window below, it's really important for me to keep vertical lines straight. If they are converging in any way, the image is a failure in my mind. I'm aware of this at the moment of capture and find that the slightest bend of my knees can fix any flaw in the perspective.
The window of a quaint old store in Old Town.

The walls reminded me of white versions of the adobes I have seen in Sante Fe.
Tara is a busy young woman and I was in San Diego without a car. There were times when I had to fend for myself in her apartment but boredom is not a word that is ever in my vocabulary. I challenged myself to find interesting things to shoot. On this particular day, I chose one lens (35mm f1.4) and black and white as the medium.

The Fujifilm 35mm f1.4 is my favorite lens for creative shots.
Who doesn't like to take photographs of cats? I figure if I post a photo of a cute cat on Facebook it will yield a large amount of comments and likes, far more than I could ever get posting my "serious" work, lol :) Tara's cat Rocky is a wonderful specimen and I found her to be a most cooperative model.
Rocky looking regal.
Tara and I finally got around to doing a fun shoot with her friend Paige. In my new life on the road, I don't often have opportunities to photograph people. At one point, my main concentration was portraiture but I have now graduated, by necessity, to mostly landscape work.
I wanted to do something creative with the girls, something that would satisfy my need to experiment and their need to have fun fashion-style shots. They were both open to all my concepts so the resulting photos were really satisfying. The fact that they were so comfortable made my job easier and the ideas flowed more readily.
For this first shot, I wanted to do something with a mirror I saw in Tara's apartment. When I look at the finished photograph, I feel like I'm looking through the window of a Greyhound bus. These two strangers look like they are at the beginning of a journey with an uncertain future. Despite the fact that Paige's face is brighter, my eye is drawn to Tara's confrontational gaze in the middle of the frame. For me, the choice of black and white makes the story a timeless one.

For the remaining shots, I wanted to do a combination of intimate portraits, playful interaction between friends and whimsical fashion shots outside. My models loved the resulting images so, for me, it was a success.

Selections from a photoshoot with Tara and her friend Paige.

It was great to see Tara and we spent a lot of quality time just talking and experiencing the wonderful scenery in and around the Pacific Beach area. I was careful to keep my camera in its case most of the time but, when I was let loose with it, I was like a kid in a candy store.

My Adobe Spark (formerly Slate) presentation of this post is available here

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