San Francisco with the XT1

Discussion in 'Scenic, Architecture, and Travel' started by Ray Sachs, Mar 1, 2014.

  1. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs FujiXspot Veteran

    485
    Feb 1, 2013
    Near Philadephila
    I'm spending a week in the Bay Area. After a brutal winter (still going strong) in the Philly area, a bit of sunshine and warmth is what the doctor ordered. I've got the XT1 with the 14, 18, 23, and I grabbed a 55-200 at the last minute so I could get some reach without having to bring m43 gear also. Today, I shot mostly with the 14, a bit with the 23, and a tiny bit with the 55-200. I'm going to have to lean on the 23 some more going forward. That lens has a bit of that magical quality that some lenses just have - I started discovering it while processing some of these this afternoon...

    Here are a few from the first day - I'll try to post a few each day, assuming I get a few each day. The forecast called for rain most of today. Instead it was sunny and mid-60s - almost too hot for a guy who was walking his dog in single digits yesterday before heading to the airport! My daughter is here for the first few days and today we just walked around playing tourist and hit some of the key tourist spots...

    23mm:

    12867768784_71cc71db1f_b.
    San Francisco by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    12867765814_46f77f867b_b.
    San Francisco by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    14mm:

    12867328365_856b66dcd1_b.
    San Francisco by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    12867761574_65f19ebe29_b.
    San Francisco by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    12867756724_1158c093d9_b.
    San Francisco by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    12867402403_0caaa54047_b.
    San Francisco by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    12867310525_f0cf459af6_b.
    San Francisco by ramboorider1, on Flickr

    55-200:

    12867398883_0848187fac_b.
    San Francisco by ramboorider1, on Flickr
     
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  2. BobbyT

    BobbyT Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 31, 2013
    Louisville, Ky
    Bobby Tingle
    Agreed with what you said about the 23mm. Excellent work on the photos.
     
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  3. Stephen S

    Stephen S FujiXspot Veteran

    351
    Feb 14, 2014
    East Bay, Northern California
    Stephen Scharf
    Ray, these are great.

    Wish I knew you were going to be in the Bay Area....I would grabbed my X-Pro1 and come out and shot with you.

    Love the shots of "The Painted Ladies". Agreed the 23 is magical.
     
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  4. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs FujiXspot Veteran

    485
    Feb 1, 2013
    Near Philadephila
    Those aren't the well known Painted Ladies, seen from Alamo Square - or do locals refer to all of the pretty old Victorian row houses as painted ladies? These were just various impressive residences all over the city.

    I'm here several more days, but tomorrow is pretty booked with my daughter around...

    -Ray
     
  5. EasyEd

    EasyEd FujiXspot Rookie

    22
    Feb 1, 2013
    Hey All,

    Nice images all. Really sharp - really wonderful! On some I've no idea what the deep meaning for mankind purpose was but the last one with the 55-200 is - in my opinion - by far and away the best image of all of them. What an absolutely incredible statement - especially if you were to cut off the upper 20% or a bit less of the image. New topographics is one of my very favorite photography "themes" and this image "fits" - really well done.

    -Ed-
     
  6. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs FujiXspot Veteran

    485
    Feb 1, 2013
    Near Philadephila
    No "deep meaning for mankind purpose" - mostly just walking around playing tourist, taking tourist shots. The exceptions may be the topiary shot and the B&W, which I sort of like as images rather than just pictures of pretty stuff. But sometimes pictures of pretty stuff is what I'm after..... particularly after a dreary and cold winter and suddenly being outdoors in really comfortable weather! I was so jazzed by the sunshine I was pretty happy just taking photos of the sunny day... Glad you like that one, though - I was trying for a few different shots like that but that was arguably the only one that worked at all... I'm not much of a telephoto shooter., but this city lends itself to that kind of compressed landscape pretty well...

    -Ray
     
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  7. LoFi

    LoFi FujiXspot Regular

    35
    Mar 3, 2013
    Austin, TX
    Eliot
    I feel like I want to see a bit more top n btm to the flower shot(but it's still gorgeous)
    The boat shot feels..... Cluttered? I dunno.
    I love all the rest, especially the staircase shot!!!
     
  8. EasyEd

    EasyEd FujiXspot Rookie

    22
    Feb 1, 2013
    Hey All,

    Upon studying the last image further maybe having the top 20 odd % works. Ray I am an ecology type (forestry, prairie ecology and management, wildfire management etc) by trade and training - multiple degrees. The fundamental linkage between mankind and nature is a theme that I love. new topographics is - in a sense - all about that. Look at that last image the blandness of basically white structures and look at what we have relegated nature to. it is a great image and the top maybe adds to it hinting that maybe there are wildlands still out there.

    The point is that this is the "level" at which I tend and I mean tend to judge everyone's photography. Why did you take the image? What are you trying to say? Your last image speaks volumes that maybe - no offense intended - you didn't realize.

    If you've any interest perhaps consider exploring this site: http://newlandscapephotography.com/

    Anyway 11 days ago was my birthday and today I bought the 55-200. I look forward to using this lens as where I live I often "see" images but cannot zoom by foot either way enough to "lose" the bad edges. I've always wanted either 1) more megapixels for cropping or 2) a longer lens to "crop" the edges another way. I still want more than 16 mp in a Fuji but this lens helps. I hope they get to 21 -24 eventually. One thing for certain I have committed to Fuji and I think Aps-C to be the perfect compromise sensor.

    -Ed-
     
  9. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants Solving for X

    718
    Jul 28, 2013
    Beautiful, Ray.
     
  10. Mikey

    Mikey FujiXspot Veteran

    277
    May 15, 2013
    Louisville, KY
    Awesome shots, Ray! I especially like the facades.
     
  11. Davoe

    Davoe FujiXspot Regular

    33
    Feb 14, 2014
    NorCal
    Beautiful shots, Ray. Really represents great parts of the city. Can you share a few details, film mode, raw, main tweaks?
     
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  12. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs FujiXspot Veteran

    485
    Feb 1, 2013
    Near Philadephila
    Hi Davoe,

    I normally shoot raw only, and I'm sure once Adobe releases the Lightroom update with the Fuji film mode profiles, I'll go back to shooting raw only. But since raw from this camera isn't supported yet and I'm using DNG converter on the raws, I"m shooting raw + jpeg for now and generally using the Velvia emulation for the jpegs, at least on such a beautiful sunny day as we had yesterday. Some of what was posted comes from the raw, some from the Velvia but outside of the flowers being from Velvia, I'm not sure which are which... I process in Lightroom and then run everything through Color Efex Pro (or Silver Efex Pro for B&W) and add somewhere between nothing other than borders and a touch of vignette to all sorts of filters in combination to create different lighting and texture effects. Once I've done that, there's no record of it and I never remember, so I just cook to taste and never seem to write down the recipes...

    -Ray
     
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  13. SnapDawg

    SnapDawg FujiXspot Veteran

    276
    Dec 30, 2013
    behind an [X°]
    Ken
    Great series Ray, excellent work. I too like the last shot best.
    Keep them coming !
     
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  14. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs FujiXspot Veteran

    485
    Feb 1, 2013
    Near Philadephila
    Interesting perspective Ed, which is the primary reason I took the image - an interesting perspective! I don't want to take this too far OT, but I come at it from the perspective of an urban planner, my profession for about 30 years, now fading into the rear view mirror...

    First off, no offense taken - I'm grateful you took the time to break it down and share your thoughts. From that perspective, though, I see it a bit differently. Yes, from this visual perspective there is a "blandness of basically white structures" and token amounts of street trees and small parks that represent a token amount of nature (we could discuss the enormous parks elsewhere in the city as well). But I think the other shots I did of similar structures from the perspective of where they meet the street, of where they were designed to be seen FROM tell a very different story. There's obviously nothing bland about many of these structures when viewed from where they were designed to be viewed from. The combination of architectural elements, paint and color, AND trees and landscaping make this a very beautiful city with nature incorporated in a way that greatly enhances the built environment. Look at the photograph immediately before the one we're discussing and see the way the beautiful landscaping and curving stone stairs invite the eye (and the visitor) into this stately home. Seen from this perspective, from which it was designed to be seen and the perspective from which it is most often approached, it is anything BUT a bland white structure!

    My perspective is that by making dense cities livable and visually varied and attractive, we can keep ourselves in more concentrated areas and thereby maintain more and greater natural areas and wild-lands outside of our cities to be used for it's various uses, agriculture, recreation, and, yes, pure wilderness. The better a job we do on our cities, the more wilderness we can ultimately keep wild in the face of growing population. I'd say that a green suburb of two acre forested lots with a nice single house nestled into each lot would look from the air (or a distant hill) like a much more natural and green environment and yet that type of sprawling development with it's dependence on energy intensive transportation is what makes it more difficult to maintain the farmland and wilderness areas we need to survive as a species, both physically and spiritually....

    I hope you enjoy the lens! I don't see telephoto shooting primarily as a way to avoid "zooming with my feel" - I don't really see any lenses in that sort of utilitarian sense. I see different focal lengths as providing different perspectives on what we see and how we depict what we see. A wider angle tends to show more context and environment in addition to the primary topic of the shot. To me, a telephoto is all about compressed distance and space and a very different perspective than we tend to see with the naked eye (as is an ultra-wide angle lens). That's what drew you to comment on this shot in the first place, no? Not the convenience of me being able to shoot this street/hill without walking to it, but the odd perspective created by the reach of the lens. As noted, I'm not much of a tele shooter personally, but I like having one in my bag...

    I too see APS and m43 (nearly indistinguishable from an IQ standpoint) as a pretty great sweet spot between sensor quality and body/lens size. But others have other perspectives and I've tried pretty much everything, so I use what I like but don't see of the other options as a worse choice - just a worse choice for me....

    Have a good one,

    -Ray
     
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  15. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 8, 2013
    NW corner of CT
    BB
    Saw these last night, Ray - love the green, the colors, the architecture and the sunshine! I envy you your walking there! My favorite is your last one - it's great to see that part of the city and those green trees are remarkable - especially as I sit here looking at the snow.:drama:

    Have fun with your daughter!
     
  16. EasyEd

    EasyEd FujiXspot Rookie

    22
    Feb 1, 2013
    Hey All,

    Ray I see your point about densification and can see the reality of it's necessity. But I grew up on farms and ranches in Montana - I can't live in that environment. Too crowded too manicured - and yes I don't much like English gardens. I'll put it this way if I can't take a leak in my backyard it's too crowded. But returning to photography.

    What drew me to your image was not compressed distance or colour or even composition - but subject matter. If the subject matter is there then all those other things come into play. All those other elements have one purpose - to help express the subject. I can't tell you how many photos I see where my instinct says pretty but no depth or purpose. Now don't misunderstand I like pretty and look at lots of pretty images too but too many of those images is like eating too much candy - tasty but leaves you hungry for something else. At the end of a bout with pretty I almost always end up needing to pull a book of the shelf of new topographics images or my favorite - those taken by the FSA photographers. Others probably go find a book by Diane Arbus or some street photographer. Like art I guess it often just comes down to what really fills you up.

    As for zooming with your feet - sometimes you simply can't and that is where long and short lenses can help you. Also distance compression doesn't have to happen if you use a foreground element. Anyway really nice images - victorian architecture is beautiful and San Fran is full of it as are towns like Eureka where the famous Carson Mansion is.

    I see where you use velvia a lot I'm going to have to use it more as provia is a bit bland. Do you use a lot of "in camera" settings like colour, sharpness, etc?

    -Ed-
     
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  17. CaptZoom

    CaptZoom FujiXspot Regular

    166
    Mar 22, 2013
    [mention=24137]Ray Sachs[/mention]
    A fantastic set of images and interesting post processing techniques. Some of the images look like HDR (but not Tone Mapped).
    One in particular stands out (for me). I can't stop looking at it- soaking it in. This is about as high a praise as I can give (images are rarely evocative for me):
    The rich textures, the layers of white, the play with lines and curves make for a mesmerizing blend. I really like it. I wonder how the image would be effected with just a hint of distortion correction.

    Thank you for sharing.
     
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  18. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 8, 2013
    NW corner of CT
    BB
    Thanks for pointing out that image, Capt - it's almost hyper real as though we're standing right there...and are part of someone's film.
     
  19. Armanius

    Armanius FujiXspot Top Veteran

    691
    Feb 1, 2013
    Texas
    Muttley
    Nice Ray! 5 and 6 feel like "home" for me, because the wife and I have been there so much. Probably the most visited place for the two of us as a couple (Bay Area and the Wharf itself).
     
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  20. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs FujiXspot Veteran

    485
    Feb 1, 2013
    Near Philadephila
    Thanks for the kind words. I didn't treat that image much differently than most. A bit of the highlight and shadow sliders (which I guess plays up the DR), a touch of "clarity" (but a little goes a LOOOOOONG way!), then over to Color Efex Pro, but I don't think I did much to this one there. I think this one is just a classic Fuji interaction between this great lens and the Velvia emulation. I did just a few with the 23 yesterday and each one of them really caught my eye during processing and I think part of it is just a really special lens. I did a lot more with it today, but the light was a LOT tougher to work with - I haven't looked at the results yet, but I'm not terribly optimistic...

    I never seem to mess with things like distortion correction unless I'm shooting ultra wide and it's REALLY off. Something like this I wouldn't even think about it. To the extent it would be any different, I think the difference would be extremely subtle. To the point that I probably wouldn't notice, which is why I don't notice a problem to correct in the first place...

    -Ray
     
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