Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’

It’s been a long long time since I had a chance to post. Work and family had kept me fairly busy. Still had a bunch of backlog of pictures I had taken in the past couple of years that have not been edited. Likewise, I did had a chance to post some of them up on Flickr. Just didn’t have any chance to write about them.

Even though I haven’t been shooting, I still have been doing some reading about street photography. Especially some blog post by Eric Kim. One of the skills I’m always timid to try was approaching people and ask them for their portrait. One of my buddy recently moved back to the States. He’s the one I blogged previously about how I got started in photography. With the recent passage of the equal rights marriage on Friday and the Pride Parade happening on Sunday, it was just as good of a chance to dust off my Leica and go hang out and shooting with my buddy. Likewise, there would be ample opportunities to mingle with the people as well as people that are just dressed for the occasion.

To make sure I work on the goals I set out to do, I brought only 1 camera and 1 lens. I choose to bring the 35mm f/1.4 Summilux so I can get up close to the people I’m shooting. Likewise, the Leica M240 since shooting in color was a must for such an event. I did contemplate about bringing my film Leica as a backup camera, but I know I’ll end up focusing too much on which frames I want to shoot and miss all the decisive moments.

I had 2 criteria I set out to do.

  1. Talk to people before I shoot. Looking to get the eye contact in the camera.
  2. Add multiple layers of complexity in the composition.

I can’t say I achieved it in all the frames, but overall it was a good experience.  Likewise, all the folks were beautiful, wonderful, and very friendly subjects.

Enough blabbering.  Here are the photos and commentary.  Remember, you can always click on the photos for larger image and camera settings off my Flickr account.  All photos were only lightly retouched and/or cropped in Lightroom.

Love Won
Love Won

This was the first frame I captured right off the Powell Bart station.  It was a good start to the theme of the rest of the day!


The other trending theme of the day.  Lots of vibrant colors and jovial groups of people.

Ahead Merging
Ahead Merging

For those that have followed the blog or seen some of my work.  I like to shoot streets.  Literally.  With the right angle, they are visually appealing (Well, to me anyways).  Likewise, be able to find something that always conveys the theme of the Pride Parade.  We are finally merging all diversity and creating equality.

Selfie Stick
Selfie Stick

Now days, you wouldn’t be able to go to any events or destinations without seeing one of these.  But for this couple, I’m sure the selfie sure will create lasting memories!

All Ages Welcome
All Ages Welcome

It was a great sight to see how true the statement on the banners says.  EQUALITY WITHOUT EXCEPTION.  This is truly crossing not only gender, race, orientation, but even AGE!

 Wrap Around
Wrap Around

There were plenty of Rainbows!

Disco Inferno
Disco Inferno

And Dancing!


And People


And More People


More Dancing

Shall We Dance
Shall We Dance

Even more dancing

No Turning Back
No Turning Back

This was one frame I really wanted to capture.  But I don’t think I was able to fully convey the multiple meaning in the photo.  The US rainbow flag was fully extended when the cable car wasn’t there.  As soon as the cable car passed by, the flag dropped.  The message I tried to show was Cable Car = SF.  US Rainbow flag = Equality with out exception.  One way Sign/No Turning back = we are finally progressing.


Here is yet another missed opportunity.  After taking this frame, I notice there was another couple to the right of them.  Both couples were arm in arm, very focus on the parade.  As soon as I got the picture I wanted framed up, a pink tutu girl on the cellphone stopped right in my frame blocking the arm position of the couples I try to capture.  When she finally walked away, both couples had already dropped their arms.

Black and White
Black and White

I wanted to capture a portrait of each of the LGBT.  Starting with this one. [L] It was the hat that drew my initial attention.  Further more, it was the contrast in the black and white shirt that created a sub-context of Racial equality.

All American
All American

[G]  This was a lovely couple.  Showing the true meaning of America, where equality is achieved in race and orientation.

Boogie Night
Boogie Night

[B] It was deliberate pose he did, showing it all.  I was playing on the store name behind him to insinuate “Peck Cashing”

Smoke a Fag (Brit)
Smoke a Fag (Brit)

[T] I intentionally put a controversial title for this photo.  He was very kind.  He even took a break from smoking to pose for me.  I only wished I had capture the full body in the frame.  He had on a lovely black 5 inch heel.


As I approach this gentle-lady and asked for a portrait, I was surprised on what happened next.  Though it was fitting with the face half veiled and the bottom exposed.

Thor’s Uncle
Thor's Uncle

Even Thor’s Uncle showed up.  It was fitting especially we’re in the Leather Alley “The Fetish Zone”!!

Hog Riders

It wouldn’t be a SF event with out the Police presence.  Especially one donning a black leather jacket.

Chasting the Law

And more police presence to make sure no Chasting of the Law happens!

Danke Schön

If you made it this far reading and viewing my photos.  I like to say Thank You!  This was an interesting capture as there were a plethora of street venders selling everything.  Funny part was you have these old Chinese ladies selling all exactly the same cereal, can food, juices.  While you have Mexicans selling bacon wrapped hot dogs.  Then you have the Brothers selling waters and beers out of igloos.

Anyhow, it was an eye opening experience for me.  This was an experience beyond what I originally setup out as a photography expedition.  I’m really glad I was able to participate as part of history and celebrate Diversity and Equality without Exception.  Likewise, I like to thank all the subjects that graciously allow me to capture their portraits.


As part of last minute planning, I was able to finally get away from the kids and enjoy a New Year Countdown with the wifey. I must say, with all the people at the Embarcadero in San Francisco, it was the most peaceful experience I had alone with the wifey in a long time. Of course, I had my trusty M9 and 35mm Summilux with me so shoot in lower light weren’t much of an issue. Knowing potentially large crowd, I wanted a wider lens and I also didn’t want to risk my Noctilux getting bumped while surfing through the crowd. Well, here are some snap shots I took.

The count down wouldn’t be a count down with out a cont down. No better count down then have the cross walk signs count it down for you.

Title: Count Down
Count Down

Likewise, it wouldn’t be any event in San Francisco without police presence. The next three photos show the full force!! Sucks to be the guy that pulled over right in front of the Ferry Building.

Title: Presence

Title: Sucks to be you
Sucks to be you

Title: 2

It wouldn’t be street photography if I didn’t capture any count downers on the street. Look for the duality of the scene!!

Title: Puff Puff
Puff Puff

Title: Pair

Last 2 shots should be viewed side by side as a set. I call it a mirror image of the bay bridge.

Title: Look

Title: Paint

And of course!! Happy New Year to everyone!! Hope everyone has a wonderful 2012 and continue to shoot lots and lots of photographs!!

Here ares some more Noctilux goodness. These were taken on Sunday in San Francisco ChinaTown. ChinaTow anywhere is always a great place for street photography. Plenty of interesting things and people to shoot. Not to mention the one in San Francisco is always filled with tourist with cameras. With proliferation of DSLR, it seems like almost everyone has one around their neck. This makes using a Leica a lot easier since it just doesn’t stick out! Well, maybe not in this case. A silver M9 with a Noctilux isn’t exactly small nor light. But it was the perfect lens for that day. It was overcast which allowed me to shoot mostly wide open at f/0.95. The only draw back was the rain. It was drizzling so most of the time, I had the camera tucked in my jacket until the decisive moment to whip it out, focus, and click. I also made the mistake of carrying a full size umbrella with me. This made moving around quite difficult. I found a way to secure the umbrella on my belt, but everytime I bend down to get a lower perspective, the damn thing gets caught on the street and falls over. Thus not too many shots were taken.

First on deck. This is call dedication or propaganda depending which “camp” you’re from. This was taken at that park right across from the Hilton. These are Falangong activist doing chi gong. What I found interesting was the rain gears!! and of course… Cue the Music!

Title: YMCA

This is probably my favorite of the set. This truly shows the amazing quality of the Noctilux. It’s ability to bring a 2 dimensional photography and gives it a surrealistic 3D look. It just pop! The composition key I used in this photo was contrast as well as using the white sign post and the white crosswalk stripes to frame the 2 main subject.

Title: 3D

With the recent Occupied Everywhere protest, there’s bound to be over abundant of trash everywhere.

Title: Occupied

Here is a shot of Henry standing in front of a red door with red brick wall. The red colors always shows great contrast in black and white photography. I snap this shot mianly for the directional sign juxtaposing Henry’s walking path.

Title: Confused

Here is another common theme that you will always see in ChinaTown. It’s not the news paper reading store owner or the abundance of Chinese herbal medicine. I thought Chinese herbal medicine has a cure or preventive for almost every ailments? I guess he must have skip a few bitter drinks?

Title: Rogaine

Last week was an exciting week.
On Wednesday, I started to see rumors circulating about the new Leica price increase. This was something I had heard a few month back, but nothing substantiating. Then I saw a tweet from Leica Rumor about a fairly confirmed price list increase that will start on January 1st.
Click here for the Leica Rumor post about the new price list

Knowing that I still have one more lens on my wish list that I wanted to add to my permanent collection, the rush is on to source that lens before the $500 price hike. Ok, maybe $500 hike isn’t that significant considering that the lens cost $10,495, but a hike is still a hike. Not to mention, buying a new copy of the lens is still as illusive as capturing the unicorn.

I already place a pre-orders a few month back at all the common places like Adorama as well as numerous others. All I ever get is a monthly backorder email. I knew to hunt the lens down will require more drastic measure. I decided to hit up Unique Photo in New Jersey. They’re the only online shop I found that lists Leica lenses ship in 1 – 3 weeks. Not to mention I lucked out with them last time when I ordered my silver 50mm Summilux. They were able to find and ship me one the next day!! So I placed the order knowing that they have a policy of charging the full amount first and you wait. With January 1st just a little over a month away, I figure this might lock me in to a lens in case they do get one.

Next morning. I got woken up by a phone call from the East coast. Last time with the 50mm Summilux, Unique Photo called me to confirm that I indeed placed an order for the 50mm Summilux because it was a high ticketed item. So I thought it might have been them again. I was still half awake. Instead, it was a call from ePhotoCraft. At first, I was quickly racking my brain on wtf is ePhotoCraft. Is this another one of those telemarketers? Instead, Eldar from ePhotoCraft said they got 2 Noctilux in, one is already sold, and see if I wanted the other one. Without any hesitation I said yes! As I jumped out of bed, my mind was racing. Trying to figure out WTH ePhotoCraft was. I quickly jumped on my computer and looked up ePhotoCraft. Everything was coming back. I remember googling Noctilux looking for the obscure photography store that I might be able to place a pre-order. This store came up in the 3rd or 4th page of search. The place seems like a legit brick and mortar Photography store in DC. They still listed the Noctilux for $9995!! And there was a specific link for pre-order!! So So I filled out their online form and seal my name on yet another waiting list. Not expecting that my number will ever be called.

So this morning call indeed turn out to be legit! As I discussed with Eldar on the phone on shipping method, I decided to fork over the dough for overnight. Two thoughts crossed my mind. If I had it overnight, it wouldn’t spend that much time bouncing around in the truck across the country and If the deal was indeed legit, I would find out the next day. With payment sent right away, the rest of the day was most restless. Waiting for the tracking number.
The tracking number finally show up in the system near the end of the day as I was leaving work. Looks like my lens should arrive any time the next day. Now it becomes a waiting game for the big brown truck!

Friday was painful. We had a special offsite at work that didn’t require me to get in until noon so I sat around all morning waiting for that truck. Knowing how irresponsible my local UPS delivery person is, I wanted to make sure I don’t miss this delivery. They UPS guy been known to leave package in random places around the driveway or not even walking up the stairs to ring the door bell. It doesn’t help that it was raining as well. Last thing I wanted to see is my crown jewel being soaked by the rain. As the clock tick on, no truck. By 11am, I had to leave for work. I forced my wife to stay home and stare out on the driveway to make sure big brown don’t miss us. I think I probably called and message my wife almost every hour while I was at work to see if it showed up. “Nothing” was the word of the day…
I knew my wife would have to go pick up the kid in the afternoon so as soon as I was able to leave the work offsite, I headed straight home to make sure someone was home. I continuously check the front door to make sure Mr. Brown didn’t do his usual thing. “Nothing”.

Shortly around 6pm, the wife called while on the way back from picking up the kid. There was a Big Brown truck next street over making a delivery. I asked her to follow it and don’t loose sight of him. With more common sense, she decline my idiotic request.

About 15 minutes later, I saw the big brown truck pulled up near my driveway. I literally ran out to greet him. YES~!! It’s here!!

This is not the first time I handled the Noctilux. I played with a few of them from the last f/1 to a couple f/0.95. But this time was different. This is MINE!!

Here is just couple shot of the unboxing.





Here are a few shots around the house. Since I got the lens right around dinner time, might as well make dinner my subject.

Title: Green Guts
Green Guts

Title: Fly Fish
Fly Fish

Title: 2 Dollars
2 Dollars

The next day, I had a chance to hit up a good Belgium eatery in the city for a late night snack. Frjtz.. If you’re a big fan of fries and crepe, this place is great!! Price is reasonable and food was excellent. Make sure you order the Mussels!! the ambiance was dark. Perfect to test out the Noct’s capability!!

Title: Good Eats
Good Eats

Title: Morning Fix
Morning Fix

Title: Cut Off
Cut Off

On Sunday, I was able to take the beast out for some walk around shots. It was raining so I want to make sure I didn’t want to get it wet. The good thing was it was cloudy so shooting wide open wasn’t an issue!!

I gather a couple friends to go shooting with me. We ended up in San Francisco China Town. Here is a Tryptych of Arvin shooting the shooter with his Leica M8.2 and Voitlander 50mm f/1.2

Title: Leica Tryptych
Leica Triptych

Since this post is getting long, I will do a separate post in a few days with the China Town pics!!

Stay Tune!

Leica Akademie just posted their 2012 schedule for 2012. Looks likes it’s going to be a very exciting year. I’m going to start blocking off my calendar so I can attend a few of these. Maybe in different cities.

Here is a snap shot from their website

Leica Travel Photography with Lonely Planet
Date: Venue: More Information:
January 21, 2012 Los Angeles, CA Click for more information
Leica M9 Owners
Date: Venue: More Information:
January 20, 2012 Los Angeles, CA Click for more information
March 9, 2012 New York, NY Click for more information
May 10, 2012 San Francisco, CA Click for more information
Leica M9 Shooting Experience
Date: Venue: More information:
November 4, 2011 Washington, DC Click for more information
February 17, 2012 San Francisco, CA Click for more information
March 3, 2012 Miami, FL Click for more information
March 14, 2012 Washington, D.C Click for more information
March 17, 2012 Houston, TX Click for more information
April 18, 2012 Austin, TX Click for more information
April 26, 2012 New York, NY Click for more information
May 5, 2012 Montreal Click for more information
Leica Compact Camera Photography
Date: Venue: More information:
March 9, 2012 San Francisco, CA Click for more information
March 15, 2012 Washington, D.C Click for more information
March 25, 2012 Los Angeles, CA Click for more information
April 27, 2012 New York, NY Click for more information
Leica Street Photography
Date: Venue: More information:
November 5, 2011 Washington, D.C. Click for more information
May 18-19, 2012 Washington, D.C. Click for more information
June 22-23, 2012 New York, NY Click for more information
July 20-21, 2012 Vancouver, BC, Canada Click for more information
August 3-4, 2012 Chicago, IL Click for more information
August 24-24, 2012 San Francisco, CA Click for more information
Leica Digital Black & White Photography
Date: Venue: More information
March 24, 2012 Los Angeles, CA Click for more information
May 17, 2012 New York, NY Click for more information
June 13, 2012 Washington, D.C. Click for more information
July 14, 2012 San Francisco, CA Click for more information
July 18, 2012 Seattle, WA Click for more information
August 10, 2012 Boston, MA Click for more information
Leica Weekends
Date: Venue: More information:
December 6-8, 2011 Miami, FL Click for more information
December 9-11, 2011 Miami, FL Sold Out
February 24-26, 2012 Las Vegas, NV Click for more information
March 30 – April 01, 2012 Palms Springs, CA Click for more information
April 20-22, 2012 New York, NY Click for more information
May 11-13, 2012 New York, NY Click for more information
June 15-17, 2012 Toronto, Canada Click for more information
July 20-22, 2012 Los Angeles, CA Click for more information
August 17-19, 2012 Denver, CO Click for more information
Leica Destination
Date: Venue: More Information:
April 23-26, 2012 Big Sur & Monterey, CA Click for more information
Leica Available Light Photography
Date: Venue: More Information:
March 02, 2012 Miami, FL Click for more information
May 16, 2012 New York, NY Click for more information
May 17, 2012 Washington, D.C. Click for more information
June 22, 2012 San Francisco, CA Click for more information
Contact: Leica Akademie

Phone: 201-995-0051

Here is the link to their website for more up to date information.

So here are couple abstract shots I took during Fleet Week. I know I’m jumping chronologically on my post but I didn’t want to start posting these abstract shots in comparison to my people shots.

Anyways, this first one is of a vendor stand. It was a hot day and I thought this would be a great opportunity to put some of my product shots experience into this to make it look like a soda ad. I will be doing more write up and pictures of some of my product shots in later blog posts.


This 2nd shot is part of my attraction to doors. If you been following my flickr or blog, you probably seen me shoot a bunch of doors. For some reason, I feel that different types of doors just create different type of opportunities and it’s always a mystery on what’s behind the door. It is hard to tell a story just by looking at the door, but a worn out door tells a story as well as a brand new door in vibrant colors. Hopefully I will collect enough doors to make it a set on my flickr one of these days. In the mean time, check out this door.


My next set of pictures will be abstract as well as landscapes. Stay tune!

Here are some more street shots from Fleet Week 2011 in San Francisco. These are just things I found interesting while walking around in the crowd.

I found his gesture as well as all the typography on his shirt and store front very fitting. It was a decisive moment!!

“Yesterday won’t slow me down because I’ve been blessed with Today, a New American!! Doh!!”

Here is another from the BART. I’m sure we see this a lot. But I just love the concentrated look on this women. Must have been a good book!

Not to talk Politics or if the title of this picture is PC or not. I must admit, I saw the shirt first. It was just ironic that a Black lady was wearing a black t-Shirt that depicted a “White” Obama. Then, considering how the economy is right now, I find this Obama ’08 slogan quite contradictory. I only wish she was standing next to a sign of Uncle Sam pointing fingers with “I WANT YOUR” “CHANGE”…


What drew me to this picture was something Will Palank told me during one of the Leica Academie Photo shoot. Always look for contrast. Whether it’s the basics like color, shape, etc. or more abstract like people. One of the example he gave was he would shoot a couple that has someone that’s tall standing next to someone that’s short.
Well, the first thing I saw when these couple was walking by was how straight up she was standing next to the gentleman with the walker. Of course, the age contrast, the race constrast. One thing I found interesting was how they both wore similar color pants and cloth.

I have couple abstract picture I shot that I’ll post up soon. Like I mention in the last blog post. I guess I’m taking Fleet Week as an opportunity to shoot people and not planes!!

Here are a couple street shots from last weekend as well as one shot I found digging through the Leica Akademie sets. These are all shot in downtown San Francisco.

I figure while waiting for Apple to let me spend money on the new iPhone 4s for the wife, I might as well update my blog.

I just converted these to BW in Lightroom.

This is a shot of a friend while hanging out at the local Hooters. It’s fairly dark inside.
M9 + 50mm Summilux


This was shot at a breakfast cafe. This old man was sitting at a bench near our table. I had to grab a quick shot since the contrast between the old and the kids picture as well as the multitude of head shots.
Another one shot with M9 + 50mm Summilux

Head Shots

This was a shot taken a few weeks ago during the Leica Akademie. The picture came to mind after I recently saw a video about Conflict photos and photographer shooting photographers. I actually saw the photo and film crew earlier on another street corner shooting a video as well as some stills. There were 2 models total then. As I walk around and settle in on a corner, I saw them again. This time with one model walking. I had my M9 with the Noctilux ready the 2nd time.


All I have to say is Tyler is the man. If read through my recent Leica Akademie experience, you probably saw that I placed an order with Tyler Gee from Fireside Camera. Last Thursday, I got a phone call from Tyler. “Today is your lucky day, your 35mm Lux is here!!”

Due to work, I couldn’t drive down to the city that same day. Did some negotiating with the lovely wife and found some time on Saturday to stop by and pick up my unicorn!!

All I have to say is WOW. Everything I read online about this lens is true. Yes, I did have a chance to play with it during the Akademie, but I think back then I was more drooling for the Noctilux so didn’t give the 35mm Lux much thought. I remember I had a tough time framing with the 35mm shooting on the street since I’m more used to shooting with my 50mm Lux. Well, I have been shooting with the 35mm all weekend. Practice will make perfect. Here are a few shots.

No Parking


Now that I have the lux, I think it’s time for the 35mm Cron to find a new owner. As far as comparison. There is probably a bunch reviews of both lenses from google. But from my own experience? The Cron was a sharp little lens. It is smaller and lighter than the Lux. IF size and weight is a big deal for you, get the Cron. Though, having my 50mm Lux being silver, handling the new 35mm Lux felt very light. As far as picture quality? It’s amazing. It has a certain different feel to it than even it’s close relative 50mm Lux. I’m not one of those pixel peepers that drill down to the exact pixel to see which one is sharper. But I am one of those that takes a picture and let the picture tell me how it feels. So far, the 35mm pictures are feeling very velvety smooth. I do wish I had more time to shoot more with it this past weekend, but I am very happy with the purchase. This lens is going into my permanent collection just like the 50mm Lux. Well, until they release a silver version that is.

For those people that are deciding between a cron or a lux. I say pick up the cron first (Since it is easier to find) and get your name pre-ordered for a lux. Give Tyler a call and tell him Dave sent you!! Once you have the lux, I highly doubt you will want to shoot with the cron. For me coming from a DSLR, any Leica lens is light and small. Size have never been a factor.

My next few shooting session will all be with the 35mm Lux. Keep an eye out for new posts!

Now, I just need to find a 0.95 Noctilux and I think my lens collection will be complete… For now…

Some of you might already seen a good number of pictures I took of LegoLand in Carlsbad, CA. If not, you can see the whole set on my Flickr set.

Lego Leica Flickr

The set includes landmarks all made out of Lego of Las Vegas Casinos, Washington DC, New York City, Los Angeles.

Since I been shooting in and around San Francisco, I think it’s time to post up my final Leica Lego set of San Francisco.

I do hope next time I visit LegoLand, they will have even more interesting landmarks to take picture of.

Here is the last 6 picture of the set.

Back Alley



China Town

Cable Car