Once again, my photo comrade, DB, and I had found ourselves, planted down in the Parkside neighbs, drinking coffee at the new Boavida shop & later cruising vinyl and cassette tapes at their sister-store, Tunnel Records.
Even though we both shoot digital, we like to mix it up with all things analog, because as Dave put’s it, ‘this Leica has soul’
During these Parkside Sunset Photo Junkets, Dave and I often talk about influences on our photography. For Dave, the Rock Photography of Jim Marshall has a look & feel that inspires him. And it follows, that after zippin out on espresso and scones, we head down to a well-stocked vinyl shop like Tunnel Records.
We get to put our musical tastes into action, as photographic ideas spin around our collective artist’s imagination. We make a morning of it, and usually walk away with new motivation to shoot more, film or digital. And of course, a new piece of vinyl or a cassette tape.
Boavida Cafe & Tunnel Records are both located in the Sunset District of San Francisco, on the corner of Taraval at 46th avenue
The thing about travel photography, is it’s a freeing up kind of thing: one’s in a different land, everything’s fresh, even your perspective is keen. While in Tokyo, I would employ this ‘Noh Look Photography’ where you conceal your camera gear, and put on your traveler’s hat, and just experience Japan for awhile.
Walking around Shinjuku on this night, it was so packed, I could hardly move, let alone make a frame on something. Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw this interesting couple walking along..
and it all happened so fast, you don’t have any time to set your camera up, you just have to pull-up and shoot. And hope you got the shot.
In this case, I had my camera settings set up for what I wanted. Now it would just be up the film labs at Yodabashi to develop it.
photo taken in the Shinjuku District of Tokyo Japan
This month has been a run away of Bay Area Burger stops, SF Photo Junkets, and camera f-stops – – when it comes to creating more photography in town.
Stanley’s Pop-up Burger Nights on Monday at the New Taraval Cafe, really brough down the house. Bringing in all kinds of dormant foodies who were jonzen for probably one of the best burgers on Taraval street. 🍔
When it comes to photo education, Dave Buchanan and I teamed up, to create some video for the Sunset Neighborhood photo zine project. He was shooting the interviews with his Sony 7cii with Nikon 50 f/2 rig – – a nice digital-analogue combo// I snuck in some CineStock 800T shots at El Cafe – – to round out the digital-film making experience. 🎬
And today, The Avengers: ‘End Game’ is being released on Blue-ray. Gotta get out to the local Perestroika Target store and pick up a copy 😜 ~ !
June is at the halfway point, and although it doesn’t feel like summer in San Francisco, the fog just off the Pacific coastline reminds us of that. Summer prefers to come in October. Perhaps, the House Stark of Winterfell’s words, would be appropriate.
So, if you have a chance to make it into El Cafe on Taraval street, you may be greeted by an energized barista who I once struck up a conversation with because he had a cool green Gucci t-shirt on that looked like the Green Lantern (DC comics).
Brandon serves up what he calls ‘a Cool White Deuce’, his own stylized espresso drink with ice. When he’s at the helm, he plays 80’s music– El cafe takes on an Mtv Cafe atmopshere and one can feel the good vibes happening here.
Just out the front door of the cafe, exsists a whole world on Taraval street worth investigating. Picking up a camera and shooting is a fun way to see the place from a different perspective. Nearby McCoppin Park has lush follage and trees, and one can forget they’re in an urban place like San Francisco.
Walking up and down the Parkside Sunset Merchant Corridor, you can see some old lots, in need of new businesses, or those restaurants who still have the signage ‘Grand Openings’, that last for years.
‘The 8 Immortals Restaurant’, actually did just re-open, earlier this year, and it’s a favorite Chinese place for local Parkside neighbors who are lunch special ‘specialists’. Where decent price meets tasty food meets value felt.
On the educational front, the Sunset District of San Francisco, has many schools in the area, like Lowell, Lincoln High School, and Hoover Middle School – who’s students like to come into the Parkside Neighborhood, and hang out. And who some, I’m told, are looking for part-time work experience with local merchants on Taraval street.
At the end of ‘The Game of Thrones’ Arya, found her calling on the open road, uhm, sea! The Parkside Merchant Corridor, here in San Francisco, has decent shopping, good restaurants, has some interesting places to visit with great photo opps! – – and it’s near the Pacific Ocean.
If you find yourself in an urban or even suburban environment, the neighborhood can hold different kinds of shooting challenges, as to how to photograph what you see around you, but that’s just it, find yourself in your own topography, get a camera that feels comfortable, a film stock that has a pleasing grain and aesthetic for storytelling, and let your sense of adventure take over..
For me, your storyteller, blog writer, and photographer, I’ve been diggin on shooting with a simple Contax G1 Range Finder Camera, with a 45mm Carl Zeiss lens. That medium focal length gives me the comfort of knowing what I’m going to get, and frees me up to be more creative with my personality and camera action. I don’t loose a beat, and as I’m talking with people at the coffee shop, for example, I can capture the action, just outside the window. The film stock I’m using these days is Ilford Black & White, which gives me that grit and contrast that puts me in the mood to tell stories, and see things just a little bit differently.
I’ve got a buddy in town, it’s great to have him staying at me place: because we’re having a kind of outer Sunset Comic book & Coffee Summit. As we scroll around the neighborhood in his hybrid, we talk about how this is our version of being that 10 year old and going into a convenient store, and buying that 3 pack of Marvel comics for 75. cents .
But this time, we’re going into my local comic book store, Amazing Fantasy, and picking up a substantial bit of graphic novels to read – anything ranging from Death or Glory_volume 1, Fear Agent, to Moonshine vol I, to the Green Lantern/Green Arrow to Pearl, to a Wonder Woman/Batman one-off. Amazing Fantasy is truly an inner Sunset experience, in which the proprietor, knows all of his inventory, and is able to meet you where your comic book tastes are, or would like to be. This time he turns us onto some new titles.
With my life partner in Hong Kong, visiting her family, and taking care of some of her Teaching Business, she recommended that my Tokyo Travel buddy and I get together and have a little time in the neighbs, here in San Francisco.
Since it’s the Parkside Neighborhood of the Outer Sunset, there’s lots of really good Chinese food – such as the Kingdom of Dumpling. This place really feels like some of the Dumpling places, I used to go to, while living and teaching in Taiwan, with my brother. Authentic, quaint, and ‘tasty’ steaming dumplings and ‘no back talk’ (like the Coffee People slogan, in Portland, Oregon)
Having a little free time in the outer Sunset with my friend, Algis, provided us with some adult-time, that took us back to the feelings of those small and homey neighborhoods we grew up in.
Today, I was over at Looking Glass Photo in Berkely, California, watching a presentation on Street Photography by Valerie Jardin. It was quite inspirational as she talked about her approach from pre-visualization to the snapping of the photograph, in the decisive moment. She stressed, setting up all of your settings like black and white or color, JPG, focal length, prior to shooting so as to ‘get the photo in camera’ — not much post-processing is needed. She shoots primarily with the Fujifilm X100F w 23mm lens and the Fujifilm X-Pro 2 w 35mm f/2.0 lens. 📷
After the Street Photography presentation, I had a delicious Pesto & Chicken sandwhich at Berkely Bowl, with ‘Ansel Adams’, who appeared to be walking around the place – apparition, inspiration, or guiding star 🌟- it made me wish to pursue shooting more film photography! 🎞
And then I’d like to bring both digital & film photography education to students and media professionals alike, here in the burgeoning Sunset Parkside District of San Francisco.
These days in the Sunset District of San Francisco, it seems there all kinds of specialty shops opening up, from the vinyl shop of Tunnel Records & Beach Goods, to the Seven Stills and Hard Frescos to Underdog’s too.
San Franciscans like variety, and expect their shopping and foodie options to reflect their sensibilities and eccentric Bay Area tastes. We do have a lot of options living in the Bay Area, and so these little commercial neighborhoods, must offer something special, to lure people in.
My new job is working for the People of Parkside Sunset, as their assistant administrator, helping small business write grants, and generally just working with merchants in the neighborhood to improve the flow of people traffic to the area.
It’s clear the outer Sunset, is attracting all kinds of boutiques, niche arts shops, and bring some of the culinary uniques from places like the Mission District & SOMA, to this once sleepy urban Suburb.
In my off hours, I often like to go to the local artisan coffee shops, and enjoy the espresso drinks and coffee pour overs, and meet with the event coordinators from the area. And once in awhile I get to meet with some of my old photo industry colleagues, and talk all things photography & gear.
By the end of our meetings, it kind of feels like a little Photo Boutique Pop-up just happened, and although informal, it feels like the vibe of 35mm film photography and digital workflow has just flowed over this spot like that coffee pour over.
Doing some shooting around the Mission, with a Nikon Tilt Shift lens, to change perspective through varying focal lengths. I call these little outings ‘Photo Dirges’ , and they’re quite fun to get to try out new cameras and lenses to see what you come up with..