November 1999

This area is mostly for my friends & family. Photos were taken with a Kodak DC20 or a Kodak DC120 Zoom, scaled & in some cases color corrected.

After taking a bazillion photos and thinking about them enough to post them on a website with explainations, it occurs to me that I tend to take the same kind of pictures over and over. Two examples from past pages which I bothered to mention are the "composition in white" and the "no subject matter" photos. Recently I have begun to start naming other groups as I notice them.

Sacramento at Montgomery.

Now that daylight savings is with us, I find myself taking a lot of photos after the sun has set. It is typical these days, while taking "city photos," for me to wait for a colorful car or a bus to come by and try to incorporate it into the composition as it comes together. I am especially fond of using Yellow Cabs for this purpose. This photo appeals to me because you've got the blue of the sky, the yellow from the winows, and the bizarre greenish light inside the busses.

California at Kearny.

I've taken so many pictures at this intersection that it's getting a bit embarassing. That PARKING sign just looks too good from too many angles! For those who have seen my Xmas card, that's the same parking sign you can see at the bottom of the photo on the card. And here's a Yellow Cab providing some color as well as a base for the composition.

California at Front (?)

Not much to say about this one, except that while I was taking about three or four different shots of this scene, an older man in a business suit happened to be walking by and stopped to watch. Maybe he couldn't figure out what I was taking photos of, but when I bothered to glance at him he had this look on his face like he had caught me drowning kittens or something. Like, not bewilderment or confusion but honest fear and maybe disgust. Gave me the creeps so I split. AH! I LOVE MY PUBLIC!

At one of the piers along The Embarcadero.

As with the one above, this picture is kind of an "urban artifact" photo. Didn't have an audience for this one, though.

Now that I think about it, I should write about the audiences for all the photos I post.

Anyways, this subject was actually a bit above head-level and in a fit of maximum photo retouching, I took most of the perspective out of it via software to flatten the composition out.

Somewhere along The Embarcadero.

This is one of what I call "postcard shots" for obvious reasons. It's the kind of picture you set up and then feel kind of disappointed because it's just too easy. That doesn't stop me from posting them, though.

Audience: Four or five teenagers (a bunch of girls with one guy) behind me in a gazebo who seemed to be waiting for me to leave so they could light up a joint or something.

Sacramento near Grant - basically Chinatown. Another parking garage entrance.

Almost a "no subject matter" photo and almost a "composition in white" photo, but not really either. This photo is quite disorienting when viewed rotated 90 degrees - the way it downloads out of the camera. It needed serious color correction because the ambient light situation was wacky, and I also flipped it horizontally so it would flow left to right.

Audience: Security guy in a booth in a dock adjoining this entrance.

Out the window of my friend Tom's apartment. Fillmore, just below Geary, looking towards Japantown.

I keep finding great opportunities to take photos like these, but it is very rare that one comes out well.

Audience: A bunch of guys way down below playing football who had no clue that I was thinking I could've been a sniper.

Again, somewhere along The Embarcadero

Love this photo. Belongs to a group I have started calling "light at the end of the tunnel" photos because I always find compositions with a light area surrounded by darker areas appealing. The photo just above is an example of me using this on a city scape. See how the only big building in the sun there kind of ends up being the light at the end of the tunnel?

Audience: A man and woman in jogging gear walked by and very discreetly, but out of pure reflex, glanced at the window wondering what was inside there worth shooting.

In front of the Alexandria - way out on Geary.

If I were short on pet projects and long on free time, I would go all over the city and document all the beautiful old sidewalks like this one. Most of the older theaters have one. An attempt at a "no subject matter" photo.

Audience: Just about everybody who caught the 2:15 showing of The Bone Collector that day. Had to wait a while for them to disperse so I wouln't get somebody's feet or reflection in this photo.

AGAIN somewhere along The Embarcadero.

Another "light at the end of the tunnel" shot. Foggy day. Just enough so you could see lightbeams in the air. Had to shoot through a chain link fence, which (since my camera isn't reflex) means looking through the viewfinder to compose and then peering over the camera to make sure I'm not shooting a nice fuzzy close-up of chain links.

Audience: I was bent over the camera to line up my lens, just about to take the photo, when suddenly a Japanese student-looking girl practically leapt out of nowhere and stood next to me, looking inside. She startled me a bit and I kind of straightened up just as my finger hit the shutter button. Then, somehow, she looked at me as if she hadn't realized I was even there. Maybe I should have thanked her for adding just a little spontaneity to this photo.

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All photos copyright, 1999 Dave Benz

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