Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘coffee

The East Village

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Fuji X100 | 1/300 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400 (view large)

Sunday morning in the East Village. I always advocate getting up as early as possible to start a photo walk. The light is beautiful in the morning, and the streets are a lot less busy, even in New York.


Fuji X100 | 1/250 sec, f/5, ISO 200


Fuji X100 | 1/75 sec, f/2, ISO 200

Bridget was tired, but supportive of our early morning walk. Thanks honey.


Fuji X100 | 1/300 sec, f/5, ISO 200


Fuji X100 | 1/400 sec, f/7.1, ISO 800


Fuji X100 |  1/1,000 sec, f/2, ISO 200


Fuji X100 | 1/280 sec, f/4.5, ISO 800

Bikes! There are bicycles everywhere in New York, and the East Village is certainly no exception. What I love is that they’re all beaters. Some are just left to rust and decay out in the street, making for great photographic subjects:


Fuji X100 | 1/600 sec, f/2, ISO 400


Fuji X100 | 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 800


Fuji X100 | 1/750 sec, f/2, ISO 200


Fuji X100 | 1/600 sec, f/2, ISO 200


Fuji X100 |  1/1,000 sec, f/2, ISO 200


Fuji X100 | 1/600 sec, f/9, ISO 800

Now that is a cool little bike. Would have loved to have one of those when I was a kid.


Fuji X100 | 1/1,000 sec, f/2, ISO 200

There was a downside to getting here so early in the morning, however. The wife was really into seeing the little gardens located throughout the neighborhood. Most of them weren’t open until much later, however, so we had to admire them behind locked gates. Squeezed my lens through narrow bars to get these:


Fuji X100 |  1/340 sec, f/5, ISO 800


Fuji X100 | 1/750 sec, f/2, ISO 400


Fuji X100 |  1/900 sec, f/2, ISO 400


Fuji X100 | 1/180 sec, f/3.2, ISO 400


Fuji X100 | 1/950 sec, f/2, ISO 400

My cousin Josh came along. That’s an adapted 50mm f/1.4D Nikkor lens on an Olympus EPL-2 he’s holding. Really nice combo.


Fuji X100 | 1/200 sec, f/3.2, ISO 800


Fuji X100 | 1/300 sec, f/5.6, ISO 800


Fuji X100 | 1/450 sec, f/6.4, ISO 400


Fuji X100 | 1/200 sec, f/3.6, ISO 200


Fuji X100 | 1/300 sec, f/4.5, ISO 400

The light was great and the gardens were beautiful bla bla bla. You wanna know the real reason we came to this neighborhood? Coffee.

Abraço is a tiny coffee bar nestled in the East Village. When I say tiny, I mean it. You could drive right by and not even know it’s there, and once you’re inside, you could literally stand in one place and have arm’s-length access to the entire cafe. I’ve had enough just seeing pictures of the place on blogs like this one. I needed to try it myself!


Fuji X100 |  1/450 sec, f/6.4, ISO 800

The coziness factor of this shop makes for easy conversation over a cup of coffee and/or artisan pastry. Chatted with the locals, took pictures, just chilled out. No rush, it’s Sunday.


Fuji X100 | 1/1,200 sec, f/2.8, ISO 800


Fuji X100 | 1/60 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1250


Fuji X100 | 1/350 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400

Meet the cortado. Freshly extracted espresso with just the right amount of steamed milk and foam in my opinion. Not to be confused with a macchiato, it’s perhaps more similar to a cappuccino, but smaller. Enough milk to take the edge off the brew’s acidity while still kicking you in the pants with just the right amount of strength. The flavor was amazing, but it was the texture that was blowing my mind.


Fuji X100 | 1/125 sec, f/8, ISO 200

I’m normally a pretty slow coffee drinker, but I was going though this cortado like a crazy coffee-drunkard. I didn’t want the experience to end.

So I ordered a second one:

Below left is some kind of sparkly, honey-something or other,  I forget….bagh who cares, it’s all about the cortado. This stuff gives my local favorite espresso at Four Barrel a pretty good run for it’s money.


Fuji X100 | 1/210 sec, f/4, ISO 400

These are the kinds of experiences I like to have when I travel. Mingling with the locals, photographing neighborhoods apart from the tourist areas. Areas (and COFFEE) like this make me miss New York.

____________________________

All Images: Fuji X100, Provia Film Sim (JPEG output)

Written by Jonathan

September 21, 2011 at 10:52 am

Posted in Photography, Travel

Tagged with , , , , ,

The One Reason Why I’m a Morning Person

with 19 comments


Fuji X100 | 1/60 sec, f/4, ISO 1250

This is definitely what I call starting the morning right. Waking up extra early for the sole purpose of chilling at Four Barrel over a cappuccino? Worth it:

For me, coming here during the week means coming when the shop opens. People trickle in here and there, but it’s certainly not busy.

Later in the morning, however, Four Barrel is bustling. The pour-over coffee station opens up, and people pile in to get their fill of individually brewed cups of coffee. After grabbing my own cup, I head out side to hang out with Suki and Bridge at the public “parklet.” We sip away while watching the Valencia street traffic whiz by.

I’m not a morning person at all actually. I just really, really love coffee.

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Early Morning Images: Fuji X100 | Film Sim: ASTIA (JPEG output)
Late Morning Images: Fuji X100 | Film Sim: Provia (JPEG output)

Written by Jonathan

August 7, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Seven Years Ago Today

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Yesterday was quite special. We started with brunch at Blue Bottle, where for the first time I had a chance to try one of their famous Siphon Pots. Add a Belgian waffle and a grilled cheese sandwich, and whoo, what a brunch:

A few hours of goofing around town, and we settled in at Salt House for dinner:

Bridget easily picked the best dish of the night with her appetizer choice: Kennebec fries covered in Vermont cheddar and short rib gravy. Would have gone great with my NY steak if we didn’t eat them all in like 30 seconds!

Yeah, I know, lots of pics of Bridget. Can’t help but snap away in the direction of the one who I married seven years ago, today. Love you honey, happy anniversary =)

(ok technically yesterday but you swear I’d blog right after a dinner like this!)

_____

All images: Fuji X100, Film Sim: ASTIA (black and white conversions in LR3)

Written by Jonathan

July 25, 2011 at 1:55 pm

The Saturday Morning “Ritual”

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Olympus PEN E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7  1/4000sec  ISO200

Before I get started with today’s entry, I just want to say thank you to everyone that took the time to read my previous blog post and leave a comment. My post entitled Revisiting Film Photography was featured on Freshly Pressed, the front page of WordPress.com. I was so excited to see all the comments start pouring in, not simply because I relished the extra attention to my site, but because of the content of the comments themselves. You shared your personal experiences with me, and it’s been fascinating to see the discussion that I started continue to grow through your stories.

Some of you reminisced about the shooting film back in the day, expressing a newfound interest in that dusty old SLR in your basements that you haven’t used in years. Others of you haven’t given film a try yet and expressed curiosity about using the medium. Some of you admitted to knowing little of photography and yet expressed interest and appreciation through your comments, while others you are active film shooters who shared your own great experiences with the format. Thank you all! It has truly been a pleasure reading your personal experiences!

So, Film vs Digital, what’s my final word on the subject? If you look at all my recent work, it’s pretty obvious that I do a lot of work with digital cameras. Is my recent experience with film going to change all that? Probably not. But the truth is, I just love photography. I’ll take pictures with anything that, well, takes pictures. I see the Film and Digital formats simply as two different ways of making art. So, film or digital? Answer: Yes.

Ok, back to this post:


Olympus PEN E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7  1/1000sec  ISO200

As much of a Philz and Blue Bottle addict that I am, I’ve been trying to visit some different cafes here in San Francisco to see where else I can get a stellar cup of coffee. We started the weekend this morning at Ritual Coffee Roasters on Valencia street.

With large, east-facing windows gracing the storefront, tons of beautiful light flooded the cafe. How could I possibly resist taking my camera out?


Olympus PEN E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7  1/250sec  ISO200

Here’s where Ritual’s drip coffee is individually brewed to order. Wait a minute now…maybe I should head to the hardware store, pick up some copper pipe and just make my own filter-holding contraption!


Olympus PEN E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/2  1/800sec  ISO200


Olympus PEN E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/2  1/500sec  ISO200

If I’m visiting a coffee-house for the very first time, I always try their drip first. If you can make me a killer drip, I’ll keep coming back for sure. The roast I chose was La Esperanza, described as “sweet and creamy, with flavors of butterscotch, Danish pastry, dried stonefruits and a lavender finish.” A one pound bag of whole bean Esperanza will set you back a whopping $22.50.


Olympus PEN E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/2  1/4000sec  ISO200

My friends had lattes, complete with the obligatory frothing art on top =)


Olympus PEN E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/2  1/4000sec  ISO200


Olympus PEN E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/2  1/2500sec  ISO200

Verdict? The drip was awesome, among the best I’ve had in fact. But I paid handsomely for it, so regular visits here will not be a wise “Ritual” for my bank account.


Olympus PEN E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/2  1/60sec  ISO200

We didn’t stay long at Ritual, because we needed to get breakfast elsewhere. The coffee perfectly complimented the famous morning buns at Tartine Bakery. Sorry Tartine, but your drip coffee leaves a lot to be desired. Every time we go, we see a bunch of other people in there, standing in line with their cups of coffee from other cafes. Hilarious =)

Written by Jonathan

April 30, 2011 at 11:34 pm

Lazy Weekend With the 85mm 1.4

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Nikon D700 | Nikkor AF 85mm f/1.4D

Started last weekend right with a trip to the cafe. Whoops, two posts in a row that show pictures of the same exact place! Shows you how often I go out for coffee I guess.

Since I’m shooting a wedding pretty soon, I decided to ask a favor of my cousin Josh, a New York based photographer. He was kind enough to ship some key gear out to me, including his most cherished Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D. That’s love right there.

Normally I take my E-PL2 with me for weekend errand running, but I was eager to give this 85mm a try, so along it came to Blue Bottle.

Ok, first off, I’m not used to this focal length. My mind’s eye tends to see wider, between my favorite 24mm through around 50mm.  When I use my 24mm f/1.4 or 50mm f/1.4, for instance, I can compose at either focal length in my head before I even raise the camera to my eye. I can even “see” 200mm in my head, since that’s my other frequently used focal length. When I first started shooting with the 85, however, I kept expecting it to be wider than it is.  I’d raise it to my eye and always find myself to be too close to my subject, cutting off areas I wanted to have in the frame (the top photo is an example), so I found myself taking a few steps back every time I raised the camera to my eye. Felt goofy and pretty awkward at first, hah.

It’s that guy again with the hat and the book stand! He must come here every day or something….

I can see why many dub this lens the “cream machine.” At f/1.4, wherever you put your focus point comes out sharp as anything, with everything behind it liquefying into some mighty attractive-looking bokeh. If I ever decide to buy this lens for myself, I’ll leave it at f/1.4 every time.

It’s a great lens for portraits…..of your friends making silly faces. Sorry Dez ;)

Taking a walk with Suki, I was again having a weird time with the 85.  I’m used to getting in close with wider glass when shooting her, so again I found myself raising the camera up, oops, taking a few steps back, composing again.

This thing excels out on the street. Color, contrast, sharpness…the last thing you need to worry about with this optic is whether or not it performs well.

This lens is a legend. If you think you want one, go for it! As for me, I’m not sure I need to own one right now, since I can just borrow it (heh heh).  Thank you Josh…sorry in advance if I delay a little in sending it back ;)

__________________

Nikon D700 + Nikkor AF 85mm f/1.4D

Written by Jonathan

April 11, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Blue Bottle Mint Plaza

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Olympus E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7

Early one morning, I  hit up the Mint street Blue Bottle cafe with some friends.  Just outside we were greeted by some empty tables and these high school chemistry lab chairs, which cracked me up. They did seem to fit the cafe’s styling though.

The cafe is small, but surrounded by huge windows that reach all the the way up to the super-high ceiling. The early morning sun was pouring through the windows from the east, while at the same time bouncing off the exterior of the building, hitting the grey building across the street, and radiating back through the windows again. This created lighting that any photographer would drool over.

We arrived just as they opened, so the place was pretty empty. This one man got comfortable right away, putting his hat up, placing his book on a stand, and enjoying a hand-made brew. Wish I had more time to just chill at cafes…we were getting our coffees to go!

Good friends, good coffee, beautiful lighting. What a perfect morning.

Photos courtesy of my Olympus PEN E-PL2 with a Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens, a combo that just keeps growing on me. It’s just so easy to take this camera everywhere. I can pull it out in public places without even being noticed as I snap away.

These are all out-of-camera JPEGs. I recently installed an update to Adobe Camera Raw that’ll allow me to start playing with the camera’s RAW data. We’ll see what becomes of it =)

Written by Jonathan

April 8, 2011 at 8:39 am

The Blue Bottle Kiosk

with 13 comments


Olympus E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7

Time off work for a visit to the doctor’s on a Friday. Gotta love it. After my appointment, I had some time to kill before picking up the wife from work, so I decided to coffee up.

Tucked away along a small city street in the heart of Hayes Valley lies a Blue Bottle Kiosk. No big signs proclaiming its whereabouts. It’s Blue Bottle for crying out loud! All the locals know exactly where it is.






After I ordered a cup, I turned around and saw….a Shiba Puppy! Though Shibas are increasing in popularity here in SF, it’s still pretty rare that you see one on the street. This is Ichigo, a 7 month old, male Shiba:



I wish I had my Shiba with me, but this little guy would have probably tried to run from her =P
Unlike Suki, Ichigo is very shy, so I couldn’t go right up to him. I took a few snaps and–

“Sir, your latte is up!”

Yummmm….and served in a 100% biodegradable, custom-logo-printed, natural-colored hot cup. When you’re done, you can toss it right in the green compost bin along with its corn-based, polylactic acid lid. How very green…and expensive,which probably filters down into the price we pay for this brew!

Oops, cash only, and of course I didn’t have any. The super-cool barista apparently thought I had a pretty trusting face, so she let me take my coffee and go grab cash at the nearest ATM. Oops again. Card wasn’t working…so I had to huff it to my nearest bank. Oh well, photo walk!






Haha, how can you not take a picture of this guy? (right)

All images in this post were taken with my new Olympus PEN E-PL2. Apparently Adobe just made available a release candidate of the latest Camera Raw that supports the E-PL2’s raw files, but I haven’t downloaded it yet, so these are all out of camera JPEGs.

One of the things I noticed about shooting with a smaller camera is that people usually don’t notice you using it. The extra stealth over my DSLR is pretty refreshing out on the street.


….and oops, I took too long getting cash, so Bridget just took the bus to meet me back at the kiosk, where I had more coffee…oh yes. There she is in the background, waiting for me to stop dancing around my double shot with my camera and just drink it already. Mmmm…love coffee.

I wouldn’t typically do a blog post about a trip to the coffee shop, but I’ve been trying lately to focus a little more on the every-day, seemingly mundane things that I do when it comes to my photography. There are a few blogs that have inspired me quite a bit in this regard. Check’em out:

Pink Peony Photography, Karleen Su

A Happy Day, Jacqueline Jaszka

Saaediaries, Kelven Ng

These fellow blogger/photogs are just fantastic when it comes to still life…and putting diptychs together, which I’m totally lame at doing myself. At least giving it a try is forcing me to do more vertical shots =P

Seriously though, all three have a talent I envy for turning the ordinary into something extraordinary, which I think should be the goal of every photographer.

Have a great weekend!