Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘35mm

Jazz at Epicenter Cafe

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If you live in San Francisco and love Jazz, great coffee, good food, and a nice selection of beer and wine, you must check out Epicenter Cafe. It’s a great place to kick back with your laptop and browse the web, get some studying done, or just hang out with friends.

The interior has a very “South of Market” industrial look to it, with modern furniture and art, waxed concrete flooring as well as exposed concrete pillars, electrical conduits, plumbing and air ducts.  During the day, tons of light floods in through large, floor-to-ceiling windows.

The live music, however, is the most important element! Every Sunday evening, the cafe hosts a “Jazz Jam,” which is basically the Jazz version of an open mic.  If you can play/sing Jazz and read a lead sheet, you’re free to perform. There was a great group there yesterday evening:

Chris (on trumpet you see below) is a friend of mine. We met with a bunch of other friends to see him jam with the other instrumentalists.

My wife also brought a few charts along and performed two pieces. I decided to video record the performances instead of taking stills. Used my D300s fitted with the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC for the two clips. I must say, Vibration Control makes a huge difference in steadiness when recording video while hand-holding a DSLR. Check out the clips below!

The first clip is her second performance, where she sang “On Green Dolphin Street.” Video was recorded in 720p resolution. The second clip is the song “September in the Rain,” accidentally recorded in a lower resolution. Oh well!

Jazz jam sessions are rare in San Francisco, so my wife and I were really excited about this opportunity. The band was thrilled with her performance (as was I), and invited her back with specific requests as well. Good job, honey. Truly beautiful!

Jazz at Les Joulins

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Tonight, we met with friends at Les Joulins Jazz Bistro in downtown San Francisco. We enjoyed some live Jazz to go along with our late-night dinner and drinks, and during their first break, had a chat with the band.

Bridget offered to sing a tune, and the band agreed!

She sang “Bye Bye Blackbird,” and sounded great! They told us we could come back anytime and perform. Very cool.

This particular venue had terrible lighting for photography. Most of the light was actually behind the band, which made things pretty tricky. Pushed my gear hard to get this shots, as you can see below:

Camera Specs:

Nikon D300s + Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G:

Top Image: f/1.8 ISO3200 1/40 second
Second Image:  f/1.8 ISO3200 1/30 second
Third Image:  f/1.8 ISO2800 1/60 second

Written by Jonathan

April 21, 2010 at 11:32 pm

Rain in San Francisco

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Nikon D300s + Nikkor 35mm f/1.8

We’ve seen a ton of rainfall over the last week in San Francisco. While in some ways, rain can be a photographic bummer, it does open lots of other opportunities to make nice images. At night, the wet ground reflects light and adds drama to your photography, as shown above. Suki doesn’t like getting wet, but she loves walking enough to make the compromise.


Rain or shine, the camera stays with me!


Rainy days usually mean nice, even lighting from the cloud cover, which helps you capture really saturated color (this is not my car!).


Between the several storms that hit the city recently, beautiful clouds not typical of our area appeared. Of course, I was at work every time these sorts of formations showed up (sigh). I took this shot during lunch before heading back to the office. There were no other angles other than through a cyclone fence.

Nikon D300s + Tokina 50-135mm f/2.8

After a storm passes, the air in the city is amazingly clear and clean, allowing for great city scape photography. This image has a cooler white balance applied to it than the original that I posted to Flickr.

Written by Jonathan

January 27, 2010 at 6:04 pm

A Day Off with Suki

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Nikon D300s + Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G at f/2.2 ISO200 1/100 Second

This shot is among my favorite photographs of Suki ever. The saturated color, the way the elements in the frame seem to converge right on Suki’s head, her pose, the lighting: I’m so happy with the way it turned out! I took this last week on a day off. It was early in the morning, since Suki and I headed out to the Marin Headlands at around 5:00am to try to capture some pre-sunrise images of the Golden Gate Bridge. I knew exactly what I wanted to shoot: fog rolling in over the city and through the Golden Gate during sunrise. Well, there was fog alright…so much fog that it reached over the highest peaks of the Marin Headlands. When I arrived in Marin, I could barely see 20 feet in front of my car. The images I wanted to capture? Weren’t gonna happen.

Suki! Get off the driver seat! Nikon D300s + Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G + SB-900 Camera left through windshield

That’s the thing with landscape photography. For the most part, you’re at the mercy of nature. You have to keep going back to the spot where you want your shot to happen over and over until the conditions are right. Maybe I’ll have more success next time!

Retreating from the fog in the headlands, Suki and I headed down to a small harbor on the other side of the Golden Gate. We walked together for a while, and as the sun rose, I decided set up my tripod right at the water’s edge and see what if I could come up with some nice images of the Bridge from below the fog. I set up, pulled my tripod mounting plate out of my camera bag to attach it to my camera, and whoops! Dropped the little guy on to a rock, helplessly watching it bounce, bounce again, and again, and then plop! Right into the water. Gone was my support system. Foiled again!

Here's my tripod...utterly useless without the mounting plate, which I lost in the San Francisco Bay minutes before taking this photo

After sulking for a little bit from being defeated by first the fog and then my own clumsiness, we headed out to Sausalito for coffee and a stroll through the neighborhood. The dense fog and cloud cover meant beautiful, even light for the rest of the morning, perfect for shots like the one of Suki above! The colors from fallen leaves, flowers, and other plants were rich and saturated.

Nikon D300s + Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G at f/2 ISO200 1/125 Second

Suki waited impatiently with me at a cafe while I phoned a few local camera shops to see if they sold the replacement quick-release mounting plate for my tripod head. I was fortunate to find one in stock, and Suki and I drove back over the bridge to San Francisco to pick it up.

Nikon D300s + Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G at f/2.8 ISO400 1/160 Second

Over the course of the day, I really fell in love with the 35mm f/1.8G all over again. It’s a pretty sharp lens wide open, but stop it down even a little and things get super sharp. It’s the least expensive lens in my kit, but it’s lightweight and performs great! Plus, I noticed that in using a prime as my sole lens in the morning, I seemed to put more thought into composition than I normally do. I tried more angles and moved around my subjects more. Until now, I haven’t really used the 35 all that much since I bought it. What was I thinking!?

Nikon D300s + Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G at f/2.8 ISO200 1/320 Second

In the early afternoon I took Suki to the dog park, her favorite place in the world. Doesn’t she look happy?

Nikon D300s + Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR at 185mm f/8 ISO200 1/640

Every time I’d kneel down to take a shot, this dog (below) would run up to me and check me out. I think he took quite a liking to me!

Nikon D300s + Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-f/5.6 VR at 220mm f/9 ISO200 1/640 Second

Nikon D300s + Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR at 70mm f/4.5 ISO250 1/640 Second

This is how the day ended: back at a cafe with Suki, sipping on coffee. I need more days off!

Nikon D300s + Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G at f/2 ISO200 1/640 Second

Written by Jonathan

December 11, 2009 at 10:20 am