San Francisco Street Photography with the X100F

What a formula! It cannot get better than that. Okay, except for Vancouver! 🙂

For three days, I have been shooting in San Francisco with the X100F (one day I also had the X-T2 and the XF 90mm F2 lens). No plan, no expectations, no set goals. It was just the “Streets of San Francisco,” the Fujifilm X100F and my seeing.

However, if you think it was a leisurely stroll, you are mistaken. A few years ago, I wrote an article stating that photography is hard. I stand by it today. I’m not talking about snapping photos with your friends during a party or share-it-all on Face-Snap-Insta (I assume you are reading this blog because you care about the craft of seeing).

There is the internet myth pushed by some that all you need is a camera and you just shoot away to eternal happiness. It’s a candy-sweet idea but it’s complete fiction. The three days of intense street photography in San Francisco reaffirmed that.

A vibrant city such as San Francisco offers you such a plethora of visuals, layers after layers of shapes, patterns, colour, noise, smells – street life at its best. However, it creates chaos or in other words, an overload of visuals. One approach would be to just shoot away. From time to time you will get nice image – a shadow here, a shadow there – the internet will love it. However, if you really want to create strong imagery, you must dive deep into your seeing by concentrating, observing and pre-visualizing at enormous speed. Such an effort requires all of you!   

Trent Parke, a great Australian photographer, describes it this way: “I’m always ‘wired’, always awake, things are always rattling through my mind” and “The whole time I’m looking, everything is stopping and forming into still frames.” He describes this state of awareness as “being manic, insane.” I’ve written about this in the past but this trip to San Francisco made me realize how true it is.

You may ask: Okay, Olaf, but where’s the fun! THIS IS FUN for me! Don’t let the internet define “fun” for you! When you return to your normal state and look at your imagery, you’ll know what I am talking about. Yes, photography is hard, hard work but it has never been so much fun!

Over the course of the next few weeks, you’ll find plenty of street photography here from the “Streets of San Francisco” project including ideas, tips and general comments, which you may find useful. Subscribers to Simplicity-In-Seeing will find a more in-depth look at my work in San Francisco including my camera settings, locations, approach, framing and other considerations.

Nota bene: Those of you that want to shoot with me next time I am in San Francisco stay tuned – the announcement of our “Streets of San Francisco” workshop is coming! There will be very, very limited space!

Here is a teaser of what’s coming in the next few weeks.


There will be an entire post in the square format. Make sure to check out Tomasz of FujiLove recent work in this format.



2017 © Olafphoto. All rights reserved.


14 thoughts on “San Francisco Street Photography with the X100F

  1. Amazing photography!!!
    I’m looking to buy the X100F. I have the x-t2 too. I’m wondering how you get that high contrast in your shots. Entering settings or contrast settings ??
    Love your videos and your photography .

    1. It was great meeting you. Thanks for signing up. Looking forward to creating stunning imagery together 🙂

  2. Excellent images Olaf, particularly that high contrast shot with the GG bridge in the background. Always enjoy your posts!

    1. Dan,

      I appreciate your kind comment. Looking forward to your future feedback.

      All the best,


  3. Olaf, really great work, as usual. Perhaps more important, you clearly state how much time and effort goes into finding worthwhile images to capture. San Francisco is a pleasure to shoot. The light, architecture and people.
    Best, Don

    1. Thanks Don. Indeed, San Francisco is always a joy to shoot but it is extremely difficult to create something really good.

      All the best,


  4. Hello Olaf,

    beautifully written and I could not agree more! Currently, I am in St. Petersburg and I feel the same way. There is this noise, the smell, the rush, the beautiful architecture etc. etc. Street photography which lives up to your own standards (and not the insta standard) is hard. In this “Streets of St. Petersburg” project I did not define rules, I just let it happen, maybe this is why it is so hard for me this time to “see” things.

    I am looking forward to see more of your SF work.

    I like the harsh conrast and almost abstract vision of yours.


    1. Kevin,

      Wow, St. Petersburg is such a beautiful city! I know what you mean. I had the same feeling when shooting in San Francisco. Please share some images with us when you came back from your trip.

      All the best,


  5. Wof…

    Olaf, I canˋt explain why, but I feel this work an advancing step in your seeing style. The pictures are quite interesting and pleasant to the eye, as usual, but they also push me to imagine the work behind them and how the hell you were able to see through and work to get each one of them. The method behind them is as compelling to me as the pictures themselves.

    Best regards.

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