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The 24 Hour Photo Shoot in San Francisco

By Christopher Lin on June 4th 2013

The following is a guest post by Wayne Dollemore, featuring his 24 hour photojournalism project through the streets of San Francisco.

I have driven through San Francisco many times for business and pleasure and have always been intrigued by its energy constantly changing depending on the time of day. Glimpses of tall structures casting shadows, observing lighting and framing scenarios and colorful people performing urban rituals often seen from my periphery had an affect on me. These glimpses inspired the 4am to 4am 24-hour project to capture unaltered reflections hour-by-hour how the city, the traffic, lighting, commerce, and ultimately the people change…or do they?. Slow to fast, empty to full, dead to alive, dark to light transformations in the vibrant North Beach San Francisco neighborhood. Has anyone seen the ebb and flow over 24 hours other than the people who live there? And have they?

This project was draining and in the end painful. Staying up for a 24 hour period and maintaining awareness for safety purposes and photo opportunities was a big challenge. I carried a fair amount of equipment as well as supplies including change of clothing and literally walked for 24 hours with no sleep and next to no rest. By the end I could barely walk. The primary equipment I used was the Sony NEX7 and its 18-55 kit lens along with 55-210 and ultra wide angle lenses, for light I used F20AM and F43AM flash. I also used sparingly an Olympus XZ-1 point and shoot and surprisingly to some a Go Pro video camera in still mode with remote. I took over 1400 photos and cut that back to 310 final images.

There is a pattern of rituals starting at 4 a.m. with people of the night still lingering from the evening before along with street cleaners and people cleaning bars and restaurants. At early light out come the joggers with ear buds to music, traffic lightly trickling, delivery services pulling up to cafes, light brings more traffic and business people on their cell phones, tourists appear with cameras in hand. We now see all modes of transport, buses, taxis, cars, bicycles, skate boards, even roller skates and of course walking and running. I hear different accents, I see every culture. My senses are enhanced and hindered at different times of day, vision impaired at night but hearing and smell take over, especially outside bars. During the day my vision enhanced but hearing impaired or maybe overwhelmed as life takes over. These sensations kept my adrenaline pumping.

Individuals observed me numerous times as I walked between Washington Park and The Transamerica Building throughout the day, I should have used a pedometer as who knows how many miles I walked. Some questioned what I was doing and when I explained I was capturing life in North Beach over 24 hours they were intrigued and interested to see the results. In the end I took a mix of images, some with people very aware they were being photographed, others not so. In some cases I was asked to take their pictures, especially the late bar goers…people throughout the 24 hour period were friendly and curious. Throughout the day I became familiar with the environment and got to recognize people from a distance, some standing outside their workplace, others as they made their way around the district. I got to talk to many of the characters on the street, some local, some tourists. All had a great attitude and matched the vibrancy of the area, it was a beautiful day and a mild night, how would that differ with San Francisco’s ever changing climate? Next time.

A Few Images from the 24 Hour Photoshoot

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See more images from the shoot by clicking here.


Wayne Dollemore is originally from Watford, England now living in San Jose, California. He has been doing photography for 35 years starting out the same way most photographers do, first camera, experiment, upgrade, develop own style. He recently looked back through the years of accumulated images and noticed a trend towards what he believes for him to be more challenging photography, capturing images of people living. He continues to enjoy capturing nature’s beauty in landscapes and art found in architecture but there is the thrill of seizing an opportunity to document a moment in time that no-one else can duplicate. Being prepared with the correct lens, the correct camera setting, the correct positioning or just making do with what is at hand and getting THE picture, it’s a very satisfying feeling.

Wayne is focusing more and more on project based photography nowadays where there is a purpose behind the shoot. Whether it be the 24 hour photo shoot in San Francisco or focusing on capturing many images of the same subject such as graffiti’d street signs he enjoys setting himself tasks. Wayne’s next major project is a group photo shoot similar to North Beach but this time with five or six select photographers each with a different style and method. Wayne observed how the city changes over 24 hours but this time he wants to see how different photographers perceive and document the same location over a four hour period.

Photography is Wayne’s main creative outlet and he is trying to stretch his creative mind for his own satisfaction and to remove him further from his more structured work environment. He enjoys capturing THE image for himself and if it is appreciated by others then that is one huge bonus!

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Co-Founder of SLR Lounge and Photographer with Lin and Jirsa Photography, I’m based in Southern California but you can find me traveling the world. Click here to connect on Google +

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