Each week we select and profile a photographer from our #SFGuide community on Instagram. We believe these photographers capture the everlasting beauty of San Francisco and the Bay Area. For a chance to be featured on our Instagram feed, or here, on 49Miles.com, tag your photos with #SFGuide.
This week’s featured #SFGuide photographer is Jake Schwartz (@jakelandon), a software developer at Martian. Scroll down to view Jake’s breathtaking photos, and learn more about what inspires him as a creative in the Bay Area.
#SFGuide Featured Photographer
Name: Jake Schwartz
Profession: Software Developer at Martian
Place of Birth: Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Where do you currently reside: San Francisco, California
What is your favorite spot to shoot in San Francisco, and why?
Not really in SF, but I am a big hiker. Sunrise hikes in the Marin Headlands is the best way to start your day.
When and why did you take up photography?
I was raised a traveler. Every year, my family would camp somewhere. Odd years would be somewhere in Florida. Even years, somewhere in Europe (Having been raised in NH, Europe was a lot easier to get to). During these trips, my dad would create photo albums with 35mm film. Sometimes I’d take pictures. Then in 97/98 when I was in junior high school, I conned my parents into getting the family1 its first digital camera – I think it was a 2MP Kodak something or other. I quickly became obsessed and once I was able to afford my own, I would upgrade every couple years to newer handhelds. In college I majored in Graphic Design and Multimedia Studies and photography became a mainstay then.
The best thing about shooting is that it provides me yet another excuse to get out and see the world. I’ve been very fortunate to do and see a lot of things and photography allows me to bring back and share my experiences with friends and family who live all over the place. Furthermore, if I love an experience, I want inspire others to experience it too and a beautiful photo can do that.
How do you decide what to shoot?
Sometimes I see something in a magazine or online that sparks an interest – a picture, a trip, etc. Other times, it’s the weather – if I know it’s going to be nice in the morning, I’ll go for a sunrise hike.
What’s your favorite part about going out to shoot?
The quiet. Most of the time, I’m taking pictures in a place where there aren’t a lot of people and it’s very peaceful. If not the quiet, then the view or the discovery of a new perspective.
Which location did you have the most difficulty getting to, and how did you do it?
Probably the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. It was difficult because it required flying around the world and hiking up and down a mountain for almost a week.
What is your dream shot? (Where, what time of day, what’s in it / the subject?)
At this point in time, I’d really love to get myself under the Northern Lights.
What is your favorite app to use for photo editing on the go, and what are your top 3 favorite filters?Lightroom, for sure.
How does Instagram and the #SFGuide community inspire you?
Instagram / SF Guide definitely inspire by creating a “competition” of sorts. I am constantly seeing places I would like to go and see and pictures that continuously wow me and push me to keep practicing my craft.
What type of camera do you use? And what is your dream camera?
I have a Sony A7RII and right now, it’s about all I need. I’m sure in time, there’ll be something else I want, but it’s more about the lenses now. Lenses are burning a hole in my pocket! I just picked up the 24-70/2.8 GM and it’s amazing. Has me wanting the 70-200 with the 2x extender so I can take amazing moon shots.
What are your favorite settings in your idea shot?
This really depends on the type of shot! But I love astrophotography, so I usually start with my trusty…
Lens: Rokinon 14mm/2.8
Shutter Speed: 15s
White Balance: N/A
Focus (Manual / Auto): MF
Image Format (RAW / JPEG): RAW
and go from there.
What advice would you give to new or rising photographers that you wish you had received when you first started?
The best advice I have is rent equipment before you buy. You will end up saving a lot of money in the long run.
What do you love about living in the San Francisco Bay Area?
There’s no shortage of beautiful and amazing things to shoot!