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 Pavel Fedorov (@pfedorov) from Odessa, Ukraine. Scroll down to view Pavel’s breathtaking photos, and learn more about what inspires him as a creative in the Bay Area.
#SFGuide Photographer Profile
Name: Pavel Fedorov
Profession: Director / Cinematographer / Photographer
Place of Birth: Odessa, Ukraine
Where do you currently reside: Currently in the travel mode, exploring San Francisco area.
Something you’d like viewers to know about you: it’s a secret;)
What is your favorite spot to shoot in San Francisco, and why?
I really can’t only choose one. San Francisco is very beautiful and each neighborhood is like a small city within the city. It’s so interesting to discover it and all the secrets around. Castro and it’s spring vibes. Marina and different viewpoints on the amazing Golden Gate bridge. Potrero hill, especially at night. Industrial Dogpatch and it’s atmosphere. Financial district and its contrasts. Mission, Chinatown, SoMa, you name it. Everywhere I go something can happen that will catch my eye and ignites the will to take a picture of it.
When and why did you take up photography?
When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time with my grandfather in his darkroom developing film and making photos. Usual story. But that was not the time when I really got into it. I think that photography came into my life 15 years ago, when I first got to San Francisco. I had a Yashica compact film camera and I’ve been taking photos of everything. Funny to look at these photos now. Later on, when I was studying at the university, I took my grandfather’s old soviet Zenith film camera and started to explore Ukraine with it. Since then, photography has become a part of my life as a hobby and profession. I still can’t say for sure why it all started, but San Francisco definitely influenced me.
What do you love about photography?
I love that you can tell stories with it, or at least try to. I love that you can bring attention to subjects that are important to you. I love the fact that you can capture moments and keep it as some sort of a time portal. I can say that my Instagram is like my diary. Almost every posted photo has a story behind it and I love that.
How do you decide what to shoot?
I rarely plan anything. Well, I can plan to go for a photowalk with someone and take my camera or it can be a regular day on the go when my phone is with me. But in both situations it’s always about the moment that forces you to take out the camera and take some shots. It can be an individual person or a group in a situation. It can also be a building or even a texture on the wall that catches your attention.
What’s your favorite part about going out to shoot?
Many things. Being outdoors, exploring new locations, challenging yourself, meeting new people, and getting inspiration from wherever it comes. It’s always an adventure of sort, you know?
Which location did you have the most difficulty getting to, and how did you do it?
As I was saying, I almost never plan the shoot or a location to get to. Normally if it’s a cool location, someone who knows how to get there will invite me. I’m always open for something interesting. San Francisco sewers anyone?Abandoned places with interesting stories? Top of the Golden Gate bridge? I’m in!
What is your dream shot? (Where, what time of day, what’s in it / the subject?)
The one I haven’t seen yet.
What is your favorite app to use for photo editing on the go, and what are your top 3 favorite filters?
I use Snapseed and VSCO. First I’ll edit the photo in Snapseed with standard tools just to balance everything. Then I’ll do the fine tuning with VSCO. Mainly I use the A6 and HB2 filters on VSCO, but I always adjust them.
How does Instagram and the #SFGuide community inspire you?
When you see that someone went out in the rain and captured this crazy shot it gives you the urge to go out as well. Not all the time, but it does, it does. I like to see how other photographers see the city so I can discover new places or angles. Via #SFGuide I’m aware of what’s going on in SF and learning about cool Instagrammers that you often want to collaborate with.
What are your favorite San Francisco-based Instagram accounts to follow?
I don’t know a lot of SF Instagram users yet. I’m a bit new to this community, but some of my favorites so far are @miglu_miglu and @cocu_liu. @sfchronicle_vault has a lot of amazing retro stuff and @karlthefog always makes me smile. ?
What type of camera do you use? And what is your dream camera?
My current camera setup is iPhone SE, Canon 6D for digital and Canon EOS 3 for film. And mostly I use 50mm and 35mm lenses. I can’t say that I have a dream camera. I’d like to try some premium ones, like Hasselblad or something very old. I’ve also considered medium format cameras, but it’s not at all about the camera for me. Capturing moments has always come first, so I use iPhone more often than any other camera these days.
What are your favorite settings in your idea shot?
Lens: 50mm or 35mm
Shutter Speed: AV mode
ISO: Well 100 I guess, but it doesn’t matter to me. In film I prefer 400. I like the grain.
White Balance: Auto, and I’ll edit it later.
Focus (Manual / Auto): Mostly auto, but depends on the situation.
Image Format (RAW / JPEG): RAW
What advice would you give to new or rising photographers that you wish you had received when you first started?
Visit photo exhibitions, learn about classic photographers, find the ones that inspire you, read about them, and always look through their work. Collect their books and keep those images in your head. Be curious. Don’t chase expensive lenses or cameras. Use what you already have and have fun by taking pictures everyday.
What do you love about living in the San Francisco Bay Area?
San Francisco has one the most tastiest and freshest airs I’ve ever breathed in any city, and I traveled a lot. I love the people that surround me here and their attitudes towards life. Somehow I have the feeling that visually, San Francisco stayed somewhere in 70s or even earlier and I love that. I can go on and on…but most importantly, my eyes seem to get bigger here.