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 Aaron Chang (@aacidus), a native of Peru currently residing somewhere in San Francisco. Scroll down to view Aaron’s amazing work, and learn more about what inspires him as a creative.
#SFGuide Featured Artist Profile
Name: Aaron Chang
Profession: Fun-employment, previously an I.T. Analyst
Place of Birth: Peru
Where do you currently reside: Caught between the Mission District, Upper Market, and Duboce Triangle, so I have a difficult time stating where I live to many.
Something you’d like viewers to know about you: I might have a Chinese last name, but I can only speak English and Spanish. Also, I love tea, lots of it! And I enjoy durian, yum!
What is your favorite spot to shoot in San Francisco, and why?
Don’t necessarily have a favorite spot, but recently have been going to the Sutro Baths pretty often. The sky is always unpredictable there with its clouds and colors. But the sunset is always the same… breathtaking, unless @KarltheFog is present.
When and why did you take up photography?
I purchased my first DSLR in 2008 for a cruise. I thought I needed a “nice” camera to capture the moments. Though I immediately found out that I needed to learn the functions of it, it’s been a great learning experience ever since.
What do you love about photography?
I just love how a photo can freeze time. I love that I’m always learning, and even if you go to the same location, the shot will never be the same.
How do you decide what to shoot?
It depends on a lot of factors; it can be while going through old photos and thinking to myself, “maybe I should go back.” Inspiration by other photographers or just reading up on locations that I have never been to. San Francisco is not that big of a city. However, there is always something new to discover.
What’s your favorite part about going out to shoot?
I think my favorite part about going out to shoot is just enjoying the moment and appreciating the view. Many times we are all just too focused on taking a picture, but I recommend taking that time to absorb it all.
Which location did you have the most difficulty getting to, and how did you do it?
I have yet to find a location with a prohibiting view, maybe I should look for some…
What is your dream shot? (Where, what time of day, what’s in it / the subject?)
My dream shot so far would have to be the Aurora Borealis during the night in Alaska. I know it can be seen from other locations within the U.S, but I love the cold weather.
What is your favorite app to use for photo editing on the go, and what are your top 3 favorite filters?
I don’t edit much on the go, but when I do, I typically use Snapseed and Aviary. Usually it’s on the computer where I edit using Adobe Photoshop. I am not a fan of Lightroom, seems limiting. I rarely use filters, so I don’t know the names by heart.
How does Instagram and the #SFGuide community inspire you?
Instagram has grown immensely since it launched, it has been an important platform for photographers and enthusiasts alike. People are very supportive with their feedback on one’s content. Communities including the #SFGuide have been great at being supportive, especially by featuring Bay Area citizens of photography, be they pro or not. This in turn nudges me to keep pursuing photography, even if it is just a hobby.
What are your favorite San Francisco-based Instagram accounts to follow?
@IGersSF, I like that they organize meet-ups. @EatDrinkSF, because food is life! For everything photos, @Wonderlust.SanFrancisco, @49MilesSF, @WildBayArea among many others.
What type of camera do you use? And what is your dream camera?
For about 9 years I was using a Canon Rebel T1i and since over a year ago I have been using a Canon 5D Mark III. I think for now this is my dream camera. I have been wanting it ever since it launched a few years ago and it fits my needs.
What are your favorite settings in your ideal shot?
Lens: Canon 24-70mm f/4L IS II USM
Shutter Speed: It will depend, but if daytime, the faster, the better
White Balance: Auto
Focus (Manual / Auto): Manual usually for long exposures or when I have a still object
Image Format (RAW / JPEG): RAW only
What advice would you give to new or rising photographers that you wish you had received when you first started?
Honestly, I would have to say, patience is important. You might think you have it all down, but not every situation will be the same. Sometimes lighting might not be ideal or objects are moving too fast. You’ll think to yourself “why was I not quick enough?”, or “I could’ve done that better/differently”. This takes time. So practice by going out and applying that knowledge you learned about your camera.
You don’t need to go far. Take a walk around your neighborhood; maybe take a photo of that interesting apartment door, or look up and snap a picture of a tall building. Landmarks aren’t always needed. If you can, take your camera with you at all times, you never know when you might see something that calls your attention. It could happen after work/school or even while running errands.
Try not to get too bothered or frustrated, because we have all been there. And you must be open to critiques from others, or else how will you improve? This falls under being patient.
What do you love about living in the San Francisco Bay Area?
I love that there is still so much to see and so many places to go, and can’t forget, the variety of food all around us. The weather is excellent, for me at least, not a fan of the sun.