One of the best things about blogging is the people you met along the way. Over the years I’ve been really fortunate to have met a lot of wonderful people through my blog who have inspired me deeply and have helped me plan my own travels to new places. When we began planning our family trip out to Northern California I knew I’d have to reach out to one of my favorite photographers in the Bay Area, Jane Lurie, for some advice on where to go and what to see. I have been following Jane’s beautiful photography blog for years and I love her inspiring work. No one knows how to capture the Bay Area and Northern California better than Jane.

Jane gave me some ideas on where to go, and while we were in California I realized how difficult it truly is to capture such a stunning place on film. We were there in early August which is normally quite foggy in the along the northern coast. I have never shot in fog before so it was quite a challenge. A few of my photos came out alright (which I will show later in another post) however I realized what a true art it is work with varying light and fog.  I knew instantly that I’d have to contact Jane and find out how she does it so beautifully. I also wanted to learn more about the woman behind Jane’s Lens so I invited her to do an interview with me. Here is what she had to say.

How long have you lived in the Bay Area? Where are you originally from?

I’ve lived in San Francisco for five years and part-time for ten. I grew up in New Jersey and worked in the education field there throughout my career. Then, my husband Bob and I lived near Charleston, South Carolina on Kiawah Island for many years before moving to San Francisco.

“Day is Done”. Photo credit: Jane Lurie

When did you learn photography?

I have been interested in photography for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I proudly created photo albums with pictures from my little Kodak Instamatic and received my first “big” camera, a Minolta DSLR, in high school. I always had that camera with me taking photos of my friends and family. I studied photography and darkroom early on and continued when I switched to digital photography after my career in the education field ended.

I currently enjoy courses at SFAI (San Francisco Art Institute)— the photography department, by the way, was founded by Ansel Adams – a lifelong inspiration.

“Fog and Trees”. Photo credit: Jane Lurie

What are some of your favorite subjects?

I have a variety of interests— landscapes and nature, city and street scenes, architecture and portraits of kids. We travel fairly extensively and I enjoy the challenge of settling into a new location to find that unique sense of place.

“Rainy Day on Grant Street, Chinatown”. Photo credit: Jane Lurie

One of my favorite quotes is, “Photography helps people to see”, by Berenice Abbott. This thought is at the heart of what motivates me creatively in photography. Seeing extraordinary things in the everyday and celebrating them through my images is what I hope to achieve.

It may be the stunning light at sunset, unusual shadows cast on a building, a humorous “found object” on the street or simply the rain on a succulent in the park. It’s a joy to practice the art of seeing every day.

“Succulent in Rain”. Photo credit: Jane Lurie

Another incentive in my work is to document places of natural beauty to help educate and illuminate the need for preservation and conservation of our limited resources – and, to encourage people to get out there and enjoy them. I’ve had my photography blog, Jane’s Lens, for 8 years and I hope my weekly posts encourage and inspire followers to see the world in different ways.

“Goodnight, Big Sur”. Photo credit: Jane Lurie

I’ve always had a particular love for black and white photography and am inspired by Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Edward Weston, Dorothea Lange, Henri-Cartier Bresson- too many to mention- all of whom documented our world so beautifully in those days. And I admire many contemporary photographers, Richard Misrach, Lee Friedlander, Roman Loranc, Steve McCurry, Annie Leibowitz to name a few.

I am currently a main contributor to a website called Monochromia, a terrific group of photographers dedicated to black and white photography.

“Moonlit Bay”. Photo credit: Jane Lurie

Where are your favorite places to shoot in San Francisco?

The Golden Gate is my steadfast companion. She is a muse of many moods and I just love to photograph her. Historic Fort Point, at the base of the bridge, is fun to climb and gives an interesting vantage point to see surfers, whales and the winter waves crashing along the shore.

San Francisco is a walking city and I love to explore the neighborhoods: The Presidio for its natural beauty and Spanish architecture, Chinatown for its markets and vibrant street scenes, The Mission for its street art, the Ferry Building and the Embarcadero, the Sunday Fort Mason Farmers’ Market.

Anywhere along the Bay- the Headlands, Lands End, Baker Beach, Crissy are all great for hiking and photography.

“Evening, Telegraph Hill”. Photo credit: Jane Lurie

What are your tips for shooting in heavy fog?

Fog is mesmerizing to watch and photograph as it rolls in and out. It’s fun to get above the fog so I often shoot from a high spot in Russian Hill or the Headlands. The exposure can be tricky with the reflected light on the fog so it helps to bracket and get a variety of exposures.

“Headlands and Fog”. Photo credit: Jane Lurie

When I’m in the thick of it, the challenge is to find the subject and get the focusing down. The Golden Gate is dramatic when it’s foggy- which is most of the summer!

“Summer in San Francisco”. Photo credit: Jane Lurie

I work in Lightroom and generally, contrast and highlights can be adjusted in post-processing. I think fog photos look great in black and white.

What kind of camera do you shoot with and what is your favorite gear?

I shot with Nikons for years and my last kit, the Nikon D800 with the Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/2.8 were recently, and sadly, retired when I switched to a mirrorless system.

I now photograph with the Fujifilm X-T2 with the Fujinon 18-55mm f/2.8, 35mm and 90mm f/2 prime lenses. The mirrorless cameras win for their light weight and excellent technology. My back sure thanks Fuji!

With the lighter system, I now use a tripod called the 3 Legged Thing by Punks Corey which is small, light and great for travel.

“A Perfect Summer Day”. Photo credit: Jane Lurie

What do you love most about living in San Francisco?

From a photography standpoint— the light. It is exciting to see how dynamic it can be during the day-highlighting the bridges, the colorful Victorians or the captivating hills.

Also, what I love is that there is always something going on: marches, races, street fairs and farmers’ markets. It’s a photographer’s dream living here. And, hiking in the hills of Marin is a short drive away.

“San Francisco at night”. Photo credit: Jane Lurie

Finally, I love the diversity in San Francisco, there’s always something to do culturally and the food is fantastic!

Where are some of your favorite places in Northern California that you recommend visitors see?

There are so many amazing places to see in Northern California! However, here are some of my favorites:

  • Point Reyes National Seashore is magnificent.
  • Big Sur is a must see.
  • Bodega Bay and its Headlands where you may see whales.
  • Sonoma and Napa for vineyard photos any time of the year.
  • Tomales Bay – and there are oysters.
  • The California Redwoods.

“California Living, Point Reyes”. Photo credit: Jane Lurie

How can we learn more about your work?

Photo of Jane with her granddaughter Imogen

You can subscribe to my blog, Jane’s Photography Blog – at https://janeluriephotography.wordpress.com/

You can also check out my website: https://www.janeluriephotography.com

Or you can follow me on Instagram: janeluriephotography

47 comments

    1. You’re welcome! She is such a beautiful photographer and advocate for conservation. Thanks for reading!

  1. Oh, how fun to read more about Jane, whose photos I also greatly admire! Like you, Nicole, I thought about Jane the whole time I was in SF and Marin Country in June as I tried to capture the Golden Gate Bridge and many other local scenes. It probably made me even more impressed with Jane’s work! I was lucky to have no fog (instead, we hit a heat wave; one day it was 100 degrees outside!), but in a way, I wished for a little less bright sun – at least for photography purposes. (That may be the first time I’ve “complained” about sun!) Thanks for highlighting a fellow blogging friend!

    1. Thanks Lexi! Yes I reached out to Jane before we went to get some tips. It was so helpful! After spending tend days in the area I realized how truly hard it is to capture the shots in the fog and in general. It truly is a spectacular place! I love Jane’s work and how her photos all tell a story. Glad you enjoyed the post!

    1. Yes, we were in Sonoma for an afternoon and it was crazy the difference in temperature! We left the Bay in the 60s and it was in the 90s in Sonoma. It was so hot! Do you run a vineyard in Napa?

      1. We live in Napa and my husband runs vineyards and makes wine for wineries from the Sierra Foothills, to Sonoma County, and Napa (as well as our own label 😉

      2. My husband runs vineyards and makes wine from the Sierra Foothills to Sonoma County and Napa- as a consulting winemaker as well as our own label 🙂

      3. What is your own label? I’d love to try it out if I can find it at a local wine store here. How cool. He must have done a lot of training to get that kind of knowledge. 🙂

  2. Thank you very much for this feature, Nicole. It has been a pleasure following your blog over the years. Your positive outlook and mission to help others through your outreach is inspiring. And, your photographs are terrific! I look forward to your future adventures.

    1. Jane, thank you so much for this lovely interview! I really enjoyed learning more about you and how you see the world through your lens. 🙂

    1. Thanks Alison! Jane’s work is very inspiring. I also love your photography too, you know. You are a beautiful photographer. My dream is to someday take some classes.

    1. She is fabulous and I love her work so much! I’ve been following her for years. I also love your site Monochromia. Someday I’d love to learn the art of black and white. Thanks Joe for reading this post about Jane! 🙂

  3. I really enjoyed this interview of Jane Lurie, thirdeyemom. I have had the privilege of following her blog for years, and it is one excellent photo and quote after another. The photos you featured here and the information about Jane did a great job of highlighting her skills and uniqueness.

    1. Thank you so much Jet for reading! Yes, Jane is amazing. She was so helpful when we were planning our trip and once I got out there I knew I’d have to do this post. No one can show us this part of the world better than Jane! 🙂

    2. Thank you, Jet. Much appreciated! It’s so nice that we have the Bay Area in common and that we share a love of nature. If only I had your encyclopedic knowledge. 😉

  4. I’m with Jet, and think that Jane’s photos are in a class of their own. I, too, have followed her blog for several years and am amazed each week by her posts. Thanks for your spot-on interview with her.
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  5. Your photography always draws me back, Jane. I love it when an image captures my imagination, as yours so often do. 🙂 🙂 Rainy day is a stunner, and I’m definitely there, above the clouds with you.
    Nicole, thanks so much for providing us with a little background on Jane. This is a lovely piece. I’m sorry I haven’t been around much lately. Just trying to ease back in after my UK trip.

    1. Yes isn’t Jane amazing! I love this tight-knit community we have from blogging too. It is lovely to have so many great inspiring people to follow! 🙂

    2. Hi Jo, How lovely to read– thank you so much. It’s wonderful to be connected to you and so many bloggers who share similar passions. Nicole’s positive influence is felt far and wide. 🙂

    1. Great reminder: To seek out and find beauty in every day! Life is so busy that oftentimes it is easy to forget. Glad we have Jane’s photography to remind us.

  6. It was Jane’s recent post that led me to your blog. While I’ve not personally met her, I have met some other “blog friends,” one as far away as New Zealand. Ah, connectivity.

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