A walk in Germany

I recently spent a long weekend in the city of Munster in Germany. I had my trusty Fuji X70 with me which came into it`s own while walking around this lovely city.

The first two images were taken in the Museum for Kunst und Kultur. This is a lovely new building and light was flooding into the foyer area as I walked in through large glass doors. The background looked wonderful with the stairs and long bench. Both images were taken within a matter of minutes of each other as I walked through.

In the next shot I saw three guys enjoying their pommes from a street stall. I did like their obvious enjoyment and body language.

I was sat at a street side cafe drinking a coffee when my eye was caught by this guy leaning against the lamp post. From my position it was not possible to isolate him so I went with the shot as it was. Included in the shot is a tour guide and his group and a woman rushing by. Overall, I think it makes a good street scene with so much to see.

The final shot was taken while waiting outside a shop. The street was very busy with a constant stream of people between me and the guy on the fence. I was very lucky to get a clear moment to take this.

Street photography workshop

I had the pleasure of attending a Street photography workshop day in Bournemouth.

The day was organised by my local camera shop Castle Cameras and Panasonic. The guest speaker was Damien Demolder.

Damien is an experienced street photographer, has been the editor of Amateur Photographer magazine and now writes camera reviews. He also holds street photography workshops around the country. Damien was quick to point out that he is not an ambassador for Panasonic cameras, but  Panasonic G cameras are what he uses for his own street photography.

Josh the technical guy from Panasonic was on hand with a large collection of Lumix G cameras and lenses for us all to try out.

The day started well and I was in awe of Damien`s work. He talked us through some excellent examples of his work, explaining his methods and techniques. The main thing that I took from his examples was the use of light. Something that we all take for granted, but Damien is a master of using different light levels within a shot to produce outstanding results. He also demonstrated and explained his own methods for not standing out as a photographer in the street to get those candid shots.

Damien then explained why he preferred Panasonic cameras for his own use. I was impressed with the features that he highlighted. The touch screen focus area and shutter release facility is excellent. The dynamic range is better than top of the range DSLR`s and the 4K facility is an interesting feature for “catching the moment”.

The afternoon session was to be our chance to pick a camera and lens from the range. I chose the GX800 and a 25mm f1.4 lens. I chose this particular model as it was of similar design and size as my Fuji X70. A few minutes to find our way around the controls and set the cameras up to apeture priority and 400 iso.

Unfortunately, the weather and time was against us. So instead of roaming the streets of Bournemouth learning from Damien another plan was needed. we moved outside to a covered alley where Damien gave an impromptu master class on the use of light in portraits. He demonstrated the use of exposure compensation which we then practised using fellow students as models. I found this very useful and certainly learnt from it, probably more useful than 13 photographers on the street.

Overall an interesting and useful day out from which I learnt some new methods and techniques. Would I buy a Panasonic camera?, if I was considering changing camera systems and lenses then yes I would.

Damien Demolder

A new camera

Fuji X70

Meet my new camera the Fuji X70. A 16MP APS-C compact camera with a 18.5mm f2.8 fixed lens.

I have been considering a small camera for a while to get in close for street photography. I was interested in a Ricoh GR but there are a few points I am not happy with on the GR. This Fuji camera would appear to be the answer and has a good reputation.

The first outing was not a raging success, it must have been the darkest day of the year and it was trying to snow as well.

But, I was happy with the different style of shooting that I could use. Flip screen folded out (there is no viewfinder on the X70) one handed operation and shooting from the hip. As this camera is so small it fits in my jacket pocket when not being used.

I have decided to shoot in JPEG only with this camera using the in camera settings and film emulation modes. Two main reasons for this are Fuji has a good reputation for these settings and colours and why not let the camera do the work. Secondly the version of Lightroom I have does not support Fuji RAW files so using a third party programme slows down and adds to the process.

The next part of this journey is to master zone focusing as I become more familiar with this camera.

Update. I have been using this camera for a few weeks now and really enjoying it. The menus are easy to negotiate and the available settings are very useful.

I have tried several different film emulation settings, noise, shadow and highlight settings. But, the default JPEG setting SOOC at the moment is giving me the best results allowing for minor tweaks in Lightroom.

I have also started experimenting with the different focal length settings. There is a clever setting in the menu that allows the user to change between 18, 35 and 50mm. Not sure how this works but with a twist of the front dial I can swap between any of the three lengths. The image quality so far using this seems good and it does not look like just a case of digital zoom.

12 from 2016

A selection of 12 shots from 2016, I have picked one from each month of the year.


January

Took this while walking around Salisbury. I used a low point of view to emphasise the low view he has while sat on his skateboard. I did not realise at the time that the photographer I shot would later contact me and ask for a copy having seen it on Flickr.

210mm, f8, 1/180s, ISO 800

 

February

This was taken in Bath. I really like the stolen moment as they grab a kiss in public, also his body language. You can almost see her smiling as reaches for the kiss.

50mm, f4.5, 1/200s, ISO 200

 

March

Sometimes things just jump out at you in the street when looking for photographic compositions. I titled this shot “Ooh smelly” which I think is a perfect title. The rubbish bags waiting collection are doing a great job of covering up the writing on the poster. She seems to be covering her nose because of the smell, all with wonderful eye contact. One of my favourite shots of the year.

50mm, f6.7, 1/125s,  ISO 100

 

April

Showers in April. I was out and about and quickly took shelter in a shop doorway during a rain shower. I noticed the woman opposite me had done the same. I like the way she filled the left of the frame leaving empty negative space on the right. Just as I took the shot I had what is known as a walk through by the people on the right. I decided to leave them in as I think it is a stronger shot for their walk through ignoring the rain as she stands waiting for the rain to stop.

50mm, f6.3, 1/100s,  ISO 1600

 

May

Taken at a local street fair. I saw this composition in my head before I even lifted the camera. Such vibrant colours and symmetry. The girl in the centre really helps to draw the eye to the centre of the shot. It was also my first ever photo to be Explored on Flickr.

18mm, f4, 1/320s, ISO 100

 

June

Taken in Bath at a fringe festival for performing street artist. I chose a low point of view for this and I love the double take of the people as they walk past and realise the artists are only wearing a small brush holder apron.

21mm, f6.3, 1/400s, ISO200

 

July

Wayne with his trusty camera talking to complete strangers on a bench in Bath, doing what he managed to do so easily.

Wayne was one of my Flickr contacts (Just Ard) and was an excellent street photographer and a wonderful person to know. We arranged to meet up in Bath for the day having exchanged many e mails previously.

We spent a few hours chatting and taking photographs, a very memorable day for me.

Wayne sadly passed away a few months after this was taken.

50mm, f8, 1/640s, ISO 400

 

August

Another shot taken in Bath. I was experimenting with one of my old manual focus prime lenses to see if I could still manage to focus on a modern digital camera without the split screen focus of an old analogue camera. I was pleased with this result both with my ability to still manual focus and the quality of the image.

I was drawn to these by the contrast between their way of wearing sunglasses and covering their heads.

135mm, f4, 1/125s, ISO 200

 

September

My first photographic trip to London and highly successful it was too. So many places to visit, so many pictures to take. I learnt a new word as well after taking this ; pareidolia. The guy on the bench was perfectly placed for this shot to complete the face.

135mm, f5.6, 1/1000s, ISO400

 

October

This was what I call a grab shot. I saw the couple walking towards me in a busy street and only had a few seconds to lift the camera, focus and grab the shot. Hoping that it would be the result I wanted. Street photography is often about quick reactions and hoping to get the desired outcome. I like her infectious laugh as it seems to spread to her sharp dressed partner in the shot.

135mm, f5.6, 1/750s, ISO 400

 

November

My second trip to London with a camera. I have seen several versions of this before, both day and night shots. I was happy to take my version of this. It was a bright day with low winter sun and lots of people on the bridge. I had to lean backwards on the railings in order to get in as much as I could with the lens that I had.

50mm, f6.3, 1/200s, ISO 200

 

December

Some lights at Christmas. Shooting at night requires a different approach than a brightly lit summers day. Using available light without a flash often means the use of a tripod, this was achieved hand held with a fast lens and high ISO. I like the result especially the reflections in the wet pavement.

85mm, f1.8, 1/125s, ISO 1600

 

 

 

Life on a street bench

 The humble street bench, just a piece of furniture in the street.

A great place to people observe language and emotions.