Charles Saadiq, Michigan 2018
0/1 sec, f/16, ISO 250
- Captured with a vintage Minolta 28mm f/2.8 lens on a FujiFilm X-T10
camera: FujiFilm X-T10
lens: a vintage Minolta 28mm f/2.8
As I am entering my middle-age years, I am becoming more connected to nature. This feeling brings me a greater sense of peace with unresolved isssues in my past now knowing that all things are temporary. Life is a continuous cycle and I want to practice a more gentle approach to dealing with personal hardships. ‘Practice’ is the key word because the act of negative thoughts is difficult habit to break. Yet my interactions with animals and plants are heeling. This new level of peace is beginning to reflect in my photography.
shooting manual digital photographs without post edits...
PROGRESS IN MY CREATIVE APPROACH
One of the greatest lessons I am learning from film photography is embracing simplicity. Keeping things simple makes photography alot less stressful. Using analog, fixed lens cameras prevents me from being overly burdened with trying to decide which lens to bring with me. Not to mention film cameras do not have digital menus with an over abundance of options that can be more distracting than helpful at times. Over time I've become much more comfortable with film photography. I don't have anxiety anymore about the possibility of ruining a roll of film or taking a bad shot. I truly love using vintage cameras...they make me think and take more chances. However, my progress in film created an unforeseen struggle with digital photography.
THE SETBACK (temporarily, I hope)
Yesterday I did some street photography in my most favorite places in the state of Michigan, Ann Arbor. I had a great time shooting and bonding with two film cameras, a compact Konica C-35 and a Yashica D for 120 film. People in the streets where most fascinated with my classic twin lens reflex medium format which in turn presented plenty of opportunities for taking street portraits (I can't wait to go to the darkroom!). After a couple of hours I decided to put away my analog gear and bring out my digital FujiFilm X-E1. Sigh... the frustration!
To clarify, I love FujiFilm X series cameras; I've owned several. However I find myself loosing interest in the digital photography process (or lack there of) over the past couple of months now. When I began shooting with the X-E1 that day, I quickly resulted back to bad old habits of 'chimping' and looking for instant satisfaction. I was focusing on all of the tech options on the digital camera rather than observing and capturing my environment. The convenience of a digital camera took the fun out of the thought process of street photography.
ADDRESSING THE ISSUE
This morning I needed to reevaluated my approach. I decided to treat my digital camera as a fixed lens 35mm. I will dedicated myself to shoot with only one prime lens, a manual Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 with CPL filter. For at least the remainder of this month, I will shoot with the lens open with a f-stop setting at 2.8. The built-in monochrome filters FujiFilm provides are superb so I keep my camera's film simulation on the 'black and white with a red filter' mode. The FujiFilm X-E1 will have the shutter speed and ISO set manually - - no automatic whatsoever!
My first test was to capture my environment immediately, so while I sipped on a cup of coffee I did some random natural light shots in the house. The rays of the rising sun beaming through my blinds gave me an idea to shoot as-is; no post editing! The results were great but more than that, I was relaxed and I made every shot count. Instead of having a hundred bad images to edit, I only had about a dozen unedited quality photographs to simply upload to my laptop, tag and enjoy.
THE RESULTS - Quality over Quantity
Naturally painting shade & shadows...
cameras: FujiFilm X-E1, X-Pro 1 and X-T10
lenses: Minolta MD 28mm f/2.8, Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 and Fujinon 18mm f/2/0
As the saying goes, 'the early bird catches the worm'. I believe this is especially true when it comes to street photography. Over the years I've become accustomed to not sleeping in (even on weekends) and to venture out to photograph at sunrise. The smells of fresh coffee from corner bakeries combined with the sight of smoke spewing from manhole covers stimulates my creativity. The city if full of excitement and I aim to capture as much as possible. I have a sense of accomplishment when I am one of the first street photographers out hunting for deep shadows.
The natural light before noon makes architecture and urban landscapes just that much more dramatic. I've tested a variety of camera settings; I found that my personal sweet spot fall between 200-400 ISO, a f/8 or smaller aperture and shutter speeds between 1/60 to 1/80. I've used a Fujinon 18mm f/1.8 lens on a number of occasions. However the Fujinon 18mm continued to suffer from soft focusing. This seems to be a common flaw mentioned by other owners of these lens. This has pushed me in the direction of using old prime lenses from the film photography era. The FujiFilm X series cameras work like a gem when paired with vintage lenses! I like them so much I now prefer analog lenses over digital any day of the week. I don't mind working a bit harder with manual lenses to get the results I want. Photography excursions during the early morning hours is an excellent opportunity to test the limits of lenses and to sharpen photography techniques.
I am a street photographer using film and digital formats. I enjoy listening to good music, traveling, quiet time & peace.