a collection of experiences, ideas and image samples related to street photography.
park bench... 1/210 sec , f/2.8 , ISO 250
camera: FujiFilm X-T10
lens: a vintage Minolta 28mm f/2.8
Over the past year, I've been neglecting my collection of vintage lenses so I decided to pair a Minolta 28mm f/2.8 with a FujiFilm X-T10 to do a street photography theme on reflections and shadows. Most of the images were shot wide open with the exemption of a few where I stopped at f/11. I like high contrast photographs so I enjoying shooting before noon to capture really dark shadows. Using vintage lenses on a mirrorless camera is my preference for digital photography. The process of having to set the aperture and focus manually gives me a greater sense of accomplishment. I was fortunate to create about 25 photographs from this zine project that I am quite happy with!
Here is a sample:
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.
Using an analog wide angle lens at a Japanese market.
camera: FujiFilm X-E1
lenses: Minolta MD 28mm f/2.8
One of the many reasons why I love using the FujiFilm X line of cameras are how well they pair with analog lenses. To clarify, I have nothing against digital Fujinon glass. They are high quality lenses and I so appreciate the manual aperture ring! However I just find old lenses from yesteryear a bit more appealing. Vintage lenses are bullet proof; they last forever and aren't as fragile as most modern glasses. Not to mention that having an assortment of analog prime lenses are much more economical then spending hundreds of dollars more for a single lens that requires firmware updates and such.
After a recent purchase (on eBay) of a Minolta MD 28mm f/2.8 vintage lens, I decided to give it a test run at a Japanese market. I experimented with shooting primarily from a low angle perspective when capturing people. I am very pleased with the results. The focus ring is very responsive and the aperture blades open/close with precision. I especially like that these old lenses aren't that heavy either. Vintage lenses, even some primes, can be bulky with a lot of weight but the Minolta 28mms are quite compact. Most of the people in the market didn't even notice that I had a camera at all. I love being the invisible man!
not happy hour...
whats on sale...
I am a street photographer using film and digital formats. I enjoy listening to good music, traveling, quiet time & peace.