Today I decided to have a few hours in Liverpool out on the streets to see what I could find.
I went out with a pair of Fujifilm X-T10s, is the first time I have been out with a pair of matching cameras for quite a while. I had to decide on what lenses to take as I have had the 35mm f/1.4 bolted to my X-T1 for ages but I wanted to go wider. I did put the 16mm f/1.4 on to start with but I decided I wanted something smaller and lighter on the X-T10 so went for the 18mm f/2 for one body and the 60mm F/2.4 for the other body. I don’t think the 60mm has as much reach as I need so can’t wait to get my hands on the new 90mm f/2.
The weather forecast was for an over cast day with sunny intervals, so quite promising.
I jumped on the train and arrived in to Liverpool a little earlier than normal, it’s great to try different times of day but Liverpool does take its time to wake up. There were not too many people about and the light was flat never a great start.
The good news was the weight of two X-T1s around my neck was nothing compared to the days I used to shoot with a DSLR with the same quality glass.
I used to shoot with a pair of Nikon Fm2’s and this brought back memories, one of the street performers even shouted out “hay mate, shooting film” Just goes to show it was not just me thinking how small they were.
Some days I like to cover a lot of ground when shooting Street others I like to find great spot or road and stick to one area, today I decided to cover lots of ground and see what I can see.
The flat light was very uninspiring today so covering lots of ground I could look out for something interesting, but as with quite a few Street days I was not having much luck. I guess Street photography is quite like fishing; you wait and wait just for that one moment. Not that I was waiting today I was on a mission.
Street Photography can be hard work on some days and this was one of those days, School holidays are always quite difficult times in Liverpool not many great characters about because the Uni’s are shut and lots of people shopping. I suppose when nothing is working, it’s looking for that one great image a year that keeps me going! Some Street Photographers shoot prolifically and then look for something special in the edit. I have lots of ideas in my head but also look for those special one in a million moments that happen in a fraction of a second. Some amazing things happen out on the street in the space of a few seconds and in an almost set sequence that will probably never happen in the same place ever again , it’s being there to capture that moment that is exciting. You can go for day’s, months or years and nothing great ever happens, I guess that’s why most of the great Street Photographers have had a lifetime of shooting.
One thing is for sure it clocks up your daily step count. I hit 10,000 steps in no time, three miles come and go and you forget to eat and drink, I might have to market this as the Street Diet.
I clocked up about 27,000 steps today and covered quite a bit of ground, but there was not a lot going on and the light was flat as a pancake. So I called it a day and got the train home.
Shooting with the 60mm and 18mm on a pair of X-T10s was a breeze, once I had them set up to my preferred settings, I could just concentrate on shooting without thinking. This did take a while as I was trying out the new Focus settings and in the end decided to set both cameras to Zone Focus large Square, I set them to Aperture Priority for the day with Auto ISO and moved the Aperture for my desired depth of field depending on my subject. Auto ISO settings I used Default Sensitivity 200 Max. Sensitivity 6400 and Min. Shutter Speed I set to 1/125 sec on the 18mm and 1/250 sec on the 60mm.
I am quite a calculated person when shooting and will let lots and lots of shots go if they have no set place in my workflow. I try to shoot to get in a rhythm so shoot more than I did with film but I still don’t shoot a lot of images when out. I guess one reason is I just don’t like to spend so much time looking through them all at the edit stage.
I think I am very calculated and have systems and processes in my head but I can also step out of the box if I need to. All of my images follow quite a strict process that starts in my head, I know at the time of capture if I have got the makings of a reasonable image. When I sit down to review my day’s work I can almost go straight to the keepers. Once I do sit down I then start to make more decisions about the keepers and also decide where I might use the images. It’s always funny when I post to social media and someone makes a comment like “I would have cropped that like this” or “I would have shot that person from that angle” well good for them! I did not crop it like that because I like it the way I posted it! I like the angel I shot the image or there was no other option to get the shot, like a wall or bin in the way. This sounds harsh but I don’t care what people think, I have never had a Professional Photographer give unwanted Critique and even wrote a blog post on Critique a while back. I don’t shoot to please people as such and besides half of what I shoot now won’t be relevant until 10 -20 years’ time! I share my work because images should never stay hidden under the bed for no one to see, what people think is irrelevant.
Some days I get home and delete all the images that I have shot, today feels like one of those days but I am going to share a few images. Normally these would have all been deleted, but I set out today to write my blog so will make an exception. Today was one of those days where the light was not working and you watch lots of situations build but they just come to nothing. I work the scene with my camera but when it’s not coming together I walk away, its great practice for when it does all drop in to place. Lucky for me today I needed to find create two more selfie’s for my project or I would have come away with nothing!
I just love to be out on the streets, not every day will bring me an image that I can use or even like and it might take me all my life to make a book of 20 great images, but that for me is the whole point.
I did go for a coffee with my good friend Steve from Street Frame and even though I don’t normally shoot portraits, I had to try out the X-T10 and the 60mm lens.
I did it ! I made the jump and I am OK !
Last year at Africa Oye I was shooting with a Nikon D3s and a variety of Nikon Pro glass, as well as my favourite Sigma 300mm lens. I also had a Fuji X100 with me. I was thinking about trying out Mirrorless but had not made up my mind. I managed to get a few shots with the X100 and one got published.
I was worn out after two days shooting at Africa Oye 2013! If you have never shot an event believe me two or three days shooting all day with a heavy DSLR body takes its toll on your back and shoulders. I had been exploring the Fuji option for a while but felt I could not give up my D3s and 300mm f/2.8 !
But as most of you know from my previous posts I did give up my D3s last year at the end of the festival season. I went over to Fuji from Nikon and then spent the rest of the year shooting Fuji but in the back of my mind I was worried about the festival season.
My first event in the 2014 calendar was Africa Oye, this will be followed by Brazilica, the Giants and LIMF. Even after spending quite a while shooting with the XPro1 and the X-T1 I would not have a fast enough lens for the job in low light. The 55-200mm is fine but it’s not a Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 so would struggle in low light and is a little slow at times. The Fuji bodies only go up to 6400 ISO so my fear was as the light dropped I would run out of light and not be able to shoot!
I decided to shoot the crowd up close and personal with the Fuji XPro1 and 35mm lens and use the X-T1 with the 55-200mm for when the crowds were too tight for me to walk through or reach the subject. I should explain, Africa Oye is family friendly and everyone is there with tents and blankets having a very nice family day out with BBQ’s etc so it’s not always that easy to get close to your subject as the day moves on.
I decided to shoot the stage with the 55-200mm on the X-T1 on the day and also get a few crowd shots with the 10-24mm from the pit. I also took the 60mm f/2.4 with me for when the light dropped off. I would have taken the 56mm but I have been holding off buying the 56mm due to the fact the 50-140mm f/2.8 will be out this year. To be honest the 60mm worked out fine but the 56mm would have been better.
I have to say my plan worked like a dream, getting in amongst the crowd paid off with the XPro1, it was so nice getting close to all the people I have shot at previous events with a 70-200mm I was asked for business cards and where the images could be found. It was so nice to talk to people I see year after year at the events. So, not only had the change from Nikon to Fuji made me rethink the way I shoot, it put me right back in the crowd where I should be ! It was like going back to my Nikon Fm2 and 50mm lens in the film days. Yes the change from Nikon to Fuji has made me more social! How mad is that …
I was standing in the crowd halfway through the first day thinking how great the day was, how amazing the crowd was and how great the music and atmosphere was. I was not thinking about the weight of the camera around my neck for a change. I was worried about battery life as the Nikon D3s battery would last all day on most shoots. I had a few back up Fuji batteries with me but was not sure if I had enough. I had three for the X-T1 and two for the XPro1 and went home on day one with one full battery and plenty of life in the two of the others. On day two I went home with a full battery and very little left in any of the others. I am not one to hammer the shutter to be honest and prefer to pick my shots. One of the reasons I love the XPro1.
The whole weekend went to plan as the light dropped the 55-200mm was no good to me as I was at the ISO limit, so changed over to the 60mm f/2.4, those few extra stops allowed the ISO to drop to a more useable level. I shoot Auto ISO at events, it gives me the flexibility and speed I need to concentrate on the subject and composition. When the lights come up I instantly get 200 ISO. I shoot both camera bodies on Auto ISO setting the base speed to 1/125sec and ISO 6400. If I want to play around with effects I will switch back to manual or Aperture priority.
In the end I am not sure why I even questioned myself. Africa Oye was a great way for me to test the Fuji system at an event and it went very well. I can’t wait for the new 50-140mm f/2.8 to come out later in the year and I might have to invest in the 56mm as the 60mm does hunt a lot more in low light that the 56mm from the reports I have had. I managed to eliminate a lot of the 60mm hunting issues by just pre focusing using the back button focus in manual mode method.
Africa Oye was an amazing weekend with record crowds but the best bit of all I went home without shoulder ache. Did I miss my Nikon D3s and Pro glass? No way, I am more than happy with the Fuji X-T1 and the XPro1 and the stunning Fuji glass. I had a friend ( Rich ) shooting with his X-T1 at the same event and he was using an adaptor with his Canon glass. This is an option I did think about a while back but decided for me it defeats the object of downsizing. When I shoot street with the Fuji XPro1 and 35mm I love the fact it gets me up close to my subject because I have had to change the way I shoot at events by changing to Fuji it’s opened my eyes to a whole new style and I love it. I still had to shoot with the 55-200mm to pick out a few subjects from the crowd and the stage but hopefully in the future Fuji will bring out a 300mm Prime and a few more primes that will be useful at events. I can’t wait to see what Fuji bring out in the future in the way of Bodies and Lenses.
I will leave you with a couple of shots of Finley Quaye the headline act at Africa Oye 2014.