I set off with a predetermined goal-
With fully charged battery, a spare in my pocket and the XF35F2-lens mounted, I put my X-T2 in my pocket and hit the streets of Ringsted on a cold saturday in january.
I was determined to practice this ‘Street’-stuff with the tilting screen on the camera. Most people tend to show nervous tics and behave weird when they spot a photographer with a camera lifted to his eye. But when the camera are kept at the hibs level, people tend to think I’m adjusting the Camara settings or merely “chimping”. Using the ‘articulating screen’ on the back side in a 90 degrees upwards position enables a kind of stealth mode in the crowd.
I’m a controlfreak, so my normal setup is manual focusing using a single AF point. In this mode I can use the AF-L key as back-button focus. And with fog and occasinally snow flakes, I decided to go with this setup. Only adjustment was to put zebras on the screen, enabling me to see what part of the picture that was in focus.
Theory vs practice
In theory, theory and practice are the same. The shopping-streets and the town square are normally packed with people (=photo opportunities) at saturdays, so I was looking forward to improme my skills. And with optimal setting, I was going for a lot of exercise. In theory…
In practice the windy and cold circumstances didn’t give me many subjects to photograph. Everybody seemed to enjoy hot chocolate or coffee at home. So I had to take what I could get. And wearing gloves didn’t improve my shooting experience either! More on that topic later…
A hungry lion?
First spot was at the city square. A pair of lions catched my attention. Even though they were angry-looking and well-sized, it vas obvious they were carved in stone. But maybe some children would ‘interact’ with the sculptures on their way passing by.
So I tried to hide in the shop entrance next to the lions and waited for bait. Manual focus, prefocus on the lion, and f 8 should ensure enough FOV to get a sharp picture.
Finally a mother came by with two kids. I was buzzy looking down to the screen and waiting for the right moment.. Snap.
No kids were eaten by the lion. But more sadly, no interaction. So the only mood I could get out of the picture is the kids non-awareness or carelessness of the danger. Nah… Also the fact, that they were walking away and not towards me, makes this picture a non-keeper. Only funny thing about the picture was the little boys reflex; it looks pretty much like a camera pointing at me…
After a few minutes of waiting, the cold started to very present, and I decided to leave this spot and return in spring time.
Please do not feed the doves
The boys on the other side of the square catched my interest. Apparently they ignored the huge sign informing the citizens not to feed the doves. With a zoom lens, I would have tried to catch them at a distance, but with the fixed 35mm, I had to use my feets as zoom. I think zooming with your feets are a mantra for street photographers, and after all, it’s not that hard. Here the flipping screen did its job. The boys didn’t take notice of silly me fumbling with my camera. So I was able to get a few good shots, pushing the shutter at the right moments.
The only downside was the backbutton focusing. The AF-L is so slick and aligned with the camera body, so it was hard to find and press it with my gloves on. But after a few attemps and misfocusings due to my fumbling, I succeded to get the ‘zebras’ in place. They didn’t seem to bother the boys nor the doves.
In this photo, the kids are in a time bubble having fun feeding the doves. They are totally unaware of the statue of the Great Valdemar (da: Valdemar den Store) are looking down at them. In his reign, pillory would be a mild sentence to these young villains…
In retrospect, I think a shooting position a bit more to the left would have made the sign a bit easier to read.
After this, it started to snow, and I decided to go for a cup of coffee, leaving the lonely streets to them selves.
- Using the flipp screen draws little attention. So thumbs up to this technique!
- The XF35mmF2 is a small lense. It’s size makes it possible to store the X-T2 in a jacket. It’s a very light and convenient setup. With it’s weather resistance I don’t have to worry about snow or rain – only on the lense glass.
- Backbutton focus and gloves are a bad combo. Turning the focus ring on the lense might not be stealthy or invisible to my fellow citizens, but can be done quite subtle holding the camera in your palm. Alternatively I should try to rely on the AF-capabilities of the XT-2.
- Crank up the ISO. I tend to fix the ISO setting, but high iso is not so dangerous in street photography…