Pictures from a small Baltic island

Posts tagged “street

New Year, new camera, new me

The joy of shopping in Helsinki

IN OCTOBER I bought myself an early Christmas present. A Fujifilm Finepix x100. Now there are lots of photographers out there who have done pretty exhaustive reviews of the camera’s good points, bad points and the fact it’s rather overpriced. I agree, it is bloody expensive.

But I just want to talk about how the x100 makes me feel as a photographer. Physically it reminds me of my first ‘proper’ camera – an Olympus OM10. It’s beautiful, small, quiet and discreet. I’ve already been out and tried some street photography with it. When you carry a 5D Mark 2, as I usually do, people are wary of you. So you tend to stand a little further away than necessary.

When you have an x100 you just look like another tourist. I like that.

I’ve also seen a lot of photographers complain about the fact the x100 only has a 23mm fixed lens (that’s 35mm in old money). Well, I love that too. I fear modern photographers have become lazy. This camera makes you use your feet and get close to your subject. And that’s what photography used to be about, as I recall.

Take this street photograph. I had to go right up to the shop window to capture it. Not only did I get the wonderful smile of the shopper, I also captured a wide range of reflections in the glass from the street behind and the closeness made the foreground details of shoes and bags really large in the perspective. Lovely. Action across the frame. Depth. In short, a story.

So how does this camera make me feel? Well, it makes me feel like a young photographer again.

And that, to me, is well worth the high price…


Reading the street photography signs…


Walking through the symbolic streets of Helsinki

SOMETIMES street photography is all about instantaneous reaction. A flash of action. A chance taken which is rewarded.

But sometimes it’s planned. Many of the best street photographs are.

I loved these signs on the pavement where a building was being renovated in the centre of Helsinki. They were sort of funny. What would make the photograph even better would be to catch someone walking past who would somehow echo the silhouettes.

Juxtaposition. One of the great things in street photography.

I waited for about a minute with my camera framed to catch someone walking into the gap on the left of frame. Three people did. This lady was the third and I got the timing spot on and caught her footfall just right to shadow the body language on the signs.

Spontaneous. And planned.