Not sure what to shoot? Neither was I yesterday, so I took to the ‘streets’ of Bedford with an X-T1 and a XF56mm lens.
I decided my aim was to try and get some ‘shoot from the hip’ style shots. A little blend of people and interesting objects with a snap of the shutter, so where better to start than a DIY store?
We set off on our ‘adventure’ just as the rain started to fall, this was perfect for a little weather testing. I caught these images of a gentleman leaving the DIY store preparing for his departure into the ‘monsoon’. I tried to keep the shutter fast to capture his movements, on reflection I might have stopped the aperture down a touch to get a little more in focus.
Once inside, I was instantly drawn to the lighting department, after all, photography is all about light and so where better place to start. The XF56mm lens really gave me that perfect focal length to get in close enough to capture the mood of the lights and keep out the exterior of the store itself. I also really wanted to try out the bokeh of this cracking lens, so I shot the second one at F/1.2.
After we left the lighting department we had a good wander around as Marc actually needed something from the store after all! I managed to grab a few shots as we went and found the autofocus to be working very well shooting from the hip. I didn’t quite get the compositions I wanted shooting this way but, it was nothing a little cropping couldn’t solve.
I love looking about, trying to ‘see’ a potential photograph from an otherwise bland object, and being in a DIY store there were certainly lots of random bits and pieces to shoot. I’ve found that the XF56mm lens is a superb focal length in general but also for these close up ‘artistic angular’ shots. Here is an example of a BBQ I saw while we were there. It was the way the light fell around the chrome effect metal that drew me to take the shot.
After finishing our tour of the store we actually re-visited the lighting department for one last photo…
Which you can see Marc was thrilled to be part of!
I personally think it is always a good idea to experiment with your camera angles, sometimes it’s all that’s needed to turn a shot from bland to grand! This doesn’t mean you have to stand on your head mind you! Just ‘play’, enjoy the fact you can shoot as many pictures as you like and simply delete the ones that were not good enough. No one ever has to know!
Here was the last shot I managed to grab whilst Marc was driving us back to the office, not perfectly in focus but I did shoot through the car window and edited out Marc’s head from the equation! I also desaturated the colour a little as I wanted to capture that dull, moody weather we were so very much enjoying.
All in all, I would say it was nearly a success, after all, I did take some pictures and Marc found what he was looking for in the store. I think the aspect I could’ve improved on was being more confident shooting the subjects on-the-fly from an eye level perspective, rather than shooting from the hip. You may have found yourself in the same situation if you have ever tried ‘street’ photography, certainly it is a blast though and definitely worth trying out if you haven’t already. Maybe in a future blog I’ll try again and see if I can improve on my skills, until then, happy snapping!
Written by Dale Young