Before we begin our journey out on to the streets of Bedford town, like many of you out there I’m not a professional. I did not train in the art of photography, but again, like many of you, I have an absolute passion for it.
I love reading blogs on street photography and especially black and white ones. Something about it just fascinates me. Today, I really wanted to explore the X-M1 and the beautifully compact XF27mm for this very purpose. I thought with its combination of small size, high quality and tilting screen it would be a winning combo. I wasn’t wrong.
Considering I love reading about street photography I rarely feel brave enough to go out and try it. Today would be different though, I had the luxury of the tilting screen to help compose my shots without drawing too much attention and it was small enough to fit in my jacket pocket when not needed. I also had the advantage that it was a beautifully sunny day creating some stunning contrast.
As I wandered about looking for the perfect shot, I came across a very well presented busker playing a beautiful collection of classical pieces. I knew the shot I wanted would involve me getting up very close as I was using the 27mm lens. I simply gave him a friendly smile, nod with the camera in hand and he beckoned my forward. I shot this at f/9 as I wanted to guarantee some good focus. On reflection, I might have opened the aperture up slightly and sped the shutter up a bit to get a sharper image.
After spending five or so minutes relaxing in the sun to his repertoire I moved on, in the search of the next ‘big’ scene.
One shot I love seeing is where you have one person standing looking into the distance. I’m always like “What is this man thinking about?”. I was lucky to find a few people doing exactly that.
The XF27mm lens was performing perfectly, the focus is super quick and even with some heavy crops, the physical quality of the images speak for themselves.
You might wonder what software I use to post-process my images. I do use PS and GIMP of course, but I recently discovered Google’s ‘Nik Software’. As an amateur photographer it gives great quality options for a pretty low price. I used a plugin called Silver Efex Pro to create my black and white images and pull some extra contrast and detail out of my shots. One thing to note is that it does not deal with our RAW files as far as I know. But you could shoot RAW, convert to TIF and then import for a higher file size.
As the afternoon went on I took a turn into the market stall area, it is always a pretty busy place with lots of snapping opportunities. Here are a couple from the market stalls.
All in all this camera combo performed perfectly, it was quiet, unnoticed (most of the time!) and gave me some excellent quality shots that I am happy to share with you all. I think that the XF27mm works great for this style of photography as it makes you get into the action and put yourself in the moment more rather than shooting from a distance. It helps you find those more intimate scenes that you might miss if you were further away. For me, I found that generally people were quite sociable and simply interested in what I was doing rather than the opposite.
I hope this inspires you to go out and have fun with some street photography yourself. Here are all the images I kept from the outing.
Written by Dale Young