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Go Out and Experiment (Oxford street)

Oxford street photo walk | panning

I know, writing Oxford street might be a bit of a clickbait. But this is about street photography in Oxford, so…

Anyway, here I am talking about another photowalk I attended.
It’s always great to go out, meet and shoot with likeminded individuals.
I also often meet up with new groups. I love to connect with as many people as possible, hear new stories and learn something every time.

And so last Saturday I went on a photowalk in Oxford with other fellow photographers:

@gareth_danks, @dangoodyart, @richard.jones.photo, @steven_musgrove, @nuneatonphotosoc, @kenwalkerphotography and @johnstarkeyphotography.

Most of them (us) are mainly landscape photographers and I found inspiring that all decided to challenge themselves in doing a bit of street for a day. As I wrote in a previous post, it’s a great exercise to leave your comfort zone and try something different.
It’s how I started doing street photography myself and I absolutely enjoy every second of it.

Even if you’re on your own, a way to boost your creativity is to set challenges for yourself. Perhaps try a new technique, constrain yourself into using only one specific less-used lens, etc. Particularly if you live in a place that is less eventful than London, or if you don’t travel too often, this may help you keep your creative spark alive.

My own challenges

In this Oxford street photowalk, I did a bit of that myself. First, as an introvert it’s always challenging to engage in conversations with complete strangers.

Then I set some constrains with the gear. Therefore I only had 1 camera body and 2 lenses with me.

And lastly, I tried some new techniques as well. I set my camera screen to black and white (Acros Red film simulation) to focus more on shapes and contrast. Tried some panning. And even found myself in a situation where I shot a street portrait, Bruce Gilden style!

Please allow me to elaborate…

Gear challenge

Knowing I would stay out about 15 hours, I didn’t want to carry a heavy bag on my shoulders the whole time. So I decided to only bring my street photography staples with me: my Fujifilm X-T2 and both the Fujinon XF 23mm f/2 and 35mm f/2.
Both lenses actually served as icebreakers in the conversation as well, because everybody is always amazed by their size. It’s one reason why they are my favourites. And these lenses are also weather-sealed, which is a much needed feature with the British weather.

I’m planning to buy the 50mm f/2 as well (and I have the absolute gorgeous 90mm f/2 already), but that’s for another story.

One of the widely appreciated features of Fujifilm cameras is the film simulations and I’m a big fan of Classic Chrome for street photography. But this time I decided to try something different.
I wanted to focus more on shapes and contrast, particularly on a busy Saturday and without much bright sunshine. So I set my camera to use the Acros film simulation (red filter). The red filter option darkens the skies without pushing the contrast too much so I thought it would do well here.

I could actually write a post about Fujifilm film simulations… Let me know in the comments if you’d be interested.

Out in the street

And so, off we went for an Oxford street photography walk. Last time I was here was almost 5 years ago but I still remembered the locations pretty well.
There are arches and alleyways that really come to live with the sun. But there was only a faded light for about an hour, before lunch time. So we made do with what we had.

Here are a few shots I took.

Warming up

Some photos I like from the random shots I took while fiddling with the camera settings…

Panning

Panning can be a fun technique.
I use it rarely but I did when shooting the Athletics European Cup in Florence years ago and I know it can give interesting results.
It helps to start following your subject with the camera a few seconds before you shoot. This way, when you press the trigger you should be moving at the same pace already.

Silhouettes and shadows

This is more of my usual street photography style. Although, like I mentioned earlier we didn’t have much sunlight to play with.

The street portrait

And here is probably my favourite shot of the day.
100% candid shot. Maybe a little too much “in your face” as in Bruce Gilden (in)famous style but I was quite pleased when I saw I got this in focus.

Oxford street photo walk

This portrait will be the subject of my next Story Behind The Shot so make sure you subscribe to my newsletter to receive it.
You can do it here.

And this is it.
Hope you enjoyed the content and I’ll see you all next time!


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Comments

  • Ken Walker

    Great to meet up with you on Saturday Fabien, really enjoyed being out of my comfort zone too, stimulates the mind to be challenged.

    25th February 2020
  • Great to meet you Fabien, my Italian friend .

    25th February 2020
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