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Faces of London Pride 2019

Like I try to do almost every year, I attended the London Pride again in 2019.

It’s always a colourful parade and a full day of joy, fun, quirkiness, and love. And in these past 2 years, I also went with the clear intention to shoot some good portraits. For somebody as shy as me, the London Pride is always a great chance to do so, because people expect to be photographed. In fact, some put so much care into their attire that they would almost be offended if you skipped them.

I met some friends in the morning and went for a photowalk with Alan Schaller and Flickr before heading to the London Pride. We arrived when the parade started to hit Oxford Circus, and the roads were already packed.
We then decided to walk along the human wall and enjoy the view from there. And I soon lost my friends in the chaos and continued on my own.

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Anywhere I looked, there was always a great photographic opportunity.
I went down Regent Street, stopping every minute for portraits of the people around me.

A bit of gear talk…

Last year, I took one of my favourite lenses with me, the Fujifilm XF-90mm F2 R LM WR. It’s an utterly flattering lens for portraits, and I’m always in awe of the output I get from it.
But this year, I decided to go with my latest purchase, the Fujifilm XF-55-200mm F3.5-F4.8 OIS. The 90mm is an absolutely amazing lens, but it’s not as flexible as I wanted for events. I also knew that I wouldn’t use it to its full potential here because it’s unlikely I would open it to F2 in a fast-action environment: too easy to lose focus on the subject.

In hindsight, I have reviewed the pictures I took, and most of them fall into the 70-100mm range. So perhaps I didn’t need all that flexibility. But the 55-200 also has stabilisation, which probably helped here.

People often reach out to me to ask me about my settings, so here’s what I did.
First, I set my ISO to Auto. It was not entirely automatic because I had instructed the camera not to go above ISO 1600 (even though the Fujifilm X-T2 still produces great pictures at higher values).
Secondly, I set the Aperture to F6.4, and up to F8 when I needed to isolate more than one subject.
I then used the T mode for my Shutter Speed, ranging between 1/320 and 1/640 according to action and exposure.
I set my Auto-Focus to single point and moved the focus with the camera joystick where I needed it. When I need to be faster, I focus and recompose, which at F6.4 and up is quite forgiving. But then I switched my camera to Manual Focus, not Auto, and I used the back button focusing technique to shoot.

For once, it helped that the weather was dull and greyish because there was no sun to cast shadows on people’s faces, and the sky worked as a big diffuser. I was complaining that the light wasn’t great during the morning photowalk because I had other goals, but here it was perfect.

But you’re here for the photos, right? So let’s see them!
Since this could have become quite a heavy page, I’m only selecting a few to be published here. A larger series of portraits is saved among the highlights in my Instagram profile @fabienb.

That’s it for now. More on my Instagram profile @fabienb
Now waiting for 2020!

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