20 new Fuji X100F street images (and a quick word of encouragement)

I am blessed to be an educator for many reasons, not the least of which are the amazing conversations I have had with my students over the last 20 years.  Recently, one student told me that they were struggling because they didn’t feel inspired to go out and shoot.  To phrase it exactly like the student did:

“I have been waiting and waiting for inspiration to strike.”

This immediately reminded me of two quotes.  The first is from Chuck Close and the second is from Pablo Picasso:

“Inspiration is for amateurs – the rest of us just show up and get to work.”

“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”

There is a lot of truth in these quotes.  Indeed, it is a commonly taught concept in psychology that motivation does not come first, action does.  What does this mean?  It is the belief that action will lead to a sense of accomplishment and through that sense of accomplishment motivation will follow.

Hopefully the tie in here to photography is obvious:  Sometimes there are times when the logistics of photography act as a barrier to going out and shooting.  We have chores to do, emails to respond to, income tax that hasn’t been filed, kids to take to dance classes, etc.  Just the thought of organizing our gear and driving an hour to get somewhere to shoot can seem overwhelming…. even more so when we don’t feel “inspired”.

The thing is though, once you are out in the field shooting you almost always remember why you love it, why you do it and why there is nothing better than holding a camera in your hand.  It’s a little like going to the gym:  you may hate doing it, but you always feel better after (until the next day, anyway).

I honestly believe Zack Arias summed up the best course of action when he said:

“Get off your ass!”

I can say with absolutely certainty that once I push through that initial inertia and find myself on the streets exploring, wandering and shooting, I remember exactly why I love this art form so much.

Here are twenty new Fuji X100F street images taken in either Vancouver or Seattle, all captured because I prioritized action first and went out with my camera.  The colour images are in Fuji’s Classic Chrome film simulation, while the black and white ones use the Acros film simulation.

So, I encouraged my student to push through that inertia we all experience from time to time, to grab his camera and to go out and shoot.  I never regret it when I do!

Until next time,

Ian

Finding peace at the water’s edge

Life is an amazing journey:  We experience epic highs, crushing lows and of course all things in between.  Life moves so fast, and it is important to hit the pause button every now and then so we can celebrate successes and contemplate those times when we need to adjust course.

When I need to hit pause, I almost always gravitate to the water’s edge.  There is something so peaceful about sitting or walking along the edge of a river or ocean, camera in hand, completely alone in my thoughts.  Sometimes I am taking the time to quietly celebrate a success, sometimes I am taking the time to work through something that I am struggling with and other times, I am simply tweaking plans to continue working towards my goals.  Artistically, I have no photographic expectations when I am out along the water:  it isn’t a wedding, it isn’t a portrait session and it isn’t a day on the street.  Sometimes I get a photograph that I love and sometimes I don’t even click the shutter.  I always, however, benefit from taking the time to be alone with my thoughts.  To be honest, I think we can all benefit from doing this more often.

Over the years I have gathered hundreds of images while out along the water.  One day I’m sure I will edit them down into a cohesive series, but for now I’d just like to share a small handful of these images.

I hope you like them.

I would love to know what you do, or where you go, when you want to get away and think.  Please let me know in the comments below if you feel like sharing.

Until next time!

Ian

Fujifilm X100F Street Photography

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This is the third article in my ongoing series on the new Fujifilm X100F.  If you haven’t read the previous articles yet I have a full review of the camera HERE, and a detailed article on how I set it up for shooting on the street HERE.  In this post I’m going to share a series of street images captured with my pre-production X100F, but first I’d like to quickly answer a question somebody asked me on email me a few days ago:

“What is it about street photography that you love so much?”

It is definitely true that out of all the genres of photography that I do, street photography is my favourite.  For me, it is the perfect harmony of experiencing life: meeting new people, seeing new places and most importantly, creating art purely for the sake of it.  It isn’t client driven, it isn’t for sale, it is just for me.  I love that.  There is also the truth that shooting on the streets makes me a better photographer in all of the other genres that I shoot.  I see light better.  I react quicker.  It is a fact that I am a better wedding photographer, for example, because of the amount of time I spend on the streets.

Beyond that is the fact that street photography matters.  Many of the historic photographs we treasure, like the Victory Kiss photograph from New York City at the end of World War 2, are street photographs when you think about it.  So are many of the beautiful photographs we look at to remind of us of what life was like in the fifties, sixties, seventies, etc.    We aren’t just making images, we are documenting life.  Who knows what these photos will mean in twenty or thirty years.  When was the last time you saw a payphone?

I think the best thing about street photography is that there is always time to shoot it.  Always.  Photography doesn’t need to be a big “thing” all the time; it can be done in little snippets here and there throughout the day.  Did you arrive 15 minutes early for an appointment?  Then walk around the block and shoot 15 minutes of street photography.  Are you waiting for a loved one in the car while they are out shopping?  Then shoot the light spilling into the parkade and play with the light and the shadows that it creates.  You become a better photographer by taking photos… it is a muscle that needs to be flexed and with street photography that can be done every day.

And, finally, there is the beautiful simplicity of the gear requirements for street photography:  One camera… one lens… done. The rest comes down to your own artistic vision.

So let’s take a look at some street images taken with the X100F over the last few months, my favourite “one camera, one lens”.  Many of these photographs were taken not when I was out for a purposeful day of shooting, but instead when I had a little bit of time between other appointments and I had the camera with me (there is always time to shoot, right?).   As my copy of the camera is a pre-production model these are all shot in jpeg, and some had minor adjustments in Lightroom afterwards (slight exposure or contrast adjustments, etc).  All colour images were shot in the Classic Chrome film simulation and all black and white images where shot using the Acros simulation.  I hope you like them.

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We are getting very close to the official release of the Fujifilm X100F and I know many of you have pre-ordered it.  I can’t wait to see the work that you all produce when you have this new camera in your hands and I truly hope that you enjoy it as much as I do.

Now, as my good friend Valerie Jardin says, it is time to grab your camera and hit the streets!

Cheers,

Ian

p.s.  If you are interested in learning more about shooting street photography I have a few spaces left in my Vancouver and Toronto Street Photography Workshops this summer: