Micro Fun Thirds

A little while ago I bought a micro four thirds camera as a pocketable decent quality family camera and a daily carry around street camera. In the time that I have shot with this small sensor size, it’s been great fun. As we are into long days at the moment, and I have been ridiculously busy recently, I haven’t had time to try it in low light. However, my hunch is that full frame will still be considerably better come the winter nights. I will test this out later in the year, and probably run a comparison between the two formats. Night street photography is my favourite aspect of the whole process, so getting a set up with fast auto focus, portability and decent image quality is important to me. Currently, the Sony A9 is the major front runner in this regard for me.

Back to micro four thirds though. I wasn’t sure how I was going to take to the smaller sensor size, as I have been shooting primarily full-frame for the 5 or 6 years now. But, for street photography, it’s not been a problem. I actually prefer it over the APS-C format of the Fuji’s. They are small cameras but not in the same ball park as the Lumix GX9. It looks more like a compact camera than a system camera. I haven’t really noticed too much of a difference in image quality for the work I do.

Back in London

I was in London for work again today. Walking from the train station to work (and back again) gave me some good opportunities for getting some photographs. I tend to shoot from the hip (hence the lower angle of the camera in most of the shots), whilst walking at  pace (I don’t tend to stop to take shots as things are happening so quickly, I mostly pause slightly in my stride before continuing). I like the more loose and dynamic feel to the shots, rather than more carefully composed images. It’s more free and, to me at least, it also reflects the busy chaotic nature of people on the streets of London. There is a lot more energy there than in Salisbury, that’s for sure!

The London street work has been taking shape nicely over the winter. At the end of the winter I will put the work together into an e-book. I might include some images from last winter, as the anti-trump protests were pretty exciting to shoot (I would love to do more  protest photography). I am not quite sure yet what the final work will look like, particularly as there is still another couple of months of dark nights, etc. left of winter to shoot (when I get back to London is another issue, however).

I will post a longer blog article up soon about my thoughts on street photography using the Sony A9. I might also write about how I approach street photography and some of the techniques that I use to get shots.

I hope you enjoy these images from today in the meantime. There is a theme to the shots, I will let you work out what it is. But, the emphasis for these photographs is content over form.

London nights

Late last week I went back to London as part of my work, which was quite nice as it was our Christmas lunch. Seemed early to me, but afterwards I noticed we were not the only ones doing work do’s in November as there were a fair few people wearing antlers, Santa hats and such like in various restaurants dotted around town.

After we finished for the afternoon, I took a meandering walk back to the train station. This usually gives me an hour or two for doing some street photography. This time, I also took some video clips whilst I wandering around.

To be honest, I don’t really know what I am doing with video at the moment – it’s very new to me. I set the camera up to record in a couple of different formats: 4K (24fps), 1080p (24 and 120fps). I also set it up to record in black and white. I am just trying to get my head around it all at the moment!

I reasoned that as I do much of my night street photography in monochrome, I would do the video that way too. I probably should have shot it in colour and converted it to monochrome later, as well as flattened the picture profile. Neither my Canon or Sony have log formats (yet, for the canon), so I need to do the workaround that other people do to get a flatter profile for later grading. The footage looks quite murky and grainy, so I need to set the camera up better – and use a faster lens to reduce the ISO rating.

YouTube has been great for working out what to do here, especially the Travel Feels and Peter McKinnon channels. I will post up some videos once I know what I am doing. But, this is still someway off at the moment. It should add an extra dimension to the website, let alone my practice. I like the idea of taking street photography into another place as well as the more usual photography.

I also used some of the time to take some street shots. I have recently had a significant camera kit sell off. Stuff that I don’t use or don’t need has gone. What remains is a more streamlined kit that better suits my needs for street, family and landscape photography. As part of the move, I bought a Sony A9. It’s mainly for street photography, due to the silent shutter, excellent electronic viewfinder (EVF) and very wide area fast autofocus (AF). I am finding that with this camera it’s very responsive, much more than the Fuji’s I had. I tend to shoot much more from the hip with this camera, and I can totally trust it to wake up, lock on, and get a sharp picture on most occasions.

Streets of London

A good walk back to the train after work today. I’ve mentioned on this blog a few times before that night photography is my favourite time to shoot, it’s a bonus when it’s been raining – like yesterday.