I’ve finally had a bit of time to take to the streets of Newcastle to capture life across the city with my Fujifilm X-T2.
A simple post with the focus squarely on my street photography.
One thing that I’ve definitely missed over the last couple of years is just wandering around a city with my camera in hand. With nothing to focus on but capturing the heart and soul of a place, it’s something I find very therapeutic. I’ve felt very inspired recently to keep up the photography, keep on writing on the blog and so I couldn’t wait to get back to the streets of Newcastle to hone my street photography skills.
When you think of street photography, you immediately think of capturing images of the people who are just getting on with their day to day life. If I’m honest, I’ve always been nervous of incorporating random people into my photography. It is one of my biggest regrets whilst travelling as it is no doubt the people who bring life to the streets of the cities, whether that be from Bangkok to London to Prague. With that said, at least I’m able to recognise where my photography sometimes falls short. I have no problem exploring new cities not having a clue where I am and am fairly confident my photographs will capture the feel of a place but including more people in my shots will surely take things to another level.
Anyway, having some time off work and having filed my papers for day release (I of course joke!), I recently spent a day on the streets of Newcastle clocking up well over 20,000 steps and 10 miles. Newcastle is a super straightforward city for me to visit as the train from Durham literally takes like 12 minutes.
This will be a relatively simple post with the focus on my street photography but I’ll give some brief details about my camera/lens choices for the photographers out there.
STREET PHOTOGRAPHY IN NEWCASTLE
In terms of camera/lens choices, I’ve been using the 16mm / 35mm combination on two X-T2s for a while now and I love the versality this offers. I know the 23mm focal length sits firmly in the middle but I wanted to see whether that combination (which I use for travel photography) also works when I mix things up a little and try more classic street photography. The way I had things set up was:
Fujifilm X-T2 + 16mm f/1.4
Fujifilm X-T2 + 35mm f/1.4
Samyang 12mm f/2 & Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2
The reason behind the additional two lenses was, firstly in terms of the 12mm, there was a specific shot I have wanted for a while of the Lit & Phil library which definitely needed a wide angle and, in respect of the 56mm, I do like a longer lens on the streets though I’m never sure if I can get away this lens for anything but portraits and weddings. The Fujifilm X100F is always in my bag after replacing the 23mm f/2 prime lens. I love the X100F; I’ve already said that it’s the greatest thing I have ever held in my hands.
In terms of colours, as always, it’s all about the Fujifilm JPEG recipes. For this day out, I dialled in Fujixweekly’s Ektar 100 film simulation which I’ve been loving recently and for any black and white photos it’s Acros Punch.
Apart from the blisters that appeared on my feet, all in all I’d say the day was pretty successful. I got some shots that I’d been wanting to capture for a while and they’ll probably make their way on to this blog in a guide or two in the future. I was very much in the photography zone too; I didn’t feel nervous having my camera out even when pointing it directly at someone. Sometimes I got caught out and the shot no longer existed but with a quick nod of the head (a kind of apology) I was fast on my way never to be seen again.
As with most photographers, each day out with my camera turns into an ‘in the head’ discussion about which lens I should be using at any given time and which lens I should now add to my collection. Of course this happened as I wandered the streets of Newcastle. I discovered I am leaning back towards the 23mm focal length for just general exploratory photography including classic street photography. As I said earlier, it really is the best of both worlds – not too wide, not too long. The X100F is tiny and silent too so it is practically the perfect camera for street photography. I discovered that I definitely like a longer lens on the streets to isolate subjects; that way incorporating people into scenes can be much easier – the 56mm is ok, big and slow but with incredible image quality, however I am now almost convinced there is a space in my camera bag for the 50mm f/2 (even without selling the 56mm).
Finally, whilst this is primarily a photography post, for those that want to know, you’ll find some of the best coffee in Newcastle at Pumphreys and at Flat Caps. It was my first time visiting Flat Caps and god the food was good; I went with the celeriac shawarma flat bread which I could eat day in day out!
I absolutely loved focusing on street photography in Newcastle. I’ve definitely missed having days like this and it’s made me even more excited to get back to visiting new places. Travelling and photography will always make me happy and I cannot wait to show little Evelyn the world.