Street Zen Blog
I absolutely loved my X100 when Fujifilm released it in 2010 and still have it. I was fairly new to photography then and it really inspired me to go and take pictures. It had style and soul. Then I got the all black X100T and it was also all of that but better on the inside. The new X100F just took it to a different level as far as the X100 series goes. As soon as I took it out of the box and looked at it I could tell the subtle but big differences between it and its predecessors. First was that there isn't a letter on the face of the camera. I honestly didn't like the S or the T on the body of the camera, mostly because of the choice of font. It was covered up by the half case so it wasn't a real issue. Not having the letter brings it back to the original for me. I compared the placement of everything to the original X100 and the X100T. I could tell the lines were different. It feels more refined, a bit more sleek. Moving all the buttons to the right is perfect. It made me not have to remove the camera from my eye as often as I felt I had to on the previous models with some of the button placement so now the simply laid out buttons are all easily accessible with the right thumb. Once I memorized where things were I could change settings without ever taking the camera off my eye. It looks the same size but it is bit wider. From the front, I noticed the different angle of the curve between the shutter/iso dial and hot shoe which adds to the sleek look and is in line with the X-pro 2. Lots of the angles and curves on the camera is just ever so slightly different but good. It is just a little bigger and little heavier due to fitting in the NP-W126S batteries. It's amazing that it fits the bigger batteries and still be the size that it is. The difference in weight isn't much but is noticeable but it feels a lot more solid in the hand. Going back and forth holding the X100T and X100F I think some will welcome the weight but some may not.
[Glendale, CA 2016]
I removed the accessories I had for the X100 and put them on the X100F. As far as lens goes, the adapter ring fits just as it should so screwing it on is the same. I've had an adapter with a UV lens filter on all my X100's to protect the lens and to not fuss around with a lens cap. I added a soft shutter button because I prefer it as many do. After putting on a Street Strap I then put on the original half case and noticed that it didn't fit well due to the size difference. It still sort of fits but the leather part that goes over the camera metal loop doesn't go over the one on the viewfinder side of the camera so you can't secure that side. Looks like the metal loop is just a bit higher so you can't snap the button. I also tried another half case [Gariz] that has the bottom screw in to the tripod mount and it is just a little off so it won't fit. As I kept comparing to the X100/T I could tell just how different the bodies are in width and that the battery door is different. I was used to having a half case mostly to keep the camera body from dings and dents. I'm clumsy at times and can't keep things nice so it helped. I'm sure once they come out with ones that fit the new body I'll end up with one but really it looks good just the way it is without the half case and fits good in my hands. After using it for some time, I got used to not having the half case and feel I don't need it.
[Los Angeles, CA 2016]
[Santa Clarita, CA 2017]
I was also used to using a thumbs up attachment on my X100/T but since the X100F has the ISO dial I left it off. What's good if you really want to use a thumbs up is if you set the ISO dial to A mode you can use the scroll wheel to set your ISO. I realized that I didn't really need it anyway. The X100F also gets the joystick that the X-pro2 has and is a great addition. On the X100T I had set a button to be the AF area so having the joystick opened up a button to set for something else on the X100F. The open area between the Q button and the joystick is just right for my thumb to fit and access all the buttons. I think it's a really smart button layout. Maybe folks with bigger hands or thumbs may still prefer having a thumbs up. Lensmate made one for the X-pro 2 that has a swivel to move the thumb part out of the way to get to the ISO dial. I'm sure they'll make one to fit the X100F. I felt the same about the X-pro2 when I was first using it and didn't attach a thumbs up or a half case. The grip parts are just right for me and a half case on the X-pro 2 body just makes it bigger.
[Santa Clarita, Ca 2017]
[Los Angeles, CA 2016]
I seriously love the two tone look of the camera and my original X100 was two tone but when looking at a black X100T I also love the all black look. It's really difficult for me to decide. The two tone has a classic look and feel that I love and the black just looks bad-ass and matches up with the rest of the Fujifilm cameras like the X-pro 2 and X-T1 that I have. The black version is just a little more stealthy for street shooting. I know so far all I've talked about is aesthetic and the feel but like me I think that there are a lot of people out there who appreciate how a camera looks and feels. This camera's design is absolutely superb. Form and function is something the Fujifilm designers are very good at. I think it's great that Fujifilm didn't add a tilt screen or a touch screen. In my opinion, this style of camera isn't suited for it. The X100F is a camera designed to put to your eye. As far as sensor, menus, button placement, I already loved a lot of it on the X-pro2 and it's great that it's now in the X100F. So for the X-pro 2 users, a lot of things will feel comfortable. The navigation buttons feel a lot better on the X100F than the X100T and X-T1. They come out just a bit more so I can feel the difference from one to the other as I slide my thumb over the buttons.
[Los Angeles, CA 2016]
[Los Angeles, CA 2016]
The viewfinder is nice and bright. Seems brighter and bigger than the X-pro2. I put the TCL-X100 adapter on and works as it should. There is a Digital Tele Converter in camera but only saves as JPEGS but I'm sure it's useful when needed. I don't have the WCL-X100 converter but hope to use it soon with the X100F. The X100F plus the 2 adapters would be such a great small camera set up perfect for traveling light. If it's possible, it would be great to get a wider lens adapter than the current WCL-X100 which gives you about 27mm full frame equivalent so maybe a 21mm equivalent and a longer reach at the telephoto range like an 85mm equivalent would be great.
[Los Angeles, Ca 2016]
The X100F was with me for some work, travel, family/friend get-togethers and of course shooting the streets. I think it is a great carry around everywhere type of camera. I also like having a camera that I can use for gigs and for personal work. I've used the X100's for events in combination with the X-pro 2 and the X100F is a nice lightweight 2nd camera. I had it around my neck pretty much everywhere I went. It's unobtrusive and quiet which is great for taking candid street moments. Some may notice it but will usually comment on how nice it looks and how much it looks like a film camera.
[Selfie with the X100F w/ TCL-X100]
The 24 megapixel X-Trans CMOS III Sensor is fantastic but I've never really had an issue with any of the X-Trans sensors. I typically shot in RAW but for the last few months I used RAW + JPEG with the X100F and used Fujifilm's film simulations. A welcome addition is the ACROS film simulation. I started using ACROS more often and like it. The JPEGS are great out of camera so it's made me rethink things with only shooting RAW. As others have mentioned there is something special going on in the sensor when creating the JPEG files that can't be reproduced when processing the RAW file especially with the colors. The photos here are all JPEGS from a beta firmware. I did do some minor processing.
Here is a selfie I did from a trip to Manama, Bahrain at the Grand Mosque using the WiFi Camera Remote App. I'll be sharing more on this trip in an upcoming blog post.
[Manama, Bahrain 2016]
The Fujifilm EF-X20 flash works well on the X100F and fits just as it should on the camera. In my opinion it does look better on a black body but suites the two tone just as well. I also used it off camera using commander mode and works as it should. The Fujifilm EF-42 flash's screw mount unfortunately hangs over the ISO/Shutter dial when on camera so changing the ISO is just a little issue but is still possible. I used it mostly off camera so not really an issue. X100T users will notice a difference in the user interface of the flash menu but works just the same. Cheaper China made trigger/receivers worked on it so I'm sure more expensive brands work just fine.
[Los Angeles, CA 2016]
[Hollywood, Ca 2016]
Here's a few in color.
[Echo Park, Ca 2017]
[Big Bear, Ca 2016]
I haven't done something like this since the X-pro 1 came out in 2012 but hopefully my thoughts were helpful to someone. I've always loved the X100 series cameras. My first one really got me inspired to get out and take pictures and the X100F is no different. It still has style and it still has soul. I love the new sleek and refined look. All the updates are awesome and I've enjoyed carrying and shooting around with it for the past few months. Big huge thanks to Fujifilm USA.
“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” - Elliott Erwitt
For me a huge part of photography and in finding a personal style is in learning how to see. It’s something that’s not easy and takes some time to figure out. Earlier I was focused on learning how to use the camera and different lenses, I was focused on learning different processing styles and I was learning how to edit my photos. Through all the practicing I was also learning how to see. I’m constantly in the process of learning how to see and really learning how ‘I’ see. Learning how ‘I’ see is what’s most important to me because it’s how I believe my personal style will come about. It will be my unique take on the world and the things and people who I photograph. Often I will just go out to shoot and just photograph what catches my eye but there are some moments when I will not take a single picture and just watch people. I’ll take some pictures with my eyes and mind to practice, to think about and understand why I noticed something or why I would take a picture of it or what angle and framing I would use to best capture a scene or moment. At times it’s just observing to get inspired to even shoot a person in the environment or a detail that speaks to me. The question I continue to ask myself is “Why?”. Why take this picture? Why am I attracted to certain people and things? What’s my message? Why does it interest me? Even when I go through others photographs I’ll ask this question to myself. Why do I like it? Why did they take the photo? Why that angle? I’ll ask why with regards to possible camera settings and possible focal lengths. This also really helps me to learn more about myself and also the photographer who took the photo. There are other factors in finding my personal style like the cameras I use, the settings I use, the quality of light I use, and many others but I think that learning how “I” see is at the top of the list. I feel that as I continue to learn, experiment and figure this out that my style will continue to evolve and grow but I also feel that it’s such a rewarding experience because it is such a challenge.
Today is my birthday so I thought I’d write down some thoughts about my life and photography. There’s been a lot of change in my life since my last birthday but it’s surely been for the better. I went from working full time in a toxic environment to doing what I’m passionate about and I can truly say that I’m quite happy. There’s things I still need to work on and sure I can worry about money and what comes next but I think that right now if I just follow the path that’s been put before me I’ll be okay.
Since I was laid off last November I’ve been presented time to detox my energy and time to think (and not think at times) about my life, what’s important and what the next chapter is. I guess it’s still in brainstorming phase but things are moving along nonetheless. Spending time with family and friends is always uplifting and warming. I’ve excitedly traveled to Tokyo, which is such a wonderful city, and met new friends and fellow photographers. Shooting there for the first time was a bit of a shock just based on the fact that it was so new to me so I do plan on getting back out there again. I’ve learned so much from so many people that were so kind and generous with their knowledge and encouragement. I’ve been able to shoot in more professional settings and from that I’ve learned and gained more experience towards my goals. I’ve been able to shoot the streets so much more often and really work on my craft. I’ve also just taught a workshop and that experience was so rewarding. Life is so different right now that I’m just soaking it all in.
There are things that I’ve learned and relearned about life and in photography. I’ve taken things a bit seriously so I’m learning to do the opposite. I’m learning how to be happy too. Weird that I have to learn that but I don’t think most people really know how to be happy. A 99 year old Chinese man told me, after I asked him what his secret was in his longevity, he said “Be happy” with a big smile on his face and throwing his hands up in the air. At the time I thought I sort of new what he was really talking about but it wasn’t until recently that I got more of a glimpse of what he was talking about. Anyway, I’m learning more about myself these days and doing street photography really helps me with this process.
It’s deciding to get up and go somewhere that starts it off. The entire thing is a meditation for me. I wake up and try to have something positive in mind. I’ll go through some photos to get some inspiration or ideas of something to work on or something I haven’t tried before. Some days I have something in mind to focus on and others I don’t and just walk and shoot what I like and get in the zone. Once I’m out I’m staying positive and keeping my eyes open for potential shots. Once I’m in the zone my eyes are wandering in front, sides, and behind. I’ve just recently been listening to music a lot more while I’m out by myself and I think I like it. Some jazz or blues in my ear putting some rhythm to my step and a soundtrack to what I’m seeing. When I get home I’ll go through them briefly while I’m downloading and then not see them again for a while. As much as I love shooting I also enjoy editing and processing my photos. It’s a totally different skill to work on and a slightly different frame of mind I have to be in. It’s all part of the whole experience all the way up to being able to share my photos. It’s my zen.
Well, on this birthday I can say that I’m grateful for so many things. I’m most grateful for the love from my family and friends, grateful for being alive, grateful for the new experiences, and I’m grateful for photography because it helped to make those things really important to me again.
Fear, anxiety, and self-consciousness help not the street photographer.
Looking back at the last year of my photos I can really see the difference in how I was shooting. I was very self-conscious of purposefully photographing complete strangers in public. I was also fearful of what negative reaction I would get if the person realized what I was doing. What is common with both of those experiences is that each was only happening in my mind. The reality is that 98% of the time no one reacted and most didn’t even know. If I did catch their attention the most I would get is an odd look or a hand in front of their face. Actually, the few and only times I’ve been verbally assaulted I hadn’t even taken a photo and it was from homeless people in downtown who likely have had their share of lenses in their faces which is one reason why I don’t usually photograph them. Some people cordially ask me why I’m taking their picture and I tell them why depending on the situation. It’s okay that they’re curious and for me it opens up dialogue with the person and potential client. I’ve learned to carry business cards so if you haven’t made one yet I would suggest getting some. Many things had to evolve in my mind to be able to realize that the fear and anxiety was only in my mind. The mind is a very powerful thing and can be made to believe anything. Emotion is a bodily sensation that is caused by what we think. So knowing that, if we change our thoughts we can change how we feel. This isn’t a new concept but takes awhile to believe and put into practice. I work on walking around positive and curious. Positive that only good can happen, curious about what will be put before me to photograph and interested about what is going on in the world around me.
An anonymous person asked me here on tumblr, “What methods could a new street photographer like me use to overcome the fear of shooting random people? I tend to see a great picture and rush the shot or just let it pass.” Thanks for the question. I can very much relate to this and have learned that first the belief in the mind must change. The how is by going out and doing it as much as possible so that little by little the comfort in what you’re doing sets in. To answer the question for your self as to what negative could happen and finding that little does happen. Focusing outward rather than inward as you walk around. Pay attention to what’s going on around you, like to the light, the shadows, the interactions between people, their gestures, emotion, and life. Think about how you would frame it and present it. Try changing the thoughts of being sneaky and intrusive to you just being curious and interested. So what if someone thinks you’re a little weird for looking at them and taking a photograph. You could be that happy tourist walking around town for all people know. Believe you are an artist creating your next masterpiece. Believe that at that moment you were meant to be there and take that photograph.
You can even try making assignments for yourself as if it was a job and the assignment could be that you, the photographer, must go out and take a photo of a street scene for the next Sunday paper. If it was your job to do it could it change how you think about it? Projects are always a good thing to start.
It helped me early on to ask people to take their portraits. Now, there’s debate out there about this not being considered as street photography but for the purposes of my answer this does not matter. Approaching people takes courage. Asking for something from a complete stranger takes courage. As a man I know of this from trying to approach an attractive woman. Some will reject and some will not. That’s just how it goes. So, I walked around and asked people who in my opinion had character if I could take their photos. Increasingly I found that most were positive about it and didn’t mind at all. After the first few that I approached I realized that it wasn’t that hard anymore and slowly the anxiety and fear began to diminish. It’ll always be there deep inside but if it wasn’t my body and mind wouldn’t be doing its job of self-protection. Some said no and I had to get used to it. Some people just really do not like their pictures being taken. Walk on and stay positive that the next one will say yes. This could become your ‘pick a number’ strangers portrait project or something like that. Mine was people in hats and it made sense to me because I sport a fedora. It’s helped me with portrait photography in general also. I’d suggest trying it out and seeing if it works for you.
One of my blog posts (Feb 15, 2012) was about having a positive attitude. Part of it is thinking that nothing negative will happen to me and that only positive things will happen. I’ve noticed myself smiling more when I’m curiously walking around wondering what my eyes will feast on next. Of course I get down sometimes but then get up again. (Just reminded me of that song.) It’s so important in my opinion to be positive. I’m just stating what I’ve worked on and got results from and what I think has worked for a lot of other people.
When we get nervous, anxious or fearful we tend to forget to breathe so take a moment, take a deep breath and then exhale. Do it a few times until you begin to relax. Breathe deeply while you’re walking around or standing around waiting for the shot. For me it’s a meditation so breathing is a huge part of it. I find myself more conscious to my surroundings and in tune with myself. The more oxygen in my brain the more relaxed I am. I’m big on vibes and energy so if you’re nervous or feeling creepy that’s the energy you put out and will likely get in return and so goes the opposite, if you’re positive and happy that’s the energy you put out and get in return. A photo walk should be pleasant, relaxing and fun, so breathe, relax and stay calm then repeat.
It’s been said before but I’ll say it again. “Smile!” I think it helps to be less threatening. People have told me that I’m non-threatening and it’s possible it’s because I smile. A smile goes a long way. There’s just something about it that puts people’s guard down especially if it’s genuine. A “Thank you” is always good to hear but again it’s your choice. You can say or not say anything at all. The person may have not even realized that you took his or her picture and you voicing your appreciation would be a little out of place. You might be more social and like to talk to people so you may already know the benefits of this. Maybe you’re not so social but the right smile can be a good non-verbal communication to use that expresses positivity anyway.
So, begin to change your mind and beliefs on being nervous, anxious, self-conscious and fearful to being positive, curious, interested, adventurous and courageous. Go out and shoot as often as your schedule allows because the more you do it the less fear you have eventually. Begin small projects and goals for yourself. Breathe, stay positive and don’t forget to smile. I’m no expert and only expressing my own experiences as I continue to learn and develop but think about what I’m saying and try some of these things out. Give it some time and keep what works for you.