By now, I think you will have guessed that I have a tendency for the dramatic, sunrise/sunset shots with a lot of editing! Even though that is what I love to do, I still enjoy trying new things and pushing myself a little.
So when I got my little Ricoh GR back from the head-honcho of the excellent IgersBirmingham after a short loan, I immediately wanted to get acquainted with my old friend. Now for those that may not be aware, my 'normal' camera is the Canon 5D Mkiii with a bunch of lenses, filters and a massive tripod, all of which weighs about as much as a small house! Whereas the little Ricoh, slides into my jacket pocket with ease and is stealth like when used in the street (if you are a trained ninja like me!)
So armed with my little friend, a couple of spare hours and good light, I took to the streets of Birmingham with no idea what to shoot! The only thing I wanted to do was to practise my settings (photographers are always learning!) and have a crack at 'Street Photography' the subtle art of taking pictures of, well, things that are happening in the streets! And Birmingham never seems to let you down on that front.
I set about the streets, just capturing whatever took my fancy. Sometimes there was a little waiting around for something to happen, other times a shot just presented itself! I never set out to do true 'Street Photography' which generally involves people in the scene, I normally try to avoid people in my images, but I just took a bit of a carefree approach and grabbed images of whatever I found interesting.
I have to admit, it was the most pleasing couple of hours photography I have had in a long while, no pressure, no need to get up at a ridiculous time or pray that the weather is just right (though it was!) and if I came home with nothing? So be it. It may not of escaped your attention that all images were shot in Black & White as well, which was an additional little treat! Simply paying attention to the light, tones and shades and no trying to second guess how I would edit the images in post, just me, the scene and the light!
As I made my way home, I crossed the Queensway bridge and was met by a guy just making his way up the handrail, as you do. We did not say a word to each other, I didn't even raise the camera to my eye, I just hit the focus button on the back of my camera and shot 'from the hip'. I had a rough idea that the shot was framed correctly and the settings were where they need to be. As I made my way down the steps, I checked the back of the camera and was so pleased I had got the image, my favourite shot of the day! Real street photography and a scene completely out of the ordinary.
There were so many little pleasures to be had by simply walking the streets and discretely taking in my surroundings. The Ricoh GR is an absolutely amazing camera (I will do a full review at some point). It was a joy to shoot without any pressure and highly enjoyable to do something selfish and only shoot for me. Birmingham seems a more than fitting stage for Street Photography and I am sure I will treat myself to another little trip out again soon. In the meantime, I would strongly suggest a flick through Instagram and in particular, checking out the work of local Street Supremo Kris Askey (@krisaskey) who always seems to find the understated beauty of everyday scenes.
Here are all of the shots (well most, the ones I am happy to share) from my little mooch around.