I made this image on the streets close to the downtown of Mexico City at the end of August. Just a street scene. At first I just liked the aesthetic feel that blur gives the image, in line with my not always so sharp connection with the people, the city. Now, after the earthquake of last September 19 it takes on a fuller, deeper meaning, now it’s not just me. In this city and many other smaller cities and towns in nearby states everyday life, everyday’s news, everyone’s world, suddenly it all faded, the underground has shattered our sense of reality, to be never again the same.
Waiting camera in hand for moments to happen I sometimes get images like this one. Made with my Fujifilm X100S back in september 2014.
Note: Sometimes computers, bits and bytes don’t get work well together, last night I finished this post and hit the publish button on the visual editor, this following morning I just found out it was not published, my apologies for this interruption of my month of posting every day, anyway here it is, thanks!!
If there is something special and distinctive about the Fujifilm X100 series since it was introduced to the photography world, besides its gorgeous retro looks is that it’s a camera really well suited for street photography. It became evident when a lot of photographers began publishing their experiences using it on the streets, and the loads of images flooded on Flickr, Instagram and other social outlets where scenes of everyday urban life, peculiar moments or interesting people were portrayed in colour or B&W.
All of this street photo “boom” awoke in me the itch about experimenting more the streets with a camera, I had previously photographed on the streets but mostly around special events, parades, festivals or even a manifestation against some social issues. This was done first with a Nikon DSLR and later with my Nikon 1 mirrorless camera, which of course made it a lot easier, carrying less weight and being more inconspicuous.
When I got my X100S, I started making photos of several different subjects, but taking it to the street just for the sake of capturing it in camera did not come so soon, perhaps because I hadn’t got the hang of it to react as quickly as I wanted, and also because I didn’t feel comfortable enough to deal with pointing the lens at strangers, which still happens to me sometimes by the way. Finally I did make some images more in the way I liked with more or less success, sometimes capturing something interesting.
Having reviewed my early work with the X100S I believe this is my first “true” street photo, no so well technically or compositionally executed, but I hope it has something peculiar or interesting about it.
La vida diaria y el trajín de cruzar de un lado a otro de una ciudad tan enorme como esta no siempre da oportunidad de atender todas las tareas que uno se impone. Para el post de hoy estuve revisando unas imágenes y preparando un texto que a la hora de la hora siento que necesita pulirse un poco más, espero en unas horas compartirlo con ustedes.
Dicen que para muestra basta un botón, comencé con esta reflexión mientras estaba en el Metro, y la vengo a terminar recién llegado a casa, mientras el reloj va juntando sus manecillas bajo el signo de las doce de la noche.
A few weeks ago I had the chance to take sometime to enjoy myself at UNAM’s botanical garden here in Mexico City. The botanical garden is part of a natural preserve and is in fact a little bit of a much needed wilderness inside this huge metropolis, which holds several flora and fauna species that present very nice photo opportunities. Taking a walk through it gives priceless moments of peace and joy, and since I love photographing Nature there was no excuse for not taking a camera along, so took one that day, actually, two cameras.
As you may have noticed the Fujifilm X100S has taken a special place in my image making, so I packed it inside my camera bag along with my recent tool of choice for making macrophotography, a Nikon 1 J1 armed with an FT1 Adapter and a Micro-Nikkor 55mm AIS lens, these kit allowed me to enjoy two different approaches of making closeup images. For several years a heavy DSLR and a macro lens have helped me to approach tiny creatures and natural details, but with mirrorless cameras I’m able to capture the small world (and the big one) almost wherever I go, and even when long runs for training or caving trips are the main deal, there’s a much lighter gear choice that I have at hand so I don’t need to keep myself away from my love of photography, so lately I’ve been practicing closeup photography much more with these setup rather than with my DSLR.
So, on this occasion after a short running session (really short) I entered the botanical garden where I walked for a while relaxing and recovering my breath and at the same time starting to connect with the place and paying attention to the light, I really wanted to enjoy my time there being by myself so my intentions were to play rather than taking the assignment approach. During the next few hours I switched between the X100S and the J1 combo and since the effective field of view are 35mm and 148.5mm respectively I was able to get a very distinctive feeling with each camera, sure, for getting really close to my subject the J1 was the choice, but with the X100S I had the chance to get as close as 10cm from the subject which in combination with the slightly wide angle field of view, putting the subject into its context and the visual perspective of the images really pleased me.
What really made this so much more fun was taking advantage of Fuji’s beautiful film simulations, and since my love of B&W imagery has had me preferred the monochrome aesthetics even with nature and closeup images I really wanted to try the Velvia film simulation taking the photos with the RAW+Jpg activated in the image quality settings. All of the images made that day with the X100S were chosen from the jpgs, so no processing the Raw’s in Lightroom this time, only with the Raw’s from the J1 I spent some time fine tuning contrast and colour, and sharpness to some degree. Using the two cameras was really fun, I loved so much the X100S Velvia look and more environmental feel and the J1’s ability to render the subject really large in the image and that I can be farther from it which gives the advantage of not spoiling the bees and other creatures and when it gets harder to get close because the roughness of the terrain, being made of pure volcanic rocks in this case, or the presence of cactus and other “friendly” flora.
Here is a gallery of the X100S images.
And here is the gallery of the Nikon 1 J1 images.
Vagabundear por las calles del Centro Histórico de México siempre es interesante. Debido a que muchas de las construcciones fueron edificadas hace mucho, incluso siglos, los largos años que han pasado a través de las paredes, el piso, la piedra, el aire mismo, son evidentes a la vista. Justo al salir de uno de los restaurantes de la calle de Regina apenas había caminado unos metros hacia Isabel la Católica cuando esta entrada llamó mi atención así que me detuve a echar un vistazo. La luz y las texturas de paredes y techos, el piso húmedo y el silencio, contrastando con la bulliciosa calle afuera apenas detrás mío, realmente causaron una sensación especial, lo que me hizo sacar la cámara, la Fujifilm X100S, e intentar captar ése sentimiento en una imagen.
Wandering the streets of Mexico City’s downtown is always interesting. Because many of the buildings were built so long ago, even centuries, the long years that have passed through the walls, the floor, the stone, the very air, are evident to the eyes. Right at the time I was leaving one of the restaurants on Regina street I had just walked a few meters towards Isabel la Catolica street when this entrance called my attention so I stopped by to take a look. The light and textures on walls and ceilings, the wet floor and the silence, contrasting with the noisy street outside just behind of me, really gave a special feeling, which made me take out my camera, the Fujifilm X100S, and tried to capture that feeling in an image.
El vidrio va sustituyendo a la piedra y el concreto a medida que se llena de modernos edificios el paisaje de la Ciudad de México. He aquí uno de mis primeros encuentros visuales con esta tendencia arquitectónica.
Glass is taking the place of stone and concrete as the cityscape of “Ciudad de Mexico” is filled with modern buildings. Here is one of my first encounters with these architectural tendency.