Last weekend I took part in a two-day workshop with Robin Schimko, better known as the_real_sir_robin on YouTube. Robin is a talented street photographer, making lots of incredible images as well as a lot of great POV videos on his channel. I encourage you to go check them out!
The purpose of the workshop was to learn how to make great street images. At the pre-workshop meeting the night before Robin reviewed a few of my images (the ones that best represented my 'style' of photography) and he noticed two things: lots of portrait orientation, and a mixture of colour and black and white. He encouraged me to shoot landscape only and to choose either black and white, or colour, for the next day's shooting. Shooting in landscape was not going to be a problem, but black and white definitely would be - I'm a colour photographer so this was going to be tough going.
The next day we set off nice and early (in fact, probably too early as there were not a lot of people out on the streets just yet) and got warmed up. I had my X-Pro3 and the 18mm f2 with me (a lens that I don't use an awful lot), with the camera set to a black and white preset and me all set to shoot in landscape. I left strict instructions to the group to kick me if they saw me doing anything in portrait mode!
It took me a while to get warmed up, I just didn't really see anything worth taking images of (even though my fellow workshoppers were busy snapping away!) This has always been a challenge for me with street photography: not seeing anything interesting to take an image of. Quite often, especially when it gets really busy, there's just too much going on and it's hard to focus (no pun intended) on anything. A tip that Chris, one of my fellow workshoppers, gave me was to look for only one thing, e.g., people with yellow hats, or small dogs, the colour orange etc., to narrow down the view and to give yourself more direction, rather than just shooting everything. I did try that (yellow hats) but, of course, not a single yellow hat was to be found!
After lunch, Robin took each of us out on a 1:1 session where the emphasis was on getting close! The camera was set to zone focus, aperture to f11 and a high ISO (3200 in my case) to make sure the shutter speed was fast enough. I don't mind the high ISO, for black and white images the grain it adds is really nice.
We wandered from the station back along the Damrak towards the Dam, snapping a few images along the way and being prompted to get as close as possible, in some cases as close as 30cm! It was pretty intimidating, but I was surprised at how nobody took any notice of you when you get that close! The trick here is to not have your camera strap wrapped around your wrist (which is where I usually have it) but instead, around your neck and to bring the camera not to your eye but beside your face so that you're not hiding behind the body of the camera and looking slightly shifty. Being open and transparent about what you are doing is key to good street photography.
Once we got to the Dam, we found one of the street performers, a bellenblazer (not sure there's an English translation for it but, basically, a man making giant soap bubbles ...) getting ready. Robin told me to take up position facing the Palace and shoot into the sun. This seemed odd to me as shooting into the sun I always thought was a bit of a no-no, but pretty soon I could see what he meant: shooting the other way, into a bright sky would have blown out the highlights and I would not have seen any of the bubbles flying all around us. I put the camera in burst mode at 8 fps and just shot away! I managed about 640 images in less than ten minutes and some of them turned out absolutely amazing! I am still editing them, but I'll post them here when I get the chance!
Afterwards we returned to the station to meet up with the rest of the group and headed across the water to NDSM and some well-deserved dinner! We wrapped up the day with some images on the ferry back and enjoyed the amazing light at the station (pity I was shooting in black and white, but yeah ...)
Below are some of the images from the walkabout; some are from the 1:1 session with Robin, the rest are just shots I took during the day.