My classic novel from 2010.
Free to read at your leisure. More writing to come soon.
My classic novel from 2010.
Free to read at your leisure. More writing to come soon.
Every time I see a majority of old white men in one place I get uneasy….
It’s a power thing. It’s a “my great-grandparents were lynched” thing. It’s a money thing, meaning I’m broke. It’s a racism thing, they don’t want me there and it’s obvious.
So when I walked into a local photographer/model meet at greet at a semi-popular warehouse last Saturday, I was immediately put off by the number of silver haired white men with big cameras I saw.
The problem with photographer/model meet ups is you get maybe a 40:1 ratio of photographers to models. You get huge “mines are bigger than yours” lighting setups popping off constantly. Randomly. You get a bunch of leery men rushing over to photograph an amateur model who just switched to her racy mini-dress, fishnet stockings, and heels number….
You get paparazzi practice basically. This is how TMZ should train their photogs. Send them to local photographer/models meets and greets.
How is it a meet and greet when the models are wary and hostile and the photographers look at me, a black man, as if I’m there to steal their gear or something? If I want to get rejected by a model I’ll go on Model Mayhem thank you very much. No need to get dissed in person after I paid an entrance fee. If I want to know where I stand with old white men I’ll check our President’s Twitter feed….
I will never understand why these photographers clamor to get the exact same shot 32 other guys are getting….
My homie said when he goes to these events he doesn’t even bring his camera. I see why. Next time (as if I’ll ever go to another one again and waste $25 bucks)…. next time I’ll bring a blunt and a beer and maybe my business cards.
I haven’t been watching football on Sundays this year.
I have been shooting aspiring models and friends though.
So I got some portrait work done recently.
Model is @myrlanis_ on IG.
There were no 100 degree days this summer.
I’m not saying global warming is wrong, but back in the 90’s I recall consecutive summers in Baltimore and Georgia where the thermometer read 100 degrees or above.
The current/past summer was muggy yes. Hot? Not really to me.
I switched companies that I shoot sports for. (If you want to know to whom I switched check my Facebook page or something) Shooting sports is fun but the money is drying up pretty quickly. Fewer and fewer parents are willing to buy prints of their kid once he or she (the parent) leaves an event, and those photo tents you see at tournaments aren’t as lucrative as they once may have been. Couple that with newspapers and magazines dying slowly, and there really isn’t a major demand for sports photos. I see parents and high school students with semi-pro gear on the sidelines now all the time. They may not have the passion and skill to produce high level sports compositions, but that camera and lens they now hold represents the money they would have spent on professional photos perhaps…..
Sports are in full swing though. I’m booked to shoot every weekday afternoon (after my main job) up till probably the first week of November. I’m also shooting models now until kingdom come, and will probably miss many Sundays in front of the tube watching the Redzone channel because of it. Sundays are great to shoot models for that reason however. It’s a dead day in the city for foot traffic and that’s a perfect environment to shoot in….
MICROSTRUGGLER is nearly a year old. I mainly like to shoot women and that’s what this blog will be about moving forward: photos and women…..
Model on Instagram is @myrlanis_
She only accepts followers who follow me first….
My IG is @rickyray73
Tee shirt available here.
I like this little camera. Model Ana Rivera ain’t bad either.
So it has been 6 months since the Fuji X100F debuted and I of course purchased the first one sold in my city of Baltimore. In fact, I have yet to see another X100F in Baltimore, but I digress. Since I bought the camera I’ve shot ~5000 photos and spent untold lunch breaks going through the menus. I’ve shot sports sidelines, pretty models, and I’ve shot and killed streets. I’ve hooked up an external flash, more on that later, and have fallen in love with using the LCD only to shoot.
WHAT I LOVE
I started out with this camera thinking I could shoot jpegs using those cute film simulation modes. I really tried to make it work too. My favorite one is ACROS (followed by Classic Chrome). I used ACROS a lot. I knew though, that sometimes I needed to record a scene in color so I quickly started shooting RAW + Jpegs to my card, which slows my Lightroom flow down, but it was manageable. Then, at some point, I downloaded the fuji film simulation plugins from some damn place on the internet and installed it in Lightroom. That way I could change a Fuji (only Fuji) RAW file to the Classic Chrome look if I wanted, or whatever. After a while I figured there really is no fucking difference between the in-camera jpeg film simulations and the Lightroom plugin camera conversions, AND I noticed that Fuji RAW files have a shit ton of dynamic range. I shoot all RAW now. Fuck it. Those in-camera film simulation modes are too cute for me…
I never understood or cared about having a leaf shutter until I started shooting sidelines at sporting events. I normally shoot 1/1000 F5.6 and auto ISO range 200-800 during the day for streets. When I’m shooting events I turn on the built-in fill flash just for shits and giggles. This is when I discovered that I could overpower the sun and create these hauntingly half dark images. I continued this trend later shooting models using an external flash….
The image quality beats the unholy fuck out of my Canon 5d Mark III, even when the DSLR is coupled with the world class 70-200 2.8 IS II lens. This little Fuji point-and-shoot compact beats it handily as far as micro contrast and sharpness is concerned. RAW to RAW the Fuji wins handily when it comes to dynamic range for both shadow pulling AND highlight recovery. Colors are more of a taste thing, but I find Fuji colors to be more accurate than Canon, even though Canon’s colors are warm and lovely.
The face detection works reasonably well, and it will even detect a models eye (left or right depending on your chosen setting) when it feels like it.
This is most likely the finest street photography camera ever made.
Models and subjects smile at this camera, as opposed to my big ass Canon which makes folks get all serious or run away.
THINGS I HATE
The afl/ael button is useless and positioned horribly. I have reassigned it to change my focus type.
The control ring concept is so horrid that I try my best to never touch the lens unless I’m changing apertures.
What the fuck is up with Fuji and off camera flash? Nothing works right. I can get my Canon (actually a Pixel Mago) flash to fire in manual using a chord that I have to jiggle and pray to get it to work. When it works the results are good though. I’m getting the X-T2 and some lenses soon as well as this new Godox flash trigger and flash unit that’s supposed to work with Fuji TTL and HSS and do it all wireless. We shall see…
I hate the view mode button. God forbid you ever hit that bitch by accident and spend an hour thinking your camera is malfunctioning. Perhaps I’m just an idiot but still….
This camera is a nice intro into the Fuji universe and also has a leaf shutter. That’s the deal. The jpegs are good but overrated. The RAW files are superb. It’s compact yet made of steel. It’s sharp as fuck. It’s silent. The autofocus is good in single shot mode. If you’re a street photographer this camera is superior to almost any camera you can buy besides a manual focus Leica and maybe my beloved Leica Q. None of those cameras have a fill flash though. This one does….
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Tee shirt available at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073X8L6WS
Model: Ana Rivera @myrlanis_ on Instagram.
The more I carry a camera around the streets, the more I realize that some people think it's weird that I'm carrying a camera around on the streets.
It's not my fault really. My little Fuji X100F is small enough to not intimidate folks. The true reason carrying a camera in the streets seems weird is because it is implied that every person ALREADY has a camera on them in their iPhones.
Of course the quality of an iPhone image is not on true par with a raw file from my Fuji or my Canon bodies, but that's where the disconnect happens for most folks. Many people are completely satisfied with their cell phone cameras and, unless they are a parent photographing youth sports, they feel no need to use a bulky old school traditional or post modern traditional style camera. Thus, an old man walking through the streets with a camera around his neck looks stereotypical and creepy to many millennials. Oh well.
Keeping my camera at my side helps me to avoid that "are you a creep?" glare from folks. Looks more professional that way anyhow. In the winter I can stick the Fuji in my jacket pocket. It's all about stealth out there and if people are long-spotting you and they know you're creepy their guard goes up and you lose the ability to capture a true candid. Strategy….
Do you dangle your camera around your neck? Let me know in the comments below.
This summer has been very hot and muggy. Blame global warming I guess, but if I’m going that far I may as well blame the sun while I’m at it…..
I’m gearing up to accept a second sports photography gig for the school year. Here goes….
I’ve been shooting street, working full time hours at my day job, and launching a few other business ventures. I’ve also resumed investing in my potential retirement. Here goes….
Single again. Here goes…..
Summer means scooting around on my Harley. I’ve been doing that a lot. If I wasn’t so busy maybe I’d combine my rides with street shooting….
The next big purchase for me is the Canon 1dx II. Then after that I’ll try to get the 300mm 2.8 IS II…..
Besides that shit is real. Keep banging….
Here is a list of 10 random things I like ❤️ love about my Fujifilm X100F…
🔘 The X100F autofocus is accurate and fast. I was worried it might be a bit sluggish when compared to the Panasonic/Leica Q. No worry needed though. It’s zippy fast!
🔘 The X100F is quite useful to me for sideline shots when I shoot sports. So useful in fact that I prefer using it over having a standard two DSLR setup. No need for a 35mm lens on my 5D mark III when my X100F has a great 35mm equivalent lens and a filler flash to boot!
🔘 I love having analog style dials for my ISO, exposure compensation, aperture, and shutter speed. It beats having to dig through menus in my humble opinion.
🔘 The 35mm 2.0 lens itself is pretty sharp to my eyes, even wide open. RAW files are particularly awesome.
🔘 The ACROS film simulation mode (jpeg only) is maybe the best thing about the camera to me. You can shoot almost anything in ACROS and it looks surreal and historic.
🔘 The flash is useful in a pinch. I use it a lot for sideline shots as I mentioned earlier.
🔘 I almost exclusively use the EVF. It’s so good that my original reason for buying this camera, it having an optional OVF, is a non-issue.
🔘 The camera fits in my pocket and is extremely portable. It’s also so light that I can scarcely feel it dangling around my neckbone.
🔘 The Fuji X100F is 100% silent when the shutter volume is turned off. Dead ass quiet.
🔘 Lastly the little focus knob is swell. It works about as good as the ones on the pro DSLR’s I’ve had the fortune of using.
Thinking of purchasing this camera? Don’t do it! Lol. I want to keep all this bananas awesomeness for myself.
Please support me by buying my classic street-fiction novel available here.
Street photography probably isn’t for everyone. It is risky to some degree both physically and emotionally, and there isn’t a whole lot of money in it, to be honest. Most of the guys like Eric Kim who are making paper from street photography are doing it hosting workshops and touring, not from selling prints at gallery shows or to fashion magazines.
With that being said, here are 3 reasons to try street photography if you haven’t already…
Street Photography is for introverts
To be hyper-transparent for a moment, I strongly prefer working with large corporate or mid to small business clients. There are a billion reasons why this is so and I may address them as this blog evolves, but that’s my personal preference as far as booking gigs goes. Of course I would book gigs with any client if the paper is right, but I particularly don’t like working with clients one-on-one where I’m expected to perform miracles. For example, amateur models sometimes have unrealistic expectations about how a shoot will turn out. As my friend and mentor puts it: You get skinny potential-runway models who want to look like print models and 5 foot 2 curvy models who want to be on the runway during fashion week.
Besides portraiture, weddings are emotionally draining work and most of the wedding photographers I see when I shoot street photography on Saturdays look a mixture of terrified and depressed. They look like chicken zombies, seriously. In street photography there are no clients to worry about. Unless you’re on a photo walk there are no other shooters to compare yourself to or distract you. There is only you and the world, and it’s you versus the world….
Street photography is for extroverts
Even if you are a go-getter, extrovert, life of the party type who books 50 weddings a year and has the maximum number of Facebook friends, street photography is still viable for you. Many extroverts spread themselves too thin and need solo time to redirect and work on the subtle nuances of their craft. Street photography gives a person that opportunity as well as giving a popular shooter some “artsy” shots to add to his or her portfolio. I am not by any reasoning a go-getter type. I am more brooding and badass, so I really don’t like seeing these jazzy attention grabbing types shooting art on my streets. But, if you must be a complete douchebag and bring your Nikon D5 with a 70-200 2.8 VR to shoot the streets then I can’t stop you. Street photography doesn’t always have to be counter-culture and dark. There is room for winners as well as losers.
Street Photography doesn’t have many rules
You don’t need to master flash or filters or use a tripod or carry all sorts of backup gear when you shoot in the streets. Actually, if there is one rule Eric Kim frequently harps on that is brilliant it’s his one camera and one lens rule. That’s the only rule I can think of that matters. No need to switch bodies every few shots like you’re shooting college field hockey, or worry about comparative corner sharpness between the 6 lenses you brought with you. Street photography is very forgiving as to what is accepted as a decent street photograph, and after a few outings and postings on Facebook you’ll have all your friends and family calling you some sort of artist, when all you really did was apply a grainy preset in Lightroom.
Well that’s it. That’s the list. Put down your phone and go shoot 10 street photos with your big ass D5 or 1DX II before nightfall. If it’s night when you read this then do it the next day. When you’re out there do not hesitate or falter. Stay low and keep shooting!
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