Forgotten Advice From An Urban Photography Trip

Last week, I mentioned that I wanted to try my hand at Urban Photography again. So, I met up with a friend and we headed into the city with our cameras.

What I realised very quickly is that I’m out of practice. I was flipping between spotting too many good opportunities and being confused, to not seeing anything of interest. After a little perseverance I managed to find my stride and get my eye in.

I also decided to change my equipment for this trip. Usually, I’m shooting landscapes with a Fuji XT3 on a tripod and using a couple of zoom lenses. Instead, I opted for my Fuji XE3 (bought a few years ago for this purpose) and a clutch of prime lenses. I was carrying a Samyang 12mm, Fuji 14mm, Fuji 23mm, Zeiss 32mm and Fuji 56mm lenses, but also an 18-135mm in case I needed a longer lens to crop in on detail.

Whilst I had all my bases covered, I only really needed the 14mm, 32mm and 56mm lenses. I spent most of the day shooting with the Zeiss 32mm which proved outstanding. What I found is that having too much choice from all the prime lenses got in the way of seeing photographs.

Another learning that I came away with is that the camera bag is incredibly important. I had decided to use an old LowPro Slingshot. I’ve never really liked it but had just too much equipment to use a shoulder bag. In hindsight, the shoulder bag would have been much better, especially one where the lid opened away from the body. This would have made it easy to shoot and change lenses. As it was, I found myself fumbling around with the lenses which put me off switching as much.

Despite these challenges, I did manage to shoot this image which I love.

I shot it with the Fuji XE3 and Zeiss 32mm prime. It’s a handheld exposure of 1/75 second at f/7.1 and ISO800.

As you may be able to guess from the settings, this was shot in the afternoon rather than at night. Importantly though, the image that you are seeing is what was in my mind when I spotted this shop. I had forgotten just how important your imagination of the finish image is in this style of photography. With landscapes, I’m used to heading out early or staying late to catch the best light. But with this shot, all I needed was imagination and some editing.

If you want to see the starting image and how I made the transformation from day to night, watch this YouTube video. Although I’m using Adobe Lightroom, you can apply the same technique with any RAW converter.

I hope you like the image and enjoy the video.

8 thoughts on “Forgotten Advice From An Urban Photography Trip

  1. Sometimes having choices of gear is a good thin, and sometimes it interferes with making images. Ot just in deciding what lens to use but in the “fumbling experience” in switching them out. On urban walkabouts I generally only take three lenses with one body and inevitability primarily use just a 35mm equivalent. Less is more.

    Nice image, and imagination and perspective of what a final image could be is a good attribute for a photographer.

  2. Love the image and I know exactly what you are talking about when it comes to carrying multiple lenses. As difficult as it is to convince oneself to go out with a limited number of lenses, for me, I think it helps develop my photography when I have just a couple of lenses to choose from and work with that couple for the entire day.

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