Street photographers know that things are messy and unpredictable in the street. The light, the clutter elements, the unexpected … that’s what makes things so interesting. At least from my point of view. It requires a lot of anticipation, observation. Observe a scene to know how we will be able to compose to make it interesting.
The camera, I see it more as a constraint even if in the end it is the tool that will allow us to capture the moment. Why constraint? There are already the technical limitations of the camera, the chosen focal length. Recent cameras are more and more efficient. Faster and faster AF, crazy burst mode, very efficient low light capabilities … It is true that the most recent cameras are really stunning. Fewer constraints allow street photographers to focus only on the scenes to capture.
By using the Ricoh GRD4, I am going against the current trend. I use an old camera which has constraints that would put off a lot of photographers. 10 Mp, buffer which forces us to wait almost 2 seconds between two shots, bad when the light is missing. These constraints, I accept them because the ergonomics are much better than on most cameras and I learned to deal with them and I don’t even feel them anymore! Finally when I happen to take out my Ricoh GR (the 16 MP one with APS-C sensor), the GRD4 is getting old … I don’t remind you why I continue to shoot with this camera. You just have to re-read my old articles on the Ricoh GRD4…
Last weekend, we went to clear our heads in a hotel in Boucan Canot. A beach that children really appreciate because there are waves. They love to have fun in the rollers that crash onto the beach. I went with them a bit and it’s pretty fun. You have the impression of being in wringer mode in the washing machine! We come out of there a little confused and with the equivalent of 2 kgs of sand in the swimming suit ! After a while, I preferred to stay on the sand to watch them. We quickly identify parents whose children are in the water. These are the sentries who watch like me that nothing happens to their kids.
It is there with the other parents that I settled down. In the blazzing sun … To occupy myself, I still took my little Ricoh to capture some scenes. The day before, I realized that I had a rather annoying dust spot in the middle of my sensor. If the Ricoh GR is a real dust collector, the Ricoh GRD4 doesn’t really suffer from this problem. I think it comes from the size of the sensor. Okay, no luck for me. After a few tests at different apertures, I realize that the dust is invisible at f4. From f5.6, it is visible. So here is a new constraint with my Ricoh GRD4. I must not close my diaphragm beyond f4 (I already have a crazy DoF with my little sensor at f4). It is not very embarrassing except when I am dealing with very bright scenes like at the beach … Bad combo: white foam, azure blue sky … In short. As much to say to you that I had to use the under exposure to not have burnt photos and it was even sometimes limited! Even going down the ISO to 80, my speed was 1/2000s. That is to say, my max speed. And the photo was still overex. So I systematically underexposed 2 stops to try to catch up.
It was in these conditions that I stayed almost still under the sun to watch my children who were having fun in the waves. As you can see from the photos, the beach was crowded. It’s vacation here and it’s still summer. We are subject to a curfew but no confinement at home yet. I don’t know how long it will last but we take advantage as we can before any future restrictions. I wrote a blog a few years ago: To be still. That day, it was a bit the same. I let a lot of little scenes unfolding in front of me trying to capture something interesting. Staying planted in the same place was one more constraint, but in the end these constraints, whether material or situational, push me to be more creative.
All photos were made with the Ricoh GRD4.