Back to Street 7

I spent most of 2021 with the Fujifilm XF10. I had bought this little camera second hand for a pittance. I was intrigued by this camera because it was not very well received by street photographers. Perhaps it was the challenge that pushed me to buy it and use it for more than 6 months in the streets of Saint-Denis. As if I needed to prove to myself that Gear doesn’t matter!

I know this for a fact, but by using this camera, which was not favoured by street photographers, I was also showing that my work was still consistent with any camera. Frankly, I grew to love this camera. I complained about the lousy Auto ISO system that wouldn’t let me go beyond 1/500s. I complained about the ergonomics of this camera which was too angular and made my fingers hurt and finally I cursed the shutter button which was too close to the on/off button …

Despite all its flaws, this camera is formidable on the street. Exit the AF which is unbelievably slow. The XF10 is to be used only in snap mode. In the same way as the Ricoh GR series, it is zone focusing at a predetermined distance. Except that unlike the GRs, you can’t use AF when using snap mode. Personally, I love zone focusing ! Not having to manage the focus when you do street photography is just great. You walk around with a free mind just looking for interesting scenes to shoot. With its 24 MP, the Fuji XF10 performed well at high ISO and was formidable in all light conditions. I invite you to have a look at my slideshow from 2021 which includes a lot of pictures taken with this camera.

Why did I switch back to the Ricoh GRD IV last October ? Something I missed a lot with the Fuji XF10 was the depth of field that the small sensor of the Ricoh GRD IV gave me. That’s the only reason I took out my GRD IV again, despite the problems the camera had. I already told you about them : the big dust in the middle of the sensor, the broken shutter button, the lens problems (unfocus pictures, lack of sharpness …). A lot of problems that I was going to solve by buying a new Ricoh GRD IV !

My new camera arrived in January and I was going to take it to visit the streets of Saint-Denis but there were some small events … The Covid crisis to deal with for about ten days at home. It was the end of kids holidays and I thought I would finally be able to start documenting 2022, but no ! We had a cyclone that came through and tore up a few trees and left us without electricity for almost 48 hours. We were confined to our homes for three days waiting for it to stop dumping buckets of water on our heads… You think that after that it was over ? Well Hell no, Ronan had his teatcher away for several days and I was stuck with him at home …

All this to say that it’s already mid-February and that I didn’t have much opportunity to take pictures in the streets of Saint-Denis. That’s why I didn’t share a slideshow for the month of January 2022. I had 5 photos to show you. It’s useless to make a video for that… February didn’t start any better with very little time spent on the street. Nevertheless, I was able to take some pictures, which had not happened since mid-December. I took the opportunity to set up my Ricoh GRD IV so that it responds to the finger and the eye.

Yesterday I spent two hours in Saint-Denis because I had to go and buy a present for Gwen. I know that many people think that Valentine’s Day is overused and that we should celebrate love every day instead of giving in to the commercialism of February 14th. Anyway, we celebrate Valentine’s Day because our day-to-day lives are pretty much consumed by our responsibilities as parents and we don’t take much time for each other. So I was quite happy to go and hang out in Saint-Denis, especially as it’s the sales period and there were quite a few people in the streets !

Two short hours that were like a breath of fresh air ! FINALLY ! By golly, it feels great to be out in the street watching people, capturing moments, seeing people interacting with each other. I can say that I missed these simple things a lot. One thing is for sure, not every day will be like that Saturday afternoon when the streets were teeming with people. But I’m looking forward to getting back into that routine. To be able to hang out in the streets of Saint-Denis before picking up the kids at school.

Yesterday I worked a lot in colour, whereas I’ve spent the last few months doing only black and white. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know. What I do know is that some pictures stand out in black and white and others in colour. As for the rest, it’s just a question of my state of mind at the time. So yesterday I had colour on my mind ! I’m quite happy with my little session yesterday. The fact that the streets were alive made my return to the street easier. But the street is frustrating and unpredictable. It won’t be every day like Saturday !

All the photographs were made with the Ricoh GRD IV.

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7 thoughts on “Back to Street

  • John Wilson

    Great hearing from you, read on news about your rain and was hoping all of you came through ok, happy and glad you did. Love the GRD pics black or white that you share with us, thank you.

    • Jeff Chane-Mouye Post author

      48 hours with no electricity was the worst ! Kids were like dying with no more batteries for their tablets, smartphones … We read a lot my wife and I. With a frontal light of course ! No damage in our home despite the strong winds and the heavy rains. It’s the rain season here. Some more buckets of water are expected this week end with another cyclone which should spare us this time… fingers crossed …

  • John Harper

    I was going to write a similar blog post. Went out on the Street last week for first proper session since before Christmas and had a great time. Also I was actually happy with the results or at least felt that I’d got the best from what was available on that day.

    I like your opener, I’ve been drawn to people in cars lately. Also the ladies in pink is great, along with flower woman. I honestly wouldn’t know which camera you used and with a photographer of your calibre don’t think it makes much difference to the images or content, they might just slightly improve the more comfortable and free you are with your chosen camera. I know you’re the same as me, when out on the street the last think I’m thinking about is my camera, it’s almost irrelevant as long as it works okay.

    • Jeff Chane-Mouye Post author

      Bring that Blog !
      The most important thing is to feel comfortable with the camera in the streets. I didn’t mentionned that when I said that the reason why I switched again from the XF10 to the GRD IV. But it makes a difference ! It’s like a nice pair of shoes when you have to walk a few miles. The camera is also an extension of your arm and eye. You need to be in total symbiose with it to do things without thinking and focus only on what the streets are offering to you.
      After almost 2 months without shooting anything, it felt great to see that I was able to get some good shots. I wasn’t looking for them but they just came like naturally without efforts. I can say that 2022 has started. You know it’s like a Street session on a day. When I get a photo I consider as a keeper on the day, I’m reassured and I know that my day is successful even if I’m likely to shoot crap for the rest of the day. I have my keeper !
      It’s the same here. I can shoot crap for the rest of 2022. I’m already pleased with a few pictures of february (the car and the flower woman)