So following on from my first post on the Ricoh GR camera, Small in size, big in the street, I thought I’d try and show you what it’s like to shoot candid street photography with the Ricoh GR and explain a little bit about how I process some images.
It was a nice sunny afternoon in Verden, North Germany and the yearly Cathedral of Verden celebration was in full swing with a funfair, food stands, beer tents and stalls. There was also live music, spray tattoo artist and lots of people….I mean lots! It was a perfect day and location to try out out the Ricoh GR.
Because the Ricoh is so small and looks like a normal run of the mill point & shoot camera, I didn’t even need to carry a bag around with me for my gear. Everything I needed was in my trouser pockets….The Ricoh GR of course in one pocket, 2 spare batteries in the small money pocket of my jeans, my wallet, my mobile phone and a few calling cards in the other pockets.
It would certainly have been different if I was using the D5300 and a 50mm or 85mm lens or even the Sony A6000 when you compare them to the size of the Ricoh GR.
So now that I look just like a tourist enjoying the festivities it was time to blend in and look around and find some shots.
It wasn’t long before I got my first good shot of the day with the two men sitting on a wooden bench that looks like it would collapse at any moment.
Soon after that shot I past the edge of a building and spotted a bench with two men sitting in the sun watching the people go by. I didn’t even look at the man who obviously saw me get down low to capture him and his friend. I just pointed my camera at the middle of the scene and pressed the shutter button to capture a few shots using continuous mode.
I had the GR set up using the Snap Focus mode and I knew that anything from about 2 meters in front of me to infinity would be in reasonable focus. As you can see by the image above, the Snap Focus worked a treat. No waiting for the camera to lock on focus or make sure the focus point was in the right area, it was just a case of point/compose, shoot and move on.
The next shot was that of a man standing in the shade down a small side road. As I saw him he was looking in the direction of the ‘Big Wheel’ in the background. I knew that he would at some point look around so I positioned myself about 3 meters away from him and pointed my GR straight at the big wheel.
It must have been about 5 or 10 seconds (which seem like ages when I’m waiting for someone to turn around) before he eventually looked around. As he did so, he saw me and as you can see by the eye contact in the image below, he looked straight at the camera.
At this point I had already taken 4 shots of him, which is the max FPS when using RAW+JPEG setting on the GR, but I stood a couple of seconds longer to make it look as if I was taking more shots of the fairground attraction. I then turned and walked away to catch up with the rest of the family who had by then nearly disappeared into the crowds.
I thought it would be an idea to show you how I saw the scene, what I was looking at when taking the shot and share some of the points I was thinking about during my post processing.
This is the shot straight out of the camera. I only resized it and added the arrows to show where I was pointing the camera and also to show how much of the scene the 18mm lens captures.
To eliminate these distractions I cropped out the area marked in yellow but I also made sure that I kept in the open window on the top left of the image, which I only noticed in post processing, as I personally found this to be a small point of interest which added to the charm of the side street.
With my image cropped it was time for the b&w treatment in LR5 and Analog Efex Pro2 (Nik Collection) to finish off the image. I was very impressed by the way the GR held the details together in the dark shady areas of the image especially where the guy was standing.
So there we have it. With the Ricoh GR I managed to get closer to my intended subject without attracting too much attention and not scaring him by pointing a huge DSLR in his face or a snappy loud A6000 shutter going off in his ear. At the same time I managed to capture a nice shot for my Flickr stream even without pointing my camera directly at him.
For me, the Ricoh GR is a fantastic, stealthy little camera that does the job well and makes my street photography even more enjoyable.