Being a photographer with some spending money and a bad habit of lusting after gear, I have amassed a lot of photo gear. Due to that I am often carrying at least two lenses and also prefer zoom lenses versus primes (I know that primes give you better results – I’m more of a flexibility trumps all kind of gal).
This weekend I wanted to try something different: my trusty Fuji X-Pro2 and shooting only with my 35mm lens. The Fuji offers several ‘film simulations’ that mirror analog Fuji films in the digital world. With the X-Pro2 Fuji shipped the absolutely beautiful ‘Arcos’ simulation which is a very moody b&w film. So I decided to also only use that simulation for the jpgs (I was shooting RAW+Jpeg but the camera only showed me the b&w). Additionally, I also decided to use the optical viewfinder and not the digital viewfinder (I had that small in a corner though, which was awesome).
With this setup I decided on going to one of the main cemeteries in Frankfurt which still have some graves dating back to the 19th century and see what would happen.
It was interesting to shoot only at 35mm. Most of the time when I am not doing Macro photography or animals I will be using a wide angle lens so for a while in the beginning I was always too close to the subject and had to move back to get the view that I was looking for. But I got into the groove of it relatively quickly.
Another issue crept up due to the b&w and shooting jpg directly: it was super sunny and most of the statues were aged copper, so almost black. I had to do a lot of exposure correction to get the faces to show any details. But I found it interesting since usually it would be something I’ll fix back at the computer but with shooting straight to jpg I wanted to do it in shot.
The b&w also means that you have to think in b&w – which is harder than it sounds at first blush. If you have a creme colored statue with green foliage behind it, in color there is no issue at all. Go to b&w and suddenly the contrast between the two starts to fade and the statue isn’t as pronounced as you would see it in color. This opens up a lot of new ways to think about framing and what is a fitting background (which to me is often just as important as the subject).
In the end it was a very interesting experiment because it makes you think about framing a lot more. You have to deal with the limitations you have set for yourself and think about their impact on your shooting. At least for me it made me much more aware of what I was doing and feel much closer to my camera and the output. Definitely an experiment I’m going to try again at some point!
You can find the whole gallery here.