On the street in Amsterdam with an X-Pro1

Started Jul 4, 2012 | Discussions
Lodro Rigdzin
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On the street in Amsterdam with an X-Pro1
Jul 4, 2012

I was able to have an afternoon's worth of relaxed shooting in Amsterdam today, so I thought I'd grab the opportunity. I decided to focus on "tourist" Amsterdam, the area in the old city bordering right on the red light district. This area is completely dominated by cannabis tourism, which is obvious if you look at the type of shops here: either baked goods shops catering to the munchies or shops selling smoking paraphernalia. This area is the venue for stag parties and usually the only part of the city backpacking gap year students experience. Yet it is also one of the oldest and most beautiful parts of the city.

on warmoesstraat, main entry to the red light district.

warmoesstraat

backpackers watch a foorball game being screened inside a bar

pastry shop owner on his lunch break

a family with two adolescent sons: possibly their last holiday together

the munchies strike: buying fries at a fry shop

damstraat progressively gets more seedy as one walks it from one end to the next

steakhouse owner on the lookout for customers

resting right where the red light district begins

group of students traveling together

at tofani's icecream parlor

at tofani's keeping an eye on the street

my finished doppio

roasted duck in the window of hoi tin restaurant, a local chinatown institution

taking the kids for a stroll along zeedijk

the middle of a hot summer's day

heading to central station

last bit of packing

Fujifilm X-Pro1
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ulrikem
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Re: On the street in Amsterdam with an X-Pro1
In reply to Lodro Rigdzin, Jul 4, 2012

wow, pretty cool indeed, I like this series a lot. Your "keepers-rate" is rather impressive, it seems you only needed 50 frames to get these 18 nice pics?!
How did you do the b/w conversion - these aren't in-camera jpg's, are they?

 ulrikem's gear list:ulrikem's gear list
Fujifilm X100S Fujifilm X-Pro1 Fujifilm XF 18mm F2 R Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R Fujifilm XF 14mm F2.8 R +1 more
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Lodro Rigdzin
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Re: On the street in Amsterdam with an X-Pro1
In reply to ulrikem, Jul 5, 2012

Thank you!

I think it's essential to form an idea beforehand of the kind of shots you want to attempt and to concentrate on the final output. What is it you want to show, how are you going to do that? So here, I wanted to show tourists in the old city, because it always intrigues me how attractive the red light district is. This is a an area of organised crime (specializing in cannabis, prostitution) yet it is an area entire families will visit. Also, there's a lot of pressure on the area to "clean up", so, within a decade it will be gone in its present form. I wanted to show the seedy, criminal side of things and the way that is the decor for tourists to "do their thing".

If you know what you want, you can also figure out what should be in the photographs, so then it's a question of waiting till what you need in the photograph appears before you. When it does: fire the shutter!

I set the aperture to f8, on auto iso 3200 to give me lots of leeway in getting things in focus, but even then, when you press slowly all the way while firing the shutter, the camera will lock focus in the vast majority of cases.

I post process in LR 4.1, with a BW preset that makes it look like Ilford FP4 (I think), and i then add some vignetting to give the photo depth.

And that's it.

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zyghom
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Re: On the street in Amsterdam with an X-Pro1
In reply to Lodro Rigdzin, Jul 5, 2012

very very nice ones!

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Zygfryd Homonto
http://homonto.eu

 zyghom's gear list:zyghom's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix X100 Nikon D700 Fujifilm X100S
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Berg Na
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Re: On the street in Amsterdam with an X-Pro1
In reply to Lodro Rigdzin, Jul 5, 2012

I was in the same area just recently and I agree that it is a very interesting area, I was warned about taking pictures of the girls so I just took a photo (DSF0179) of the building with the red lights lit indicating that they were open for business, the guy in the photo was obviously looking at the merchandise... When you walk by a bar, you can't avoid getting a strong whiff of the pot being consumed inside.

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Lodro Rigdzin
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Re: On the street in Amsterdam with an X-Pro1
In reply to Berg Na, Jul 5, 2012

I never take photographs in the red light district proper (along the canals), but everywhere else you can photograph people quite closely, if you are discreet. It helps that I know my way around. Funnily enough I was on the trail of another photographer, very flashily dressed and with a big Nikon and a big lens. Quite opposite to what I was doing, interesting nonetheless. Also, I tried to walk in the footsteps of Dutch photographer Ed van der Elsken, who lived in the area and photographed there a lot.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tymTpFc29Aw

Past 4:00 he's shooting along Damstraat, but this is 1983, and the area was really run down then, full of drug addicts and street prostitutes.

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Berg Na
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Re: On the street in Amsterdam with an X-Pro1
In reply to Lodro Rigdzin, Jul 5, 2012

Thank you for the link. It definitely helps to know your way around this area. I found myself looking up the little map the hotel gave me all the time... The area felt surprisingly safe while I was there, I did not find any individuals who looked suspicious or dangerous. I enjoyed your photos, you indicated that you always set your aperture to f/8, I assume this is to extend the depth of focus, if this is true, have you considered using the 18mm lens?

Thanks again,

Lodro Rigdzin wrote:

I never take photographs in the red light district proper (along the canals), but everywhere else you can photograph people quite closely, if you are discreet. It helps that I know my way around. Funnily enough I was on the trail of another photographer, very flashily dressed and with a big Nikon and a big lens. Quite opposite to what I was doing, interesting nonetheless. Also, I tried to walk in the footsteps of Dutch photographer Ed van der Elsken, who lived in the area and photographed there a lot.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tymTpFc29Aw

Past 4:00 he's shooting along Damstraat, but this is 1983, and the area was really run down then, full of drug addicts and street prostitutes.

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Lodro Rigdzin
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Re: On the street in Amsterdam with an X-Pro1
In reply to Berg Na, Jul 5, 2012

I've got the 18mm as well, but that was not the look I wanted for this afternoon. Also it would have meant getting really close to the people I wanted to photograph. Really, really close. f8 to give me as much room for maneuver as possible. This concerns mainly focus and recompose. Often I will point the camera to the street next to someone's feet, focus and wait for the shot. With a stopped down lens, this almost always ends well, if I shoot wide open, it's a risky strategy.

I bought the x-pro1 on a hunch, suspecting it would suit my way of working pretty well. And it does. I'm very pleased with it.

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Berg Na
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Re: On the street in Amsterdam with an X-Pro1
In reply to Lodro Rigdzin, Jul 5, 2012

Thank you for outlining your shooting techniques. I also have a X-Pro1 with the 35mm and 18mm lenses, but I figured the X100 will be less noticeable for the de Wallen visit. I look forward to seeing your next photo posts...

Lodro Rigdzin wrote:

I've got the 18mm as well, but that was not the look I wanted for this afternoon. Also it would have meant getting really close to the people I wanted to photograph. Really, really close. f8 to give me as much room for maneuver as possible. This concerns mainly focus and recompose. Often I will point the camera to the street next to someone's feet, focus and wait for the shot. With a stopped down lens, this almost always ends well, if I shoot wide open, it's a risky strategy.

I bought the x-pro1 on a hunch, suspecting it would suit my way of working pretty well. And it does. I'm very pleased with it.

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Lodro Rigdzin
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Re: On the street in Amsterdam with an X-Pro1
In reply to Berg Na, Jul 5, 2012

Thank you. I went pretty much unnoticed with the X-pro. I did notice many tourists shooting with big dslr's with big zoom lenses. If you try to look like a tourist with a camera, you'll likely stand out less instead of more. So I photograph quite openly. I did take a cue from Winogrand though: I only raise the camera to my face when I take the photograph. That means I'm more open to what's happening, and more present. The shots I "miss" are always due to moments of not being present to what's happening, and not to any property of the cameras I use.

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