I bought a Ricoh GR II exactly two weeks ago and boy, do I love this camera. There is so much power and image quality packed in what looks like a cheap point and shoot.
This is not yet another review, there is enough of that already.
Before acquiring this camera, I read and watched quite some reviews. I knew what I was buying and most important why.
I used it for the street photography workshop. While shooting I never checked the screen for the result. I wanted to stay focused on the environment. No distraction, go with the flow, observe, look, shoot.
I set the camera in Aperture priority and Auto ISO in a range from 100 to 3200.
Back home, looking at my images, I became disappointed. Quite some images suffered from motion blur. I’m guessing I would not have noticed it on the screen of the camera but I would have frowned my eyebrows with the settings the camera used. But as I did not chimp…
This one for example.
Not a very good shot at all but it shows what I find to be an issue. Bright light, f4 at 1/40 (!!!) at ISO 250. The camera the guy is holding is completely blurred.
Halfway the morning, while composing, I suddenly noticed the low shutter speed and decided and switched to TAV-mode. You set the aperture and shutter speed and the camera sets ISO accordingly. That saved my day.
I lived under the impression I had done something wrong, overlooked an important setting in the camera’s menu. After all I had not read anything about this in any (video)review.
Yesterday evening, I stumbled across a video preview of the Ricoh GR II by an Aussie bloke, Blunty.
In his review “RICOH GR Hands-on Review – IT’S A NINJA CAMERA!!!” he mentions (at 05:00) what I experienced and thinks this conservative way of keeping the ISO low and having a slow shutter speed is because a lot of street shooters appreciate blurriness in their images. Good to know but I don’t.
Except for this small glitch I simply love this camera and I keep it with me at all times. Like I mentioned in previous posts the fixed wide-angle makes me look at the world in a different way as it has an important influence on the way I compose an image.
The macro mode is awesome and in combination with the pinpoint focusing mode you can really create some stunning images.
I like the dynamic of “Hurried”.
Yes, it is blurry but not that much. I added a high-pass filter on the image and that helped.
This image was made at f4 at ISO 250 and 1/40. Yet the sun was shining through the glass roof and there was lots of light. For this kind of action 1/40 is way to slow.
After the street photography workshop past Saturday I was sitting on a bench waiting for Little A. who was in the Forever 21 store.
I was still in street photography mode and could not resist shooting the lady.
Change of plans.
These past two weeks I’ve been reminding Sweetheart occasionally about the deadline for our weekend. Deadline meaning the date I can’t cancel anymore.
Not because I don’t want to go on weekend with Sweetheart, au contraire. As an outsider I’ve noticed how Sweetheart’s eldest daughter was sliding downhill again. I’m not going to elaborate but Stella suffers from severe psychosis. She barely manages to live alone and her 3-year old, Star, a burden. Sweetheart is in fact a foster-parent for her own grand-child.
Yesterday evening Sweetheart told me over the phone Stella was thinking of going into admission because she couldn’t handle it anymore.
Sweetheart’s kids are more than willing to take care of Star so their mother can enjoy some time off but they are not experienced enough to handle Stella in crisis.
The obvious thing to do was to cancel our weekend which I did while on the phone with my Love.
After that I drove Little A. to boarding school and then, later that evening, Sweetheart phoned again. We talked some more about out “lost” weekend and then suddenly she said, “hell, I could have asked my sister to babysit”.
Not even an hour later Sweetheart phoned me again telling me her daughter was feeling 100% fine again.
This morning Sweetheart contacted her sister and she was more than happy to assist the home front so we could enjoy our weekend.
I choose a different destination, something more desolate, a little rougher when weather isn’t very good.
I’m taking Sweetheart to Zeeland, no, not New-Zeeland, but Zeeland in the Netherlands. We’ll be staying in a posh hotel not far from Zierikzee and Middelburg and near quite some interesting places to visit. It is about nature, below sea-level polders, cute little villages, a few interesting towns and desolate landscapes where I’m thinking long exposures if we/I have time.
So what will be in my camera bag?
The Ricoh GR II of course. I am really enjoying this little yet powerful camera. Being limited to 28mm is quite a challenge.
As backup I’ll be taking an Olympus OM-1n for black and white and an Olympus OM-10 for color. A 50mm f1.4, a 28mm f3,5 a Vivitar 200mm f4 and some film. A light meter of course and a tripod.
I’m thinking though that the Ricoh will be my main camera. I’ll be using it in both native 28mm and then the cropped but not interpolated settings of 35mm and 47mm.
I noticed this gentleman when I left Antwerp Central Station. He was standing in the beautiful hall waiting for somebody.
There was something about this guy that caught my eye. The hat maybe, or his shoes or wooden walking stick.
I approached him, smiled and asked if I could take his picture.
It was no problem whatsoever and after that we talked for a while.
This is stuff I wouldn’t have done a year ago. Now, for some reason, I feel like I have been shooting on the streets for ages. I am pretty sure I’ll get even some better portraits soon as I have overcome my fear of approaching another human being.
Maybe I could have made more from this special moment but the fact I did it is a victory already.
Sharp dressed man (2016)
Ricoh GR II at f3.5 – ISO 1100
Wow do I feel good today. I feel like reborn. Hell, I can’t wait to get back on the streets. Can’t wait to start my project about the underprivileged in my home town.
I feel reborn because I have found something new in photography. I got a little fed up with landscapes and the next good-looking tree. There is nothing wrong with that kind of photography, but I really needed something new.
The workshop came at the right time and the instructor, Glenn, inspiring.
It is obvious I have to find my voice, my input and my style but somehow I feel the latter is steadily developing. The gritty black & white suits me well, not only my vision but also a part of my personality.
The only thing I regret is that I did not take a film camera with me. But next time, when I hit the streets, I will. The camera will be loaded with HP 5+ and probably pushed a stop or two.
Next weekend Sweetheart and I are heading to the Ardennes for a much-needed two-day together. I’ll be showing her the Ninglinspo Valley. Much to my surprise I booked a hotel at Banneux without knowing Banneux is a place of pilgrimage. It is not our world at all but I hope Sweetheart will be okay for a short visit. I’m thinking this could also be a very good spot for street photography.
I do have my heroes in street photography and without wanting to brag I got a comment and a like from the Chicago based street photographer Chuck Jines.
That really made my day and made me very happy.
Maybe not perfect or even not near perfect. The wall and the people tend to blend a little too much.
Yet I like the dynamic of this image. I feel like there is much happening.
Also I feel I am developing a ‘style’ albeit I am not really sure I’ll keep it. There is so much already, this brooding black and white type of raw images.
Just looking, just playing. Discovering. Already thinking about a social doc project.