Nei Valente: Street Photography With a Sony RX100 IV

All images and text by Nei Valente. Used with permission.

“Fifth Avenuers” is a visual registry of people and moments from one of the most iconic avenues in the world. It captures the vibrancy created by the mix of people who walk along the street that divides Manhattan into east and west. Some of the most famous museums in New York—like MoMA, the Met, and the Guggenheim—attract art-conscious locals and tourists alike. Others are attracted to Fifth Avenue by its proximity to Central Park and the ostentatious, tall buildings that line the avenue, including the Empire State and Flatiron buildings, Rockefeller Center, and Trump Tower. Those who can afford to, shop along one of the most well-known and high-end shopping streets in the world. Store employees, construction workers, and street vendors are combined, and sometimes contrasted, with the people who work in the tall buildings and walk on the avenue during their commute. To further add to the energy and bustling atmosphere, the street hosts important events like the LGBT Pride March, Puerto Rican Day Parade, and St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

For a couple of months, I walked along Fifth Avenue trying to capture the specific things that encapsulated the vibrancy of the avenue. If you paint a canvas with fifty black dots and add just one red dot, your painting is no longer about the fifty black dots. But it’s also not about the red dot. The painting is about the relationship of the fifty dots that looks the same with that one different red dot. That’s what I had in mind when photographing the avenue during my lunch breaks. I was always imagining the street as a canvas and trying to include in my photos the interactions and people that would be the red dot, representing a specific moment on Fifth Avenue. Because, to accurately represent a place, you can’t photograph only the ordinary people and scenes, but also capture what contrasts with the normality and thus makes that place special enough to be photographed.

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Mark Broyer Captures the Beauty of After Hours in Hamburg

All images by Mark Broyer. Used with Creative Commons Permission.

Cities take on a different persona at night, and they can either be full of energy or melancholy, depending on the city, the districts, or time of the night. Street photographers who prowl their towns by nightfall know this very well, and it’s interesting how their photo narratives reveal which part of the night they prefer to document. For Hamburg-based photographer Mark Broyer, it’s the colorful after hours of his city.

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Review: Nikon 28mm f1.4 E ED (Nikon F Mount)

When the Nikon 28mm f1.4 came in for review and was announced, I was a bit hesitant. Why? Well, while I was excited about the lens for sure, I’m still not a person that believes that DSLRs are necessarily the future despite the fact that I acknowledge how good they are. And to that end, I believe that if Nikon has a full frame mirrorless camera system and made this lens for it, it would be an even bigger winner than it really is. But the current Nikon 28mm f1.4 is a dream lens in so many ways. If you’re a street photographer, portrait photographer, or a photojournalist then you may really enjoy what this lens offers.

In fact, this is hands down my favorite Nikon prime lens with the exception of the company’s 105mm f1.4.

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Film Review: Fujifilm Superia (200, 400, 800 and 1600)

Fujifilm Superia is oddly enough considered a consumer film. Why? I’m not exactly sure–especially considering that it wasn’t so long ago in history that every photojournalist swore by Superia 800. But nevertheless, Fujifilm Superia isn’t considered to be one of the more professional grade films as something like say Fujifilm Pro400H. But if you head into various Flickr and Facebook groups, lots of photographers still pledge allegiance to Fujifilm Superia. The film comes in a variety of speeds including ISO 200, ISO 400, ISO 800 and ISO 1600. In some ways, you can perhaps liken it to being a bit like Ilford Delta–except that it’s color and from Fujifilm.

But one thing is for sure, if you want great general use film, Fujifilm Superia is a fantastic option.

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An Update to the Ricoh GR II: Will There Ever Be a New Ricoh GR III?

The updated Ricoh GR III could potentially be nothing more than just a myth, but it still stands as a fact that the Ricoh GR II is a popular choice for many street photographers. This isn’t to be confused with the older iteration of this camera, which Eric Kim reviewed for us years ago, but instead an updated version of the Ricoh GR II. The camera is a cult hit with this genre for a number of reasons including the small size, fantastic image quality and the pretty silent operation coupled with great ergonomics.

It’s been a number of years since the Ricoh GR II was announced and so it’s a bit odd the camera hasn’t been updated in a long time. Fixed lens cameras and point and shoots typically have shorter life spans, but the 16MP sensor inside the Ricoh GR II is still capable of putting out very sharp images. We’ve even featured photographers who shoot with it here on the blog.

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Stefano Gardel Captures the Pervading Darkness in London

All images by Stefano Gardel. Used with Creative Commons Permission.

There’s something about cities at night that get photographers prowling the streets in search of stories. Sometimes it’s the seemingly alternate world that comes to life when the sun sets and the city lights bathe everything in a different glow. Maybe it’s the way everything and everyone slows down and unwinds, making it easier to catch them unguarded for a candid moment. But for Switzerland-based fine art photographer Stefano Gardel, the darkness that envelopes the streets of London at night is particularly intriguing.

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Review: Rokinon 35mm f2.8 FE (Sony FE Full Frame E Mount)

The Rokinon 35mm f2.8 FE comes in at a significantly more affordable price point than what Sony’s offering is–and the only major difference is its lack of weather sealing vs it’s Sony counterpart. In fact, that’s the only difference most people may consider besides marginally slower autofocus performance. The lenses even look alike in some ways in that they’re pretty much the same size but with different casings. But Rokinon has brought out autofocus abilities with the Rokinon 35mm f2.8 FE–making this the company’s first autofocusing lens for the Sony full frame E mount system. Indeed, it fills a niche of the photography market that is not really saturated: a place for good, affordable lenses of the Sony FE camera space.

So if you’re one of those folks that doesn’t need weather sealing, then the Rokinon 35mm f2.8 FE could just be a lens that you’ll want.

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Robert Shults on Photographing Homelessness with Insight and Empathy

While it’s now frowned upon to just dive headfirst into “documenting” stories of homeless people, it can still be puzzling to some as to what exactly makes it distasteful. Former homeless photographer Robert Shults has recently shared his perspectives about this matter in an insightful interview with Photo District News (PDN). Despite its popularity and relevance, street photography has seen its own share of controversies, particularly when it comes to the ethics of photographing people without their consent. The rules against it aren’t definite, but the common stance is that anyone out in the streets is fair game, and it’s the photographer’s goal to not get caught. This becomes extra tricky when you put homeless people into the picture, so to speak.

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