It has been a pretty cold winter so far here in Melbourne this year. Icy cold mornings and often strong winds make a terrible combination to deter would be photographers from getting out and about early in the morning. As you will have noticed from my recent blogs, most of my activities have been home based. Experimenting with product shots, blogging about Japan, etc. I have also been doing a bit of writing for the Fuji X Aus Facebook group that I am a member of. They have a new website which you can check out here and I have been a frequent contributor to their blog section. So that has been keeping me mostly busy. But I have not been out and about actually taking shots such as I used to in kinder weather.
This morning I pushed myself to take a different course of action. After school drop-off, I dropped the car back at home and packed my camera back for a morning of street photography. I grabbed my Fujifilm X-T2 and made sure that both SD cards were on board. I also grabbed two extra batteries for this camera. As far as lenses go, I packed the Fujifilm XF23mmF2 and the XF50mmF2. Both are fast and light. And, as I have mentioned a billion times, when paired with the Fufifilm X-T2, make a very discreet combination for street photography. I took the short train ride from Hawksburn Station into Flinders Street Station in the city. From there I took the underground Subway for Degraves Street.
This Subway pops up smack in the middle of one of those special parts of Melbourne. Grungy, dark and full of restaurants and cafes. The smells of coffee, baguettes and cooked breakfasts greet you at street level. And at just on 10:00am it is still incredibly busy. For a lot of Melbournian’s, it is time for a second or third cup of coffee. I would stand to one side of the pedestrian traffic – there is no car traffic here as the cafe tables fill the middle of the street – and just captured what I felt compelled to. I was able to scan ahead and see interesting individuals coming towards me and sometimes I would capture them and other times I would miss out.
I crossed Flinders Lane and into Centre Place. It is technically a mall as there is no car traffic again and only pedestrians. But it is more of an alleyway lines with fantastic little eateries and coffee shops. These places are tiny and often have cramped little tables for only one or two people out the front. The laneway is tall thanks to building forming canyon walls on either side and really adds to the grungy low-light conditions. Signs and balconies overhang from above whilst coffee is continuously poured from the steaming machines below. Wrought iron lamps, graffiti, mounted air conditioners and no real identifiable architectural style actually reminds me a great deal of the alleys in Shinjuku, Tokyo.
Centre Place is a special place for me. Whenever I make the effort to go there and absorb the atmosphere and take photos, it always recharges my creativity. I have not done any ‘street’ style work for a while and today it just made me feel like old times. Camera in hand and just strolling. Getting into a position to capture an image with an interesting background and just waiting for the right character to walk into frame. Or seeing that shot and grabbing it in moment. Stopping for a few minutes to have a coffee and just watch the world go by. This is what I love about Melbourne and being able to document my experiences of it. I am spoiled for visuals and the outcome is rewarding. Happy shooting.