I know I’m a little late to the party on this one, but after the last month of use I really thought I needed to add my take on this little lens/converter. This is by no means a proper review, more some ramblings and thoughts about my usage and my street photography
The WCL-x100 product is actually a couple of years old by now. I actually bought one back when I bought the original x100. However, it never got much use for me back then. Since then I sold off my original x100 and along with it the WCL-x100. Fastforward a couple of years, and here I am. Completely smitten with this wide angle converter for my favorite streetphotography camera.
So what has changed? Well for the most part I think that I have changed. I now appreciate it as a tool to create a certain change in my usual routine. It is a way to challenge myself, and my typical type of street photography. I didn’t see it as such 2 years ago. Back then it was more about object separation and bokeh! 😉
Shooting street for me is about people. Everyday people living everyday life, doing everyday things. I don’t seek to portray deeper symbolic meaning in my street shots, I don’t seek ultimate truth in reviewing these shots afterwards. I seek to portray humans. For that reason I look at my street photography more like street portraiture. To me the streets are the backdrops. The elements on which the caracters sit, and emerge from. Of course I like the certain interplay some characters have with the environment. It can make the photo, and give it a sense of story. But most of the time I just want focus to be on the character.
For this reason the shallow DOF from a fast standard 35/50mm FOV lens has proven time and time again to be just right for me in my pursuit in capturing this imagery. Wider angles cannot deliver this. What they instead deliver is ALOT of sub-/context into the frame.
When I read about street photography in general, my approach with shallow DOF subject separation/portraiture is not a typical approach. In typical street photography the urban environment is much more than just the backdrop. It is used actively to tell stories. Most streetphotographers in the course of history use the 35mm/50mm FOV, but there are a couple who didn’t. Mr Garry Winogrand, Mr. William Klein and Mr. Sebastiao Salgado to name a few. They used wider angles, so they can get that extra scene crammed into the frame. I always liked this kind of photography when I viewed it, but I had never taken an interest in doing it myself.
If I was to start using a wider angle for my kind of character focussed streetphotography I needed to think a little bit differently. This felt like a challenge, and I love to set challenges for myself to keep me fresh on my toes.
It required me to
- think in composition
- think in other ways of getting your subject isolated from the background
- think more about timing
- GET CLOSER
When composing start thinking in perspective lines, vanishing points, fibonacci spirals and golden ratios. I already did, but I needed to take extra time and care when pre-visualizing my frame.
Motion blur is a cool and alternative way to get separation in frame, and works well for street shots. set that camera to f11, iso200 and shutter 1/8th – 1/15th. creates a nice effect as long as your main subject KEEPS STILL! Also I tried to use framing from walls, alleyways and gates. I also tried using negative space.
I needed to think about timing, so I could get all the clutter out of the wide frame inclusion. The people NOT meant to be in the photograph needed to leave, or become part of the frame composition wise.
Of the points above, one of the easiest, yet hardest things to do is get closer. If you want to fill a frame with the subject using a 28 mm you have to be within 30-40cm. Confrontation iminent!
The above points are quite hard to fullfill in a city pulsating with life at a very fast pace. This was quite a challenge for me, but this also meant another thing: I HAD AN INSANE AMOUNT OF FUN! The WCL-x100 is now permanently attached to my x100s. I love using it, and I love how it challenges me. I don’t know how long this will last, but for now it’s just what the doctor prescribed 😉
Below are samples. As usual processed from RAW using LR5 in various ways. Mostly street shots, but there are a couple of landscapes as well as some snapshots (who doesn’t love babies and kittens :P). Landscapes with the WCL-x100 are a perfect match, but that topic is for another day, and a another photographer 😀
Shot with x100s + WCL-x100
Snaps and Landscapes