Habana 73.1 – a personal project with Fuji X cameras
Hi Fuji X Passion friends,
I introduce myself: My name is Rodrigo Roher and I am from Salamanca, Spain. I have always been interested in arts, specially painting and drawing. For that reason and because of my Audiovisual and Arts studies, I became interested in travel photography, but it is not until 2013 that street photography came to stay thanks to a Fujifilm X100.
It’s been more than 5 years and I remain loyal to a system that brought me much joy and a wide photographic collection. Thanks to that Fujifilm X100 I discovered another way to take pictures: the challenge of a fix lens and that the quality can go hand-in-hand with the size and the design.
The X serie high versatility has contribute greatly to improve my images quality in this more than 5 years. The effort to carry the equipment was no long a handicap or an excuse for not going out to take pictures. I became aware of not only in exotic or overseas countries good images are and I started walking my city and shooting its ordinariness.
After that X100 others came: X-E2, X-30, X-T1 or the latest X-Pro2 and X-E3. Regarding to lenses, I always use fixed ones focus. Nowadays I have the Fujinon XF18mmf2, Fujinon XF 35mm f2WR and the Samyang 8mm f1.8 X-mount (that I have use for the first time last January and that some of the photos illustrating this article are made with).
I always have a mention to my loving Fujifilm X-70. This camera, with no doubts, is the funniest one I’ve ever have and the guilty of too many of my pictures. The Fujifilm X-70 is tiny, small, discreet, gentle and fast, so that help me to approach close to the object or action I try to capture. Thanks to its folding and small screen, I search angles that I could not even imagine before. In my street scenes I try to catch the natural and the spontaneity the streets offer. Serie X cameras help me, not only to go unnoticed, but also, being so helpful to avoid violent situations when, so many times, one of my main protagonists has been curious about the camera and we have finished chatting and sharing smiles.
That’s why it’s my favorite X system camera and I would choose it if I could only keep one. I am mad about street photography. I really enjoy going out camera in hand, feeling free to be surprised by the great scene the street is. Every single day is unique. Even every hour of the day gives you different opportunities in the same place. That immediacy, that alertness to what is going around and feeling like a real hunter produces in me an adrenaline rush that not so many artistic disciplines do. I feel like an excited child when I know I have a good capture after shooting. Making this kind of photography has never bring me any problems, not even with locals or authorities. That’s why I encourage dubious people interested in street photo to throw themselves to the streets. Common sense is the rule. Our physical integrity worth much more than the best picture.
The photographs illustrating this article were made last January and you can find more of my “Habana 73.1” personal project on my website www.rodrigoroher.net. The name makes reference to the number of Kms my GPS pedometer showed at the end of those four days in the cuban capital. Taking into account the distance, the reader can figure out the days were close to be marathon days. Just because I am a very dynamic and active photographer, I hardly stay more than half an hour in the same place. I have a rule: If after 30 minutes waiting for something to take place it doesn’t occur, I leave. I can always come back to that location. That’s why it is good to take notes about places to return to if time permits.
All the street photographers should visit Habana at least once in lifetime. Its colours, its light (unfortunately I couldn’t enjoy it much during my visit), its people (always kind, smile and, sometimes, letting them being catch demanding nothing back) make it a very grateful city for street photography.
As I said before, it was my first time using such a wide angle lens as Samyang 8mm 2.8 is, on a Fujifilm X-E3. That means a great challenge for street photography and, of course, a funny, light and portable combination. It is also the first time I use the camera in a total manual way, as I use to shoot with aperture priority. I normally work between f5.6 and f.8 apertures with Classic Chrome film simulation and letting the camera free to choose the speed and even the ISO. For night captures during my trip I have use the Fujifilm X-pro2 together with the Fujinon XF 35mm f2WR and sometimes, the Fujifilm X70.
Because of its portability plus everything I have explained, the Fujifilm X70 is my day-to-day camera. However, during my trips, I always carry two bodies (at least). Do not forget we are talking about technological tools so they may fail. It would be fatal if your only body goes wrong or breaks. That’s why, one of my advices is, as far as possible, always take a pair of them with you. It is also necessary to consider not leaving to chance the batteries and memory cards. Take enough of them if, as I do, you use to spend all day on the city streets.
Last tip or advice I always like giving: “Use sunscreen and wear a good pair of sneakers”.
RR was born in Salamanca (Spain) in 1976. He has a degree in Audiovisual Communication as well as in Social Work (Universidad de Salamanca). Fascinated by the world of art and once he settled in Madrid, Rodrigo took several Fine Arts’ courses (Universidad Complutense de Madrid). Although in 2007 he became interested in photography, it is in 2013 when street photography became his most representative style. However, his knowledge in this area is totally self-taught. He collaborates with many street photography blogs and web pages, and is a member of the spanish collective “La Calle es Nuestra”.