Why the pandemic changed the good for the better
My name is Alexander. I’m 30 years old and currently live in Berlin.
I was born and raised in the northern part of Germany, in a small village close to the baltic sea.
I found my passion for street photography during the pandemic in 2020.
At the age of 21, I moved to Berlin to work at a hospital and to experience the diversity of a city.
Berlin is known for its history, party scene, artists of every shape and form, amazing food and its architecture. I rediscover this city every day, even after 9 years of living here.
When I met my girlfriend in 2017, I started with her Canon 650D, and I instantly remembered the feeling of happiness when I took pictures back in my childhood. I always enjoyed taking photos or videos, even when I was a little boy when my father gave me my first camera.
I knew that I wanted to include photography in my life again.
At the beginning of 2019, we decided that we wanted to visit North America. I was unsure if I should stick with the Canon 650D and new lenses. The last time I used the Canon was in Bali. The old kit lens made great pictures, but it was hardly usable for my video recordings because of the slow autofocus. Some specialists recommended that I should just buy a new Canon lens.
That lens was very large and heavy, so I did my research and concluded that I wanted to make a fresh start.
After reading many articles, watching reviews on YouTube and talking to specialists, I went for the Fujifilm X-T3 with the 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS lens.
The main reason I bought this camera was that most X series lenses were very small and light. It’s important for me that I don’t have to carry heavy equipment while travelling. The lenses fit perfectly in each pocket so I can take various lenses with me. It makes travelling so much more comfortable.
This camera includes everything I want, a well-built weather-resistant metal body, very fast autofocus and the possibility to record high-quality videos.
I still remember the feeling I had when we arrived in New York City. I already visited other big cities like Bangkok or Melbourne, but this city is such a magical place on planet Earth.
I was pretty excited and didn’t even know what to photograph at first. I decided to use the Auto Mode for the most time because I had no idea how to use this professional camera.
It was fun, and I could concentrate on my surroundings while taking photos. The camera worked very reliably in each situation, and even the low light performance convinced me. One week later, we took our flight to California.
As I am writing this article, I fondly think back to that time. It’s the unique, unexpected moments that make travelling so special, right? These moments, in particular, are quickly forgotten. Photography allows us to capture moments for eternity.
In 2020 the pandemic forced us to stay in Germany. We had to cancel all trips abroad and decided to go on vacation in our own country. We visited Saxony Switzerland, just a few hours from Berlin. It’s a hilly climbing area and national park around the southeast of Dresden in Saxony, Germany. I only had my X-T3 and the XF10-24mm lens with me, which was more than worth it because the image quality is simply breathtaking.
I shot many photos during the sunrise for the first time. The beautiful conditions during the golden hour gave me ideal lightning, and I am still impressed by its effect. The photos made me proud, and I realized how powerful this camera is. At this point, my hobby has turned into a serious passion.
Back in Berlin, I immediately started to shoot more frequently. During the lockdown, I used every free minute, mostly on the weekend or after work, to get better. Many other photographers inspired me to try something new and explore this city from a different perspective. Berlin has 12 districts which couldn’t be more different. I realized that this city is full of possibilities that just wanted to be seen and found.
I often use public transport to get around in Berlin. It’s very easy and comfortable. Over time, I also learned to integrate these bright yellow subways and trams into my pictures. I think it is hardly possible to ignore them because you can find them in every district. Most of the time, I prefer to be out and about in Berlin Mitte (Central Berlin). This district impresses with historic buildings which can be photographed very well.
I prefer to shoot early during the sunrise when the sky is clear, and most of the city is still asleep. I enjoy that magical moment when the first rays of sunlight hit the city. The soft morning light helps me to get that special moody look I want for my photos.
An important reason why I bought a Fujifilm camera is that there are a few lenses which are small, light and you hardly ever attract attention with them. One of them is the Fuji 35mm f/2 WR, just a great focal length for street photography. It’s ideal as an all-day carry around travel lens because it’s small and fits perfectly in each pocket. The low light performance and image quality are great.
My everyday carry lens is the Fuji XF18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS. This lens has great image quality and offers a wide range of uses. I take most of my pictures with it.
Last but not least, my third lens, the Fuji XF55-200mm f/3,5-4,8 R LM OIS. I think that it’s not a typical lens for street photography, but it gives a special look to the pictures because of the lens compression.
The combination of a long lens and camera-to-subject distance gives the viewer the impression that distant objects are larger than they actually are. It gives the appearance that the background has pulled in closer to the subject.
Back home, I instantly upload my taken RAW files on my MacBook Pro and edit them in Lightroom or Photoshop. In order to achieve the best results, I probably will switch to Capture One.
By adding warm colours, using a Black Pro-Mist Filter to soften the light and underexposing, I ensure these moody vibes.
I don’t like to use presets because I want to edit each picture individually to get exactly the mood I want to achieve.
In fact, the editing process takes up most of the time. I usually spend several hours until I get the result that I’m satisfied with.
My intention was to be a travel photographer, but Covid-19 forced me to stay in Berlin, bringing me to street photography.
I meant what I have said in the headline. Negative experiences like a pandemic, break-up, or any type of loss can change your life for the better.
A negative mind will never give you a positive life. So even when times are rough, you should always try to make the best out of it and concentrate on the good things in your life.
“I’m Alex and currently live in Berlin, Germany. I work full time and use every free minute to discover the streets of Berlin with my Fujifilm X-T3. I love to share my pictures with others to inspire them.”