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Stockholm Pride Parade and the XF18-135mm f/3.5-5.6

· 6.September.2017

The Stockholm Pride week is a recurring LGBTQ event that happens each year in the beginning of August. The event has a grand finale with the Pride Parade. It was the 20th time this year. I decided to be a spectator of the parade this year, a spectator with a camera. I have covered the parade a few times before, but then focusing on the spectators, witch always is interesting, but this year I decided to focus on the people in the parade.  

In the parade this year I would say it was three types of participants: politicians that wants to be politically correct, companies with different types of commercial acts, and finally LGBTQ people and supporters of the movement. The latter group comes in different outfits, all from ordinary clothes to costumes or bare skin.

This head creation is a symbol of Stockholm with a number of well known buildings.

This year there were more commercial acts then the years before, according to my opinion. A lot of companies wanted to show their respect for the LGBTQ questions while some were only there as a part of their (sometimes slightly questionable) marketing strategies.

Gear

As I had no accreditation to the event, I ended up together with all the spectators, outside the rope. I knew that already before I went to town, so I had that under consideration when deciding what equipment to use. I knew  that I would meet a large crowd of people dancing, running, jumping and moving around. What I wanted to capture could be on a longer distance or just right upfront my camera. A fixed lens would not work, I needed versatility, so I took the Fujinon 18-135 zoom on my X-T2. I know this isn’t the lightest combination, but it limits my gear to one body and one lens. No equipment to fumble around with, just one piece of equipment to use.

This zoom has not been very well received by testers and so called experts, but I don’t mind. I don’t do brick walls or architectural geometry, so for what I shoot, this lens works perfectly well. During my Canon years I had a third party super zoom and that lens had serious optical issues. Compared to that, the Fuji super zoom is fantastic. Also important to keep in mind is that this is a quite moderate super-zoom, just 18-135, while others try to stretch focal length significantly longer.

When it comes to gear, I have never believed much in gear as the most important factor for bringing home good photography. Over the years I have seen so many fantastic photos produced with simple or elderly equipment and so many technically perfect photos that hasn’t moved me at all.

When I gradually moved from Canon to Fujifilm, I must admit I loved the retro design of the cameras and the jpegs Fuji deliver, but it was primarily for cutting weight I made the move. As a street photographer my Canon gear was way to heavy to carry around in the city. So as weight is the most important factor for me, that also applies to lenses. I have successively sold lenses with large aperture in favor for smaller lenses. I believe in traveling light in the city, staying out longer hours, bringing home more shots, rather then carrying around a heavy camera and a 1.2 lens.

Camera settings

As auto focus on a mirrorless camera is not fully up to a DSLR, I’m happy that Fuji has some extra settings that helped me tweak the auto focus depending on situation. For the Pride Parade I selected AF mode ZONE, AF-C Custom setting no 5 and the camera was set on boost mode. The shutter speed was fixed at 1/640 (was meant to be 1/500 but ended up 1/640 by my mistake) and the aperture was fully open, so changing the ISO was how I adjusted the exposure. I picked that strategy because I wanted to freeze the movement with the shutter speed and isolate the object from the background with a short depth of field.

Intuitive mindset

On location I decided to work completely intuitive, just shoot and evaluate afterwards. I drained two batteries, got a camera that became warm, but not hot and came home with 1095 exposures on the memory card. I decided to use raw instead of jpeg just because of my exposure strategy.

The exposure strategy worked, no exposure issues at all and no extreme ISO either, so grain was OK too. Post processing was done in Lightroom. Approximately 2% was out of focus, 8% was worth keeping and the rest was on a sliding scale from “maybe keep” to “absolutely throw away”.

Yes, I brought home a lot of garbage on my memory card, but I also brought home some good shots I would probably had missed if I’d chosen a different way of working.

Photos

The parade always starts with a motorcycle group called Dykes on bikes.

After the motorcycles there were some 170 groups representing different aspects of the parade.The following photos are a small selection from the 2017 Stockholm Pride Parade.

Hans Wahlgren

Hans Wahlgren

Hans Wahlgren is a self-taught photographer, retired from a job as managemnet consultant and now full time street photographer in Stockholm, Sweden. He started with photography in 1970. In 2012 he started the swedish Street Photography Group, Gatufogruppen. He is also a member of WalkingTheStreets.

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