Through the lens of Bryan van der Beek
Mastering the streets with the SEL2470GM
Street photography is something of a broad term that most can’t quite put a finger on. More often than not, the genre typically brings to mind a snapshot of a stranger, usually fashionable, walking down a street in a blinking city such as New York or Tokyo.
That’s just one part though, and it does not encompass the true meaning of street photography.
In truth, street photography is a candid photography of life in public areas. It spotlights one’s vibrant surroundings, intriguing scenes and blink-and-you-miss-it moments of human nature.
FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM | 24mm | 1/400 sec | f/2.8 | ISO 800
Meet the photographer
A perquisite in nailing this genre is mastering storytelling - a trait that comes only second nature to Bryan Van der Beek, thanks to his photojournalism background.
Further bolstered by a creative thoughtfulness in composing a shot, Bryan’s works have graced the pages of international titles, including Time Asia and The Washing Post. Additionally, you can find several of his shots in a permanent collection, proudly displayed in the National Museum of Singapore.
The visual feats from Bryan prove that street photography is more than simply pointing a lens in the direction of a person on the street. Instead, his shots abide by the rules of composition, speckled with intent that causes a viewer to pause and ask questions.
FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM | 25mm | 1/8 sec | f/2.8 | ISO 800
Prowling the streets with the FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM (SEL2470GM)
One may hazard a guess that Bryan is someone who treats his craft very seriously. He is well prepared and has no qualms about lugging a trinity of lenses in tow. But the perfect in-betweener, he claimed, is the SEL 2470GM.
He also shared: “The lens’ 24-70mm range allows me to capture most wide-angled views with the 35 mm and 50mm focal lengths to recreate the feel of traditional street photography images.”
His assessment may be especially useful for Asian cities, where roads are narrow and buildings are tightly packed. The 24mm wide-angle shots will be able to capture extreme high-resolution street shots with almost no distortion, regardless how limited the space is.
“While the 70mm allows you to get in a fair bit closer especially when you aren’t in a position to physically move closer to your subject,” he added. Additionally, the lens’ F2.8 aperture offers a great amount of bokeh on the subject.
Furthermore, according to Bryan, street photographer is often associated closely with the 35mm and 50mm focal lengths. This is because photographers depended on rangefinder cameras, which are commonly paired with the aforementioned lenses.
“Rangefinder cameras generally don’t have a good minimum focusing distance, which would render wider lenses too loose for street as it wouldn’t allow you to get close enough,” he explained further.
Nevertheless, the SEL2470GM gives a comfortable range for a variety of street shots, no matter the technical requirement.
FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM | 25mm | 1/320 sec | f/8 | ISO 400
Features galore for stunning street shots
The SEL2470GM’s zoom performance is not the only thing that makes it, as Bryan puts, an ‘all-in-one lens’. It also brags a comprehensive checklist of features to ensure each street shot captured is unfailingly stunning.
For starters, the lens boasts an XA (Extreme Aspherical) element with ED elements for corner-to-corner resolution and natural colour rendering, including almost lifelike texture and crisp details. Its spectacular image quality continues with a fast F2.8 that maintains low-light capability.
In Asian cities where space is commonly limited and its metropolitan scene overwhelmingly dynamic, the aforementioned features grant high-definition street shots that highlight every element in rich detail, even at night.
The best kind of street photography is of moments that are fleeting. Therefore, the SEL2470GM’s DDSSM (Direct Drive SSM) proves to be very useful with its spurious motion and enhanced AF speed. Its smooth and quiet operation system also allows street portraits to be carried out in discreet and distraction-free. Plus, track fast focus helps lock onto subjects to shoot any split-second changes.
Watch the full video below to watch Bryan in action with the SEL2470GM.