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In one of my earlier posts on this blog, I shared my enthusiasm for street art in urban public spaces in the form of tags and graffs. The theme of graffiti and street art in urban environments also often returns on the photo contest community site Guru Shots, and one of my pictures taken of a graffiti in the old bullet factory in Toulouse was even selected among 40 other photos to be printed and exhibited in Singapore in November 2018.

Social media for spotting new locations

When joining Instagram recently, I started following hashtags related to street art in the different cities I live in or I am regularly visiting for professional or personal reasons. A couple of days ago, I saw one picture of a wonderful painting under a bridge in Toulouse and decided to go there the day after.

As my aim was to get at the end one photo of the street art and I did not plan for any other photos, I prepared the X100F and the XPro2 for the shoot: for the X100F, I kept the setup as usual, but for the XPro2, I took my ND filters with me as well as my small Gorilla Tripod. The idea was to experiment with the recently purchased filters and do some long(er) exposures in daylight. 

Patience and angles

The drive over to the location took me longer than planned due to some ongoing construction work on the beltway. And as I had a pile of exams on my desk which needed grading, I gave myself roughly 30 minutes on site. The first step was to just use the X100F to check for exposure and test different angles and perspectives on the painted graffiti – which, by the way, was gorgeous! This was quite tricky as I did one crucial beginners’ error: the sun came from the wrong side for me. However, this pushed me to check out some more unconventional perspectives. 

Once I found some angles on the graff I liked, I set up the XPro2 with a 1000 ND filter, the tripod, and a wireless remote. As traffic was not extensive, but still frequent, I was happy that I’ve brought everything for the long exposure setups. 

Luck

While I experimented with the small GorillaPod on a sill just at the pedestrian crossing of the street, I heard a train coming and going over the bridge under which the graff was. Unfortunately, the fixed screen of the XPro2 and the street level setup with the GorillaPod made a proper check of the exposition very complex and as the train started rolling over the bridge, I decided to press the shutter release for several seconds – for the picture below, shutter speed was at 11 seconds with an aperture at f16 and a low ISO of 200. The combination of long exposure, the luckily long cargo train, and a lucky guess for exposition at the end resulted in one picture I like very much. 

Graffiti by Sismikazot

Toulouse Graff | 2019

The artist who created this wonderful graffiti is Sismikazot – make sure to check out their work on their website.

Next time

I will definitely come back to this location either when the sunlight comes from the “right” direction and/or to do some long exposures when its dark. In between, street art remains one of the subjects for my next street photography walks and I started to find some nice sites that started referring to locations.

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