This is a great example of a picture I’d never be able to get with my usual setup of a DSLR and 50mm lens. On a rather warm date in late February I took my kids to the playground at a local elementary school while my wife stayed back to get some work done, and at this particular location one of the boys’ favorite toys is a spinner device kind of like the old sit-and-spin toys from the late 80’s. (Full disclosure: it’s also one of my favorite toys at this playground!) It’s really just made for one person but I asked my four-year-old if he would mind attempting to help me get a picture, and the result is what you see here. It’s not perfect and there’s some things I wish I could have composed differently, but it’s hard to juggle a camera, a playground spinner, and a little kid all at the same time so I guess I can’t complain :)
I took this with my Fuji X100F which had a couple things going for it that would have made the shot nearly impossible with a DSLR. The X100F is designed to be used with the rear LCD screen for composing and focusing, whereas on most DSLR cameras the rear screen focusing is much slower and less reliable than the viewfinder due to the common implementation of contrast-detect autofocus as opposed to phase-detect through the viewfinder. The size of the camera made it much easier to work with as well, and I was able to shoot one-handed while I held my boy with my other arm. Finally, the wider 23mm (35mm equivalent) field of view on the X100F made a picture like this possible whereas shooting with a 50mm lens would have resulted in basically only getting a single foot in the shot.
I knew I wanted a slow shutter speed to get motion trails, but any slower than 1/30 would have been nearly impossible to get a sharp picture and any longer would have given me motion trails that were too short. 1/30 worked just fine, but even then it took several tries to get this shot because my son was kind of fussy (wouldn’t you be?) and the constant shifting between light and shadow as we spun around did tend to confuse the focusing system on the camera. I like how it turned out though and it gave me some ideas for other shots I might try in the future.