There's no such thing as bad weather: Maximilian Streich in London with the Z 5

Maximilian StreichTravel & Landscape14 Jun 20236 min read
image assets for Maximilian Streich magazine article

Maximilian Streich talks to Nikon Magazine about shooting in rain, fog and snow, and taking his Nikon Z 5 on a trip around London

Berlin-based photographer Maximilian Streich is perhaps best known for the images he takes when most other people are running for shelter. Where others see ‘bad’ weather, Max sees inspiration and possibility in the changing light, especially in the late night/early morning hours of the cities he visits. Although he usually shoots with a Nikon Z 7II and a Nikon D850, he recently travelled light to London armed with a Nikon Z 5, the NIKKOR Z 17-28mm f/2.8 and the NIKKOR Z 28-75mm f/2.8 to document his experiences of the UK capital. We sat down with him to talk about starting out, the best way to choose a camera and the calming effect of photography.

Maximilian Streich
What’s in my kitbag?
image assets for Maximilian Streich magazine article

Nikon Magazine: How did you start your photography journey and what made you stick with it?

My first mobile phone camera with 1.3 megapixels sparked my enthusiasm for photography, as it allowed me to learn by doing. Despite the low resolution and all the technical limitations, I could immediately view the results and improve on the next attempt.

 

After graduating from high school, I bought my first camera, a Nikon D5000 with an 18-105mm kit lens. The creative possibilities this opened up brought me great joy and I was determined to use the camera as often as possible. When I moved to Berlin for my studies, my main content shifted more and more from landscape to urban space.

 

What advice would you give to someone starting photography or thinking about buying a ‘real’ camera?

Regarding the camera selection, I really recommend including the haptic experience of the body into the equation. How does it feel to hold the camera in your hands? Here, in contrast to the technical specs, there are often major differences, and the bodies of the Nikon D850 or Z 7II still give me a comforting feeling of motivation to take pictures every time I pick them up.

image assets for Maximilian Streich magazine article
image assets for Maximilian Streich magazine article

Why Nikon?

When I was faced with the choice of a camera system in 2009, I simply followed my intuition. I already owned a pair of Nikon binoculars given to me by my father and, as a space enthusiast, felt connected to the Nikon's NASA history. Eventually, I remember the haptic experience in store — and the innovative flip-up display on the D5000 that tipped the scales in favour of the camera at the time.

In 2012, I invested in a Nikon D800 while in college. A big step up from the D5000 and by far the most expensive purchase I’d made up to that point. But looking back at the pictures I took with the camera and the experiences I gained in the following years, it was the best investment of my life.

image assets for Maximilian Streich magazine article

You used the Nikon Z 5 with NIKKOR Z 17-28mm f/2.8 and the NIKKOR Z 28-75mm f/2.8 for the London shoot, how did you find working with that set-up?

Even though I take most of my images with semi-pro bodies such as the Z 7II or D850, I learned to appreciate the compactness of the Z 5 setup in London. The 28-75/2.8 lens, in particular, is much smaller and lighter than the 24-70/2.8, for instance, with comparable image quality. For street photography, this is quite an advantage in many situations. I also enjoyed shooting in the ultra-wide-angle range at 17mm in London. Incorporating architecture at large scale in my pictures and still having such a compact setup was fantastic.

 

What else is in your kit bag?

Nikon Z 7II, Nikon Z fc, Nikon D850; NIKKOR Z 24-70 f/2.8 S, NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S, NIKKOR Z 28mm f/2.8, various batteries, SD cards and a few filters.

image assets for Maximilian Streich magazine article
image assets for Maximilian Streich magazine article
Taking London further with the Z 7

Did you always love what other people might call ‘bad’ weather?

As a hobby painter, my father often focused on stormy coasts in his oil paintings, so I suppose that had a certain creative influence on me. Besides, rain has always had a rather calming effect on me.

 

Why do you find this sort of weather inspiring?

Rain, fog and snow visually transform an urban space and, for me, often make it much more interesting. Reflections in the rain or lights refracting in the fog create an atmosphere that fascinates me. I enjoy absorbing this atmosphere, with and without a camera, while the world around me is primarily concerned with getting out of the rain and into the dry as quickly as possible.

 

When I began photographing in the rain around 2010, there were few photographers who specialised in these conditions as a subject. In recent years, however, an increasing trend has emerged around this style, which admittedly makes it difficult to keep one’s inspiration continuously high and sometimes feel like drifting into a cliché. More abstract compositions — images that require a second or third look — help me to stay true to my subject and also develop photographically.

image assets for Maximilian Streich magazine article
image assets for Maximilian Streich magazine article
Maximilian's greater portfolio includes using the Z 7II and the D850

Did you always love what other people might call ‘bad’ weather?

As a hobby painter, my father often focused on stormy coasts in his oil paintings, so I suppose that had a certain creative influence on me. Besides, rain has always had a rather calming effect on me.

 

Why do you find this sort of weather inspiring?

Rain, fog and snow visually transform an urban space and, for me, often make it much more interesting. Reflections in the rain or lights refracting in the fog create an atmosphere that fascinates me. I enjoy absorbing this atmosphere, with and without a camera, while the world around me is primarily concerned with getting out of the rain and into the dry as quickly as possible.

 

When I began photographing in the rain around 2010, there were few photographers who specialised in these conditions as a subject. In recent years, however, an increasing trend has emerged around this style, which admittedly makes it difficult to keep one’s inspiration continuously high and sometimes feel like drifting into a cliché. More abstract compositions — images that require a second or third look — help me to stay true to my subject and also develop photographically.

image assets for Maximilian Streich magazine article
image assets for Maximilian Streich magazine article
Shots using a Z 7II (right) and D800 (left)

You talk about photography being ‘mindful’ for you. Are you calm when shooting or do you get stressed about getting the shot?

The fact that I orient my photography strongly to the weather definitely has its stressful sides. When fog or snow rolls in, I feel a certain fear of missing out until I have my camera in hands and can start shooting. Once I start photographing, I tend to feel a calmness rising inside me that grows with each successful scene I observe and manage to capture. For me, this creates the ultimate flow state, where I only perceive and anticipate without losing myself in thought.

 

How much editing do you do on your images?

I generally try to edit as little as possible on images, limiting myself to lens correction, cropping and colour adjustments. I very much appreciate it when a picture already looks impressive out of camera. Especially in street photography, I consider the immediacy of the scene important. Nevertheless, in series like the one in London, I’m also attracted by cinematographic colour grading that enhances the moods of the images in the fog, rain or snow.

 

Whats your next assignment?

I am currently planning a trip to Japan, with a primary focus on Tokyo. Documenting the streets of this metropolis with my Nikon equipment, which has its historical origins there, has been a dream of mine for a while.

image assets for Maximilian Streich magazine article

Share Options

Featured Products

Take to the streets

7 min read
CreateYourLight Theme 11 "Urban Sports Photography" asset
Sports & Action 06 Jun 2023Little Shao

Capturing urban sport on the streets of Paris with the Nikon Z 50

4 min read
nikon-image
Reportage & Street01 Jun 2023Dr Gregor Renner and Constantin Schiller

Urban street photography with the mirrorless Nikon Z fc

8 min read
nikon-image
Technology & Know-how08 Sep 2023Nikon Team

How many lenses do I need?

image assets for Maximilian Streich magazine article

For next-level shots