Leica

Christmas Party

NECA’s Christmas Party was last weekend. I continued my new tradition of bringing the Crown Graphics but also has the M8 in my bag. After 15 or so “Polaroids” (really Fuji’s Instant Film) were shot I switched to film - TMAX 400 to be exact. I had my Metz 45 CL-4 digital mounted on the Crown but tried to avoid the direct flash by bouncing it off the ceiling. Here are a select few examples, first the Crown (“quick and dirty” scans at low res):

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Now some Leica Digitals:


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December Image

This image was taken ~2 weeks ago in Buckport, ME. It was unfashionably warm (and wet), which made for some eerie mist over the Penobscot river. You can see the Penobscot Narrows Bridge(s) in the background. Shot with the Leica M8 and I believe the 21mm CV lens.

Click the image to download the larger desktop file.

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Happy Birthday Blog - November Desktop Image

It has been a year since I started this blog (a little longer for the website), so flowers are in order: Happy B-Day blog!

I hope all readers have enjoyed the occasional musings and the desktop images. True to that, here is an image of flowers for this month's desktop image. Rather that the firey sky of last year's November image, this is more subdued. It was actually taken with my Leica M4 on Ektar 100, scanned, and underwent a little tweaking in Photoshop (mostly color). I used a 50mm lens wide open - the shallow depth of field is clearly visible, and yet the image is very sharp where focused, thanks to the great Leica optics.

So here is the deal: for the occasion, I feel like in a spending mood. Refer one person to my mailing list and receive a 5x7 print of your choice. Refer three and receive an 8x10. Maximum is one print per person (you won't get four 5x7 for four people, you'd get one 8x10) and you have to be already on my list... These people should obviously be willing to participate - I'd hate to get back messages telling me that I am spamming Happy. Among those who give me referals, I'll raffle off a voucher for a portraits session (provided you live locally or I'll see you soon). I am fully aware that I am not pro, so caveat emptor! The deal is on to the end of the year.

Bests,

BMS

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More Wedding Fun

I seem to be going to a lof of weddings this year. For this one I dragged along my M8 with a few lenses. The official photographer was nice to lend me one of his flashes during the evening, as the high ISO performance of my camera is somewhat dismal beyond ISO 320. Here are a few shots I’d like to share



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Newest Orono Residents

Our home has two temporary residents, Leo and Hunter, both part Maine Coon cat. For now, they will probably travel south to a new home, and hopefully will come back soon to visit. Pet photos are not my thing, really, but these two are too cute! Shot with my Leica M8 and the 90mm Elmar f/2.8, handheld wide open at ISO 640.


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Hunter (note the double paw)

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Leo (with white paws)
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Uncle Bob again

“Uncle Bob” is the proverbial wedding guest that takes pictures and often is accused of (or really does) getting in the way of the wedding photographer. As readers of this site will have noticed, I have shot a few weddings as the photographer, but recently attended weddings more in the Uncle Bob role.

Having read the complaints on web forums although never really having had my own issue with it. I try
not to get in anyone’s way while attending as a guest, and I hope I have succeeded.

Here a few images from my colleague Matt and Layne’s wedding. I took my M8, wanting to try something different. Not having either good low ISO performance (such as with the D700) or autofocus certainly is a hindrance, but I got a few nice shots.


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The first dance


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Cake!

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Father of the bride


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Uncle Bob?



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Updated Section - and lost everything else ?!?!

I just added a few shots from Europe to the Street Photography section. I think all of them were shot with the Leica D-LUX 4. But after writing this I noticed that all previous entries are gone! Help! I will try to retrieve them, but I am afraid they will be lost forever. Maybe I can at least restore the images.
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July Desktop Image

Here is this month’s image. As the theme this month and last was “rain”, I think it fits the mood. Early morning fog.... Happy


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Click on the image...
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Digital Leica

July is almost gone, so I am overdue for the monthly image. After I took the Leica M4 on vacation, I have grown fond of the rangefinder system. The new “stallion” in my stable is the Leica M8 - the only commercially available digital rangefinder (together with it’s upgrade, the Leica M8.2). Much has been written about this camera -- yes, the concept is 3 years old, and its low light performance is less than stellar, but it truly delivers some of the sharpest digital images I have ever seen. Usually, digital images look fuzzy when blow up, the reason is that the camera have an “anti aliasing” filter -- which has been left out with the M8. Images are sharper, with the expense of some other artifacts which are hardly ever visible in real life. This also make the camera infra red sensitive, an effect that can be used creatively (but makes for some ugly magenta casts under certain conditions). In any case, I am smitten. Here are some examples.



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Regular color (neutral tone)

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Panchromatic black and white conversion

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Infrared with a Hoya R72 filter



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Notice the sharpness of the flower and the typical rendering of the out of focus area ( called “Bokeh” ).

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Desktop Image for June

This months desktop image comes from the Netherlands. We were heading back from Leiden to Amsterdam the other night on a train at dusk (which was around 10 PM, much later than we are used to). The “nether” lands are flat, as the name suggests. Fields are transected by roads, lined with trees, which is what you see here. The image was taken with a Leica D-LUX 4, f/2.8, 1/125, ISO 200.

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European Journey

We have just returned from a trip to Europe, visiting Amsterdam, Leiden in the Netherlands and Aachen and Berlin in Germany. It made for some good street photography. After much thought, I travelled with my Leica M4 and the D-LUX 4 (small compact digital camera). For the wedding, I carried my Mamiya 7 rangefinder, as I was not the photographer but just a guest. I have not developed any film yet, but here a few examples of the D-LUX 4. The more I use it, the more I like the little bugger.
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Berlin (Mitte)


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Backstreet in Amsterdam


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Government Quarter, Berlin

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Government Quarter, Berlin

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Too Early for an Eulogy

Is film dead? If you go to online forums like photo.net, you get very different, and passionate opinions. The digital revolution has been amazing, and new cameras like the Nikon D3X or Canon 5D Mark II, even the D700 and the like, beat 35mm film by far - not only in resolution but also in light sensitivity. There are still some that will dispute that, but at least in my hands that is true. Furthermore, they approach the dynamic range of black and white film. But I sure hope film stick around. For one, unless you have $10,000 to $50,000 to spend on a digital medium format camera, taking 120 roll film and scanning it will still give you quality unsurpassed by digital any SLRs. You can get a professional medium format camera and a few lenses for $500, and for the remaining $9,500 you do not spend on a modest Mamiya 654ZD with a 22 MPix back, you can get and develop 1300 rolls of film, that is ~ 15,000 pictures, which a roll of film every day for the next 4 years. If you were to compare it to the $39,995 Hasselblad H3D, you probably could not shoot enough film in your lifetime.... Sure, the Digitals will get cheaper. But then there is Large Format. A 4x5 negative, scanned at 4800 dpi (that is what mot modern flatbed scanners are capable of) would give you a 460 (fourhundredandsixty) MPix image that you can print at high quailty over 6 by 7 feet! Good luck trying to prcess it on your home computer though...
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Holiday Hiatus


Those if you who thought this will be another dead blog...there! Here is my entry for the new year. Happy New Year, belated, to everyone! The holidays have been busy and I have had a few things happen on the photo-front. First, a new addition to my stable, the Leica D-Lux 4, bought on a trip to New York, as “my old lady”, which should have come with me , unfortunately had her Rangefinder adjusted. The D-Lux is a little gem with superb image quality (for a point and shoot), and it shoots RAW images, which was important to me and limited my choice in camera. I took it to the city for some street photography (something I have to get used to, and any P&S will not be ideal for that). Here are a few examples:
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City Island, New York


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Grand Central, New York Now mind you, any P&S is not going to get good quality images beyond ISO 200 or ISO 400, but noise levels are very very good at ISO 80 or 100, as seen here:

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JFK, Terminal 3, NY at ISO 80
And the same image “pushed” 5 stops in Photoshop (mind you these are JPGs):

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Leica, my first steps

The newest addition to my stall, a 1969 Leica M4, as not seen much use yet. Hard to call something “new” that is older than I am. I am not very “retro”, but taking images with a camera that has no battery in this day and age is fascinating. Also, when you have to develop the film yourself (or invest quite a bit of money and time up here in Maine to have it done for you), you want to make each frame count. Funny how it suddenly takes a while to shoot 36 pictures, when before you could do that in 5 seconds with a DSLR. The Leica itself is a dream of mechanical perfection. Can you imagine your Point and Shoot still working after 40 years? I am not sure that a buy the “glow” people have described (such as here), but I find the images very pleasing.... This is just playing around, but I thought I’d share a few examples.

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Alan Leica M4, TMAX 400 pushed to 1600


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Matt Leica M4, TMAX 400 pushed to 1600

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The Cat Leica M4, Fuji Superia X-TRA 400

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First Snow in Maine Leica M4, TMAX 400 pushed to 1600

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