Aug 262011
 

Motivation, Passion and Love. 

Time for another post where I sit and reflect on the last couple of years of my life and take a look at where I have been, where I am at, and where I want to go. Over the past two years I have been really motivated at times, but on some days I have felt frustrated and burnt out, which is easy to do when you work day in and out with cameras and writing.

You guys all know… well, the ones who have been reading this site every day, that I say it like it is, and I am very passionate about what I do. Running this site is my passion but man, it is NOT easy to come up with something interesting EVERY single day. Believe me :) I also am not afraid to write about personal things, and be myself. I feel this is important to a blog such as this as I consider all of you guys my friends even though I have never met 98% of you.

Some of you also know I have had my challenges in the last year or so in my personal life but things have turned around and I am currently doing GREAT, which means yes, I can now pay my mortgage, buy my food, and pay my car payment…all from the income from this very website. This is incredible to me that I took my passion and through hard work and dedication I created something that so many of you learn from and enjoy on a daily basis. I am proud of all of you who frequent this site as I feel the community here is TOP NOTCH. Really.

I started this website about 2 1/2 years ago, at a time when I had NO IDEA what I was going to do with my life and after 13 years of being self employed. Married for 15 years, my (now EX) wife encouraged me to go for it and do something I loved. With her support I started this web site and worked day in and out on it.

See, I LOVED Leica cameras though I did not really have the bank account to match that love. I did end up with an M8 and 50 Summilux and I was inspired by it so much that I decided to write a review of the camera. While searching online I had a hard time finding anything about Leica. All that existed was the Leica forum and that was usually filled with a bunch of grumps complaining about this or that, which is something I never understood.

After my M8 review went live, my very 1st EVER experience writing a “real world” review, I started getting emails from all over the world. More importantly, it seemed that my passion was conveyed in the review as before long I was receiving emails from hundreds of people who were buying an M8 camera…and LOVING it. Sure I had the ones who told me I was too excited and enthusiastic (when is this ever a bad thing)? but I just wrote what I felt, not trying to impress anyone with anything. I wrote from the heart. I was not trying to write for money, for search engines or for any other reason than to share my passion and excitement for  this camera that not many people online were talking about.

It was a VERY cool experience to have this average kind of lower grade website (my 1st site was done on iWeb) out but mostly everyone who was reading it was enjoying it. After a month or so I received an e-mail from the music artist Seal who said he loved what I wrote about the M8. He wanted to chat so we started talking and before long became very good friends. After a year of working on the site day in and out I went through a horrible divorce where I was left with NOTHING but huge debt. It was a BAD time and there were some very dark moments for me where I wasn’t sure if I would even make it. I remember my friend telling me he could tell I was hanging by a thread…that grey area where you are not even sure if you want to continue, and looking back I could say he was spot on. Was a scary time and for any of you reading this who went through something similar, I feel for you…I really do, but it will pass.

My site was only a year old and was not making enough money to even pay my house payment let alone my car, utilities, or food so I ended up having to sell almost all of my belongings to get caught up. My M9…GONE. My HiFi system that took me years to build up..GONE. My lenses, all GONE. I remember sitting in my nearly empty house in the dark. Just me and my faithful dog Scrubby. I said to myself  “what the hell are you going to do”? Then,a few days later a miraculous thing happened. Many of the readers of this website sent in donations to help me through this tough spot I was in. I paid my mortgage, paid my car payment and stocked up on food. I decided from that day on that I needed no one but myself and I would do whatever was in my power to keep on going with this website. IT WAS and STILL IS all I want to do, and these days it is just getting better and better. Again, I thank ALL OF YOU!

I also decided that I would live life to the fullest, always try to be happy, to never let small things bother me, to never kiss anyones ass, to always be open and honest with everyone and to always stay true to myself.  I became filled with a renewed passion and that passion came from sitting up one day and realizing that this time in my life was a defining moment. I decided to drop the sadness and that I did indeed love myself and loved what I did, so my passion was re-ignited. I worked day in and out the best I could and to this day am still full of passion, energy and motivation with big plans for the site.

BUT, I never defined success as making loads of money, and still don’t. I define success as BEING HAPPY. If you can live life and be happy with all aspects of your life, then you have achieved more success than 98% of people and I am 99.9% there.

I have very little. A small house, a small car, my camera gear, and some clothes. Simple. That is what makes me happy as I am a simple man and appreciate everything I have and own.

Since I started this website there are now at least 20-30 Leica web sites online. Believe it or not, I do not consider this site a “Leica” site even though it has been the main topic over the last couple of years. I consider this a site full of passion that involves ALL OF YOU, the coolest new gear and great photography. The community here is amazing and with your submissions, your comments, and your daily inspirations we can spread that passion across the world, and we are!

So I thank all of you who visit my site, send in daily inspirations, attend my workshops and meetups, and e-mail me every day (even though I do not always get back to everyone). I thank my friends who helped me along the way and know that I will always be here for YOU if you need anything. I am in a good place and I hope all of you continue to join me for the ride. If any of you are in a dark place right now like I was over a year ago remember that things DO get better and once you ignite the passion inside you then anything is possible. Remember, motivation comes from passion and passion comes from love!

Have a GREAT weekend! 

PS – I will have a new review next week of the SLR Magic 11mm f/1.4 for micro 4/3, tested on the E-P3. I will also have a cool “name which camera took which photo” post and more cool stuff. Also, be sure to check out the new toolbar at the bottom. There is a search bar, Facebook, twitter share and like buttons, real time chat that works great, a quick view of my youtube videos and more. Give it a try and let me know how you like it!

Also, only a few days left to save $50 for those who want to attend the Chicago Workshop!  

Aug 252011
 

Shooting at Marthas Vineyard by Michael Potiker

I was able to spend a few weeks of August photographing the amazingly picturesque island of Martha’s Vineyard with my M9, and am very happy with the variety of images I captured there. I feel that as a long time SLR user, the M system isn’t necessarily as ideal for the traditional landscape type images due to the inherent inaccuracy of the bright-line system, but that this weakness is far made up for by the fact that I will actually carry this camera around, which gives me the ability to capture scenes I wouldn’t have before.

The size of the M9 and it’s ironically low key appearance) were some of the things that drove me towards the system, as well as my complete inability to discreetly photograph on the street with an SLR and a prime lens. I feel that while the M9 is really a phenomenal camera, a large part of the beauty of the system are the compact high quality optics. While a Nikon D3s may be a far superior camera for working in high ISO values, I feel that parents noticing photographs being taken of them and their children would react quite differently seeing a beast like the D3 pointed at them. I know this for a fact, as when I was working in Montreal & NYC the reactions to my M3 were quite a bit different than how people felt about me photographing them with my D7000 or F4s (with battery grip, no logos, and a 50mm 1.8).

The reason I truly love the M system is that it gives me the ability to focus in almost no light, and then capture my image without anyone noticing it is happening (all of the fair photos were shot at F1.1 at 2500ISO, it’s the only time I shoot .jpg as I like the high ISO b&w that comes out of the camera, and they have no noise reduction done). It’s the only camera I’ve used (and I’ve been through quite a few different camera bodies recently) that truly gets out of my way and becomes an extension of my personal vision when I use it. I attribute this to the bright and straight through viewfinder that allows me to see outside my actual frame, and the fact that the camera creates the impression of literally carving a picture out of the world in front of you using those amazing bright-lines.

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO SEE THE LARGER AND BETTER VERSION!

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All of these were taken with either the 35mm Biogon, a 50mm 1.1 Nokton, or a 15mm Voigtlander (just one is done with the 15 in this post).
Entire flickr set is here:
Again, my blog is:

Aug 232011
 

Covering the San Diego Comic-Con with an M9 and 35mm Zeiss Biogon F2.

By: Michael Potiker

After switching to rangefinders from  DSLRs with an Rollei XF35, than a M3, and now the M9 in only 5-6 months I’ve come to really appreciate what these cameras can do, and how effective of a tool they can become in the right scenario. I picked up my M9 at Nelson Camera in San Diego, and took it to comic-con only a week or so later. In a sea of D3s lugging journalists and Gary Fong flash dome-equipped enthusiasts I was amazed I was able to generate high quality images at 1,000 ISO (every shot here is at F2) and rival every shot they were generating just with available light and the little M9 with 1 lens. Actually, after shooting this convention… I wouldn’t doubt the M9 even for event photography, and am impressed with the cameras seemingly pretty accurate meter (I shot on aperture priority with a +2/3 exposure compensation to make sure I kept all my shadow details on peoples darker costumes.

I purchased the camera for some reportage work in the slums of Managua, Nicaragua and am anticipating a great time at work there with this wonderful little art-making machine!

My photos can be seen at: flickr.com/photos/mpotiker and this 114 photo set can be seen in at:  http://bit.ly/p0MW6Z

My Photoblog is:   potiker.blogspot.com

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Aug 102011
 

CRAZY COMPARISON! The Olympus E-P3 with 12mm vs the Leica M9 and 24 Summilux ASPH!

It’s Wednesday morning at 6am and what better to kick off the hump day than with a Crazy Comparison?!?! I have not done of these in a loooong time so I figured it was about time for a new match up. This time I am pitting the Olympus E-P3 micro 4/3 camera with the new 12mm f/2 lens against the bag, bad Leica M9 and $24 Summilux ASPH. The E-P3 set comes in at about a $1700 price tag while the Leica M9-P and 24 Lux comes in at about $14, 500. Now, the Leica has the full frame sensor so I was never expecting it to lose out to the much smaller 4/3 sensor but that is why this is called a CRAZY COMPARISON!

It is just for fun, so please…no need to get all bent out of shape (as many of you did with previous Crazy Comparisons).

The files are ALL Out Of Camera JPEGS because the E-P3 RAW files are not yet supported by Lightroom or Photoshop. All settings were the same. Same ISO, SAME aperture, SAME (equivalent) focal length. The Oly 12mm comes out to a 24mm equivalent on the E-P3. We get the 24mm Field of view with 12mm Bokeh. The M9 uses the 24 Summilux which gives us a true 24mm field of view and 24mm bokeh.

This is a comparison of JPEGS only, as they come out of the camera, in each cameras native resolution.

So…let’s get on to the photos!

YOU MUST CLICK EACH PHOTO TO OPEN THE FULL SIZE OUT OF CAMERA JPEG FROM EACH CAMERA!

Each file was saved as a level 10 JPEG after opening the file in Photoshop. No PP!

1st up, the Olympus E-P3 – 12MP – 12mm (24) – F/2 – ISO 200 – AWB

CLICK IMAGE FOR FULL SIZE OOC JPEG!

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and now the Leica M9-P with 24 Summilux, same settings – F/2 – ISO 200 – 24 Summilux – AWB

CLICK IMAGE FOR FULL SIZE OOC JPEG!

In the 1st comparison the Oly picked the better White Balance. Both were set to AUTO WHITE BALANCE to test each cameras AWB rendition. I was curious and it appears the Oly wins in that dept. This makes the Oly the more accurate representation color wise. Of course I could take the M9 RAW file and fix it up easily but again, this is just a simple OOC JPEG CRAZY comparison! If you click each image you can view the full size file. Both were shot at F/2 which was wide open for the Olympus 12mm, and the Summilux was stopped down to f/2 from 1.4. It appears the Lux vignettes even at f/2, which is one thing full frame sensors seem to do with wide angle lenses. It also appears the little Oly’s Dynamic Range is decent. The sun was hitting the bins directly.

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Ok, let’s do another one. This time I will start with the M9 file.

Leica M9 – 24 Lux at f/2 – ISO 200 – Click image for full size OOC JPEG file

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Olympus E-P3 – 12mm (24 equiv) – f/2 – ISO 200


It is clearly evident that you will get a more shallow depth of field (background blur) when shooting on a full frame camera with a full frame lens, meaning, when you shoot with a 24mm lens you get a 24mm field of view. When shooting the Oly the lens is a 12mm but do to the half frame sensor we are getting a 24mm equivalent view, but still the depth of field of a 12mm lens. Still, I LOVE this little Oly lens, it is incredible if you are invested in the Micro 4/3 format.

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Ok one more! Why not? This time I resized both down to 1800 pixels wide so when you click on these you will NOT get the full size OOC JPEG but rather the downsized versions. It’s easy to see the more shallow depth of field in the Leica shot (2nd shot), and this the “Leica Look” with the Summilux rendering.

1st shot, Olympus E-P3

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2nd shot, Leica M9-P

So that’s it! I posted this for fun, not for any kind of scientific reasons. If you look down below at the related posts you will probably see older crazy comparisons and they are always fun to check out :) It seems like both the M9-P AND Olympus E-P3 are pretty hot right now as they seem to be out of stock everywhere.

Site sponsors B&H Photo sell the Leica M9-P as does Dale Photo and Ken Hansen (email: [email protected]). Lensrentals.com rents the entire Leica lens line if anyone out there wanted to give the 24 Lux a try. Me, I’m happy with the M9 and a 50 these days. Gotta love the M9 and the 50 Lux ASPH. Magic!!!

As for the E-P3…I have been using it non stop and Olympus has a winner, no doubt. It’s the best PEN yet!

Aug 102011
 

Random Photographs from my month on tour with Seal that were never posted!

Let’s see. I’m a photographer and being away for a month on tour across Europe would mean that I most likely took LOADS of photos right? Well, yes and no. I did take quite a few photos but I tried to be selective most of the time :) I am not the type of shooter that machine guns it, especially when using a Leica M9. BUT there are a few photos from my month long journey that never made it to the blog so I decided to post a few that I liked here. This is a photography blog after all! The times I had during those 30 days are times I will never forget, and I am thrilled to have photos to remember it all :) Enjoy.

 

Aug 072011
 

Chaiten; a town digging itself out of the ash.

On May 2nd of 2008, after 9000 plus years, a volcano erupted near the town of Chaiten in Patagonia, Chile. The more than 4000 people who made their lives in this  small town had their lives changed dramatically. The Chilean government temporarily evacuated all the people to other various towns as far away as 200 miles.

A few weeks after the eruption, during heavy rains, the Rio Chaiten which was plugged up with debris and ash, suddenly produced a enormous Lahar (ash/mud slide) flooding 2/3 of the town and swept away many of its houses.

The Chilean Government declared that “the town of Chaiten is destroyed and uninhabitable “. The people of Chaiten were not allowed to return to their homes,  but rather only take a few of their belongings.  They could no longer live in their homes because they were deemed unsafe.

The plan was to build a new Chaiten, north of the old town, protected from the volcano by the mountains. Fifty or so citizens, however, refused to leave their houses and businesses that they had worked for their whole lives. Instead, they persevered;

They dug out their houses, cleaned off their inventory, put in small generators and put water tanks on their roofs that they filled with water from a nearby creek (unaffected by the volcano) and tried to stay open for business.

For two long years following the eruption, these people were left to their own devices of trying to rebuild their lives. They felt that the government had forgotten about them and their town as well as the 4000 other people of Chaiten-now living in various other towns in Patagonia.

Then, finally, as it only can happen in South America, in January of 2011 the Chilean government decided to restore the old town and not to build a new town. New electricity lines were put in and water supply was restored to the houses. Slowly but surely the former citizen of Chaiten are starting to return and things are finally looking up for the town of Chaiten and its people.

Below are a few of the photos I took of Chaiten during the last few years.

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Aug 022011
 

The Road to Somewhere Else by Donald Barnat

“I think it pisses God off when you walk by the color purple in a field and don’t notice it.” – ‘Shug’ Avery in The Color Purple by Alice Walker

I-15, the highway to and from Las Vegas, is traveled by an endless caravan of Southern Californians every year, alternately speeding and crawling their way to Sin City to pass the hours into weekends throwing money away in smoky casinos. With the disposable income gone and the pool parties over, the line of cars moving back through the desert to Los Angeles is most impressive in the sheer single-minded execution of its purpose. Eyes fixed (we can only hope) on the road ahead, it’s pretty clear that everyone just wants to get home.

The setting of this perpetual movement of cars and people is what calls to mind The Color Purple thought quoted above. More on that setting in a second.

But first, does God really get pissed off when we pass by the color purple without noticing? For an athe-nostic like me, the question would go more like this: if nature has created something spectacular to behold, what does it say about us if we routinely pass by it all with our eyes squarely focused on the road ahead, our perspectives blinkered by our desire to simply get someplace else?

Whether it’s an angry God watching down on us or the collective guilt of too few of us, given the sheer magnitude of both the transgression and the number of souls involved, the 270-mile drive between Las Vegas and Los Angeles — through the Cajon pass and over the Mojave Desert — would surely amount to something of a worst-case-scenario for someone as thoughtful about such things as the fictional Suge Avery.

The vast empty expanse of the high desert alone has a visual silence that borders on the metaphysical. One turn of the head and the eye takes in endless vistas completely absent the presence of humans. Appropriately miniscule in scale, the only people to be found are contained in the narrow band of highway snaking through the midst of a truly timeless landscape.

Drivers blow through the desert as fast as they can. Except for a few small towns, there’s only a smattering of rest areas along the way and the occasional supersized gas stations. With nothing really for hundreds of miles but great scenery, it would be difficult for anyone inclined to deviate from the beeline of automobiles to actually do so.

We take the drive ourselves just about every year, always in the winter or late spring. There’s usually weather off in the distance and sometimes we run right into it. We stop occasionally at one of the rest areas for 10 minutes or so, in a hurry, like everyone else. There’s a wind that seems to live at those huge gas stations that can’t in good conscience be called a breeze and, while the cold smack of it after two hours on the road is exhilarating, it always feels really good to get back in the car.

There were the familiar clouds, rain, even thunder, and snow on the ground in the mountain passes, but this time driving through the higher altitudes there was the disorienting sight of even more ominous looking clouds lying in the valleys far below the highway. There was sunshine, maybe mostly sunshine and, of course, the wind. Not surprisingly the air smells like desert and I guess to recall the old vent windows in cars from my childhood, I like to open my driver’s side glass just a crack to hear the whistle of the wind as I drive.

Maybe it’s too much of the things we did back in the seventies, but my imagination plays in the flat desert and hills there in the wide panorama shot. I’d like to hire a helicopter and tell the pilot to set down in the hills underneath the clouds in the left part of the image, get out, take pictures for a while, breathing in the desert, then point to a sun-drenched valley in the distance and say, “Okay, let’s go over there.”

I’m not a natural scenery shooter and I think the snapshots presented here will attest to that. I hesitate to add that the Leica M system of cameras is said not to be well-suited for landscape photography. The hesitation is because the M7 was more than adequate given my capabilities.

I hope these shots from the California high desert find you in a place and time where you can take notice of its incredible beauty. With most of the country sweltering in a mid-July heat wave it would be wonderful if this article even briefly transports some of you to the brisk springtime captured in the photographs here. If you try, you just might hear the wind whistling at my car window and imagine for a moment the cold desert air in your face.

Remember, God may be watching. Personally, I don’t think so, but I’ve been wrong before and these shots and this piece amount to my own personal penance just in case.

All the images taken with a Leica M7, Voightlander Nokton 40mm 1.4, and Kodak Portra 160 VC.

Aug 022011
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LEICA CAMERA OFFERS NEW SERVICE FOR THE LEICA M9

Allendale, NJ (August 2, 2011) – Leica Camera announces a new service for Leica M9 owners to incorporate the product features of the Leica M9-P into their existing M-System camera, resulting in an alternative, even more discreet and resilient design. Owners taking advantage of the service will also receive a one-year warranty extension. Through the North American Headquarters in Allendale, NJ, Leica will be offering a “Sapphire Glass” upgrade package and a “Top Cover and Sapphire Glass” upgrade package. Interested customers are encouraged to schedule appointments starting August 8, 2011 for upgrades from October 3, 2011 through Leica Camera, Inc.

The “Sapphire Glass” upgrade package offers the replacement of the M9 monitor cover with the M9-P’s scratch-resistant, sapphire crystal cover, a choice between vulcanite and smooth MP-style leatherette trim and a one-year warranty extension. The package will be available for $1,295. The second option, “Top Cover and Sapphire Glass”, includes the replacement of the monitor glass with sapphire crystal cover and the replacement of the top deck and base plate with silver chrome or black paint. The package also includes the choice of vulcanite or smooth MP-style leatherette trim and a one-year warranty extension. The package will be available for $1,995.

All upgrades will be performed by specifically trained technicians and will be a part of Leica’s regular repair service. Reservations are on a first come first serve basis and upgrade time is dependent upon demand. M9 owners can schedule upgrades beginning August 8, 2011 by calling 1-800-222-0118 x 9930.

Please visit the Leica website at www.leica-camera.com shortly before the start of the upgrade program for further information about the offer and the upgrading procedure.

 

Aug 012011
 

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Just spoke with SLR Magic/Noktor and was told that the new lens they are releasing soon is indeed a Leica M mount 0.95 50mm lens. This is an all new lens by Noktor and is made for the full frame Leica M9 as well as Leica M film cameras. The previous Noktor lens that was released for Micro 4/3 and the Sony E-Mount is a smaller lens and would not work for a full frame sensor.

This will be 6-bit coded as well. Yep, a new 50m f/0.95 lens for the M mount that will be MUCH less expensive than the Noctilux. The lens is coming soon but Noktor is still doing some design enhancements and they asked me to post a poll so you guys can help!

NOKTOR NEEDS YOUR HELP!

As you can see from the image of the prototype, the focusing ring does not appear to give much grip. I mentioned to them my preference but they had the idea of me putting up the poll to ask you for your preference.

They asked me which type of focusing ring Leica users would prefer. Scalloped, Round Barrel, or Focus Tab? Also, would you prefer a green ring on the front of the lens or a black ring? Vote in the poll below so Noktor can finish the design and get this lens released!

Aug 012011
 
How to Save a “Throwaway Shot”
 
By Ashwin Rao
 
Hello, my fellow Huffites, it’s Ashwin again, coming fresh off the excitement-packed Seattle 2011 Photo Workshop. Steve, Roger Paperno, Charles Peterson, Tim Isaac & his wife Lily, and myself entertained and photographed with over 20 very talented photographers from both near and wide. It was a great experience, filled with good times, new friends, and lessons learned.
Speaking of lessins, I have slowly been learning a few lessons myself, along the way to trying to get the most out of my photos. One challenge that I have given myself is to periodically revisit old photo shoots, ones that I may not have though successful, and try to coax more out of the images….maybe by revisiting old images, I could find new inspiration and rediscover a diamond in the rough. I hope to tell you my story of just such a “diamond-in-the-rough” photograph in the coming words and images.
In the summer of 2010, I visited nearby Mount Rainier with out-of town friends. The day, while nice enough, wasn’t spectacular. In fact, typical of “moody” Northwest weather, the forecast that day ended up presenting “mostly cloudy”, with a few sunbreaks. While this made for a nice stroll around the Paradise Visitor’s area around Mount Rainier, it seemed to make for poor photo-making circumstances. Yet, I prevailed and took a a few photos with my Leica M9 and APO-Summicron 90 mm f/2 Asph lens as I wandered around a few trails with friends.  I brought the lens in hopes of compressing landscapes and relating the scale of the surroundings to the giant mountain off in the distance. For the most part, my photographic muse was uninspired. Rainier was shrouded by or covered completely by clouds for large chunks of the hike, but in moments, during those rare sunbreaks, the giant mountain would peak out and tempt us. So away, I snapped, hoping for the best.
On returning home,  I quickly downloaded the images, and here’s a sample of what I got….an image that I’d consider thoroughly uninspiring….
As you can see, the image was fraught by poor composition, dust on the sensor, and a lack of clear cohesive direction. Being an eternal optimist, I did my best to tweak the image. I did a bit of liberal cropping to re-center the image and get ride of some dust, and thought I had done a reasonable job of capturing a somewhat bland summer mountain moment. I have plenty of these in my home photo collection, half-finished images that simply don’t seem worth much more effort:
To me, the image continued to seem underexposed in the foreground, and generally dull. I tried to tweak things a bit more by increasing the “green” luminance channel in Adobe Lightroom to bring out the trees (as well as some more dust on my sensor, which came about as a result of my processing)…What I got reminded me of some of the garish HDR images that I stumble across, but at least I gave it a reasonable effort and improved the overall exposure.
I moved on and looked at other shots, but ultimately put the photos away for nearly a year. For some reason, maybe due to the crummy weather that occupied Seattle through much of the spring, I decided to go back to those images from a year ago, and give the image another try….
This time, The approach that I took was to say, for a change, let me try to bring out my “inner Ansel Adams”….Every once in a while I find it fun to mock up images in the style of a famous photographer, and in this case, I decided (with the best humor possible) to put on the hat of the famous Ansel Adams, known across the photographic world for his wondrous black and while work.
To all of you who believe that a photograph should be taken and left as is, please read up on Ansel’s techniques. Adams used extensive photo processing to achieve the look that he desired. He did a ton of dodging and burning, to bring out the intended highlights and sink the intended shadows to create some of history’s most compelling images. Today, in the world of digital imagery and wizardry, processing becomes much easier, and I was able to simply refer back to my Lightroom library and do a quick Black and White conversion. Stepping back to the last edited image in my series, here’s what happened, after a bit of dust removal and contrast adjustment:
To me, suddenly the image in front of me, left for dead a year ago, came to life. I suddenly saw Mt. Rainier as a looming giant in the mist, with the foreground telling its own story….so I I decided to tweak further, pushing the highlights and shadows a bit more to see what would happen….
What I found was that the mountain was becoming even more mysterious…What had originally been intended as a snapshot of Rainier, dashed by the poor weather, was becoming a moody shot, and a “keeper” to my eyes….
So after a bunch more tweaking, that involved adjusting shadows, doing a bit of selective dodging and burning, and performing a series of little tweaks that involved emphasizing the cloud and fog that I saw in this modified image, all in Lightroom, here’s the final result:
So what do you think? I personally feel that I saved an image….a throwaway image at that….Sure, I manipulated the image extensively. Some might argue that what I performed took the image from the realm of photography to something more like graphic art. To me, the image is still a photograph, albeit one that’s extensively interpreted for effect. But again, I feel that this last image is a “keeper”….
I’d be curious what the traditionalists and digital manipulators among you think. After all, this series of images provides a flow from “Before” to “After”, and you can see how what the end-result of the image represents is a far distance from the reality of the day.
Yet, this is now how I “see” Mt. Rainier, as a mysterious giant, hiding in the Northwest’s dense fog, occasionally peaking out, tempting us. Tempting us in its beautiy, challenging us towards becoming better photographers, and to me, better photographic editors….
Until next time, your thoughts and comments are warmly invited….

Jul 292011
 

FULL FRAME 50 0.95 from Noktor. Coming soon.

So this new lens is on the way from Noktor…you remember Noktor. They were a new company over a year ago, released a micro 4/3 0.95 25mm and them faded away. Well, Noktor was recently bought by SLR Magic and they are dedicated to creating more new lenses and this one will be a doozy. Now, I do not have confirmation on anything here but I was told that this lens is NOT for Nikon. NOT for Canon. It is an all new lens made by NOKTOR and the image above is their prototype.

AGAIN, it is an ALL NEW LENS and is getting ready to be announced SOON. It is not an E mount, not a micro 4/3 mount as they already sell a lens in that mount. THIS is a different beast altogether. I have spoken with SLR Magic and Noktor, so this I know.

Hmmm. What do I see? After studying the image for a while I think I see a slide out hood much like the Noctilux 0.95. Could this be a Leica M mount 50 f/0.95? If so, this can be very interesting as the price for this lens would probably be way way less although the quality will also be less.

If it is an M mount, I’d drop the green ring and replace it with black AND if you are listening Noktor, give it a scalloped focus ring. If you remember Noktor was toying with the idea of creating a 90 F/2 M MOUNT lens for a few hundred dollars a while back. Key word is M MOUNT…would they make this for Sony full frame DSLRs? Unlikely. They have already confirmed it is not for Canon or Nikon. That leaves Leica. This could get VERY interesting! Also, check out the rounded aperture blades!

If I hear anything with details or confirmation of mount I will post it here 1st! If it is for Sony, well, that could be interesting too but if I were a betting man….

Whatever mount I really hope the quality is there and the price is reasonable. It’s always cool to have an 0.95 in the bag without spending $10k to do so. Lol. If and when this thing is released I will be reviewing it no doubt!

Jul 262011
 

The Leica 35 Summilux DOUBLE ASPHERICAL (AA) Lens Review  – A Classic FULL of Magic!

By Steve Huff

 

Video Correction – This lens was introduced in 1990-1991 and only 1000-2000 were made. The much more common ASPH was brought out in 1994. So, this lens was NOT released in the 70;s as the video states! Sorry!

How cool is this? I mean, REALLY…how freaking cool is this? I am back home from Seattle and one of the attendees, Ed Tan was at the workshop sporting one of the RARE 35 Summilux ASPHERICAL (AA) lenses. You may or may not know of this lens but I do know it is hard to find, very expensive, and tough to find samples from this lens on an M9 (if you can find any at all). Ed was so nice he let me TAKE THE LENS HOME so I could review it for all of you guys! The only problem is I have fallen HARD for this lens and if I had the cash ($9,000 – $13,000 IF you can find one) then this lens would be my choice in the 35 focal length for the M9. What I mean by that is, if I had hundreds of  thousands of dollars of disposable income this would be my 35 of choice, lol. As it is now, I can’t even afford the current latest and greatest 35 but I have enjoyed shooting with Ed’s lens so THANK YOU Ed! Hmmm…maybe he won’t mind if I send him a cron back instead, hahahah.

CLICK ON IMAGES TO SEE THEM IN BETTER QUALITY!

Roger Paperno and Ed Tan during Lunch in Seattle – F1.4, black and white out of camera (M9-P) – No focus issues in my samples and its very sharp wide open (focused on Rogers Eyes).

Roger giving the thumbs up to the AA and Ed smiling because he knows the lens is HIS!

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Ed…no Post Processing, OOC B&W JPEG!

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Yes, I LOVE the latest 35 Summilux ASPH II FLE but I have to say, the rendering of this ASPHERICAL is out of this world delicious. Do not get this confused with the previous 35 Lux ASPH…nope, this is the lens that came out BEFORE that one (around 1990-91) and has the word ASPHERICAL printed on the lens instead of ASPH (which came out in 1994). Its pretty small without the hood attached and not too heavy. The focus ring on this one is smooth though the Aperture rings seems like it needs a cleaning and lubricating, which is always one thing to expect when buying a used 20+ year old lens.

I have written about the 35 Lux ASPH, and the 35 Lux ASPH II FLE but this is the one lens I always dreamed of trying out and here it is. There is not much I can say about it that has not already been said in the other Summilux reviews but it is a SUMMILUX, so it is an f/1.4 aperture lens. It is DOUBLE ASPHERICAL and it is gorgeous! Yep, this lens was VERY hard and expensive to make as it had TWO Aspherical elements that were hand polished. Leica stopped making these after they produced about 1000-2000 of them due to the high costs. They replaced it with the ASPH version which has ONE Aspherical element. THIS “AA” Version is simply breathtaking though and I wish Leica would have re-introduced this version, but I guess we can’t have it all!

Sometimes the color of the older lenses have odd shifts, but this one has GREAT color that just pops. The Bokeh is pretty smooth in my opinion. Wide open at 1.4, as all Leica lenses should be :)

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The BEST 35?

When I reviewed the latest 35 Lux ASPH II FLE lens I proclaimed it the best 35mm lens you can get for your M9, and this still holds true. It is the best lens you can buy in the 35mm focal length when buying a new lens for your camera. $5000, new, warranty, box and case, and a beautiful “perfect” lens with a modern rendering of your subject with a very smooth look. If I could afford one of those, and if they were actually readily available, I would buy one in a nano-second. The 35 Summilux lenses, all of them…they all have some kind of magic but…but…but… this double Aspherical version seems to have a perfect mix of what I really love. Classic rendering and great color, but also very sharp at the focal point when wide open, which are all ingredients that can add up to some serious fairy dust magic when the light is right. It may not be everyones cup of tea as I remember Ashwin saying he preferred the current FLE Lux to this one as it fits his lens kit better (more modern Leica look) but for some this may be the golden ticket.

Enjoying lunch and also the 35! Out of camera B&W, no Silver Efex here… Leica M9, 35 Summilux AA wide open. Bokehlicious.

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35mm. It’s A great Focal Length. A classic.

Shooting a 35 on the Leica M9 is so natural. I have gone back and forth from the 35 to 50 and one day I may love the 35 and the next day I may love the 50. I also love the 28 but my true love in the lens world for Leica is the old 35 and 50. Two lenses I can live with for life (which is what I do). I have now tried out every 35 Summilux, even the older PRE-ASPH but my personal favorite rendering has come from this AA version. Just wish it was not so damn rare and expensive! There is also a huge lack of information online about this lens which is why I thought it would be cool to have a quick review and video here for it. As you may have seen, the video is at the top of this page.

Another out of camera B&W image (this lens seems to do well with B&W or color). Wide open!

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and some more out of camera color…

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Why are you only posting wide open shots?

This lens, or any SUMMILUX Leica lens is meant and made to be shot WIDE OPEN. I will not be posting F/8 landscape shots as if you want a lens for that purpose then a 35 Summarit or Summicron would be a better choice. When you buy a Summilux lens, a 1.4 lens, this means that Leica has built this lens for maximum performance WIDE OPEN. This is in part what gives us that “Leica Look”. The mix of sharp subject, creamy backgrounds, the way the lens handles the light and even sometimes creates it own…these lenses create images with DEPTH. There is nothing flat about ANY Leica Summilux or Noctilux lens. When you stop them down to F/8 they become just like any other lens in existence. Nope, for me I shoot Leica for the beautiful glass and shooting that glass wide open is where it shines. It is not a gimmick, it is a LOOK and a look that goes along with MY style. Wide open baby! With that said, here is a sample at f/2.8 :)

f2.8, out of camera JPEG with color set to one notch above standard “Medium High”

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FULL SIZE SHOT FROM RAW BELOW!

Here is one from RAW, and a FULL SIZE 18MP file from the M9. Click the image for the full file. SHOT AT f/2.8

This is a lens that you will not find much info on and in fact, some sites who claim they know all about Leica lenses skip this lens in their listings and reviews. It’s not an easy find, nor is it cheap when you do find it. I mean, you can find it USED for about the same price as a NEW 0.95 Noctilux OR MORE. This is much to high IMO, but when something is out there that is this rare, has the name Leica and the word SUMMILUX on it, AND is a double Aspherical lens…well, I guess we can expect it to be priced into the stratosphere!

So maybe there will be a day when I walk into some yard/garage sale and there will be a table with camera gear…maybe, just maybe, there will be a Leica 35 Summilux AA lens for $100 and I will snag it. That would be amazing. Unlikely, but amazing! Thank’s again to Ed for letting me borrow this little beauty so I could share my experience with you guys! If you have the cash stashed and want a beautiful 35…take your pick as they all have magic, but this one has more MOJO than the others. At least I think so.

Some Alien Skin conversions…both ISO 2500, late night & low light, 1.4

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Straight from camera JPEG  – COLOR is nice. Click image for large version.

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Wide open, again, OOC JPEG

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Jul 252011
 

Seattle SteveHuffPhoto Workshop July 2011

Day 2 – The Assignments!

Happy Monday morning to all! It’s 8am and I am on a plane right now headed back home to Phoenix. Yes, there is WiFi on the plane so I am able to update this site as I fly! Pretty snazzy…

Yesterday was the 2nd day of the Seattle Meetup/Workshop and it was a full day of shooting, laughs, learning, and great food from breakfast to dinner. Everyone seemed a bit more comfortable and confident and the results everyone got were fantastic!  The weather in Seattle was perfect all weekend. Sunny and high 70’s so I could not have asked for anything better.

Photo by SK SAITO

We had tons of M9’s, three M9-P’s, three Noctilux’s. a couple M8’s and three M6’s. Lenses ranged from the rare and  Exotic 35 Summilux AA (ASPHERICAL, and my review is coming soon) to Zeiss and Voigtlander glass. Everyone was well prepared with their cameras, MacBooks, and willingness to walk the streets and areas in Seattle and SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT!

Just some of the $250k worth of Leica cameras and lenses at this event! 

Yesterday each attendee had an assignment to help them with their confidence while shooting on the street. I asked them to approach a total stranger, the earlier in the day the better, and to ask if they could shoot their photo/portrait. I am thrilled to say that all attendees followed through with this and from what I saw, it did help their confidence as the shots from yesterday were all VERY good. Hell, 90% of them beat my shots so I learned quite a bit myself from everyone who attended! To those who were nervous about approaching strangers, it was so cool that you overcame this fear when shooting on Sunday. I find this helps quite a bit when out shooting people on the streets so keep at it!

Here are some of the portraits that were shot of total strangers by those shooting digital. Warning! Lots of Shallow Depth Of Field ahead, which is how Leica lenses are DESIGNED to be shot:

Amy Medina

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Andrew Holloway

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Ashwin Rao

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Chris White

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Daniel Harrington

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RANDALL KELLEY

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Ed Tan

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Gerard Van Wesep

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Matt Driscoll

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Warren Phillips

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Roger Paperno (Yes, he asked)

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Steve Huff

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Peter Lindstrom

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Peter Havas

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Todd Hatakeyama

I believe a workshop should be laid back, easy going, and should NOT have the attitude that the presenters and hosts are better than anyone in the group. With my meet ups and workshops everyone is treated as an equal and I feel this lets everyone involved loosen up, relax, laugh, and get out there with the group to be the best they can be. I also believe in INSPIRATION and when we all shared our images on a huge projection screen in Ashwins living room I think we ALL were a little more inspired for the next photo session.

As I already stated in the Day 1 report, we had two professional presenters over the weekend – Charles Peterson and Roger Paperno (who had an EXCELLENT presentation, thanks Roger!) as well as myself and Ashwin who gave slideshows and some tips and tricks for the day.

It was a fantastic weekend that flew by and I had a GREAT time along with everyone else. After the long day on Sunday we all went out for dinner at a local pub and finished off the night with conversation, tips, lens sharing and plenty of smiles and laughs.

It seems my 1st day post is getting a few comments about the quality of the Leica shots. First off, a rangefinder is a TOTALLY different experience than shooting a DSLR. I brought along a Canon 5D MKII on this trip as well. I had the 50 L 1.2 attached but my shots with the Canon are sort of flat, have no “soul” and did not compare to the Leica shots in overall look. The 5DII is a GREAT and SUPERB camera but comparing it to an M9 with a good lens is not going to bring the Canon out on top for ME. I prefer the “look” of Leica glass every time.

The fact is Leica glass is expensive for a reason as it is the best glass you can get for any 35mm camera system. Period. Those who bash it simply do not own any Leica glass.

Also, it is MUCH more pleasurable shooting something like an M9 than a big DSLR, which is why the 5D rarely came out of my bag. The rangefinder experience is a joyful one. It puts smiles on the faces of those who own one. It brings a confidence and adds some motivation to shoot. It is an experience unlike any other in the photographic world. It was a PLEASURE shooting with 20 other RF shooters this weekend and I look forward to doing it again soon. The magic is not just in the “snapshots” but in the user experience and glass that we all take great pride in using. It is my system of choice for anything from snapshots to professional work.

Oh and one more thing..Leica is also not just for the rich as I am FAR from rich!

THANKS to all who attended and to Ashwin, Roger and Charles. I will leave you with a few more photos from the weekend. Some are mine, some were shot by others.

1st few are from me, Steve Huff from Day 2 – more behind the scene stuff

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and now a few from some of the others! Great shots guys! Enjoy!

AMY MEDINA

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ASHWIN RAO

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ANDREW HOLLOWAY

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CHRIS WHITE

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Gerard Van Wesep

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MATT DRISCOLL

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ROGER PAPERNO

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TODD HATAKEYAMA

Jul 242011
 

Hello Seattle! Day one of the Workshop, SUCCESS!

 

Wow Wow Wow! What a long, but AWESOME day! Today was day one of the Seattle workshop and it started this morning at 9am sharp. We had about 24 guests today and it is now 11:45 PM and I am just now getting to bed. I am a pretty tired but trying to write this update before I fall asleep (though it is not being posted until Sunday)

It all starts again Sunday at 9am and it should be an even better day than today!

My plane landed in Seattle on Friday and after I arrived I went to dinner with Ashwin Roa (who is hosting this workshop at his home) and local Seattle pro, Roger Paperno. We chatted for a couple hours and then took a drive and a walk where I snapped a few photos with my M9-P and 50 Summuilux ASPH. Man, did I tell you guys how much I love this combo?

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Before I write any more, I want to thank Ashwin BIG TIME as he has been an amazing help when putting this all together. I could not have done it without him, so THANK YOU ASHWIN!

As Saturday morning rolled in we all gathered for a 9AM start.  We had donuts and coffee from the world famous TOP POT donut shop. They were delicious! I usually do not eat donuts..well, it’s a rare occasion when I buy them, but these were sooooo tasty.

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After everyone introduced themselves we enjoyed a presentation and slide show from Ashwin as well as famous Rock Photographer Charles Peterson, who gave us a slideshow of his amazing concert work of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and even a nice little segment of his personal images of his wife and son, all shot with an M9.

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After the presentations we all headed out for some shooting throughout some hot spots of Seattle. Pike Place was the main spot where we shot today and it was great fun. LOTS of characters and street performers in Seattle and man, was it BUSY! It was great to have 20+ photographers all shooting Leica M cameras. We took the the streets with one goal in mind…to shoot some great photos so we could show them later in the day to everyone via a projector. Fun!

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After we shot we headed over to lunch and then back to Ashwin’s house to edit and work on photos. After sharing the best three from everyone in the group we went back out to shoot more and have dinner. Was a great day and I am looking forward to day 2!

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and one of me from Ashwin…

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In the next couple of days I will have photos posted from everyone who attended this meet up. There are some GREAT shots and today will be a great day with the prize giveaway, guest speaker Roger Paperno, more street shooting and of course more fun :)

Jul 222011
 

 

My First Trip with the Leica M9

By Ricky Cheong

Intro:

Hi Steve and fellow readers, my name is R.C or better yet just by Inzite and I’ve been a viewer of this wonderful site for quite some time already so I thought I should also chip in my thoughts regarding shooting an RF and how it fairs against a SLR. I have been shooting for about 6 years or so with DSLRs from both Nikon and Canon, only recently this year or so have been really using my m bodies. DSLR is fine, and probably great for what I shoot and my shooting style, however there are times when I just want to go out and have less or a burden (especially when going out with the lady). This spring, I decided to only take the m bodies with me for our trip in Asia. Our destination: Macau, Hong Kong, Sanya and Phuket.

The Gears:

M6, M9, 35 Summicron, 15 Voigtlander.

Being new to the m system I don’t have many lenses for the bodies, I actually end up buying the 15 Voigtlander in Hong Kong while we stopped there. I left Toronto with M6, M9 and a 35 Summicron all inside my Crumpler 6 million dollar home. It was quite a change from lugging around a d3, 14-24, 50 1.4 in the same bag, or a 1dm3 or 5d, 24-70 and 70-200 in the same bag. The bag no longer felt like a burden and I no longer get harassed by the flight attendants regarding having too bulky of a bag beneath the seat.

The Trip:

On the way to Hong Kong, packed plane as usual.  M9 | 35 | F2 | 1/8 | ISO 800

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Flight was long and tiring from Toronto to Hong Kong, with babies going off every 30 minutes or so, amidst the chaos on the plane, I did manage to fire off a shot that I was very happy with. The 35mm summicron + M9 is such a small package, great for shooting in close range with people in tight space. Had I try to shoot it with a d3 + 50 1.4, I would probably catch the attention of the woman sitting beside me because I would probably spend a good minute or so trying to yank my bag out from the seat in front, then followed with pulling the camera out of the bag, and not to mention the bold, fierce sound of the shutter going off.

Riding the ship from Hong Kong Airport to Macau. M9 | 35 | F2 | 1/50 | ISO 800

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I do have to say, shots coming from the combination of M9 and 35 IV (I’ll use IV as the short form of summicron here on) is pretty 3D compared to similar shallow dof shots done with a 35L or 85L or 50 1.4 G. So carrying my dead tired drained body, I hopped onto the ship that will take me back home to Macau. I rested for a few days in Macau before flying off to Sanya to meet the lady. The short first part stay in Macau was not bad. Carrying a lighter camera in typical Asian humid climate can really enhance the travel experience. Back when I used to lug around a bag full of Nikon or Canon, I would be feeling so hot and tired that I would be really inclined to stay in doors as much as possible. Now with the m bodies, I can spend more time shooting outside and less time enjoying the ac.

Koi watching in a garden surrounded by cement buildings. M9 | 35 | F2 | 1/500 | ISO 160

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So I met the lady in Sanya and we hit up some tourist spots there, it’s a nice and interesting place there, some call it Hawaii in Asia. I find it quite relaxing as all we did everyday was go out and have fun, all on our own schedule. Weather was nice, typical island climate. If you find your self in the area of Hong Kong or Macau, hop over and spend two or three days there. It is as close as it gets to Hawaii without leaving southern China. The M6 stayed in the bag at our room as a back up body, I took the M9 + 35 IV out every day, every where, bag less, free. It was a good start for the remainder of the trip with regards to the pleasure of shooting. 35 IV works great for an all purpose lens, prior to this trip, I have always wondered if a 50 would serve me better.

Visting Yanoda Natural Reserve, I have never seen so many parrots in one place in my life. M9 | 35 | F2 | 1/350 | ISO 200

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Nan Shan Temple in Sanya, viewing it from the beach gives it quite a unique feel.  M9 | 35 | F2 | 1/4000 | ISO 160

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The lady trying on a hat, we end up buying it for 45 RMB. Love the colors.  M9 | 35 | F2 | 1/1500 | ISO 160

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Elder people give great subject sometimes. He was an old kind man.  M9 | 35 | F2 | 1/1500 | ISO 160

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After our short stay in Sanya, we arrived in Macau along with my future in-laws. My second part stay in Macau is basically to act as a tour guide for the future in-laws. However, I did manage to fire off a shot or two that I can actually use for this report. Again, in warm weather like Macau, the less you bring out doors with you, the better and happier you will feel. I once carried a D3 with a 200 F2 VR lens for shooting once and despite the amazing result I got, it was a nightmare. Then of course when people ask you if it’s hard work carrying such equipment you usually man up and say it’s no big deal but deep inside us SLR folks all know that the freaking thing is big heavy and a pain to carry. Since I didn’t take much pics this time in Macau that is worth sharing, I will also attach a few I took before that I feel it will give you a glimpse or Macau and that being there is all it takes, the type of camera doesn’t matter really. (well, it does if you light to shoot natural light in dim lighting like me, and honestly, the M9 is definitely not there yet in the high iso department, see below)

Scanning Macau from on top of the Macau Tower, the tallest building in macau.  M9 | 35 | F2 | 1/1500 | ISO 160

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Waiting with tickets to see “The House of Dancing Water” at City of Dreams. Yes, it’s a nice name for a hotel, but it’s true that you do feel that you are living a dream. M9 | 35 | F2 | 1/30 | ISO 800

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Inside the MGM Macau VIP lobby, beautiful is understating it, it’s GORGEOUS! D3 | 14 | F2.8 | 1/60 | ISO 2800

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Wide angle Venetian style. Yes, it’s in Macau and you can enjoy the famous meat jerky and eggrolls right after! D3 | 24 | F2.8 | 1/60 | ISO 2000

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Moon lit Guan Yin by the shore, Macau, where the east meets the west.  D3 | 24 | 1/40 | ISO 8000

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Hong Kong, the place where anything is possible as long as one has the cash. It is the place where you can buy multiple M9 in store. (at “fried” price, as locals call it). It is also the same place where you see more people carry LV bags more than plastic shopping bags. It’s a fine city. I dropped by a famous camera store in TST to pick up a 15mm Voigtlander and off I go in wide angle rf land. Framing through the external view finder and focusing or metering through the internal finder proved to be easier than I thought, it is miles ahead of the D3 + 14-24 combination in terms of weight and portability. However, based on the firmware of the M9 at the time, it did have the color shift corners issues, doesn’t bother me much but its there.

Small and portable, image quality is quite decent, I like. 

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Look at the wide-ness of that! I really like this shot because it’s quite odd to see no one on the streets in Hong Kong.  M9 | 15 | F6.7 | 1/750 | ISO 400

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We met Mario at an arcade place in Mongkok, Hong Kong. M9 | 15 | F5.6 | 1/8 | ISO 800

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I got to try a 50 F1.4 Summilux in store in Hong Kong, it is definitely a mighty fine lens. I look forward to getting one soon! M9 | 50 | F1.4 | 1/45 | ISO 1000

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Getting away from the heat in underground AC cooled pass way.  M9 | 15 | F4.5 | 1/125 | ISO 1600

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Finally we arrive in Phuket, Thailand. It is basically a foreigner’s heaven, everything is cheap! The food was excellent, our resort was excellent and the weather was excellent. It was a good opportunity to test out my new wide angle! I was really glad that I did not bring a D3 + 14-24 because it was incredibly hot during the day and I simply cannot imagine carrying such heavy gear under the scorching sun. The M9 did an incredible job in the intense heat and humidity. It’s certainly weather sealed “enough” for my usage. I even took the M9 into the pool with me to get some nice shots. All in all, the results from this final leg of our trip solidify my belief in the possibility and results of the M system in terms of the practicability for traveling. It can certainly match what I can get with my DSLRs at home and if not exceed them by allowing me to shoot with less of a burden.

Fresh fruit to welcome us to the suite, mmm.. beachfront bliss.. M9 | 35 | F2 | 1/60 | ISO 200

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Explosion of colors, tuk tuk rules here! It’s hot there!  M9 | 15 | F6.7 | 1/125 | ISO 200

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With some practice, spontaneous shots are possible with a range finder. We caught eye of this street vendor pass by us rather quickly, we turn and ran to catch up with him.  M9 | 15 | F6.7 | 1/750 | ISO 800

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Hand held over the pool water, it turned out better than I expected.  M9 | 15 | F5.6 | 1/90 | ISO 160

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A rare shot done by the 35 IV, I was really addicted to the 15.  M9 | 35 | F2 | 1/90 | ISO 200

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Great sunsets to conclude everyday in Phuket.  M9 | 35 | F4 | 1/500 | ISO 200

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Post Trip Conclusion:

The M9 performed wonderfully through out the trip, even though it is one expensive piece of equipment but maybe because of its small size and low profile, I actually felt more comfortable bringing it to difference places, simply because it attracts less attention. The 35 IV proved to be quite a versatile lens, but there are multiple times that I simply wanted to focus closer than 0.7m, however that’s the limitation of the Leica m system. The 15 was probably one of my best buys in recently years because it was so small and so wide, it really got me getting creative and I guess the result shows. I didn’t find going manual focus was that bad of a thing, but it does certainly take some time to get used to. The large file size from the M9 did force me to get a total of 3 16 GB cards by the end of the trip but the quality is there right in the raw files. All in all, in the future when I’m going to a paradise I’m taking the M bodies and before that I need to get my self a 50. I hope you all enjoyed this write up and my experience with the M on this trip and the results I got from it. Thanks!

Feel free to drop by my flickr to see my other works

http://www.flickr.com/inzite

Inzite.

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Remember, anytime you follow my links here and buy from B&H or AMAZON, this helps to keep my site going. If it was not for these links, there would be no way to fund this site, so I thank you in advance if you visit these links. I thank you more if you make a purchase! I have nifty search bars at the upper right of each page so you easily search for something at either store! I currently spend 10-14 hours a day working on this site and the only way that I can pay for it is with your help, so thank you! Currently my traffic has been increasing but my funds to pay for the site has been decreasing, so any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

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