Apr 142015

Black & White with Leica M6, M9 and MM

By Dan Bar

Hi Steve & Brandon! About 8 years ago a friend of mine , a well-known photographer in Israel told me he wanted to buy the new digital Leica M8. I thought very highly of him and decided to go and see the new wonder. Yes it was a Leica, looked like one and was VERY expensive.

I have always dreamed of one but never wanted to spend so much , so I offered the salesman my Canon 5D + some lenses and to my great amazement he agreed to switch. I had to add some money of course as I also wanted 2 lenses with it. Since then I sold the M8, bought the M9, than sold it for the MM .

I also had the M6 for some time but the trouble dealing with film and development made me sell it too.

The purchase of the M8 , MM and M6 incited my love for black and white again. With my Canon 5D I only shot color. There is something about Leica that draws the user to b&w and I don’t know why. This odd attraction made me buy the Leica MM which I think is a fantastic b&w camera, as close to film as can be ( at least in my opinion. ) I know Steve prefers the 240 and so does Mr. Thorsten Overgaard, ( he told me so). I love the 240 but i mainly use it for color photos but here are some of my B&W photos which I like and hope you will like too.

Thank you

M9\35 mm






Leica MM\35 mm


Leica MM\35 mm


Leica MM\ 35 mm










Leica MM\35mm


Leica MM\35


Leica MM\35


Leica MM\50mm


It is not easy to decide which photos to send, I am not saying I dont like color photos and yet BLACK & White has its uniqueness. I love your site and look at it on a daily basis.


Jan 052015

All Rights Reserved

The Southwest in Infrared 

by Alexandra Shapiro

Last November I attended Steve Huff’s Southwest Workshop along with about two dozen other photographers from all over the world. We visited some beautiful places in Arizona and Utah, including Antelope Canyon, Rattlesnake Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Zion National Park, and Sedona. These sites presented extraordinary opportunities for landscape photography. The workshop was also a great opportunity to meet some amazing photographers and do some hiking (Angel’s Landing at Zion was a particular highlight in terms of stunning scenery and a challenging ascent).

At some of the locations I used a specially converted digital camera that captures infrared light. A few years ago, I began experimenting with digital infrared photography, and found that it to be an interesting way to capture unusual and sometimes surreal images. My earlier user report can be seen HERE.  It provides some basic background on digital infrared technique and examples of infrared photographs that I took before the workshop.

On this trip, I used a converted Canon 5D, which has an “enhanced color” infrared filter, with a Canon 16-35 F4 L lens or a Canon 8-15 F4 L fisheye lens. Even though the 5D model is almost 10 year old, I have found it works extremely well for infrared work and can produce stunning images when paired with the right lens. (The main downsides are an out-of-date LCD and lack of live view, since manual focus is sometimes necessary for infrared work; personally, I don’t mind the 12 megapixel sensor and have even made some relatively large prints from images taken with this camera.) The 16-35 zoom, a relatively new offering from my Canon, is very sharp, and the image stabilization was particular useful in some spots, because the 5D is best shot at low ISOs and I prefer to shoot at f8 to f16 for infrared landscapes. The lens can also produce some amazing sunstars.

These are a few shots from the trip, taken at Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and Zion. All but one of the images was taken with the 16-35. I shot in raw and used Capture One for white balance and exposure adjustments, and then converted the images to tiffs. After that, I used photoshop to swap channels, and tweaked the colors and/or converted to black and white using plug-ins such as Nik’s Viveza 2, Alien Skin Exposure 7 or MacPhun’s Tonality Pro. The same image of horseshoe bend appears in both faux color and black and white, so you can see some of the different possibilities with color and black-and-white infrared technique. There are also a couple of examples with strong flare — some may not like this, but I think the flare that infrared photography sometimes produces can create interesting effects.

All Rights Reserved

All Rights Reserved

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Southwest ir (6 of 9)

All Rights Reserved

Southwest ir (8 of 9)

Southwest ir (9 of 9)

Some of my other infrared work can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alexandrashapiro/collections/72157633129472726/

This is my flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alexandrashapiro/

And here is another guest post I did for Steve: http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2014/01/14/user-report-iceland-with-the-leica-m-240-by-alexandra-shapiro/

Alexandra Shapiro

Sep 192014

The Greek Holidays with a Fuji X100s

By Joao Marques

My name is João Marques i`m an amateur photographer living in Lisbon and i would like to tell about my experience, this holidays, in choosing which camera to take.

So this year my vacations were on the beautiful greek islands of Santorini and Mykonos. When i was making my bag i had a hard decision to make, wich gear should I take? My options were carrying my heavyweight equipment: canon5d2+zeiss 21 2.8+sigma 35 1.4+ canon 70-200 2.8 IS II+manfrotto tripod+ lee filter set. Or go with my every day camera, the small, beautiful and excellent Fuji X100s. Since I had to take 7 flights in total, the choice was pretty easy, those were not a “photographic” vacations, my plan was to relax and bathing on the warmer mediterranean waters.

I chose only to take the Fuji.

Let me say now that I made the right choice, this small camera is the ideal tool for an uncompromised work with a good image quality in a very light package, instead of carrying KGs of equipment and being worried all the time of being robbed in the hotels, the 500gr of the Fuji let me use it all the (at the beach, night, etc). Another reason that everyone has already talked about, is the casual look that you have when you photograph with one of this beauties on your hand, it’s completely different when you approach someone with heavyweight cameras and lens, people tend to be intimidated with that kind of equipment.

There were a few times that I missed my other gear, specially in some pictures were I wished more DOF and in some sunsets, but the happiness of being free of the extra kgs, surpass every tiny feeling for the canon.

One and a very important thing, my girlfriend loved the idea of me just having the small camera at my disposal, she knew that I wouldn`t take too much time setting the tripod, filters, lens etc. It was a winning decision in every angle :)

Now for the best part the photos, when I arrived I didn`t know what I want to photograph, but one thing I was sure, I didn’t want to go for the classic postcard photographs that you see from Santorini or Mykonos, and didn`t want also to have the pressure of photographing, so I decided to go with the flow and be alert to whatever events I might encounter. I set the camera to b&w and these were the moments that I was fortune to capture.

Hope you enjoy it.


Wish you all the best,









Sep 012014

Wedding Photography With The Sony RX10 

By Jacob Glauninger

His website is HERE 

This is the first in a series of reviews I’ve been hoping to do. I’m a bit of a gear head amongst my peers, so unfortunately for me I go through a lot of gear. I’m not a big fan of technical reviews, there are plenty of MTF chart type reviews out there. They have their place, but I find they never really show me how my images will look in the field, so I’m going to try to stick to real world reviews. I’m also going to post edited images, because I always find my self curious what a camera is capable of, not what SOOC jpegs of flowers and bookshelves look like. I’m not gonna wow anyone with technical talk or pixel-peeping, I’ll leave that to the other reviewers. The question I am attempting to answer in this review is simply this: is the Sony RX10 a capable for shooting weddings?DSC-RX10_right_bgwh

To give a little background, I have been shooting with a Sony A7 over the past 6 months. I used to shoot weddings with two Canon 5Ds and and several L lenses, but a couple of years ago I briefly gave up the trade and sold all my gear. In turn, I switched over to mirrorless to satisfy my day to day photography wants. First was the Samsung nx100 and the Olympus XZ-1, and then I moved up to the canon EOS M when it went on fire sale. After my wife and I got married in November, I started shooting weddings together with my wife. I decided I should probably move up to something a little more serious than the EOS M. I tried the NEX-6 and hated it. Shortly after I picked up the A7, I loved it. However, the current lens selection does nothing for me, so I have been adapting vintage manual focus glass. Adapting old lenses is fun and all, but I’m getting really tired of manual focusing, especially at weddings.

Between wanting something as a backup camera with autofocus and being interested in cinematography, I landed on the Sony RX10. Whenever I purchase an item I like to test it really hard within the first 30 days. I’ve encountered a few lemons in the past so I always like to make sure everything is functional before the initial warranty expires. Fortunately, my wife and I had two weddings in one weekend, so I really got to push it to its limits.

Image Quality

First, lets cover something important – the RX10 uses a 1-inch sensor. Compared to your iPhone, it’s huge, but this isn’t by any means a full frame sensor. It’s not even an APS-C Sensor, heck it isn’t even a micro four thirds sensor. In the scheme of sensors in professional photography, this thing doesn’t even make it to the feather weights. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It just means you have to understand its limitations and characteristics. Namely, a lack of depth of field, which on the occasion I personally like. It’s really nice not having to stop down my lens to f8 to give my images some clarity. Being a 1 inch sensor, I think the 20mp they cram into it is more of a marketing ploy than anything else. I’d say it’s more realistically a 15mp sensor as far as usability is concerned. You might be able to squeeze 20mp out of this on the wide end at iso 125, but that’s about it. Anything else tends to fall apart really fast when you crop to 100%. I would have preferred that they scaled down the size and gave us smaller files.


On the widest end of the lens it is remarkably sharp except for the extreme corners which fall apart pretty fast. I got my camera used at Amazon Warehouse, so maybe this is just my camera, but I found anywhere else in the zoom range to be disappointing. If you are going to pixel peep, it’s just not sharp. But this is where the beauty of the 1 inch sensor comes into play. There is just so much clarity in the images that it somehow gives the impression it is sharp, when it really isn’t. There is also some noticeable fringing and halo-ing at the long end of some shots – kind of annoying but not terrible. Is the client going to notice any of this? Not likely.

Dynamic Range and ISO

Dynamic Range is pretty darn good for a compact. I was surprised how much detail I could recover from both my highlights and shadows. DXOMark gives it 12.6 stops of dynamic range so that easily puts it in the consumer DSLR range. ISO handling is probably one of this cameras biggest weaknesses. It’s pretty bad coming from a full frame camera, but coming from something like a Rebel or an NEX might not seem so bad. Fortunately the killer image stabilization and image clarity helps offset this by allowing you to shoot at lower ISO levels anyway. Overall I’d say it can manage in low light, but I wouldn’t rely on it unless I had to.


Bokeh And Depth Of Field

At the wide end you aren’t going to get much more background blur than you would on an iPhone. If you force it, you can find it, but typically you won’t find it unless you only like to take picture 1 inch from your subject. Moving down the range you gradually get more and more separation from your background (due to telephoto compression). At the far end you can definitely get a useful amount of background blur. Off the top of my head, I’d say you are getting about the equivalent of what you would get with a 35mm f2 on a full frame body (minus the telephoto compression and everything else that makes it different). It’s not a huge amount of separation, but you can get it if you need it. Unfortunately, when you do get it, it’s hideous. This is probably the number one killer for me, personally. Onion bokeh galore. It reminds me of all the vintage glass I’m trying to get away from. However, some people like that look. So if that floats your boat, more power to you. The depth of field is adequate for me, but creamy it is not.



It does it. Closer on the wide end than you can probably physically get to your subject, and closer on the telephoto end than you are probably used to.



I won’t talk too much about the build, that’s something you can and should feel for your self at the store. It’s light. Really light. Which is good. Feels a little cheap to me, but I’d rather it be light and feel a little cheap, than have to haul around a luxurious concrete block. Overall I can say it feel nice though. Maybe somewhere between the NEX-6 and the A7. The lens barrel feels really nice.

Controls and Handling

Controls and Handling is where this camera receives its second strike from me. The controls are a little fiddly…on second thought, they’re really fiddly. I don’t really have too many complaints about the layout. The menu is like anything else made by Sony in the last 6 months, and the button layout isn’t all that much different. I’m not crazy about the way Sony designs it’s layouts but I can live with it. My main complaints are little quarks here and there. First, it’s slow. Not so slow that it’s unusable, but slow enough to be annoying. Record times aren’t great, the zoom is really slow compared to anything with interchangeable lenses, and if you try zooming during the shot to review time, it will zoom into the reviewed image and not zoom the actual lens. This sets you back and can keep you from getting the shot. Next, I can’t get it set up like my A7, which is annoying. For those of you who don’t know, Sony allows for highly customizable buttons, but for some reason not completely customizable. For whatever reason, the closest I can get to my A7 is somehow still the opposite, so that continually throws me for a loop. The last notable quark I can think of (but I’m sure not the only one) is found it is really easy for my finger to bump the zoom. Since the zoom is an electronic zoom it’s also really not very accurate if you are trying to do precise focusing. Now, keep in mind these complaints are me nit-picking. Overall, I would say the handling on the RX10 is on par with anything else in its class, so don’t take this as it’s Achilles heel so to speak.


As of writing this, they just dropped the price from a rather pricey $1300 to just below a more reasonable $1000. I picked mine up on amazon warehouse for $850 and since then I’ve seen them go as low as $750. $1300 was a bit of stretch for me, but $750 puts this camera easily in a fair price range.


Can you use this to shoot weddings? In short – a resounding yes. If you know and understand it’s limitations, it really does it all and at a great price too. It certainly won’t be for everybody, but I have to say I’m impressed with what this camera can do. Will I continue using it for weddings? As my main camera, absolutely not. As a second body (and a 4th or 5th to my wife’s cameras) – possibly. However, if I was forced to use this as my only camera, I wouldn’t be in the least bit nervous. In fact, if I was forced to choose one camera, and one lens for the rest of my life, this might just be my choice. Would I recommend it to others? Depends. If they were on a tight budget, just starting out, just want a well-rounded back up, etc., then yes. For someone who has an endless budget and demands only the best image quality, then probably not. The image quality is a compromise. In fact that’s all this camera is – one giant compromise between the best of all worlds (they call it a bridge camera).

The Elephant In The Room

The Panasonic FZ1000. I know. I just gave the RX10 a (mostly) rave review, but the new FZ1000 looks to be a mighty fine contender to the RX10. I can’t really give my recommendation on which one is better as it isn’t available yet, but it looks like the winner to me. From the samples I’ve seen, the image quality looks to be a bit better (and the bokeh, much better), it shoots 4k, extends all the way to 400mm and at a better price too. It has a few other improvements but it also looses somethings such as the built-in ND filter, constant f2.8 aperture, and weather sealing. However, either camera is exciting to me. If this is the start of a new trend in bridge cameras, I could see the bridge camera regaining some notable market share in the not too distant future.

Sample Images

All images below were adjusted in Adobe Lightroom with VSCO packs 01 and 02.












May 192014

Experimenting with Digital Infrared

By Alexandra Shapiro

A few years ago, I began experimenting with infrared, or IR, photography (mostly landscapes). I am still a beginner when it comes to IR photography, and am constantly amazed at some of the stunning IR images that others produce. Although many of your readers may already be experts, I hope some find these thoughts and experiences useful.

Infrared light is not visible to the human eye, but can be captured on certain types of film and digital cameras. With film, it is necessary to use an infrared filter that blocks most or all visible light while allowing infrared light to pass through. This generally requires the use of a tripod and long exposures, as well as special infrared film. Most digital cameras filter out infrared light, so they are not great tools for infrared photography. However, there are companies that will convert a digital camera so that it can be used for infrared photography; you can also buy a conversion kit and do the conversion yourself. This is not for the faint of heart, since you can ruin a camera if you are not careful; most people probably use conversion services instead.

After doing a fair amount of research on various conversion companies, I decided to convert an older model camera using lifepixel (www.lifepixel.com). There are lots of potential pitfalls with the conversions, and not all cameras or lenses work well. There are a number of conversion companies that repeatedly get negative reviews, with users reporting that their conversions were botched, but Lifepixel consistently gets excellent reviews. They will convert a fairly wide range of cameras, and their website has detailed information on any unique traits of particular camera models that they convert. Panasonic, Olympus, and Sony mirrorless cameras apparently work very well, as do many Canon and Nikon DSLRs.

In addition, Lifepixel (like other conversion services) has several different types of infrared filters to choose from. The filters are installed inside the camera, after the filter that the camera came with to prevent IR light from passing through is removed. You can choose an IR filter that produces only black and white images, or a color filter. You can also choose a “full spectrum filter” that lets visible light as well as infrared light pass through to the sensor. This gives you more flexibility, but you will probably need to use IR filters on the lens to get IR effects.

During the conversion process, the camera is also adjusted to ensure that metering and auto-focus are adjusted for infrared light. Unless you send a lens for calibration, the camera’s auto-focus is adjusted based on a standard lens used for that manufacturer’s cameras. For example, Canon DSLRs are adjusted using a Canon 50 1.8 II lens unless you opt for the custom calibration service and send in the lens you prefer to have the camera calibrated with. Of course, fixed-lens cameras are calibrated using the built-in lens.

I like the look of black and white infrared, but prefer using a color IR filter to have the added flexibility, since obviously color images can be converted to black and white. I started with a small Canon DSLR, because I already had several good Canon lenses. I found a good deal on a refurbished Rebel T2i, a model that had been discontinued, and sent it to Lifepixel for conversion with their “supercolor” filter. I recently decided to upgrade to full frame and found a deal on eBay for a used Canon 5D (original version) that had already been converted by Lifepixel with an “enhanced color” filter. The IQ with the 5D is noticeably better than with the T2i, but there is a downside: the 5D does not have a live view function, which can be very useful with IR photography. Also since it is an older camera the LCD is small and the menu system and ergonomics generally are not as nice as on newer Canon models.

In order to get proper white balance, and have the most flexibility with the images, it is best to shoot raw. On many converted cameras, you can set a custom white balance that will allow you to use your LCD to check whether the white balance is correct. However, on some models (for example, certain recent Nikon DSLRs) that is not possible; the image will look quite reddish on the LCD, and you will need to use conversion software to fix the white balance in post. IR photography requires a fair amount of post-processing in any case. Most websites say that to fix the white balance (or to have your raw conversion software recognize the custom white balance you set in the camera) you have to use the camera maker’s raw converter. However, I recently learned you can create a preset for Lightroom’s “camera calibration” setting that allows you to convert your images from raw in Lightroom instead. This link has instructions for how to do this (http://www.luminescentphoto.com/blog/2013/07/15/setting-white-balance-on-infrared-images-with-lightroom-with-video/). I now do all my raw conversions in Lightroom instead of using Canon’s raw conversion software.

My workflow is generally as follows: I import my raw images into Lightroom and use the camera calibration preset I created so I can see them with the custom white balance set in-camera. Then I perform adjustments to white balance, sharpening, and exposure in Lightroom, and export to Photoshop CS6 to make further edits after the raw conversion. The first step in Photoshop for me is usually channel-swapping, which is useful for getting the “deep blue sky” effect that many interesting IR images have. This involves changing the red channel to 0% red and 100% blue, and changing the blue channel to 0% blue and 100% red. Then if I want to keep the image in color I play around with levels and other adjustments to get whatever effects seem most interesting. For black and white, I generally convert using plug-in filters from Alien Skin Exposure 5 or Perfect B&W 8.

When I first started, I noticed that sometimes the images seemed very soft, or did not have the dramatic contrasts or deep blue skies or white foliage I was hoping for. I found that I could get sharper images when shooting in bright sunlight (the harsh sunlight in the middle of the day is great for producing dramatic IR landscapes); using small apertures (I prefer F8 to F16). Sometimes the AF is off, but if you have a camera with live view or an EVF it is easy to correct that with manual focus.

I shot the first eight images below during Steve’s Valley of Fire workshop this past February. That was the first time I used the 5D; the lens is Canon’s 24-105 L. The remaining images were taken with the T2i and various lenses; those were shot in Austerlitz, New York and Big Sky, Montana.

More of my photos can be found on this flickr page https:[email protected]/

Valley of Fire Canon 5D 1

Valley of Fire Canon 5D 2

Valley of Fire Canon 5D 3

Valley of Fire Canon 5D 4

Valley of Fire Canon 5D 5

Valley of Fire Canon 5D 6

Valley of Fire Canon 5D 7

Valley of Fire Canon 5D 8

T2i 1

T2i 2

T2i 3

T2i 4

T2i 5

May 072014

Memories of New Zealand…and Julia

By Doug Barry-Martin

Once upon a time in a land far away there was a Pōwhiri…
and a tall man turned to a beautiful stranger.

I met Julia at the Waitangi Day Pōwhiri (greeting) at the local Maori Marae (meeting-house) in Nelson, New Zealand on
Waitangi Day. This commemorates a significant day in the history of New Zealand. It is a public holiday held each year on 6 February to celebrate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document, on that date in 1840.

The crowd was waiting outside and were asked to turn to the nearest stranger and to give them (or share with them) a Hongi (nose to nose Maori greeting). I turned and saw an attractive women and thought ‘yes’ and so it went. We spent a half day together and continued to see each other over the next few days. Julia is a German woman in her thirties on a return visit to New Zealand in order to see if she would relocate here. Anyway she continued her travels a little but we arranged to go in a camping holiday on the West Coast of the South Island together about two months ago. I took my trusty Canon 5D MK1 and 24-105mm f4 lens and my ever-present companion the Fuji X100 I bought new 3 years ago when it first burst onto the scene.

The first stop was actually in Nelson at Tahunanui beach where we had a nice kebab. “We are not going to get far at this rate” we thought. Next stop an hour or so south was the beautiful Nelson Lakes. A popular scenic spot but noted for its sandflies. After a lovely walk on the shores of Lake Rotoiti we drove to the adjacent Lake Rotoroa in order to set up camp. Having chosen a spot near some bush, and as we were setting up at dusk, we were over run by hungry sandfles. Fortunately Julia was clever enough to buy some really good sandfly repellent from the Nelson markets the day before. Thank God for that!

So we discovered that camping in early Autumn in the South Island is cold but was rewarded the next morning with beautiful scenery as the sunrise caused the lake to steam off it’s water as vapors.

The Pōwhiri – X100


Julia – X100


Point and Shoot – easy Scenic shots at Nelson lakes (Lake Rotoiti) – X100


A clear evening at the lake (Lake Rotoroa) -5D


A cold but moody morning at Nelson lakes (Lake Rotoroa). – 5D


A cold start but a sublime view at Nelson lakes (Lake Rotoroa). – 5D


So after camping at the Nelson Lakes we aimed to make it to Karamea at the top of the West Coast (as we had the day before too!).

It was not to be as we both seem to be ‘side track’ artists.

We had hardly driven 50km when we stopped at the Buller Gorge Swing bridge and spent a few hours there.
Julia was drawn to the water – and to the derelict machines and we even created a bit of rock art and saw a jet boat.
At the time it appeared Julia had the 5D (how trusting am I??) and I grabbed it of her and just managed to get a shot. They are damn fast!

The Buller Gorge really is a lovely drive and the swing bridge (New Zealand’s longest) is worth a visit.

Swing… – 5D


Don’t look down! – 5D


She started it!! The rock art. I went for gold with the third smallest and the smallest piece. Buller gorge. – 5D


We did have to abandon the idea of camping a) because we, as was becoming our pattern, arrived in Westport late (6pm) and b) it was obviously going to be a typically wet West Coast night. We got a cabin in a holiday park which was hardly our idea of camping but it was OK and there were some interesting folks. Not least the old fellow without a leg who was touring the South Island.

A friendly local (and there were a few of those in Westport) recommended a walk for us the next day. About 45 min north of Westport there is a small mining operation and beside it runs a creek along a disused coal mining railway. Charming Creek certainly lived up to its name – especially after so much rain. The hours walk to the booming waterfall was well worth it and all the better for being so wet and green. It was more raging river than creek and a great dose of the West coast environment. Of course the wild beaches really define the coast as much as the damp green hills. I recently read New Zealander Elanor Catton’s 2013 Man Booker Prize winner The Luminaries set in Hokitka. Recommend as a masterclass in writing and a damn good yarn although maybe slightly too clever for its own good and at 800 pages requiring a good deal of dedcation from the reader.

After this we again heading towards our destination of Karamea – as far as you can go almost over the ranges via a long winding road to the semi-tropical north. Hangout of eccentrics and dropouts, entrepreneurs and lovers of nature. And near the beginning of the Heaphy track – a popular 4-5 day walk in Kahurangi National Park

A walk along a disused coal mine railway – a green tunnel – X100


A walk along a disused coal mine railway – a rock tunnel- X100


The Bridge to …..??- X100


The thundering falls of Charming Creek after the rain – I needed a person for scale. They would be about as tall as the smallest rock in the middle! – X100


Charming Creek froths after the rain (still raining as you can see) – X100


After a night in Westport and a fantastic walk up Charming Creek we finally set our sights on the far north over the ranges.
A beautiful winding road through super lush native forest eventually drops us into the plains not far from Karamea. On the way we deviate to a small idyllic lake and just generally soak in all the greenery.

We blow right through Karamea after fortuitously making it to the store 2 minutes before it closes. God we nearly missed out on buying beer and wine!! What sort of camping would that be? About 16km north of the small sleepy hamlet of Karamea is the DOC (Department of Conservation) campsite at the beginning of the Heaphy track. We set up camp just before dark (as usual) trying not to get too much of the view-blocking white camper van in our sights and cook our dinner. Usually we take turns each night and the fare is not too bad.

We awake to a lovely morning and I arise first in time to get some of that magic early morning light. It’s a bit nippy though folks! The sun soon warms us up and after driving back into town to check things out we finally set off on the track for a walk up to Scotts beach. We had thought of going to a DOC hut on the track but you have to book and pay online beforehand. Too much bother so we enjoyed what we did anyway.

The Scotts Beach/Heaphy track climbs steadily through beautiful bush studded with nikau palms, karaka and rata.

After a stunning sunset we have yet another cool night in the tent and the next morning we set of early (for us – 9am!). Prior to setting off I bump into Courtney and Brian whom I was sharing a house/community dwelling with recently in Nelson. A lovely young American couple they had descended from a hut during the night and were rewarded with several Kiwi sightings but had the misfortune to have their tent nearly taken out at full tide by a big wave as they were camped on the beach. They were shaken but not stirred and their usual chipper selves the next day when I encountered them.

After this we called in at the famous Rongo backpackers – mainly to see Paul. I was lucky to meet with him and he was his usual affable, larger than life self. The place itself is well worth a look with lots of eccentric artworks and a graffiti wall in the hall. Nowadays backpackers seem overrun with quiet iPad scrolling young people making them seem somewhat like a digital library.

A mans work is never done…gidday mate!! – X100


Alone in paradise (almost!). Scotts beach. – X100


The beautiful wild West Coast – 5D All 5D from here on except the very last.


Morning has broken…


And evening falls golden upon us…


See how small we are…


And the fire of the sun’s last gasp lights the land…


As the poetic moon rises in the sky…


So we departed Karamea and headed south towards the popular Punakaiki (or pancake ) Rocks about 40 min south of Westport.
The lookout walkway forms a circle and was populated with asian tourists prompting Julia to comment that it looked like the great wall of China!

As usual we had no real plans for where to stay. However fortuitously I had asked a local in the car park of a supermarket a few days previously where we could camp up north of Westport etc. When we arrived at Punakaiki we went to the tourist information office to see about potential camping spots. The fellow I approached recognised me and declared ” I know you, you are looking for freedom camping!”. I was rather perplexed by this. He, it turned out, was the fellow I had talked to in that car park! He (ahem) quietly recommended an ‘unofficial’ spot to camp not too far from Punakaiki. Other than that he said the local camp grounds were good (we soon ascertained that they were not to our taste but were a good source of clean water (ahem).

So we proceeded up a long and twisty and somewhat rough gravel road with the most beautiful scenery. It was a lush gorge lined with sheer rock cliffs and covered in greenery.

At the end we found a lone tree and a beautiful mountain range vista painted by the setting sun. We quickly found a flat spot to set up camp in the long grass. However the car was parked some distance from where we wanted to erect the tent and couldn’t be driven closer due to some rough ground. We needed to use the car to pump up the king sized mattress with the electric charger. Julia had the bright idea of assembling the tent with the mattress inside near the car and then carrying the whole thing with inflated mattress to the site. Brilliant!! As usual we just managed to have beers and scrape together a meal and soak up the scene before it got dark and spent another cool night ‘roughing it ‘ on a comfy mattress! What was wonderful was we had the whole place to ourselves which was a lovely change from the white camper van posse of the Heaphy track’s DOC campground.

The power of the West Coast lies as much in its rugged beauty as its rugged weather…


Even the well-known is still sublime… Punakaiki.


But there are still secret spots…


Idyllic camp site


Sleeping beauty


We set off the next day to head back to Nelson. After a couple of nights in Nelson I drove Julia to Picton to catch the Ferry to the North Island.
After we said our goodbyes that was the last time I saw her in person. She would like to return soon but doesn’t know when she can.
All I know is that my holiday with Julia was special and I have some wonderful memories (and photos) of it.

Thanks Julia!!



Many more images from this holiday can be seen on my Flickr stream

Regards from New Zealand

Doug Barry-Martin

Apr 162014

Photography, Education, Exams

by Tim Hogendoorn

Documentary photography; one of those magical things in live I love.

My name is Tim Hogendoorn, 23 years old and living in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
From the year 2010 I have been studying photography in Rotterdam and this year in May, is my graduation.

From the beginning of my study I saw students following the same routine of photography as there has been for years on my school, and many other photography academies: studio portraits.
It is not in a way I felt the urge to be different, but I found myself not being able to express my feelings in that way.

I started experimenting with street photography but quickly wanted to tell stories with my photographs, searching for people who had extraordinarily jobs and telling their stories.

That is also what I did for my exam of my current photography education.
I stayed at a circus family for about a week. Taking photos of the shows, but especially when they were not working or preparing for work.

After being in this study for four years now, and photographing three of those years solely on film, this was my first digital series.
I gave digital a try a couple of times before, but not really feeling it untill now: I bought a really nice second hand 5d mark ii and am using my analog Nikon lenses on that body with just an adapter ring.
The look of the old Nikon Nikkor 35mm 2.0 AI on the 5d sensor is lovely…

The full series can be seen on my website. (like me on facebook and keep up to date with my work: http://tiny.cc/ng9eex )

I wanted to share my experience with the readers of stevehuffphoto because I am a daily reader myself, keep it up Brandon and Steve!
(recently I went on a photography trip to Chicago (my first time in the US: WOAW!), and I would love to be sharing that new series in the near future as well!)

All the best,

Tim Hogendoorn

Barani_5453 Barani_5601 Barani_series_11_5384

Mar 242014


The faces of Mysore India

by Neil Gandhi

Hey Steve,

Often times, images do not do justice to true experiences.

With photography, one must diligently spend time and live within the realm of their subject to establish the reason that makes them “click”. In that recognition, one discovers a sense of realization that is sometimes larger than life itself. Walking around a bustling Devaraja Market filled with beings just like me, I realized how different I was from them. Most of them had never left the city of Mysore in South India. Most of them probably never will. Initially, I felt a sense of sadness. Then I asked myself “Why would they?”. There is so much beauty that encapsulates them.

These images were captured during my trip in December 2013, where I visited one of my favorite photographers named Christine Hewitt to immerse myself in photography and learn from her experience. Mysore, birthplace of Ashtanga Yoga, draws yogis from all over the world who come to this city to grow their practice. It is a city of royal heritage, with an existing royal family and king, and features a beautiful palace, art galleries and some truly exquisite temples surrounding the city. Most importantly, it is the people who define this city and bring it to life. The joy and love in their faces, especially the children is heart-warming to experience. Street photography comes to life here, as you witness some interesting and extremely willing subjects. They live life with a quiet sense of confidence and content. They breathe because they choose to. These are their stories.

Gear: All images taken with a 5D MIII and a 50mm f1.4 or a 24-70 f4.0L. Post-processing in Lightroom 5.

About me: I am Neil Gandhi, an amateur photographer who pays for his camera gear and travel with a job in software marketing. Based out of Austin, TX. Connect with me on Instagram at: http://instagram.com/neiljpgandhi




















Feb 212014

Myanmar Traditional Boxing

By Nikko Karki  – www.nikkokarki.com – – http://blog.nikkokarki.com


Fighting once a month with nothing but wraps covering their hands, young Burmese men continue their country’s traditional sport, perhaps one of the most brutal in the world. In the olden days, there were no rounds, no points, the only way to win was by a total knockout or concession by the opponent. The men I met had no sort of ego or bravado. Their quiet disposition and positive outlook on training, fighting and life, is unlike a traditional mindset.

Training with broken hands or other seemingly debilitating injuries is not dismissed with any sense of martyrdom, but sincere dedication and selflessness. It was a privilege to witness their humble approach to life, living happily and compassionately as they dedicate themselves to their training.

 Canon 5D mk III – Carl Zeiss ZE 35mm f/1.4 Distagon – Carl Zeiss ZE 100mm f/2.0 Makro planar

Photographer’s note:

I made this film in a day and a half, after spending about a week training and getting to know the fighters. It was truly an honor and privilege to get to know them and I greatly look forward to returning to learn more about Lethwei, Myanmar traditional boxing.

First, a couple of pics of me training with the guys:




Nikko Karki © 2013 Lethwei 1

Nikko Karki © 2013 Lethwei 2

Nikko Karki © 2013 Lethwei 3

Nikko Karki © 2013 Lethwei 4

Nikko Karki © 2013 Lethwei 5

Nikko Karki © 2013 Lethwei 6

Nikko Karki © 2013 Lethwei 7

Nikko Karki © 2013 Lethwei 8

Nikko Karki © 2013 Lethwei 10

Nikko Karki © 2013 Lethwei 11

Nikko Karki © 2013 Lethwei 12

Nikko Karki © 2013 Lethwei 13

Nikko Karki © 2013 Lethwei 14

Nikko Karki © 2013 Lethwei 15

Nikko Karki © 2013 Lethwei 16

Nikko Karki © 2013 Lethwei 17

Nikko Karki © 2013 Lethwei 18

Nikko Karki © 2013 Lethwei 19

Nikko Karki © 2013 Lethwei 20

Oct 262012

Hello from Greenland! I want to give a little introduction to strobe photography using battery power pack strobes. I made this article in a brand specific example using the Profoto 7B 1200w power pack because I find it to be the easiest way to introduce strobe photography. Battery power packs of other brands are very similar in usage.

I am not an expert or even experienced strobe photographer but I want to give my contribution this wonderful website that have given me so many great articles ever since I started to follow Steve Huff right after the M9 was announced. I always want photography to be challenging and strobe photography seemed like the next exciting photographic venture into the unknown.

I’ve never previously been interested in strobe photography or portraiture for that matter. I’ve always done everything I could to avoid top mounted camera flashes, I hate the look, and to some extent I still do. I have always chosen depth of field with fast lenses to make the images “pop” or in other words using fast lenses to make the images appear 3D in a 2D medium. The same effect can be achieved using light instead of depth of field. I eventually became more interested in strobe photography after seeing a lot of great professional photographers work and I also enjoyed a lot of the images posted in flicker group “strobist”.

I found it quite difficult to find a starting point, all I knew was I wanted something powerful and battery powered strobe to take outdoors. I quickly came down to two battery power packs brands that I found interesting(out of a lot of great brands). Poul C. Buff “Zeus” series a great value for the money or the expensive and renowned brand Profoto and their “7B 1200w” battery power pack. I called my danish dealer that had the profoto 7B on sale and decided to jump at the offer, sell my beloved Leica Noctilux 0.95, and lay down a total of 9.000 USD for a hole package to get started in strobe photograph which included:

Profoto 7B 1200w battery power pack

By the master control knob (14) you control the total power/level of light out of the two lamp sockets(12,13). This power pack allows asymmetrical and symmetrical power distribution out of the two flash head (12). This basically means there is a button to either halving the power of the second lamp (asymmetrical) or identical power(symmetrical). This can come in handy if you have your main light on your subject and use the second lamp to creatively enhance the subject, for example from the back or above the subject. I done most of my portraits with a single light and use the sun as my “second light”. To give you an idea of power of this battery pack, a top mounted camera flash with AA batteries output about 60-90w (anybody correct me if Im wrong) compared to this battery pack that outputs 1200w which means it out powers the sun for a tiny brief moment. I would love to read peoples opinion and remarks about other brands in the comments field below.

– Two pro B flash heads (includes 4 meter cable each to connect to the powerpack)

– Two stands, Manfrotto flash head stand model 1004BAC

– One additional 5m flash head cable

– Pocket wizard

Receiver and transceiver for wirelessly triggering the power pack from the camera (connects to 7 on the power pack)

– A Light meter

The light meter is where all the key information is. I use my light meter connected to the power pack with a cable to trigger the flash and adjust the power to my ideal setting. You can buy light meters with build in wireless triggering that is compatible with pocket wizard and get rid of the cable.

– Light modifier

Now I needed a light modifier to soften the harsh light from the bare bulbs. I choose one 2×3(60x90cm) softbox that mounts on the flash head to start off with. All Profoto’s light modifiers claps easily directly on the flash head.

Keeping things simple

Its easy to overcomplicate things and make a advanced setup. You can indeed make a spectacular looking portraits using multiple lights sources but I prefer to use one light and the sun. For me that is complicated enough. Using strobes in the outdoors two factors needs to be acceptable: low wind and no rain.

Setting up

The Camera

Even though I love Leica M I find a DSLR with a zoom lens to fit my needs best for strobe photography. An important aspect of shooting in sun with strobes is “x sync” which is a given cameras ability to synchronize with a strobe. The faster the shutter speed a camera can synchronize the better. I use Canon 5D mark III that has a highest synchronization of 1/200th of a second. If I use a higher shutter speed with a strobe, a big black ugly line starts to appear on the button of the image and heres why. A strobe fires at around 1/3000th of a second and in that super short moment the WHOLE censor in the camera needs to be totally open. The shutter mechanism of the Canon 5D mark III stops to expose the whole censor beyond 1/200th of a second hence the black line visible in image.

I do most of my strobe photography in midday bright sunny conditions. I know It doesn’t seem necessary with strobes but I enjoy the look. After I have found a person willing to be photographed and a location, I set up the gear. I then meter the sun. A sunny bright summer midday in Greenland I often measure to ISO 100, 1/200th, F/11. I want my strobe light to offer one F stop faster light:

Typical Day light ISO 100, Shutter 1/200th of a second and F/11

Strobe Light I dial in to ISO 100, shutter 1/200th of a second and F/16. One stop faster. This darkens everything accept the subject and gives a dramatic image and deep blue sky. I don’t always choose this approach as it depends on the location, weather and the subject I photograph. I like to set up the softbox close to the subject, preferable within 1 meter when I do head shots. I don´t like to put up “rules” about how the light should be but many put out up the main light in a 20 degree angle and 1-2 feet higher than the subjects head. This way I like how the light “travels” across the face when I put up the light in a angled position, highlighting one side of the face and shadowing the other side. That way you get a sense of depth and “see” the subjects unique conjures instead of a “mug shot” kind of portrait where the main light points directly at the face. You can control the light fall off with F stops. The higher the F stop, the higher the light fall off and that way you control how dramatic you want the difference between light and shadow but keep defraction in mind when using small apertures. Remember to keep metering the strobe light. When I measure I put the light meter directly under the chin. If the person moves a little make sure your exposure is correct by remeasuring and adjust your light accordingly.

So what is challenging about strobe photography?

I see strobe photography as one part technical, one part creative and one part coincidental. When I set up the light I always have a vision about the image and how the subject is lit. After I have taken the images I had preplanned I try unexpected/unusual angles to shot or sometimes the subject somehow seems better lit another way than I had planned. The point is I always keep a open mind to creative impulse as I shoot. Sometime it leads to mistakes which is also welcome because I learn from mistakes. Even though I have limited experience I hope I have given the reader some sort of insight and I hope more experienced strobe shooters can ad or correct some of the info I have given in the comment field below. I also welcome other online resources about strobe photography in the comment field.


Per Nicolaisen

Husky. Canon 5D Mark II. canon 16-35mm II. 
One softbox on the right. Strobe 1,5 stops faster than sun light(if I remember correctly). It was a little difficult to measure the light “under the chin” as it wanted to bite my hand but I managed :-) 

My dad. Canon 5D Mark II. canon 16-35mm II
Softbox on the upper left, very near the face. Strobe light one stop faster than sun light.

Soccer kids. Canon 5D mark III. Canon 16-35mm II
I loaded my SUV with strobe and photo gear and decided to drive around my home town, Tasiiaq, to see if I could find any people willing to be photographed with strobes, when I saw these youngsters playing soccer. Two lights with standard zooms on the upper right.

Mr. Karl Pivat. Canon 5D mark III. Canon 16-35mm II
Softbox to the upper left, quite close to Mr. Pivat.

Susanne & Hendriks wedding day. Canon 5D mark III. Canon 16-35mm II
Softbox to the upper right. 

My Son and daughter. Malik & Niviaq among “river beauty” flowers <3
Canon 5D mark III. Canon 24-105MM
Softbox to the upper right.

Canon 5D mark III. Canon 24-105MM
softbox to the upper right and one light with standard zoom behind the ship to the right pointing towards the hull of the ship to the left… Light one stop faster than sun light. 

May 282010

It’s about time for another travel article and who better to give it to us thank Ashwin Rao? This time he takes us on his “American Southwest” vacation, in words and images. Thanks Ashwin!

Traveling Through The Four Corners and American Southwest – Camera in Hand…

By Ashwin Rao

Hi again, fellow Steve Huffites! It’s Ashwin, coming to you with another travel journal. Today, I bring you a setting a bit closer to my home, but seemingly a million miles away from everywhere else. The Four Corners is the intersection of 4 states: Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. I have had the good fortune to visit this magical area multiple times already, and I already have plans to explore it further in the months and years to come. I first spent 5 days traveling through northern Arizona on my own with my first serious SLR, the Canon 5D, in 2006. It was there that I felt first swept away by the inspiring beauty of this land, which as cliché as it may sound, is lost in time…I have since been back several times, primarily to New Mexico and Navajo country but also through a large part of Southern Utah and Colorado. The area is beautiful, but also impoverished, and the culture that remains is often eroded by poverty, rampant alcoholism, and disease. So in some ways, I was happy to travel to the land of the proud Navaho, if only to contribute to their economy through my tourism.

Regardless, I wanted to bring you pictures of the region and encourage you to visit this magical place. It is rich in tradition, and brings you a slice of Americana that you’d never find anywhere else. I will bring you pictures that I have taken with my Leicas as well as other cameras, such as the Canon 5D. It really doesn’t matter what camera you bring. The beauty here is so vast, so inescapable, that even a point and shoot can easily be used to make wonderful captures. So without further adieu….. The Four Corners and American Southwest.

Beginning the Journey

There are many places where you can start your journey into this beautiful place, situated upon the Great Colorado Plateau in the heart of America’s Southwest. I have started travels into the region from Albuquerque, NM, Phoenix, AZ, and Salt Lake City, UT on different occasions. There is no immediate access, as whichever port of entry you chose, there will be several hours of travel to get to the heart of this country. For all of this travel, you will be duly rewarded with images that will last a lifetime! So buckle up, and let me take you for a ride.


Utah is typically known for its numerous national parks, and I have had the good chance to see many of these places. On my travels through the south of Utah, I have been able to see Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands and Arches National Park, and so many sites in between. Here is the heart of the Colorado Uplift Zone, which used to be the bed of giant sea that is slowly being elevated by time and the collision of tectonic plates. Let me break my travels there by site visited, though truth be told, there’s as much to see between the national parks as within them.

Bryce Canyon

All that I can say is that Bryce is epic. It is the one place in the entire region that you must see. Time, wind, and the elements have carves a sea of majestic spires in the hillside of this Southern Utah monument, which I consider to be the most beautiful natural spectacle that I have ever seen. While there, remember to wake up early and watch the sunrise light up the Canyon. All that I can say is: Heaven On Earth.

Arches National Park

Arches National Park is one of the most famous of all of America’s national park, famous for the delicate stone arches for which it takes its name. It was here that Edward Abbey, the famous conservationist, gained an appreciation for the majesty of this land and its delicate balance and preservation. Arches serves as a wonderful introduction to the region, and it is close to the uber-cool city of Moab (land of many mountain bikes) as well as Canyonlands National Park. Here are some images taken from the region:

Canon 5D- Delicate arch, taken with a 400 mm f/5.6 with 1.4x and 2x extenders attached. Seriously this image was taken from ½ mile (over 1 KM) away….

Canon 5D- Double Arch

Canon 5D- Sheets of Walls at Arches NP

Canon 5D- Sunset at Arches and Balancing Rock

Canyon lands National Park

This AMAZING national park is often forgotten as it sits aside its more famous neighbor, Arches National Park. Canyonlands is known for its famous viewpoint at Mesa Arch. At sunrise, this arch glows bright read, casting a daunting spectacle upon the scene beyond. While at Canyonlands, I camped literally at a site on the edge of a Canyon, while eagles nested in a dead tree above me. At night, it is so dark here that you can see the arms of the Milky Way spread above you. If you are into Astrophotography, this may be THE place for ya! To be honest, Canyonlands is probably my favorite of all national parks in the region. It is so vast, so overpowering, that it is hard to escape the beauty of the region here. I just felt like taking deep breaths of clean air, keep my eyes open, and take everything in.

Canon 5D- Canonlands Viewpoint

Canon 5D- Mesa Arch

Canon 5D- Indian Ruins in Canyonlands National Park

Canon 5D- Sunset on The Canyonlands

Dead Horse State Park

This is one of those surprising detours that came upon our exit from Canyonlands National park. This beautiful vista is another ideal place to watch a sunrise. While there, my friend and I ran into this older gentleman shooting a large format Horseman Camera. He said that he came here once a month, just to shoot and remember what a joy it was to be alive. I agree:

On the Road Between National Parks

On the road, you will see many sites that you wish you could stop for. After a while, things seem to blur, but as I was traveling with a friend with equal photographic passion to match mine, We got to stop a lot ; ). Here are just a few images taken along the way:

Layers of Colors

Canon 5D: Gnarled Tree

Canon 5D – Going to Dust

New Mexico & Far Eastern Arizona – A Journey with the Leica M8

New Mexico is a quiet land of sleeping ghosts, a place where you can palpably feel the Wild West. I swear, I could hear Clint Eastwood’s footsteps in the distance, but that’s how New Mexico is…a land of subtle grandeur and timeless aging.

I have been to New Mexico now twice, the last time with the Leica M8, some CV and Leica glass, and a week-end to capture life there. Along the way, we visited many sites, including Sky City (America’s longest continuously-inhabited dwelling) and Canyon De Chelly. For those of you who like shooting ruins, both new and old, New Mexico is the place for you. I am lucky to have close friends in the region, and plan to visit again, to see the many sites that I have missed in times past. Here are a few places that I didn’t miss

Leica M8 and Summilux 35 mm asph- Canyon De Chelly

Leica M8- Ruins of Whitehouse Rock

Leica M8- High above

Leica M8- Canon de Chelly from Above

Leica M8- Friends Resting

Leica M8- Dramatic New Mexico Clouds / Abandoned Settlement

Leica M8: Sky City Ruins

Leica M8 – Dog on “leash”

Leica M8 – Needle of Rock


So Much to see, so much to do in Arizona, but inevitably, when you think Arizona, you think “GRAND CANYON”….the Grand Canyon National Park consists of 2 rims, to the south and to the north, and is a place of the grandest majesty present on this planet. This is the landscape photographer’s dream. I came here and last shot the Grand Canyon when I was first getting interested in photography, so some of the images presented to you are my earliest work in my current push…so excuse the oversaturated colors and hyped up contrast. I have always made a point to shoot and process how I feel as I see these images, and here, in the teeth of the Grand Canyon, I wanted to convey the scope and splendor of the place. The easiest access point to the Grand Canyon is probably via Phoenix, followed by a several hour drive north. It’s a pleasant and beautiful drive, and you can stop by the volcanic fields near Flagstaff, divert to Meteor Crater, and other natural beauties on your way there. Make sure to bring warm cloths and some hand protection, as sunrise and sunset can get quite cold.

Canon 5D- Sunrise in the Grand Canyon, North Rim:

Canon 5D- Horseshoe Bend

Canon 5D- Me at Meteor Crater, in the Heart of Navajo Country


During my time in the Four Corners, my time in Colorado was limited. For me, it was maily a pass through from Southern Utah back to New Mexico on the return arm of our trip. However, Colorado should not be discounted as a stop worthy of time spent. Durango is a charming town, and much of the region is taken up by the San Juan Mountain Range, with its old mining towns and snowcapped peaks.

Canon 5D – Storm clouds Gather In the midst- San Juan Mountains

Hopefully, I haven’t bored you with these images. My photography tends to be centered about the busy streets of our cities and my hometown. However, traveling to the Southwest offers a different photographic experience, and I hope that I have nudged you closer to a trip to this wonderful area. Thanks for taking this trip with me!

I am always traveling. You can view some of my travel sets HERE.

My blog is HERE!


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