Oct 302014
 

Dear Steve and Brandon,

I am a young French photographer from the north of France in Lille. I have been following this website for quite a while now and I thought I might want to share some of the images I have taken over the past 2 years. For the last 5 years, I have lived in London playing in a band and decided to go travel to India for 6 months, from where I have just recently come back.

As cliché as it may sound, I was turned on photography by Cartier-Bresson and the decisive moment, all the legacy that followed in Magnum and that way of working with the world. I started taking pictures in London, and what a great place to start with ! I borrowed my dad’s canon Ae1 before turning to a Leica m2 which I bought secondhand at the red dot Leica store in Old street, London, right by the London’s Magnum office.

The idea I very much like about photography is something that Cartier-Bresson talked about, that in photography we evoke things, we don’t try to push or to make a point. This is something that I find inspiring whenever I go out in the streets, not looking for something in particular, having to be ready anytime.

I think the most difficult thing in photography is the fact that the image we print on a piece of paper is flat and 2 dimensional, and yet somehow if we want it to appeal to us and to people, we have to bring it back to a 3 dimensional level with different layers, a story, through visual rhythm and musicality, good composition and so on …
But I also feel not many people today educate themselves with composition and maybe that is because the world is saturated with image and we don’t concentrate anymore. Like i said before, I like the idea to evoke something, or put a question mark on a face, as Cartier-Bresson would say.

The eyes of the children bring questions and one can’t help but notice the “second class ” mark on the train, which refers to the lowest sitting class available in India and it makes me think about the untouchables somehow and I have always wondered the situation of those children.

The first picture was taken in Mathura, India right before the beginning of the holy festival at the train station.

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 The men are stretching and getting ready to go in the water. Funnily I think one could call it ” the evolution of species “.

The second one was taken In Kolkata India before a game of Water Polo.

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It is one of a the few moments I have had with my camera where I felt totally free, not thinking about the camera or anything else, just feeling the moment and actually, I did not have time to look through the viewfinder.

The third one is this child near Agra who came rushing towards me with his bicycle wheel and I manage to grab this moment

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Back when I was shooting with my Leica I would always leave one frame available in the camera when it was the last roll of film I had in my pocket, just in case something would happen. And this time It did.  You might not see it at first but those children are actually posing as prisoners on the other side of the picture, probably smiling to a parent and I knowing that I had a black and white film in the camera, I recognized instantly that those stripped T-shirts they are wearing would turn into prisoner’s outfit and it becomes a double picture, a two sided picture, and at the same time I am the one shooting those children in the back. And I think there are so many layers to that picture, but i don’t want to say to much of what I think because it should awaken your imagination.

The fourth picture was taken in a leisure park near London.

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The last picture was taken right outside Victoria’s station in London.

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There are many pictures I would like to show here, I think I have to limit myself to 3-4, I’ll let Steve decide and you can find myself on social media :

http://benvan.fr/india/

Instagram : @benvanphotos

facebook : benvanphotos

Thank you for reading and thank you Steve for this website.

I still spend time in London and would love to meet fellow photographers around a cup of tea sometime, please feel free to drop me a line : [email protected]
Benjamin Vanhuyse

Oct 292014
 

Dear Brandon and Steve,

My name is Shaul Naschitz. I have been shooting semi-seriously since about 1988. Photography to me is an outlet, a way to express my feelings and thoughts without too many words. I like shooting JPEG only. This format is quite rigid, which helps me convey what I felt during the exposure in the final version of the image. I don’t really care about the technical quality of my photography. Art should provoke emotion – not awe, so it has to be flawed. Like its creator is.

The attached photos were shot with an Olympus E-M1 during a recent trip to Eastern Europe. Hope you enjoy them.

Best regards,
Shaul

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Oct 282014
 

Daily Inspiration – Coming Back To Art

On the 17th of May 2014, my mum, who has been, until recently (She now charges for her skills) an avid amateur photographer, asked me to check the 2nd hand market prices of the Sony NEX-6 here in the UK. She lives in South Africa and the second hand market is small and expensive. Unbeknownst to me, this little piece of research would reignite a passion which I had not explored since my teens some 17 years ago . . .

I then discovered I was living in a time where technology had found a way to give me all the things I wanted when I last explored photography.
A camera which was small, cheaper than $1000, produced excellent photographs and allowed me to change the lens which I felt I needed for my specific artistic desires . . .

This camera is the Sony a6000. I was shocked at how I no longer needed a DSLR. The more I read and the more I researched different cameras and their abilities the more I got excited about what the future held for me and my desire to create art and express myself. I spent 10 years as an actor and musician and now I’m no longer in that field. I desperately needed an outlet and I’ve found it. Thanks to Steve I also discovered the Voigtlander Nokton 1.5, the latest version and in Chrome. Heavy, Beautiful & makes for sensational photographs.

(Side note: When I have my camera around my neck with the Nokton attached, I get so many people asking me to take their picture with their camera. Even when there are a load of other camera enthusiasts around. I think they trust the “old school” looking camera guy over the modern DSLR guys . . . makes me laugh!)

I bought my camera on the 27th of May and I can’t stop shooting. I’m a Super-newbie, not even two months in, but I’m loving the journey.

Steve, thanks to you, and my dear mummy, I have rediscovered an art form I once loved and love again.

Kindest regards, PS. I Shoot RAW! :D

J Anthony Packett
Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/janthonypackett/
Website: www.Qtheband.com

Gear:
Sony a6000 with 16-50mm kit lens
Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f1.5
Lightroom & Photoshop

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Oct 252014
 

This time the genre is a little bit different because I back to my home town, Wuhan, a fierce developing Chinese city. All of them are taken by my Olympus OMD EM-1 Below are some descriptions for these pictures.

His Pride, he is running a small stall which sells clay oven rolls for lots of years. neighbours call him “the old lad”. He does not have sophisticated education background but he is so proud of his two daughters who just went to famous Chinese colleges(one is studying in medical degree)

 The Chinese characters in the picture means “the clay oven rolls”

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In these fiercely developing china cities, thousands of old buildings are demolished for building the new buildings and facilities. However, the compensation paid to these residences are not enough for them to buy new apartments in the same areas. They are reluctant to leave and be called as “nailing residence”

Their destroyed home.

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hundreds of China cities develop their facilities with the incredible speed. These miracles are supported by these workers, the most basic units in these developing moves.

Street Worker

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In many second tier and smaller cities, their monthly salaries are usually under $600, despite the soaring price level. For many workers from the rural areas, their hope is that their second generations get rid of this life style by receiving good education.
However, the college tuitions and fees are not cheap for them. Therefore, in order to support their children, they keep their living quality in the extraordinarily low level. For carrying out the “Chinese Dream” proposed in these years, their living quality is a serious issue need to be addressed

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Reading

Oct 232014
 

Hi Brandon, hi Steve,

Hope you are doing well (it looks like it from your articles on your site…). I have recently returned from a trip to Northern Norway, especially the Lofoten Islands north of the arctic circle. The islands are known for spectacular mountain landscape rising like a wall out of the sea. They provided for a long time the basis for Norway’s wealth through the massive amounts of cods coming to the area in the winter. The area is a dream for any photographer as you have low-standing sunlight, changing weather with always new light and cloud conditions, a wonderful landscape sculptured by the sea and beautiful, picturesque fishing villages. It is also a dream for any amateur or professional fisherman…

My photographic gear for the trip was mainly my A7R with a range of M-Mount lenses (I also took the Nex-7 for a Sigma telephoto lens and the Ricoh GR for the pocket). The gear worked beautifully. Here are three examples taken with a Voigtländer Heliar 75mm f1.8 (Rainbow in Reine), Leica Summicron 35mm pre-Asph (Reflecting mountains at the entry of the Trollfjord near Svolvaer) and the Leica Tele-Elmar 135mm f4.0 (splashing wave in the last sunlight of the day, taken near Ramberg).

For more impressions I have created a set in Flickr (will be added to in the next days / weeks):
https://www.flickr.com/photos/martinstelbrink/sets/72157646260131338/

Best Regards,
Martin
(Willich, Germany)

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Oct 212014
 

Hi Steve,

I have been enjoying your website for over a year, but I have never submitted anything until now. We just returned a few weeks ago from our first visit to Maui. Anyone who has been there knows that Maui is a breathtakingly beautiful place and a photographer’s dream. I shot over 1000 photos so it was very difficult to pick just three, but hopefully these three convey the beauty and tranquility of Maui to those who haven’t been there and bring fond memories to those who have.

We stayed in Kaanapali on the western shore of Maui so we were treated to spectacular sunsets every evening. The picture of my daughter and her cousin playing in the surf was taken about an hour before sunset, when the setting sun seemed to light the surf on fire.

All three pictures were shot in raw with an Olympus OM-D EM-5 and the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 lens, with post processing in Adobe Lightroom 5. The sailboat picture has additional post processing using the Topaz Labs Fusion Express Adjust 5 plug-in.

Enjoy!

Sanjiv Gupta

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Oct 202014
 

Hi Steve!

This time I send you some black and white pictures from the Northern part of the Tuscany. A not very well-known region called Apuan Alps. This is where the Romans got their Marble from (e.g. Carrara). I spent seven days there – and loved it! A really inspiring landscape and only very few tourists although there are really great attractions – like an enormous „La Grotta del Vento“ with wind velocities up to 50 km/h and miles of hiking trails.

Hope you enjoy my photos!

Greetings from Germany,

Roman

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Oct 182014
 

Hi Brandon:

This is Michael again, a third time repeat offender in the daily inspiration submissions. Steve’s recent posts on the Leica M, MP, and Monochrom inspired me so I took out my M240, taped over the red dot, and went shooting. This time I drove over to Massachusetts and went to the Old Sturbridge Village. For those who don’t know, Old Sturbridge is a private museum where actors reenact a 18th century colonial village in New England. The houses, transportation, and daily routine of the villagers are kept frozen in the past. Some of these shots are lucky to be included in the next promotional magazine of the Sturbridge Village.

I brought only the 35mm Summicron ASPH lens with me as I wanted to focus on subjects while having a little room for background, but not too wide. It was a bright day so I put on a 3x ND filter. That’s it. the combo really kept me light and mobile without attracting too much attention.

The M impressed me all over again. Now at the end of 2014, there are cameras out there that does many particular jobs better than the M: the A7s (which I own as well) in low light performance, the A7r in resolution, the Sigma Quattro in image quality, the EM1 in versatility, speed and weather sealing, etc. However in my opinion none matches the M for all around performance. The superb lens offers resolution in gobs; the M240 sensor renders a more accurate and neutral color than the M9, which provides wilder post processing possibilities for me; and the range finder plus manual settings keep the images precisely the way I envisioned them. The Leica M is the only camera that I feel is a true extension of my body (meaning I don’t have to think about it when I shoot). Never once I found myself saying: “ man I missed that shot due to XYZ or man I wished I had XYC feature on this camera.” The thing just works, for me.

For example, on that shot of the woman who was smacking her lips while the stove was cooking. I saw the moment come up, stepped close, raised the camera and shot the scene in the general direction without too much thinking. The camera did the rest.

As you can see, the colors are vibrant on that day. I also got lucky with some surreal clouds to keep things interesting. I converted a couple of shots to Monochrom, and the M240 again demonstrated its rich tonality and wide dynamic range as I pushed those files pretty far in the conversion. I owned a Leica Monochrome before, and I can say that 95% of the times I could not distinguish a M240 B&W conversion from a Monochrome. I’ve since added the A7s as my high ISO B&W shooter.

If you haven’t had a chance to visit rural New England and the Old Sturbridge in particular, I highly recommend the trip!

More of my work can be seen at Http://mikema.photos Thanks for running such a great site Steve!

Michael Ma

New England Summer

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Oct 162014
 

Daily Inspiration #697

By Shane Wiebe

Thanks Steve and Brandon for hosting this amazing site.

I will start with the basics. My name is Shane Wiebe and I’m from Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada. I am a hobbyist and am constantly trying to scrape together funds for the elusive “next lens” that will complete my kit but it’s looking like that might be a while.. I started taking photography more seriously about a two years ago after my camera was stolen out of my hotel room on vacation. I bought an old Minolta X-370 and a Rokkor 50 1.7 and shot film for a year relearning the basics of photography, all the while reading every review I could get my hands on trying to decide what to buy. I was almost sold on the E-M5 but I couldn’t pull the trigger. I guess it was the familiarity of shooting with an SLR and being slightly afraid of trying something I had zero experience with. I ended up buying a used Canon 7D(with grip) and a Canon EF 50 1.4 and shortly after, I found a good deal on a Canon EF 70-200 2.8L IS i and that rounds out my kit for now lol. I enjoy shooting concerts and sports but I haven’t seen a lot of “extreme sports” on this site in the past so I will be submitting some pics of my good friend Mason riding his dirt bike. He regularly gets off work and then rides till sundown and he recently invited me out to his parents ranch to take it all in. For those who don’t know, Freestyle motocross or FMX as it’s known is where a rider will hit jumps and perform gravity defying aerial maneuvers on a motorcycle. In this case, he had his 10’ high ramp roughly 75’ away from the landing. I hope it’s ok if I submit more than three photos.

Framed Canon 7D with 70-200 2.8L IS

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Cliffhanger Canon 7D with 70-200 2.8L IS

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Rock Solid Canon 7D with 70-200 2.8L IS

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Look ma, NO HANDS!!! Canon 7D with Canon 50 1.4

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Whiteout Canon 7D with 70-200 2.8L IS

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All pics were shot in RAW and edited in Lightroom
Rider- Mason Bozarth
Thanks for looking :)

Oct 152014
 

Hi Steve,

I had no interest in photography at all, until a few years ago the battery on my old P&S died and could not be replaced, so I started my homework looking for a camera that’s “a little more capable”, giving me a little bit more control for artistic creation … and that’s when I read your site, picked up my first mirror-less camera in the E-PL1, and started getting into photography.

The past few years I visit your site every couple of days to start my day at work, just to look for inspiration (and excuse for new toys). Recently armed with my new toy in OM-D E-M5, I went on a weekend getaway trip to Washington DC with my wife, and it was the best trip we’ve had in the last little while – not just because we’re both interested in history and museums, but because Washington is such a photographic city where every time you turn around there’s something you want to take a photo of … so good that my wife and I each brought our own camera, and we looked at and rated each others’ photos when we get back to the hotel at night!!

So as a tribute to you and your site’s contribution to our new found hobby, we’d like to submit some of our photos for daily inspiration for the very first time … we’re very much beginners in photography, but hoping our photos can inspire others to get into photography as well!!

Here are the pic’s!

“The flag” was taken at the WW2 Memorial at DC. (E-M5 with the Olympus 15-150mm lens at f16 1/1250). We were walking in the national mall, touched by all the lives the country has sacrificed I felt an urge to take a photo of the flag, and my wife likes this picture the most of all the pics I took that afternoon at the mall.

“Pool” was taken by my wife at the WW2 memorial pool. (E-PL1, and the 14-42 kit lens at 42mm f11 1/800). The peace and fun the kids can enjoy playing in the pool, the Lincoln memorial in the background, the WW2 Memorial .. that’s why my wife took this photo.

“Alexandria” was taken at the Alexandria Old Town. (E-M5, the Panny 20mm f1.7 lens at f2, 1/3200). I just loved how the yellow hydrant looks in front of the blue siding.

Hope you like the pics! And keep up your excellent work!
Cheers,
Derek

Alexandria

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Oct 142014
 

Hi Brandon and Steve,

My name is Ahadi Bayu Tejo from Jakarta, Indonesia. I am a frequent reader of your site. Your site is very useful for me in developing my photography knowledge.

I just switched from a DSLR user to micro 4/3. I enclose several pictures that I took during my first try of my new (second-hand) camera, an Olympus E-PL5 with Panasonic 20mm and Olympus 45mm lenses. I took the photos at my home and the Botanical Garden, and saved them in JPEG. I find that using Olympus art filter is very interesting, reminds me the days when I shoot with B&W film.

Hope your site readers enjoy the pictures. Thank you.

Regards,

Bayu

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Oct 132014
 

Hi Steve and Brandon

I have read your blog for some years now and it has really helped to get me interested in photography again having lost my muse during the change from film to digital. I went for around ten years without taking any proper shots but have finally made the transition to digital photography. After borrowing a Fujifilm X100 from my brother (who is very firmly Leica and had no use for it) I decided to buy an X-Pro1 and get back into photography properly. I have never looked back. The X-Pro1 has been a great camera but the autofocus is really quirky and I think it was probably released before it was quite ready. Have had some good results with it but once the X-T1 came out it was no competition and I’ve now made the switch. It is an excellent camera and everything the X-Pro1 should have been. Recently I’ve been working on a theme of using an anonymous figure to add a sense of scale to the images and thought I could share some of these with you and your readers.

The photo of a winter tree was taken on Hampstead Heath with the X-Pro1 and 14mm lens (1/150s at f/8.0 and ISO800) – the sunlight was very harsh but made a good silhouette of the tree. The 14mm lens is wonderful and has become my favourite lens for this type of photo. Didn’t look half as good in colour so was developed using Silver Efex Pro 2. Likewise the one of the crane (which is near Millwall Dock in London) used the same camera and lens as well as SEP2.

The final photo (the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern) was taken with the new X-T1 and the 18-55mm zoom (1/200s at f/22.0) – the light there is very dramatic in the late afternoon in the summer. The electronic viewfinder on the X-T1 lets you preview your shots in black and white before you press the button if you switch to BW film simulation mode which for me makes a real difference when composing a photo.

Any constructive feedback on the photos would be great – always hard to know if you are going down the right path!

My website is at http://photoponica.com/ and there are more of my photos on Flickr here https://www.flickr.com/photos/gadzooksman/

All the best and thanks for providing such an inspiring website.

 

Mark Richards

Three photos:

A Winter Tree (Hampstead Heath)

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The Silent Guardian (crane nr Millwall Dock in London)

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Tate and style (Turbine Hall at Tate Modern)

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Oct 102014
 

Hello Brandon and Steve,

I would very much like to submit three photos for your “daily inspiration”.

My name is Jan and I have been taking photos for two years now. Before that, I took snapshots while on holiday for many years, all very, very bad, but that was it – never anything more.

So, then I got my first digital camera, one with a lens that came off to boot, and I found it pretty good fun. Which in turn lead me to pick up two Nikon V1’s for X-mas presents as they were dirt cheap and apparently not at all bad. Alas, the one I got for my wife was not “good enough” for her, and I thought: well, damn! I bet it is for me. And of course, it was. What a great learning tool it is, I have not picked up my first camera since early last spring.

Anyway, as a severely disabled person, I only managed to use my V1 outdoors a total of five times last year. I was having to learn while hanging out through the window. But it really helped keep me sane all the same, and gave me some purpose on endless days.

All three pictures are from my walks around Amsterdam. That’s right: walks. I’ll spare you all the long story about the experimental treatment and a winter spent at a hospital fighting for my life. The only thing you need to know is that the V1 ROCKS!!! What a crying shame Nikon is neglecting this format so badly.

I am submitting two pictures taken with the 6.7-13mm zoom and one with the 30-110mm, I love them both. I must have taken about seven or eight thousand frames with the 30-110mm zoom – it was the only one that was usable from my window up high and let me achieve some kind of subject isolation. Now that has all changed, of course; I am able to just pick up my V1 and walk out the door and into the fresh air. Life is pretty good. = )

Submitted by Jan H. Maaso, Zeedijk 65-A, 1012 AS Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
More of my photos here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/janmaaso/

Oh, and thanks for a great blog! Love it.

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Oct 092014
 

Hello Steve and Brandon!

I’m a hobbyist photographer from Athens, Greece. I’ve been reading and enjoying your site ever since I got bitten by the photography bug, around 3 years ago (thanks to my dad, an avid photographer himself)! I have to say, you are doing a terrific job! The way you manage to present useful information, photography subjects and elaborate reviews, without getting overly consumed into technical details (and consequently missing photography itself) is marvelous. You seem really passionate about photography, and it clearly shows.

I’ve wanted to write to you for you “Daily Inspiration” section for quite some time, but I’ve always been postponing it, mainly because I wasn’t sure what to write to accompany my images! Oh well…! Today, after giving it some further thought, I decided to take the plunge! After all, it is all about inspiration through photography, right?!

All shots were taken with my beloved Olympus OMD EM-5, a camera that even after 3 years, doesn’t stop to impress me. They were processed with Adobe Lightroom. Trying to select 3 images to send was very hard – I’m sure anyone into photography will understand! I hope you like them.

If anyone is interested into seeing more of my collection, feel free to visit my personal website: http://www.dimpappasphoto.com

Thank you very much for your efforts, and keep up the good work!

Kind regards,

Dimitris Pappas

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Oct 082014
 

Hi Brandon and Steve,

My name is Hai and I would like to share 3 different photographs of my experience in Brazil during the World Cup if I may. I had such a wonderful time there and met many people who shared the love of the world game. At the same time I was a little paranoid about theft, so I only took one camera and one lens with me (well 3 cameras if you include my GoPro and phone), just to keep it discrete, simple, and light.

The RX1R is discrete enough to stay hidden among the DSLR users, and small enough to tuck away in the pocket of my light-weight jacket. A 35mm lens was all I needed, and usually around the focal length I normally only shoot anyway so it was perfect for 90% of my holiday. One day, walking around Salvador, a local pointed to my camera mounted to my bag’s shoulder strap, and waved his finger warning me not to have it out in a public place. To be honest though, as long as you practise common sense, – in any country – you should be safe.

The first photo is of the Milky way shot at the base of Morro do Pico (Pico Mountain) on an island called Fernando de Noronha, Brazil. Brazil is also famous for its beaches so the second photo is of a shorebreak also on Fernando de Noronha. Another part of the World Cup experience is travelling between cities, which also means waiting for your next flight, so the third is at an airport where “Fun Zones” are set up for people to continue their World Cup experience. I hope you enjoy my photos (all taken with the RX1R).

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