Jun 092014
 

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The Phoenix Comicon. Portraits with the Leica M, 50 APO and Alien Skin Exposure 6.

Hey guys, I know it is only a few days after I posted Part 1 of the Leica 50 Summciron APO review but I just wanted to sit down and write-up a quick photo article as I just got in from shooting the M 240 and 50 APO at the Phoenix Comicon and once again, the lens continues to impress me when used on the M 240. Take this as a companion to part one of the review. Part 2 is still to come! 

Make sure you click on each image to see it larger. A few of these have a filter applied (where noted) using the new Alien Skin Exposure 6 film filter set. I have used Alien Skin Exposure since Version 1 and love it. You can download a free trial of the new Version 6 HERE.

Shooting the 50 APO on the M is a dream. The focus is easy and I used the Rangefinder 100% of the time. Take a look at the image below which was shot wide open, all natural light. A quick grab shot and it has that medium format look. This was shot in the sun at 2PM in Phx, AZ so you know it is harsh light. This combo did excellent. 1st a B&W conversion, and 2nd, direct color out of the M 240.

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Again, the color is superb. Add to that the sharpness without being harsh or analytical and you have a winning combo. I used the Alien Skin Exposure 6 Astia preset for this one. 

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Click the images to see them larger, PLEASE! They look much better ;) The detail in the full size shot of this one is amazing. To see that full size, click the image below (open in new window for best view)

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The Bokeh of the 50 APO is ethereal with some similarities to the Noctilux (when the Noct is at f/2 or so). For this one I used an Alien Skin filter but can not remember which one. There are so many to choose from and it is fun just experimenting with them all. 

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1st…Here is an OOC JPEG, cropped. The 2nd is using a film filter from VSCO. Not Alien Skin but VSCO, which is a bit different as it applies the filter to the RAW file itself.

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Had some shade for this one..again a B&W conversion using the new Alien Skin Exposure 6 (I have used Alien Skin since Version 1, and love it). Below it the color version. 

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Again, the harsh sun..no problem even with the high contrast of the 50 APO.

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Beautiful detail, tones and color once again in less than perfect light. I do not use flashes, ever. 

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Every one of the images here were shot at f/2, wide open where this lens is designed to be shot. In fact. I am not seeing more sharpness at f/4. You just lose the oh so slight vignette that is there at f/2.

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Two girls having fun taking a selfie with a dude wondering why I am taking their picture ;) He looks confused. 

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As hundreds were in line shuffling in I was snapping images from anyone who looked my way. Alien Skin B&W filter without the noise added.

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A Mother and Son who were exited for the event. I wish they had these events when I was young, my Mom would have so taken me in costume!

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This guy asked ME to take his image..

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There were tens of thousands of people at the event. I believe there was an estimated 70,000 there on Saturday. Next year I am going for all three days and hanging out for a few hours a day. Not only did I get to see some cool costumes and take photos, I met a couple of other photographers as well! This couple went all out…

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The color, Bokeh (see the reflection in the BG), the sharpness from edge to edge..nice. 

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I meant to take a picture of the Minecraft head guy, but noticed the other kid smiling at the camera, so focused on him instead. 

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In the harshest most brutal mid day Phx AZ sun…I did not use an ND filter. Used an Alien Skin Neopan filter minus the grain. 

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and inside just ONE of the many sections/buildings – it was a MADHOUSE!

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Inside this guy looked a little spooked when he saw me pointing the camera at him..

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So there are just a few photos from my hour or two at the Phoenix Comicon. I was not prepared for the mass amounts of people so did not enjoy it inside so much but it was a blast outside. Next year I am going all three days just to hang outside. If any local Phx area shooters want to go with, let me know! Will be a blast. The M 240 and 50 APO is as one would expect, a rock solid pairing. The lens is also literally made for the Monochrom. But I will state again as I did in part one of my review for the lens…you do not need a lens of this caliber to get good photos. The old Summicron is also lovely as is the 50 Summilux. The old cron can be had for about 1/4 the price so it is up to you to decide if the perfection and qualities of the 50 APO are worth it to you in money and in the long wait required to get one.

Happy Monday!

Steve

Mar 242014
 

faces

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

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Jan 222014
 

2013 in just twelve images on different formats 

by Bjarke Ahlstrand

Last year I did a – one year – 2012: 12 months, 12 images, 12 cameras / lenses in total guest report for Steve. It was tough to make, it’s really hard to narrow down a big production to just one image per month, but very rewarding as well.

So I decided to do the same this time around. Those familiar with my work, either here at Steve’s site or my own www.oneofmany.dk will notice that I’ve been drifting slightly towards film and large format recently. The slow process has been healthy for me mentally and photographically speaking. I shoot less images, but work harder for each one, and it’s a thrill to learn new skills — especially ones that aren’t linked to Photoshop.

2013 was a good year for me in many ways, and also challenging. Sometimes I feel I’m balancing between being creative and obsessed, both when it comes to shooting portraits as well as using new cameras and lenses, hehehe. I still treasure my Leica M9-P more than anything else, but the artistic freedom (and limits) the large format view cameras give are very inspiring. Nowadays, whenever I grab a digital camera, I miss the selective focus / shallow depth of field while shooting large format extremely open, but also the tonality and amount of detail that I get from even 100-year-old non-coated lenses. An 8×10″ is approximately 60 times digital full frame, and a Swiss built large format Sinar camera, be it 60 years or 6 years old, is at east 60 times more fun to operate than a modern Canon/Nikon.

Well, here are 12 images, one for each month, all shot on different cameras, formats and lenses.

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FILE: 1 – January – 8×10 – silver shade polaroid

Miss Roxy – Arca Swiss 8×10″ – 305 mm Kodak Portrait Lens (ca. 1930) @ f/4.5 – Silver Shade Polaroid

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The Impossible Project revived the 8×10″ Polaroid, when they purchased the last production machine from the bankrupt Polaroid plant in Mass, USA, and had it moved to their European headquarters in Holland. The Silver Shade Polaroid, the only one being made in the 8×10″ large format size, isn’t exactly black and white, but still nice to work with, as long as you can live with chemical defects, and manage to get your hands on an antique Polaroid processor which is need to pair the 8×10″ negative with the positive (large format doesn’t work like the old peel-apart Polaroid cameras and film!). Miss Roxy, my assistant posed for this image, which was shot with quite a few tilt and shifts on a 1970s Arca Swiss camera, and the lens mounted on the camera is a wonderful, wonderful 1930s soft focus Kodak Portrait Lens.

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FILE: 2 – February – Hasselblad h3d

Zombieboy – Hasselblad H3D-39 – 150 mm Fujinon HC @ f/5.6

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When it comes to sharpness, tonality, color and file quality, no digital camera beats the 39 megapixels Hasselblad medium format monster. And yes, I’ve shot the Nikon D800, but it doesn’t even come closer, and neither do the lenses. The Hassy is slow and heavy and really suffers if you go past ISO200, but if you treat it like a film camera, it works excellent, and the resolution it offers is utterly amazing even though it’s a few years old now.

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 FILE: 3 – march – 4×5 – sinar polaroid

Anker – Sinar P2 4×5″ – 240 mm unknown 1860s Petzval lens @ f/3.8 – Expired Fuji Polaroid

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I love the fast lenses! Everyone who’s ever shot a manual f/1 lens, like the Noctilux, Nokton or Sonnetar, knows how difficult it is to achieve a somewhat precise focus. But when you move to the large format, in this case, the 4×5″ film format, things get waaaaay more difficult control — and if your lenses were made in 1860 instead of 1960, you add to the difficulty aspects, but the reward is equally bigger, if you nail it. And even though the output material is an old expired Fuji Polaroid, the depth of field and detail is amazing. It was shot a night-time, using only my Ikea table lamp as the light source — and two small light candles which I place behind him.

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FILE: 4 – april – 5×7 – kodak 2b wetplate collodion berlin

Alex – Kodak 2B 5×7″ – 150 mm Rapid Rectilinear @ f/8 (ca 1890) – wetplate collodion

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Mmmmmhhhh, the smell of ether :-) When I had a chance to join a wetplate collodion seminar in Berlin, held by American David Puntel, I simply had to attend. What a fine (and difficult) process. I’m sure most of you have heard or read about it elsewhere, so I won’t go into the tech/chemical aspects, but just recommend everyone into photography to try the 1850-1851 photography process, which is very rewarding. It sharpens your senses, and you really consider, plan and compose your image, before pressing the shut… ehh, correct that, you don’t use a shutter for this, because the old lenses have none, and you need a lot of (day)light. You just remove the darkslide, take off the lens cap, and let the subject, in this case animation director, Alex Brüel Flagstad, sit absolutely still for 14 seconds. This was a so-called half-plate which is a tiny bit smaller than 4×5″. Notice the silver nitrate on my fingers. It took months before it disappeared.

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FILE: 5 – may – Leica m9-p 35 summicron

Assistant+Artist shot by oldest clone – Leica M9-P – 35 mm Summicron @f/2 (1st version, anno 1964)

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A rare shot of me in action. I am placed one the right with the dark cloth on my head, while planning a 4×5″ Ektachrome dias portrait shoot. My oldest son, Hjalte, shot this behind the scenes photo with the Leica M9-P and an old 35 mm Summicron that I’d just purchased from conflict photographer Jan Grarup, whom I guess is the only real documentary/war professional who actually shoot with Leica for a living. Jan exchanged his old glass in favor for the new Voigtländers, so I got his old 35 mm Summicron. The first version of the classic lens really shines on the M9-P, which is still my all-time favourite digital camera, due to portability and quality (as long as you don’t enter the 640+ iso’s, hehe) and not least lenses, lenses, lenses.

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FILE: 6 – june – leica m typ240 apo-summicron

Katja naturelle – Leica M Typ240 – 50 mm Apo-Summicron Asph @ f/2

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I don’t have a Typ240, I just borrowed one along with the new 50 mm Apo-Summicron Asph for a day. With my love of cameras, I have of course considered the Typ240 many times, but every time I hold one, it just doesn’t feel like my kind of camera. Can’t exactly say why, and I know it beats my older M9-P technically speaking, I just think the CCD sensor of the old Leica renders better/differently (at lower ISOs). The new 50 mm Apo-Summicron, on the other hand, whauuuuh, that one would be a nice addition to my collection of Leica 50′s (Noctilux Asph, Summilux Asph, Sonnetar, Jupiter-3, Summitar, Summar), but the price tag… well, I guess I’d rather buy 10 antique Petzval lenses for my large format cameras… Or a Monochorme. But it sure is nice, resolution wise almost matching the medium format Schneider Kreuznach, Rodenstock and Fujinon HC lenses, just so much smaller. This image is straight out of camera, no adjustments, and wide open @ f/2.

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FILE: 7 – july – 8×10 – Dallmeyer 2A Petzval f4 – Fuji Velvia 50

Katja Nun – Sinar P2 8×10″ – 300 mm Dallmeyer Petzval 2B (ca 1870) @ f/3.8- Fuji Velvia 50

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Same subject as before, my girlfriend Katja, only this time around she was shot on a 140 year old Dallmeyer Petzval lens. The Petzval lenses are famous for their swirliness around the edge and utter sharpness in the center. They’re extremely fast (f/3.8 – f/4 on large format is like f/1 on kleinbild 35 mm in-depth of field terms, and if you tilt-shift the camera it’s even more extreme). I shot this on an old, expired 8×10″ Velvio 50ISO dias in the very last evening light, and she had to sit still for half a second. With the light passing and time it takes to re-focus, load the film holder (which only holds two images, one on each side), removing the darkslide and wait for the camera to stand still, you only have one chance, so you often miss a shot. Especially sharpness wise as the depth of field is extremely small. But not this time around. Of course what you see here is a low resolution file, but the original 8×10″ positive – and scanned file amazes me. If only 8×10″ dias weren’t so tough to come by (and expensive) this would be my preferred medium. But hopefully you get a glimpse of the sharpness and bokeh this old lens produces…

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FILE: 8 – may – 4×5 – Linhof 135 mm

Viking Viggo – Linhof Technika IV 4×5″ – 135 mm Symmar @ f/5.6 – Ilford Delta 100

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Now and then it’s nice to go offline. Away from mails, text messages, facebook, hell — even stevehuff.com! Especially if you have kids who are always online, and addicted to it. So this summer, my clones (ages 14 and 9) and I spent one weekend as vikings at a historic “reservation”. The offspring agreed to leave every electronic device at home, as long as I did the same. So I bought my Linhof Technika IV and 5 filmholders, so I would be able to shoot maximum 10 images through out a whole week. It turned out to be somewhat of a challenge, as there were many nice photo opportunities and, for once, I had a lot of time on my hands. But I guess the slow-photography-dogma was therapeutic to me, and when I got home and developed the ten sheets of film, I was thrilled that 7 out of 10 turned out very well. This one is my favorite. I was chopping wood but discovered that Viggo was playing with a kitten behind a tent, so I located the Linhof, guessed the light (1/8th of a second at f/5.6 on a Ilford Delta 100 sheet film), called his name and pressed the shutter. I adore the old school documentary-ish vibe it has to it. This is film when it’s best, and I couldn’t have done something with this tonality had it been a digital camera. Playing viking for a whole week, I sure missed my Leica, but the large format “portable” Linhof proved to be a worthy companion (it was my first time using the German 1960s mechanical metal marvel — the Leica of large format! It’s extremely well-built, like a Leica).

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FILE: 9 – september – leica monochrome 50 mm sonnetar f1

Mrs Madsen On The Roof – Leica Monochrome – 50 mm MS-Optical Sonnetar @ f/1.1

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I adore the Monochrome, and I wish I owned one. Every time I borrow one, I love and loathe it at the same time. It’s so extravagantly priced and immensely simple, but it just works — especially with old lenses. Or old lens designs, as is the case with this crazy handmade Japanese lens, the Sonnetar, based on the Sonnar design, but taken to extremes; both size wise and in aperture terms. Wide open its f/1.1, a little hard to handle, but produces dreamy images with out of this world background bokeh (it’s after all made in Japan). I don’t think Steve has had a review or guest report with images taken with this lens, which I bought directly from Japan earlier this year, but if there’s a demand for it, I might do a small review and supply some samples (it handles color images very well as well). It’s very cheap compared to the Noctilux, and performs way, way, way better than the horrible Cosina (Voigtländer) Nokton f/1.1.

FILE: 10 – october – 8×10 – direct_positive_paper

Afghan Princess – Sinar P2 5×7″ – 360 mm Voigtländer Heliar (ca anno 1903) @ f/4.5 – Ilford Direct Positive Paper

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I often shoot paper negatives on large format. It’s a cheap way of testing new lenses (paper is way cheaper than negatives), but you always have to either make contact prints in the dark room or scan it and invert it Photoshop. Enter the very nice Ilford Direct Positive Paper, which is sort of a mixture of classic photo paper and polaroid. You shoot it in your 4×5″, 5×7″ or 8×10″ film holder, and when you develop it (in paper chemicals – and under red light) it transforms from a negative to a positive. A bit like wet plate collodion, except this is far easier and less dangerous, chemically speaking. So I’d recommend this to everyone shooting large format, as it’s very pleasing to see the result directly after you’ve shot your image. In this case I did a portrait of an Afghan (refugee) princess with a fantastic 110 year old 36 cm / 360 mm Voigtländer Heliar portrait lens, which even survived a fire some ten years ago and has cement between the elements! Those old Voigtländer lensus unlike the new Cosina-branded ones for Leicas and micro 4/3s are very well made, and perform excellently, even one hundred years are they were made. The Direct Posistive Paper is rated somewhere in between ISO1 and ISO3 and is most suited for pinhole cameras, as it’s very contrasty, but I think it’s nice for portraits as well, as long as you learn to balance your light a bit. For this I used a flash, or was it three ProFoto generators :-?

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FILE: 11 – november – 1913 goecker studio wood camera expired 809 polaroid

Jesper – Goecker Wooden Studio Camera (1913) 8×10″ – Dallmeyer 3B 300 mm Portrait Lens @ f/4 – Expired (1995) 809 Polaroid

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I buy a lot of old gear, and I always appreciate spending time with the old time pros or collectors from whom I get my gear. In this case, I bought some old Linhof cameras (4×5″ and 5×7″) from an old master about to retire. He had been a pro for 45 years (!), and never went digital. In his hay days he developed 2000 5×7″ prints every day! Both color and b&w. He also had an old (dating back to 1913) wooden studio camera in his studio and I immediately fell in love with the old beauty. A 100 year old camera, which still works like a dream. It was equipped with a gigantic Petzval-design portrait lens, the Dallmeyer 3B. Neither camera nor lens had any shutter, which – unless you shoot wetplate or paper negatives – actually can be somewhat of a problem due to the (short) exposure times. But fortunately the old pro found a box of old 8×10″ 809 Polaroid’s, a film I’d never shot before, which expired back in 1995. He doubted I could get anything out of the remaining 4 polaroid’s in the box, but I did. This image was shot only with the light from my living room lamp, using my HAND as a shutter for approximately one second. I absolutely love the final result – what you see here is a plain scan of the image I shot. Notice the text lines next to his face – they come from the “negative condom” or protection sheet that the polaroid’s were wrapped in. Somehow, during the 18 since (since expiration date) some of the text managed to creep unto the negative. Pure light magic.

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FILE: 12 – december – canon 5d mark iii

Teen Clone – Canon EOS 5D Mark II – Canon 24-50 mm II @ f/4

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My oldest clone never wants to be photographed because he’s 1) a teenager 2) thinks his father is embarrassing 3) doesn’t like cameras or photography 4) has braces and pimples all over his face — BUT — he also needed to give his mother, my ex-wife, something for x-mas, so he bought a frame, and asked if I would do a portrait. I did two, actually, an 8×10″ analogue, but then I snapped a test shot with my Canon, and it turned out best. Yes, that’s right. I do digital light metering tests before using precious sheet film / polaroids! I practically never use the Canon camera, as it’s big and has no personality and uses auto focus zoom lenses, hahaha. Well, snobbing aside, its video capabilities talk for them selves, but it is of course the 5D Mark III is a very capable professional tool, very rarely failing in any way. But I still prefer an old Leica, Linhof or an old wooden studio camera :-)

I guess that concludes my 2013 in just twelve images on different formats, cameras and lenses.

Perhaps I should mention, that I’m in the process of my building my own 20×24″ ultra large format camera, so perhaps you’ll see an image from that alongside a Minox next year, hehe.

Best,

Bjarke

www.oneofmany.dk

Oct 262013
 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Phoenix AZ Zombie Walk with the Olympus E-P5 and E-M1!

Just arrived back home from the Zombie Walk here in Phoenix, AZ and it was a blast as usual. This year I brought along the Olympus E-M1 and E-P5 with a 17 1.8, 25 0.95 and 45 1.8. Oh, and also a Panasonic 8mm Fisheye. I was curious to see if I would prefer using one camera over the other and while I thouroghly  enjoyed them both, i enjoyed the E-M1 a little more and most of my faves came from the E-M1 as well. Not sure why that is..because the IQ is VERY close with the E-M1 being a little different in color and sharpness. Just slight.

Some of my faves from the day are below, but what is really cool is that today we have so many lenses in the Micro 4/3 world that can give us whatever we want..from ultra fisheye wide to wide to standard to shallow DOF tools such as the 25 0.95. It’s an all around fantastic system and the REALLY cool thing is I did not have one out of focus image. Not a one. Also, using the 25 0.95 on either camera was a joy. No need for magnification or peaking due to the EVF being so large and clear.

At the end of the day I would purchase an E-M1 if buying into the Micro 4/3 system just because it offers so much and does it all so right. The E-P5 is also awesome, with looks that kill but the large EVF on top sort of kills the Mojo when in use or trying to put in a bag.

I have spoken quite a bit about these two cameras and it seems I can not say enough. I love them but most of all I love these lenses! They are so so good.

The E-M1 or E-P5 along with a Sony A7 or A7r would make for one killer “Do It All” system. One built for speed and versatility and one built for flat-out IQ. G.A.S. sucks.

Check out the images below and click on them for the details!

See ya Monday with the new Sony’s IN HAND!

Steve

The E-P5 and 17 1.8 at 1.8 – click it for larger

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The E-M1 and 25 0.95 at 0.95

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The E-P5 and 45 1.8 at 1.8. This lens at $399 is a must for any M 4/3 user. Trust me. 

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E-M1 and 17 1.8 at f/2.2

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E-M1 and 17 1.8 – Wide open at 1.8. Click it for large and detailed. Who said this lens was soft? This was also in some bright sunlight and the E-M1 handled it nicely. 

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The E-M1 and 17 1.8

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Again, the 17 1.8

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E-M1 and 25 0.95 at 0.95 and up close – amazingly sharp for wide open. The E-M1 works magic on these lenses

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Again, E-M1 and 25 0.95 at 0.95

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E-P5 and 17 1.8

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E-P5 and 17 1.8

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E-M1 and 25 0.95 at 0.95. DOF is thin but I focused on the girl..

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E-M1 and 25 0.95 at 0.95

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E-M1 and 25 0.95

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E-M1 and 17 1.8 – This was in SUPER harsh light but the highlights were easily recovered here in RAW processing. 

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E-P5 and 8mm Fisheye

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E-P5 and 17 1.8

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E-P5 and 17 1.8

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17 1.8

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45 1.8

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Me and Debby! WITHOUT Makeup :)

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ORDER LINKS:

You can order the E-M1 Here

You can order the E-P5 Here

You can order the 25 0.95 Lens HERE

You can order the 17 1.8 HERE

You can order the 45 1.8 Here

Oct 012013
 

homelesslee

Amazing Portraiture of the Homeless from Lee Jeffries

I just today discovered some work by Lee Jeffries that brought me to full attention to my screen. After viewing all of them, I knew I had to share the link to his images. Some of you may know that I have photographed the Homeless many years ago now and when I took on that small project I was attacked and ridiculed by many who had no idea what the intent of my project was. I was also praised by many for the work and for helping these people out. They are just like us, we are all Human Beings living on this earth with one physical life and not all of us have it as easy as others. In my travels I have found that many Homeless were once living a decent life until something catastrophic pushed them over the edge with no way of returning to the life they once had.

Some experienced the death of a spouse or a chile and could not handle the loss. Some lost their jobs of 20+ years and then had nothing. Some were mentally ill and had no family to take care of them. A few were drug abusers who brought it all onto themselves but one thing remained constant, they lost all hope and were just walking the streets, living by dumpsters and waiting for their life to come to an end.

The images I took on 35mm film were raw, basic and honest. I approached these men and women on the street with a helping hand in the form of food, water, cash or clothing/blankets/pillows. I sat down with them and got to know them and why they were in the situation they were in. I spoke with them, laughed with them and even cried with a couple of them. I followed up with a few over a year and some were gone and some were still roaming the streets trying to survive. Some of my photos are HERE but they do not compare to the emotion, rawness and beauty of the images I saw today from Lee Jeffries. I do not know what he used to capture the images and I do not care, it does not matter.

I do not have permission to share his images here nor have I spoken with him (though I did send him a message), but I urge you to take a look at his gallery HERE. Amazing portraits.

Steve

 

Sep 262013
 

Head hunting on the Bonneville Salt Flats with the Sony RX100

By Terry Bell

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Hi Steve;

Hoping life is being kind to you. Your site has become my go to photo blog each morning.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the great joy of accompanying a dear friend to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, where,he would attempt to gain membership in the 200 mph club, aboard his BMW motorcycle.

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I decided to take two cameras with me on this adventure… My Fujifilm X Pro1 with 18-55 zoom and 14 mm wide-angle, and as back up , my Sony RX100.

After watching the first few timed runs, ( from a considerable distance ) it became clear that i was not going to come close to capturing the speed and excitement that some of these motorcycles generate, with the equipment I had.

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I decided that rather than focus on the motion, I would instead, turn my attention to the community of racers and staff that show up each year to make this event so special.

My go to camera for this project was my Sony RX100. It’s big advantage beyond it’s ability to render incredibly crisp images, is that it is, by and large, totally un-intimidating. I always like to work close when shooting people and I have found that the more serious the equipment, the greater the anxiety of the subject.

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Here on the Salt Flats, I was shooting total strangers and rarely was afforded more than two or three trips of the shutter. The little Sony performed flawlessly and took any hint of seriousness off my picture-taking.

As you can see by a couple of other pics, it did an equally fine job at capturing the beauty of the some of the machines, as well.

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Hope this proves of interest.

Terry Bell

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Canada

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Jul 032012
 

Hello Steve and Hello everybody!

Shortly about my self.

46 years, Male, Danish, use to be pressphotographer from 1985 – 2005. Lost my inspiration, my energy and my “photoway” of thinking. So I gave up and played some bass guitar instead. But I did not sell all my cameras, so on hollidays I took pictures like you do on hollidays. I still have a Nikon D200 and a 17 – 55 mm.

I have had all the professional Nikon cameras, often three or four at the same time. All the good lenses – incl. the brilliant 300mm f 2,8 ;-) The manuel one. AND I had the Leica M6 with some good lenses. I sold everything for digital Nikon system – and then – I gave it all up.

The past three – four years I have taking almost no pictures. Except with my iPhone. I had it always by my side. So I though that if I should have the inspiration back, I had to find a small camera with high quality that I could have on me all the time. I was thinking of my Leica M6 and the way I took pictures when I had that camera in my hand. I was more focussed and more creative than with my Nikon. Don´t ask why. Do anyone have an answer to that ?

I researched around the web and found the Leica X2 test on this site. So here I am. With a black beaty in my hand. Included the electronic viewfinder.

The X2 give me what I need. When I take it in my hand I feel we are a team. I use it fully automatic, and fully manuel – I only take black and white – I expose the pictures in BW and I run them thrue Photoshop and Silver Efex Pro 2. (I do not have the money for a Monochrome. Let´s see if there´s a M10 soon.)

Thanks for the X2 test and thanks for all the stories from around the world. You have all giving me a lot of energy and inspiration back

The chosen photos are all taking when I was on tour.or just down town.

All the best

Lasse Jorgensen

Denmark

 

Jun 302012
 

A question I get several times a week: Can a small mirrorless camera replace a DSLR? 

With the trend in digital photography today heading to the small powerhouse bodies with larger sensors many have dumped their DSLR’s for the likes of  a Sony NEX camera, an Olympus OM-D, a Leica X2, Nikon V1 or one of the many other small mirrorless cameras that are now flooding the market.

It seems that ever since digital cameras started being produced, photography has taken a turn of some sorts. Today, for many, it is just as much about the device being used as it is the images themselves. Many shooters today get more enjoyment out of the GEAR than they do the PHOTOS. This is a true fact, and I try to keep a balance myself as I love the gear but I also love and am passionate about photography. But what is the most important is that people are gaining joy from all of this and if buying a Leica X or Sony NEX makes you happy, then why not?

I feel it is important to use a tool that you can bond with..learn with and thoroughly enjoy. I have had a love affair with smaller cameras over the past few years because I was so tired of lugging a huge backpack around whenever I wanted to go out and shoot.

Back in the earlier digital days DSLR’s were everywhere as we did not even have a choice if we wanted small AND high quality. I remember going to disneyland about 6-7 years ago and seeing everyone with a large DSLR. I remember thinking ‘how could you lug that around Disneyland AND still enjoy your day”? Made my back and arms hurt looking at some of those rigs.

When I was there at DL I waltzed around with a Leica M7 and a few rolls of film and it was no problem though I do remember worrying that the rides would jar the rangefinder out of alignment but even after 3 days there and many rides the RF was fine and even with water splashing on the old M7 I had zero issues. I would not try this with an M9 though as it somehow seems more delicate due  to all of the electronics inside that can have water leak onto them since there is no weather sealing in an M camera. Yet.

Yea, those days with the old M7 were fine indeed. No worries. Compose, snap, shutter and wind. But before I go on a rant about remembering my easy days with the M7 I have to stop myself because that is not what this article is supposed to be about!

Many readers e-mail me and ask me if a small mirrorless can replace a large DSLR. That is a very common question I get these days but you have to remember that these small cameras are usually not as versatile as a DSLR. For example, if you want to shoot sports action, a DSLR will usually be the best bet, though someone like me and a few others would use an M9 without worry, lol.

For sports the only mirrorless choices are really the Olympus OM-D as it has the speed, the lenses, and the high quality and ISO performance that almost matches a nice DSLR. Something like an X2 would not be good for sports with its limited 35mm lens and slow operation. A Nikon V1 could do sports but with the slow zooms available you would need REALLY good light. The AF is good enough as is the IQ if you keep the ISO lower. The Sony NEX series is great for sports as well as you can use some kick ass manual glass to do so.

While the cameras mentioned can do great, a DSLR will still be the sports shooting king so if you are a sports pro a mirrorless would/could not replace a DSLR just yet.

But what about Street? Portraits?

For street I feel a Leica M is king. That is MY opinion as I can shoot a Leica M faster than I can AF with most when on the street. I do not consider myself a street photographer though I do enjoy it and find it to be a great exercise to get your confidence up. Street Photography is nothing more than recording and capturing moments of real life as they happen. This is easier said than done but some people out there are very good at it while others are awful at it. It seems that in the past 2-3 years “Street” has become popular and it has brought out some great photographers but it also seems that there is a lack of REAL street shots with impact, even from old pros who call themselves street shooters because they shoot every week. I think I see maybe 1-2 really fantastic street shots a month from the slew of guys on flickr and Facebook who shoot street every day.

Like I said, I do not call or consider myself “street shooter” though I do shoot with an M and have shot street. I have tried my hand at it with MANY cameras and the Leica M just works. I had a hard time with the original Leica X1 but with that camera and the new X2 you can set the camera to manual focus and use Zone Focusing to shoot quick and easy so they also can work well. The Fuji X100 is also a great street camera as is the Nikon V1 (I have an upcoming Guest article with samples and they have def have impact). The NEX series can also do great with street and I had fun with the NEX-5 and 16mm a year or so ago so just about any mirrorless made today can do street well if you learn the camera and features and best way to shoot with it while out in the urban jungle.

Bottom line? For street I would say a mirrorless is MUCH better than a DSLR as DSLR’s are too large and scare people away. 

How about portraits?

Today I was sitting in my office reading e-mails and noticed I had a slew of cameras around me. A Leica X2, a Sony A57 DSLR with 16-50 lens and a Nikon V1. I also have a Fuji X100, Sony NEX-7 and NEX-F3 here as well (the F3 and A57 are here for  testing right now). I have heard and seen great things from the Sony A57 and 16-50 lens as this lens is super sharp even at 2.8 wide open. It also will keep the 2.8 aperture throughout the zoom range, so this is one of the premo Sony lenses.

My nephew is here visiting so I called him in the room and asked if I could snap 2-3 shots of him with a couple of cameras. I was not even going to post these but after viewing them I was impressed by what the Sony did with that 16-50 Zoom lens at 2.8. The camera seemed to put out a nice file. When viewing the file from the Leica X2 I was also pleased with what I saw. There was that Leica sharpness and detail but it also had a different color signature. The Nikon V1 could not match the richness of the two larger sensor cameras but it can do a good job, but the color is not as good or rich due to the smaller sensor.

First the A57 file with the 16-50 Zoom at 2.8

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The Sony A57 puts out a beautiful rich file but with the camera and zoom lens attached it is MUCH larger than a Leica X2 (but much more versatile, faster, and with gorgeous video) The Sony combo will cost you $1650. $650 for the body and $750 for the lens (and this lens is superb but don’t take my word for it, read the reviews at B&H). The 16-50 lens is a quality lens, easily used for pro work.

The Leica X2 is a small little powerhouse. A little slow when compared to the competition but it is indeed a powerful imaging device put into a small body, that is the one thing that is certain. If you can live with the 35mm focal length and only the 35mm focal length then it is a viable but expensive option. Below you can see the shot from the X2..

Both of those images were shot as RAW files and converted using ACR.

The A57 seems like it has a richer and smoother rendering while the Leica retains that Leica signature. For in studio portraits, as in..if I were a portrait pro, I would choose a nice medium format camera for the absolute best quality. Either that or a Nikon D800 DSLR because in the studio you need all of the quality you can get and even shallow depth of field, which is the weakness of cameras like the Nikon V1 and in some cases Micro 4/3.

1st image is from the Leica X2 and the 2nd is from the Nikon V1

So while a mirrorless like the X2, Nikon V1 and X100 or OM-D can do studio, for more versatility and overall quality cameras like a Nikon D800 or Canon 5D III would be better.

A Sony NEX-7 also works well in studio especially when you mount Leica glass.

The new mirrorless cameras that are available today ALL make for amazing every day cameras. You can take them anywhere, capture anything you want and do it without looking like a big dork with your DSLR, 70-200 and sun visor and fanny pack on. A Leica X2 or Nikon V1 or Fuji X100 can be taken with you where a camera like a Nikon D800 would most likely be left at home. So for capturing life’s little moments smaller is always better. For pro work like weddings, sports, action or even studio a DSLR would give you more versatility and quality.

With all of that said, I would take a Leica M9 anywhere and shoot anything with it :)

Apr 182012
 

SHOW UP AS YOURSELF

By Wendy Laurel

“Show up as yourself” is what I tell my clients when they ask me what to wear for a shoot.* The days of families wearing all white shirts paired with jeans smiling nicely for the camera are over. Or at least they should be.

Times have changed. People want to be seen for themselves. Modern Family aired an episode last year where Claire (the Mom) hired a professional photographer for an extended family portrait. She dressed everyone in white shirts (of course), but the “family picture” that Claire eventually chose was one where the kids were fighting, people were laughing, and life was documented much as it is lived. That is the family portrait I love to shoot and my clients love to buy.

Letting the kids dress themselves is the surest way to getting a fantastic childrenʼs portrait. That obsession with the Superman shirt will be gone before the parents know it. And who says that stripes and polka dots donʼt go together? It is the essence of their personalities that are important. Not their hair perfectly combed and dressed up looking like a child out of a catalog – a child the parents donʼt recognize. When it is all said and done, people want photographs of their children and family that bring them right back to that time.

Similarly, the focus should be on the people. People are the best detail in any shoot. The focus on details and props in people photography has spun out of control. Baby photography blogs are showcasing the best baby rooms and the cutest first birthday party decorations instead of the baby. Wedding blogs are guilty as well. I recently saw a wedding shoot where the photographer and/or the couple managed to work in almost every cliché prop there can be: balloons, scrabble board, chalk board, antique cameras, vintage soda bottles, analog records and a record player, just to name a few. The couple and/or photographer were so busy finding the hottest and newest props that they forgot about the couple. Who are they? Those details and the images told nothing about the couple, except that maybe they read wedding blogs. And it is a shame. Photographs of peopleʼs family and children or of their wedding day should show them as you really are. The love, the connection, the relationships, and the moments. That is what is important and what will be valued when they look back.

I love details as much as the next photographer. It is always fun to shoot people in cute clothes and with colorful props. I just love the people more. I think the focus should be the people and details that add to or help tell the peopleʼs story. If the girl loves her tutu and always wants to wear it? Well, thatʼs a relevant detail. If the couple plays Twister all the time together, then yes, it’s a relevant detail. The question is does the detail have emotional meaning for the client? Is it something that will trigger memories for them down the road? If itʼs yes, then yes itʼs important to shoot. In any case, the people are always more important. When is the last time you saw a photograph of table decorations up on the wall?

When my mom was first diagnosed with cancer, I hired a family photographer to come take photographs of her, her home, and my family. There were a ton of detail shots –shots of her straw beach bag hanging on the doorknob, shots of her holding some of her own pastel oil paintings, shots of her collection of miniature tea cups. But they were important details. Details that meant the world to her and tell her story. Details which combined with the wonderful family shots of us together gave us a full story. Details which showed my Mom and who she was. Those are the details that matter. Not details for the sake of details.

The trend is changing. People are showing up as themselves. The main focus is the people, the relationships, and the moments. As Babble.com recently said in talking about the top twenty baby photography blogs, “The emphasis on the people, unburdened by details or props, gives [Let the Kids] a touch of humanity that is infectious.”**

Showing up as yourself just means be YOU. If the family you are shooting doesnʼt walk around town in matching white shirts with collars, donʼt suggest to them to show up at your photography session in those outfits. Document their best selves if you like, but themselves. And the same applies to the photographer, show up as yourself, be real and be creative.

Written and submitted by Wendy Laurel  (http://www.wendylaurel.com)

Wendy Laurel is a wedding and family photographer in Maui. She runs the Let the Kids people photography blog along with Tory OʼLeary, a newborn and family photographer in Southern California. Let the Kids.com is a blog that features people photography of any kind (family, kids, couples, even weddings and fashion) as long as it is exceptional photography. Let the Kids is always looking for very creative and unique images where the photographerʼs voice can be heard and the subjectʼs personalities shine. You can find Let the Kids at http://www.letthekids.com. We also have a Facebook page where we run contests and talk about photography. Submissions are encouraged. Just email a link to your photographs online or images sized at 600 pixels width to [email protected].

* I have to admit I hijacked that saying from Jonathan Canlas, the premier wedding and family photographer.

** Babble.com (http://www.babble.com/baby/baby-care/best-photo-blog-mom-baby/? page=6)


Apr 152012
 

User Report: Concert Photography & Portraits with a vintage Mamiya Universal Press and Polaroid Back by Chad Wadsworth

Hello Steve Huff Photo readers! Steve was kind enough to let me share with you some concert photography and artist portraits that I’ve taken over the last few years with Polaroid land cameras and an old Mamiya Universal Press with a Polaroid back. It seems like we are all constantly searching for the next new piece of digital gear, whether it be the M10, X-Pro 1, OMD or NEX-7. I’m guilty of buying a ticket to this carousel and have been through my share of m4/3 and APS-C compacts as they certainly do have their important place in our daily photography. That said, in retrospect, the work that is often most satisfying to me personally has been the “lo-fi” analog photos captured with vintage gear.

As a concert and editorial photographer, my weapon of choice is a DSLR. It offers the perfect combination of rugged build (I recently had to use the body of my 5D to brace myself against the stage as the crowd surged forward), speed of focus, access to excellent optics and a comfortable user interface. But as most my contemporaries use the same equipment, it can be challenging to craft a signature to your work outside of composition and post processing. Vintage gear or larger format cameras can bring new looks to your work and are a ton of fun to use.

I won’t take up much more of your reading time other than to tell you a little more about the gear and techniques used.

In this group of shots I am using my trusty Mamiya Universal Press (a medium format rangefinder) with a broken shutter trigger so I have to manually hit the shutter lever on the lens. This particular concert was well-lit but the film was slow – Fuji FP-100 and my shutter speed was around 1/30 at f/2.8 with a Sekor 100mm lens. I basically zone focused and tried to stay steady during an exciting set by one of my favorite bands – Spoon. I also had some fun with a double exposure shot from the stage – not sure if it works completely but I like it fine.

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The same camera and Polaroid back combination was used here for an album artwork shoot. This one was shot at sunset on a farm in the Texas Hill Country.

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The Mamiya / Sekor 100mm also makes for a great lo-fi portrait lens with nice swirly bokeh and strong vignetting. Here are some artist snapshots taken at the Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, TX. The artists are: Bounce/Hip-Hop musician Big Freedia, John Dwyer from the San Francisco band, Thee Oh Sees and the truly remarkable Merrill Garbus of the music project tUnE-yArDs

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And finally, here are some photos from an ongoing portrait series using an old Polaroid 450 land camera with portrait lens attachment. Some of these were shot on the real deal – Polaroid 669, others with Fuji FP-100. The camera is positioned about 10 inches from the subject’s nose which can result in an intense emotive quality as they stare into the camera at close range. Artists are: the lovely Annie Clark, also known as St. Vincent, Matt Berninger of The National, Matt Shaw of the now defunct band, Hymns and the beautiful and talented Shara Worden, also known as My Brightest Diamond. Thanks for looking and thanks again to Steve!

Mar 092012
 

Goodbye DSLR’s, traveling light with the Leica M9, Panasonic G3 and Olympus E-P3

by Neil Buchan-Grant – Visit his site HERE

Last year I was commissioned to shoot a travel guide covering the island of Sicily. I had, only the previous year, sold all of my heavy DSLR equipment. Although it weighed a ton, that equipment included AF lenses which covered a wide range of focal lengths from 16mm to 560mm. My M9 kit spanned from only 28mm to 75mm.

Having done a few of these travel commissions before, I knew that the extra range would be greatly missed. So to produce the bulk of the photos, I used an Olympus EP3 and a Panasonic G3 which I used with not only the Leica lenses, but also Olympus mft lenses ranging from 12mm to 600mm. The M9 handled most of the travel portraits, each shot with the 50mm Summilux ASPH lens.

Before, when I used the Canon equipment, my travel work was mostly concerned with the places, the landscapes and the light. Now with the M9/50 lux combination in particular, I feel that portraits of the people I meet in a country will become the heart of any future commissions. I know of course there are fast primes available in other systems and I’ve used most of the Canon ones, but none have offered me the opportunity to record people in such a visually beautiful way as the Leica equipment has. So its safe to say that using this equipment has changed the way I take photographs.

I traded a big heavy rucksack for a small shoulder bag and a belt pack. These are some of the pictures, I came back with.

 

Feb 292012
 

Lighting on the Cheap! Great light AND stool for under $150

I have not had a lighting setup in my house for years. I used to have the whole kit and caboodle though…lights, strobes, reflectors, seamless backgrounds, hair lights, shoots, filters and gels. Then I sold it all off in 2005 because I realized I did not want to be a portrait photographer even though I shot some great portraits back then with that kit and my then oh so lovely and dependable Olympus E-1. (who remembers the E-1)? I kept that setup in my garage and would torture my then 9-year-old son when testing it out (see above image using strobes in 2005) :)

Turned out I ended up doing quite a few portraits with those strobes but even so, decided to sell it off. After I sold the big setup I remember I went to a simple lighting setup, a one light/umbrella kit much like the one you see below. That and a posing stool was all that was needed if I wanted a nice simple portrait at home. Of course, adding TWO of these lights will improve things but you can get some cool stuff using one light. I kept the one light setup around the house for years and then decided to sell it (yet again) before a big move as I never really used it since I am a big “available light” kind of guy.

Well here I am again years later, wanting a simple light setup for my house/office, and look what I found. It’s cheap, it’s complete, and it works great. It is the IMPACT One Floodlight Umbrella Kit, and it is $75!

 

Yes, the complete light you see above is only $75. For that $75 you get the light stand, the 500 watt light bulb, the reflector and the umbrella! It is a GREAT setup on the cheap. If you are looking for a fill light, or something simple then this is a great solution. I have this sitting in my office and when I want to test a lens I will have someone sit on my stool while I use this light to get a shot. It’s better than using a flash on your camera because you can aim it, filter it, reflect it or whatever you need to do.

Just a quick grab with a Nikon J1 and using the Impact lighting set. Notice the shadow on his left side? If I had another light it could have filled that in, and for two of them it would be $150. Still a deal. 

Of course there are better lighting solutions out there but I’ve been using this one and find it to be a great super bang for your buck product. I got mine from B&H Photo HERE. You can also add a posing stool to the set and you would shave a complete setup. I went with THIS ONE and it is under $60.

These portraits were also shot using just one single light…

Just wanted to give a shout out on this one in case anyone out there has been considering something simple and fun to mess with. I’ll admit, I have not used mine too much but I will be keeping around for when I want to experiment with light a bit.

Nov 262011
 

From Steve: Hello to all! Happy Saturday! It is the weekend and the last 2-3 weekends I have taken a break from the site to get some rest and clear my head but today I wanted to post some great shots sent in by a reader using his Leica M9 and all kinds of lenses, even some classic beauties. He sent in way more than 3 images so this is kind of an extended ‘weekend edition” of the Daily Inspiration, more of a showcase of great shots and the equally amazing Leica M9 and glass! Tomorrow I will post part 2 with his samples from his Hasselblad and Canon. Enjoy and remember that you can click on any image below to see a larger version, as always!

Weekend Inspiration – Part 1 – “The Children, the M9, and all of the lenses”

by Bjarke Ahlstrand

As most of us, including you Mr Huff, often end up shooting and testing gear on the “models” we have at hand, I thought it might be interesting to share some of my private shots, taken with a variety of lenses, with you. After being a steady Canon shooter for years, my (photographic) life changed when I purchased a digital Hasselblad H3D, and later the Leica M9, and now the M9-P, but the motifs remain pretty much the same, even though they age a little bit.

I’m including two samples of each Leica lens I’ve ever tried and if you scroll to the end (NEXT MAIL, STEVE) you’ll be able to compare with Hasselblad and Canon lenses.


LEICA M9 + LEICA 21 MM ELMARIT F/2.8

Berlin, Summer 2011. A fine little lens, even though I had to get used to the extra 21 mm viewfinder. However, I thought it lacked some contrast, so after long consideration, I passed it on.

LEICA M9 + LEICA 21 MM ELMARIT F/2.8

Copenhagen, Summer 2011.

The 21 mm gives a nice wide angle perspective on a full frame camera in my opinion.

LEICA M9-P + LEICA 21 MM SUMMILUX F/1.4

Copenhagen, Autumn 2011.

Since I just got the 21 ‘lux, I haven’t had the oppurtunity to shoot a lot with it yet, so here’s one from it’s virgin trip two weeks ago, including me, and shot by my friend, Thomas Larsen.

LEICA M9 + LEICA 35 MM SUMMARIT F/2.5

Thailand, Spring 2011.

My first Leica lens, which I purchased along with the camera. I’ve since sold it, and replaced it with a 35 Summilux, since I’m a sucker for light, and often shoot under dark conditions, but this Summarit actually performed wonderfully on the M9. I know most of us seek those Summicrons and Summiluxes, but this is a very nice lens actually

LEICA M9 + LEICA 35 MM SUMMARIT F/2.5

Thailand, Spring 2011.

Being Leica’s “cheapest lens” (ha!), it’s still a wonderful performer

LEICA M9 + LEICA 35 MM SUMMICRON F/2 ASPH

Copenhagen, Summer 2011.

The classic 35, deadly sharp and with a nice rendering.

LEICA M9 + LEICA 35 MM SUMMICRON F/2 ASPH

Knuthenborg Safari Park, Summer 2011.

A Leica M9 and a 35 ‘cron is a very nice and portable combo, and it’s even animal friendly :-)

LEICA M9-P + LEICA 35 MM SUMMILUX F/1.4 (PRE-ASPH)

Dyrehaven, Autumn 2011.

Those Lux’es are fantastic, also this 40 year old version, which is a bit unpredictable when it comes to how it deals with artificial and sunlight.

LEICA M9-P + LEICA 35 MM SUMMILUX F/1.4 (PRE-ASPH)

Copenhagen, Autumn 2011.

My son and the sun

LEICA M9-P + LEICA 35 MM SUMMILUX TITANIUM F/1.4 (PRE-ASPH)

Copenhagen, Summer 2011.

An extremely expensive and relatively new Titanium version that I borrowed for a couple of weeks from Photografica. If money wasn’t an issue, then I would by that glow god!

LEICA M9-P + LEICA 35 MM SUMMILUX TITANIUM F/1.4 (PRE-ASPH)

Copenhagen, Summer 2011.

At the childrens’ school they did a fundraising for homeless children in Cape Town and I spent a whole day watching and shooting those hopeful youths, a truely amazing experience, and I think this image captures the situation perfectly. 

LEICA M9 + VOIGTLÄNDER NOKTON 50 MM F/1.1

Copenhagen, Summer 2011.

I borrowed this lens from my friend and fellow Leica-shooter, Klehmann, and even thought it to be a bit too stressy, it sure is amazing how much light it lets in

LEICA M9 + VOIGTLÄNDER NOKTON 50 MM F/1.1

Copenhagen, Summer 2011.

Shot in the dark. F/1.1 · ISO 200 · 1 SEC

LEICA M9 + LEICA 50 MM SUMMICRON F/2 (THE LATEST VERSION)

Copenhagen, Summer 2011.

My ex-girlfriend’s baby alongside my youngest son, and some absolutely wonderful colors. This is one of my favourite aspects of the Leica — those colors…

LEICA M9 + LEICA 50 MM SUMMICRON F/2 (THE LATEST VERSION)

Knuthenborg Safari Park, Spring 2011.

That 50 ‘cron is so easy to focus and the sharpness is unbeatable

LEICA M9 + LEICA 50 MM SUMMICRON F/2 (50+ YEAR OLD VERSION)

Spring, Summer 2011.

Those old Leica lenses are sometimes pure magic, and this one, which I’ve borrrowed from a colleague’s father, is a favourite of mine. Notice the glow on the Obie Trice text.

LEICA M9 + LEICA 50 MM SUMMICRON F/2 (50+ YEAR OLD VERSION)

Copenhagen, Summer 2011.

Young Yedi-knights on the play field, as captured by an old lens.

LEICA M9 + LEICA 75 MM SUMMARIT F/2.5

Copenhagen, Winter 2011.

A (young) superhero with a mission

LEICA M9-P + LEICA 75 MM SUMMICRON F/2

Copenhagen, Autumn 2011.

The sharpness, the bokeh, the colors — this lens is an absolute winner in my eyes. Btw, it’s not his real teeth, but the Halloween-ones.

LEICA M9-P + LEICA 75 MM SUMMICRON F/2

Copenhagen, Autumn 2011.

Mirror mirror on the wall

LEICA M9 + LEICA 75 MM SUMMILUX F/2

Copenhagen, Summer 2011.

I ended up buying the 75 ‘cron for professional reasons, but this 75 ‘lux I had a hard time letting go off, after having borrowed it for a couple of weeks. That ‘lux glow…

LEICA M9 + LEICA 75 MM SUMMILUX F/2

Copenhagen, Summer 2011.

At f/1.4 this lens is absolutely unbeatable when it comes to bokeh and that sweet, sweet Leica-glow

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That’s all from me this time around. I hope it was useful. Part 2 is posted HERE. Also,you can see more of my creations here:
Best,
Bjarke

The Leica M9 is available at the following recomendded dealers - B&H Photo, Dale Photo, PopFlash and Ken Hansen via E-Mail ([email protected])

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

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