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May 182016
 

Passover in Bnei Brak

By Ziv

Hi Steve and Brandon,

On Passover Jewish law prohibited eating chametz. Before Passover traditionally Orthodox Jews burn the chametz (bread, etc.). The following pictures were taken in Bnei Brak, an Orthodox Jewish city. The pictures were taken mainly by Canon 6D with the wide lens 17-40L.

Each tour in that city and especially before the holidays is a great experience and exciting.

Best wishes
Ziv

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May 122016
 

HEART OF THE CITY

by Darek Meyer

My last post – the one about Harinezumi – was kind of wink. I`m not a gear person, at least not anymore. I have to admit, there is new camera in my bag now, but I`ll leave the story for next time. Of course, we all need cameras for photography. Some of us are aiming at the latest gadgets; some stick to their favourite cam, and use till it can`t take any pictures.

One thing which I`ve wrote time ago, about photographs which my father took, is still true for me. Photographs are memories. I take them as memories of people and events, I take them also as memories of what I felt this particular time. And I`m not alone with this approach. You can find it all on http://where-were-we.com

What you will see below, the pictures and how they look, is just one of these stories. For over two years I was frequently coming to Jakarta. Usually for couple of days a week; office work, and some meetings with business partners.
During that time, I was living in a hotel in Jakarta city centre. It is located close to the office, but with Jakarta traffic, it means on average half an hour by taxi. Or, twelve minutes walk.

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Many of hotel guests will never use the latter option. These 12 minutes can be very challenging for people, who have never seen Kampong (village), which is located in between. Some could be afraid, some could not send the smell, jump over puddles with unidentified liquids, or being continuously alert to avoid motorbikes.

I took the chance of walking, as it was much faster option. With time, I also started to bring my cameras with me, compacts ones. I have witnessed daily life of people from Kampong in Jakarta centre, especially in the mornings and afternoons. Some walks there, instead of having lunch, also brought additional views. I have watched people making their food, fighting flood, selling small koi, kids growing, cat families ruling the street. And for all of them, and for the only one dog which lives there, I will always be a stranger.

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Attached is just a brief intro to the series. I have made first selection for my page, and you can find it here:

http://darekmeyer.com/HEART.html

One can say, this material is not coherent. It is not meant to be. As I have mentioned, different compact cameras were used. I have developed these pictures almost immediately after taking them. And now, I have just adjusted the size to fit web layout. Some are blurred, some come from my „extreme hard contrast” time. Some I took in a rush, some when carrying travel bag with me, or at least umbrella. I think that altering them now, would change the way they were meant to look like the first time. So, no, I`ll not touch them. It is not the end of „Heart of the city” series. My library has more than 3,000 pictures. Soon, as I find bit more of spare time, I will add more.

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In such moments, hard to say “I hope you enjoy the story”, as this is more personal take than other things I did with my photography. But if I receive even one message, that someone is waiting for continuation of this series, this would mean a lot to me.

Best regards
Darek Meyer

Apr 282016
 

Hi Steve!

I’ve been looking at your site and thinking about replacing my Canon gear with a mirrorless setup. Great info and resource you have put together.

I took the enclosed picture in the Bahamas on Harbour Island. I just love the peaceful feeling that I think the image portrays, hope you do too. I showed the image to a friend that also follows your site, and he suggested I submit it to you. Thanks for looking.

Bob Kirschke

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Apr 252016
 

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Never Ending Love with Ricoh GR

by Lorenzo Moscia

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When I first purchase the Ricoh GR I never thought a camara of that size will catch me for so long time. It is almost two years now since I start to bring the Ricoh basically everywhere on my assignment trip. At first it was Cuba where I brought a Canon as well wich it was staying most of the time at home, just because that was more than a family trip than a real assignment. But right there I discover the beauty of walking all day around a city without look like a photographer and my back and knees were so happy by the end of the day.

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To begin with I was a little scared of sending Ricoh files to my agency. Would some editor buy and publish files made with a pocket camera? When I got on assignment I normally use two canon bodies (5d MkIII with a 16-352.8II and 6D with 50 1.2) sometimes I bring the little 28mm II and the 35f2.

If I m on assignment for a travel Magazine in Europe I will carry the Ricoh in a Hama pocket on my belt and I could barely take it out. But if I m doing something else like in Easter Ukraine,Thailand, Sri Lanka or Africa with ONG well I find out just using more and more the Ricoh, especially when I have some free hours in wich I m left to walk around a place with no fixer or driver. Canon stays home and I m free as a bird with Ricoh in my pocket.
After the Cuba experience I order one more battery and a wall charger.

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When I m editing even magnifying the image I cannot spot if is the Ricoh or a Canon with the 28. Colors are so great and dynamic range is even better than Canon!. Ricoh is just a bit more noisy.Of course I wont get the bokeh of the 50.1.2 or the 135 f2! When I was in Brazil for the World Cup back in 2014 my assignment was to follow the Colombian supporters for the Colombian football FEderation. My gear at that time it was two Canon bodies with 28 and 50 in a little Domke F5 XC. I was supposed to be all time on the road, Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Cuiabá and Rio. But when I get int o Rio and went back in to a Favela I regret so much to not have brought the Ricoh with me. Even if that Canon was a very light, effective combo I missed so many shots especially in some complicated streets were I dind have the balls to bring out any Canon at all.

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Bangkok, Thailand, feb 2014. Scenes durign the Chinese Lunar New Year.The political crisis in Thailand is afecting tourims as well.Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports Somsak Phurisisak recently predicted that february arrivals would fall by half to 1 million, with some hotels in the capital, Pattaya and elsewhere experiencing occupancy rates of just 30 percent. Much of that decline is thought to have come from the Chinese market after the nation warned its citizens to avoid protest sites and reconsider nonessential travel to Thailand over the popular Lunar New Year travel period.

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Kieve, Ukraine, March,11,2015. Vita diaria por las calles de Kiev.

It was the new GR, same sensor, same face,but the body-material more Anti Scratch and few improvements all around.I was happy man again. In Ukraine on the fire line of course I would use the Canon but as I walk around Mariupol with the Ricoh I felt like invisible and could catch so many shot without people even notice me. No sound it also very important. In Sri Lanka, Colombo during a assignment for a Canadian ONG I brought tow Canon, 28, 35.1.4 and 50 1.8 (the 70 dollars lens) and the Ricoh.

Ukraine, march 2015.

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Ukraine, march 2015. Escenas de vida diaria en la ciudad de Mariupol que s eencuentra a pocos km de la linea de combate entre ejercito ukranio y separatistas pro rusos.

Ukraine, march 2015. Escenas de vida diaria en la ciudad de Mariupol que s eencuentra a pocos km de la linea de combate entre ejercito ukranio y separatistas pro rusos.

Ukraine, march 2015. Escenas de vida diaria en la ciudad de Mariupol que s eencuentra a pocos km de la linea de combate entre ejercito ukranio y separatistas pro rusos.

My task there was to photographs students in school and in their homes. 35 1.4 I bought used in Rome it was performing just great and the combination with the canon 6d body was just going to be my best assignment lens. But too good to be true after a couple of days I notice that at 1.4 lots of shots were out of focus. they look all right when I took them but once open the file in lightroom I just find out that the focus was some cm over the front. It didn’t happen once with the 50 1.2 so what was that??! 35 was back int the hotel room. And once I was in Rome send it back to canon service but the problem didn’t go away. End of love with the canon 35. But back in Sri Lanka when I was not working for the ONG I just left the Canon at the hotel and went around with the Ricoh, inside a Hama belt case and two batteries. That was haven! So my bottom line here is that I would love to find another little body with a 50 2.0 or less, something like Ricoh that could give me a bit of bokeh. And going out there and shoot some assignment with just that combination!

Take care everyone!

Lorenzo Moscia

Apr 132016
 

Photo trip to Peru

by Alec Fedorov

Hi Steve,

I am an amateur photographer who has been an avid reader of your website for three years. Thanks for the great service you provide to the community of photographers.

Recently, my wife and I returned from an REI trip to Peru where we hiked the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, and I would like to share our experiences with the readers of your site.

I brought two cameras on the trip: Fuji X100s and Sony RX100III, both of which are great for travel photography. My go-to camera was the Fuji because of excellent image quality and ease of use. The Sony was kept in my pants pocket and came in handy a few times.

We arrived in Cusco, where we spent three days acclimatizing to the altitude, since the Salkantay Pass is at 15,200 feet. Cusco has the population of about 450,000 and it was the historic capital of the Incan Empire until it was conquered by the Spanish in 1532. Nowadays, Cusco is a growing city, and it is a tourist hub for trips to Machu Picchu.

We arrived in Cusco a few days before the New Year and the city was full of tourists and holiday lights. The streets in the center of Cusco are cobblestone. Some intersections are so narrow that the cars have to back up half way through the turn in order to complete it!

One of the most noticeable aspects of Cusco are the stray dogs which are ubiquitous. Some of the dogs have owners but the majority of them live on the streets. This is often due to people purchasing the dogs as puppies and then losing interest as the dog gets older and the novelty wears off. In Peru, it is considered inhumane to neuter dogs, so the population of street dogs just grows exponentially.

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Cusco is a blend of ancient and modern. The food was excellent and some of the restaurants were very eccentric, the kind you would expect to find in Manhattan.

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One day, we hired a local driver to take us to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, which encompasses the heartland of the Incan empire. The scenery was spectacular, with very few tourists. At the end of the day, we ran into many shepherds, bringing the sheep in. They live in primitive clay houses without electricity.

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After spending three days in Cusco, we hooked up with the REI group to begin the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu. This trek is named among the 25 Best Treks in the World by National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine. It is an ancient and remote footpath located in the same region as the Inca Trail. The first few days of the 6-day hike traverses through a landscape of scenic views of the snowcapped 20,574 ft Mt. Salkantay.

We spent the first two nights at Salkantay Lodge at 12,600, and hiked to the Glacier Lake at 14,500 feet to further acclimatize.

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The hike over the Salkantay Pass began on a beautiful sunny morning. As we ascended, the green valley and blue sky was replaced by the grey lifeless rock and a dense fog. Shortly after reaching the top of the pass, a lone white horse emerged out of the fog. It was a very surreal experience.

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Over the next few days, we continued our descent into the high jungle, where we took our repose at three more lodges. The only traffic on the trek consisted of occasional packs of mules and horses carrying the luggage and the food supplies. In six days, we only ran across two other hikers. Photos below are of the local man who followed behind our group with the water and medical supplies.

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On the last day, before reaching Machu Picchu, we hiked through coffee plantations, and we visited a local family business. Many of these families rely on selling coffee to the tourists as their only source of income.

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Machu Picchu, in itself, was spectacular, and the experience of getting there by foot was unforgettable!

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Alec

Thanks,
Alec

Apr 112016
 
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Travel photography in India with a Nikon Df and Zeiss Otus 55

by Sebastien Bey-Haut

Dear Steve,

It’s always a great pleasure to be featured on your site so I’d like to share my experience on shooting a pretty unusual combo: a Nikon Df and a Zeiss Otus 55.

Why unusual? Simply because both camera and lens seem to follow really opposite paths:

– The Df is one of the smallest (if not smallest) and lightest Full Frame DSLR with a modest 16Mp resolution
– The Otus is the most gigantic and heavy 55mm ever produced for a DSLR and could certainly out-resolve a >50Mp sensor

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So, is it as a stupid pairing as it looks? I actually don’t think so, let’s look a bit further than Mp and weight metrics… Beside its fancy retro design the Df has a strong argument in how its sensor renders colors (brilliantly if you ask me J). And what is the best way to get 100% out of a sensor? Simply put it behind the best possible lens! The Otus is not only about sharpness, it’s also excellent with contrast and colors!

Let’s now forget the technicalities and focus on the user experience: I just came back from a 10 days trip to Varanasi (India) and shot from 6am to 8pm almost non-stop using the Df / Otus combo 90% of the time.

First thing I have to admit is yes, walking >12h a day with an Otus around your neck is painful, really painful. I even had a blister on the finger I use to support the weight of the camera while shooting… That said, travelling more than 12h in economy class from Zurich to Varanasi is also painful, so the Otus weight is just a small additional element of discomfort…

The only thing I really don’t like is the lack of weather sealing… Maybe we’re not so many to use them outside of a studio but still, that would be appreciated Mr Zeiss…

So yes, it’s not a trouble-free experience, but what you get in return is still worth the hassle: the haptic of both the Df and Otus are just pure pleasure and contribute a lot to the fun of shooting. The manual focus is butter smooth and the finishing of the lens is just perfect…. Even if I’m not a big fan of the rubber band on the focusing ring: it’s nice looking and very comfortable but does not go well with strong anti-mosquito sprays (the formula attacks rubber). I managed not to damage the lens but had to be extra careful.

Then of course having the best possible optical performance is also very enjoyable: aperture becomes irrelevant in terms of sharpness (f1.4 is as good as f16), you just chose it according to the depth of field you’re looking for. Manual focusing requires a bit of practice but after getting used to the camera / lens combo I easily achieved 70-80% spot on shots. Moving subjects are a bit more challenging but it’s more a question of shooting style: instead of running behind the subject trying to nail the focus you just chose a good spot, prepare your focus, and wait for something / somebody interesting to enter the frame for 100% success. I occasionally used a tripod but could probably have done without.

Actually beside gear the most important thing simply remains the “access”: I was very lucky to be with a local friend who knows everything (and almost everybody) in Varanasi so it made finding the right spots a lot easier… He’s occasionally offering his services as a guide so feel free to reach out to me via my facebook page if you want his contact.

Enough talks for now, here is the set titled “Varanasi dream” because as a friend said these images show Varanasi as you could see it in a dream.

CLICK ON THE IMAGES TO SEE THEM MUCH CRISPER, MORE COLORFUL and FOR AN OVERALL BETTER VERSION!

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You can find more of my work here: https://www.facebook.com/lumiere.exterieure

Thanks for reading,

Sebastien Bey-Haut

Feb 262016
 

Love it or Hate it

By Marcel Van Gils

Hi Steve,

Two years ago I submitted a few pictures here that were taken in Scotland in a number of distilleries. In 2015 I was the co-author and photographer of a book on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Laphroaig distillery. I visited the small island of Islay on the West coast of Scotland on four occasions during that year, in all seasons.

These pictures were all shot with my Nikon Df. The distillery’s motto is ‘Love it or hate it’ and I guess that applies for the Df as well. I love the camera, although shooting in the (semi) dark requires some experience. The camera’s AF is not its strongest point and the single card slot is a risk. But the sensor’s high ISO performance is just great for shooting in the often dark warehouses. ‘200 years of Laphroaig’ was launched last November.

image of the ‘spirit safe’, a device for measuring the alcohol %. In the old days for the excise man to determine the amount of whisky.

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the malt man turning the barley.

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 Laphroaig late afternoon on a cold winterday.

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Kind regards from the Flat Lands,
Marcel van Gils
The Netherlands

Feb 252016
 

Trip to Cuba With Leica M60

By François Roosens

Hello Steve,

This January 4th, my wife left me to travel with my best friend 12 days in Cuba. Cuba it was a journey I wanted to do before the opening that is currently in progress. I decided to travel light, backpack, car rental, rest with the locals. My wife and my daughters remained in Belgium, my best friend and I had then all the freedoms to organize our trip to our way and the time to take pictures. Havana, Vinales world famous for these tobacco fields that produce the most fabulous cigars, the old Trinidad and rest on the paradisiacal beaches of Varadero.

For this trip I would not scatter me. No two devices, just one. Leica M246 or M60? I love the Black and White but Cuba! I’ll be one time in my life. The M60 delivers high quality color files and can convert if necessary. The M60? Precious, no screen, today we are used to live with a screen louse look, check your images, my focus, etc .. I own the M60 since its release, and it’s a case I use, it does not remain in a safe or cabinet, has successfully replaced the M240. The only real regret is that it is not a black and white camera, it would have been PERFECT. The choice makes compagon, what lens? My first choice was: Summilux 24/50 and 90 Apo Summicron. I thought of going avecça, my choice was certain…  Up to 2 days of departure. 24mm is it large enough angle? 90 mm not too hard to map only on the M60 without checking my shots? 50mm is doing enough for the street? Then if there comes a trick with the M60 in Cuba? how to fix? How to do? So I raced to my photographic dealer, and I found a used Panasonic LX-100 good price but like new. I bought some that maybe I would not use it but as a photographic coverage.

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The morning before leaving for the airport, I change my idea, exit the 24mm and 90mm, I take a “last” time my WATE I want to sell because there is much in my bag. And I want light and proximity so I exchange my 90 my 75 Summilux. It remains the last choice apo 50 or 35 Summilux? I wanted maximum 3 lens in my little bag A&A made for 1 equiped camera and 2 lens more. I finally chose the 50 app (the next time for trip I’ll take 35/75!). I have a defect in my mind by taking a 4th lens of the pancake 32mm Lomography Minitar … Just to have something between 21 and 50 but very compact, lightweight and cheap to travel in the front pocket with batteries the viewfinder WATE and memory cards. Its results are nice on the MM but I am disappointed on the M60, it has a huge purple sun drifts.

After 12 days in this extraordinary country, out of time, security is total, (obviously not to try leaving his wallet on sight), but I have never felt any fear in my journey. I know that the subject is delicate in USA but if you have possibiliter to get there before the big rush, then you will see a country like he does not exist much in the world and with extraordinary weather.

I offer you some of my pictures, then yes, there are lots of fantastic images of Cuba, mine are probably not the best but they are the result of a great adventure of friendship dating.
I hope they will like you and I let you make your choice.

Last things: my Wate will not be sold, it’s a fantastic view for the trip with the beautiful light, it has no equivalent and allows the 16, 18 and 21 in one goal. and it became an untouchable on this trip optics.

In combination with a 75 mm, and in the middle of the 21mm and 75mm 35mm would have really been the best choice. My images in 50 apo are superb, really, but in the streets, and in this 21/35/75 configuration is a winning choice. A word on the M60 who did much ink to flow and frustration: Having a digital camera of the FF but simple quality, without trimmings other than basic, allows a concentration on around me, I saw other tourists and my friend after each picture, look at the screen, watching focus and miss a shot because the eye is on the camera and not on what is around. Yes the people that make film cameras know what it is .. But those who want the digital image and destitution they can now find only the M60. Some will say we can turn off the rear screen devices. Yes you can but when you have a screen, we know 99% of people who have a screen even use it to change the iso. the M60 is not even that! This is precisely what makes it unique M60 and it is a pleasure to use.

Best regards

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Jan 222016
 

UPDATE! HUFF ROAD TRIP 2016! Six Night Oregon/Northern California Photo Road Trip/Workshop! JOIN US!

April 1st to April 7th 2016 – JOIN US ON WHAT WILL BE AN AMAZING TRIP OF PHOTOGRAPHY, AMAZING LOCATIONS, BONDING AMONG NEW FRIENDS  AMAZING FOOD AND FIRST CLASS TRAVEL – ALL INCLUSIVE! MANY SEATS ARE NOW SOLD AND SOME REMAIN BUT SHOULD GO FAST! There is nothing quite like a HUFF ROAD TRIP!!

It’s that time again and it has been a while (13 months) since my last photo tour/trip/workshop and what a time that one was! The Southwest Road trip was an amazing time for all involved. Over 30 of us on a chartered bus taking us across the entire USA Southwest and some sweet amazing locations. It was beautiful and the people who came along with us were all wonderful.

Amazing memories, good times, great people and spectacular photos were had by all, and now we are ready to do it again..but bigger, longer and even more scenic and this time, everything is included! The last trip was SO MUCH FUN it flew by and all those who attended wanted it to go longer, so this time we developed an itinerary that will blow your socks off.

The last tour was amazing. The group shot was snapped in beautiful Sedona AZ. This time we are switching it up to even more locations and even more scenic! 

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This time around the trip is pretty much ALL INCLUSIVE, meaning ALL hotels are included, ALL meals are included (even dinner) and ALL Transportation is included once you arrive to Portland where we are kicking it off . All you have to do is show up in Portland to get started, and what a trip and time this will be!!

 a great time is mandatory on my road trips! 

With my Road Trips, we ride in style across the country and deliver you to each location, each hotel, each restaurant. ALL included in the cost of the trip. These shots are from the last huge trip across the southwest.

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MANY SEATS ARE NOW SOLD! IF YOU SAID YOU WANTED IN AFTER THE LAST POST, BUT DID NOT PAY A DEPOSIT, YOUR SEAT MAY BE SOLD! SO DO NOT MISS OUT HERE!

CHECK OUT THIS AWESOME ITINERARY! WE WILL HIT ALL SPOTS BELOW! Remember, ALL IS INCLUDED!! Travel, Food, Lodging, a true 1st class experience!

Portland Oregon Start! 

Here we will all meet up, have a nice dinner and get some shooting time in this wonderful quirky city.

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Boiler Bay State Wayside 

Yep, great shots await…

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Devils Punchbowl State Natural Area – high tide

See things you would normally never see, and we will take you to each spot

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Cape Perpetua Scenic Area – high tide

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Devil’s Churn – high tide

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Heceta Head Lighthouse

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Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area

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Cape Arago State Park

Gorgeous!

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Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint

We will be HERE!

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Cape Blanco Lighthouse

Yep, you can now get one of those EPIC Lighthouse shots ;)

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April 4th 2016

Port Orford Heads State Park

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Samuel H Boardman State Park

Lovely…

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Lone Ranch Beach

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Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park

I can not wait for this one…

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Redwood National Park

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5-Apr
Mendocino Coast

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Napa

Ahhhhhh!

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Beautiful and Amazing San Francisco!

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WHAT A TRIP! This one will be jam-packed full of amazing scenic opportunities, even some street shooting in Portland on day one for anyone who wants to take a photo stroll, and let me tell ya, street shooting in Portland is a blast.

THIS my friends is my largest and biggest and best most epic road trip/workshop EVER.

Once again I teamed up with Todd Hatakeyama and Jay Bartlett to bring ALL OF YOU and US an amazing time you will never ever forget. Great new friends, great food, great times. 

Below: Me shooting Jay’s eyeball while Todd grabs a shot (while on a jeep tour in Sedona) – JAY will be giving instruction for some landscape shots while on location and Jay knows his stuff! 

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So you want to join in this one? 

This Photo Road Trip will be as I said, my largest one ever. Six nights of YOU being taken from spot to spot with EVERYTHING included from HOTELS, Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner and ALL Transportation once you arrive in Portland at the start point. 

The only thing NOT included in this trip is Alcohol/Liquor. We usually have some beer lovers on these trips and that is cool (I’m one of them) but if you want to drink beer or alcohol/wine then we do NOT pay for that on the trip. Other than that, all you have to do is get to Portland and Back home because once you arrive you are with us and locked in on this amazing trip.

We always have people from all over the world on these trips and it is so awesome to meet and shoot with everyone. I AM TRULY EXCITED about this trip as the locations are all amazingly beautiful and this one will be my one trip for 2016, so if you want in then here is how it works:

COST  – SINGLE PERSON:

$3500 – This includes the entire trip as we outlined above (some locations subject to change depending on availability and time) with all hotel/lodging, meals, and transportation (once you arrive to Portland) included. This time, ALL meals are included even Dinner. We will have snacks and drinks on the bus as usual and a great time will be had by all.

COST: SHARED ROOM OPTION

$2700 – If you are OK sharing a room and do not need your own private room we will pair you with someone else from the trip and this will save you $800. You still get everything included as above, you will just be sharing a room for six nights with someone else (think of it as great bonding time with a fellow photographer).

We are limiting this to 25 people. Last time we sold 32 seats. This time we already sold EIGHT before this was even posted, so I feel this one will sell out (so far every trip/workshop I have ever put on has sold out) as we have 17 left.

If you are interested in joining this amazing once in a lifetime Photo Road Trip, email me at [email protected] and I will give you full instructions on how to sign up, payment info, and all of that good stuff. Again, if you already wrote about joining this trip but did not pay a deposit, your seat is NOT held and will be sold as we have a 1st come, 1st pay, 1st served policy.

Remember this will be a week out of your life where you will meet amazing new people, make amazing memories and come away with some of the coolest shots of your life ;)

EMAIL ME IF YOU WANT IN!!! [email protected]

Jan 192016
 
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A trip to the top of the mountain with the Fuji XT-1

by Mohamed Hakem (NOW THESE ARE GORGEOUS FUJI IMAGES! BRAVO to Mohamed’s beautiful eye and skill – Steve)

Hi Steve! I am back again with another adventure! I decided to climb the highest mountain in Egypt with my Fuji XT-1

First please visit my website http://www.hakemphotography.com
Follow my FB page on http://facebook.com/hakemphotography
Instagram: http://instagram.com/moh_hakem

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People who go Hiking knows what it means to have a heavy backpack on a rough mountain climb. The Hike here was up to the top of Mount Moses in Saint Catherine Mountain in Sinai, Egypt. Saint Catherine Mountain is not the toughest hike in the world, it is 2422 meters up, you have to walk 8 KM ion extremely rough grounds. The place is magical and full of culture and history that dates back to the Ancient Egyptians. They first built a city in the shape of a fortress at around 1000m high it as part of the road from Egypt to Jerusalem. This area was then converted to the famous Saint Catherine Monastery which has tons of religiously important heritage for Christians, Muslims and jews. There is also a place during the climb where it is believed that this was the place God talked to Prophet Moses (peace be upon him).
To prepare for such climb, the first thing you think of is weight you hold as a burden on your back. you take minimal things, energy bars and water, you should not take anything else. but what about us photographers!? the answer is simple, it was impossible for me , a man with moderate health and stamina to lug around a DSLR body, tripod and two lenses that would be around 4-5 kilos minimum, My D800 was 945g+ (14-24)950g +70-300 (700g) + a big tripod = a break in your back!
to solve this problem I took with me the XT-1, the 10-24, 8mm fish eye and the 55-200 lens + plus the 3leggedthing punk tripod. all of these combined did not cross 2.5 kilos.

The path is rocky and extremely rough but its not dangerous. We took 3 hours to finish the main stage then 1 hour to climb what the bedouins call the stairs, vertical rock formations that forms natural stairs. Its not easy at all but its doable. Your second enemy other than the gravity is the Cold! it really was cold. We were all wearing heavy coats but the thing is during the climb your body becomes sweaty, so whenever you stop you instantly feel the cold to your bones!. reaching the top! after finally reaching the top,we had two hours till sunrise so we took the most uncomfortable nap in the world. Your sweat is freezing inside and you really can’t wear anything more. After waking up extremely tired and cold I packed my equipment and went for the sunrise. Sometimes I couldn’t feel the camera in my hands, I wanted to press the shutter button but I can’t feel my fingers! somehow after managing and warming up you begin to see the magic! a sunrise that you will never forget! Stunning sky colors, stunning rock formations, the place really touches your soul! every minute the colors change and the scenery changes magically until you see the sun and all your problems are gone! you instantly become warm and energetic.

The experience was never to be done without a mirrorless camera. I sometimes held it on my neck to capture on the go, it was never doable with a DSLR. as for the quality I will leave the judging to you.

That is me on the top of the mountain (shot by a fuji X100)

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Note the Bedouins below…click images for better versions!

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Saint Catherine Monastery

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Dec 302015
 

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My Leica SL Experience

By Dan Feldman

“I’m an Australian expat living in the UAE (Abu Dhabi) and have been shooting Leica cameras for some time now. I started with a secondhand M (typ 240) and Summilux 50mm ASPH f1.4, graduating through to the Q (which my wife mainly shoots with). I bought the SL and 24-90 zoom shortly after release and an excellent demonstration / workshop put together in Dubai by Leica UAE. I also own a Summilux 35mm ASPH f1.4 and a Noctilux 50mm f0.95. Prior to shooting Leicas I owned several Sony A-Mount DSLTs, including the wonderful A99 and Zeiss 24-70 f2.8 combination.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque (SL 601) Dan Feldman (2 of 14)

I originally moved to Leica because I wanted to try the rangefinder experience and because I was intrigued by its history. After many months of that experience, my mind is clear: rangefinder photography is one of the most rewarding ways to make pictures that there is. There’s little like the feeling of composing a shot through framelines and capturing timing and focus manually: it’s addictive and gives you an unmatched sense of ownership over the result. Like Ashwin Rao and others, I also feel real pride in using a device with such a long and storied background from a company has been so important in the development of the art we all love today. The cost involved is a commitment, but it is best viewed as an investment in your own pleasure and engagement with the craft: you are buying into a real culture of innovation, quality, simplicity and beauty, and you feel it whenever you take the camera out with you.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque (SL 601) Dan Feldman (3 of 14)

Sheikh Zayed Mosque (SL 601) Dan Feldman (4 of 14)

After buying the M, I bought the Q as soon as it was announced, sight-unseen. Primarily I was interested in having an autofocusing M-style camera (because I have a young son who won’t sit still, and keeping track of him solely with manual focus means a few too many missed shots!) and because the 28mm focal length nicely balanced my existing lens lineup. I won’t dwell on the qualities of the Q; everyone who has used one knows what they are, and it is a magical device that, in hindsight, was the perfect proof-of-concept for what followed …

Now, to the SL:

Like many others who have contributed to Steve’s site, I was won over by the SL as soon as I picked it up. It radiates quality and modernity from its design, materials, heft and layout, and pictures do justice to none of these characteristics. There are elements which irritate me (the “LEICA” lettering at the top is, in my view, distracting and a little obnoxious) but these are minor quibbles compared to the overall sensory experience of seeing and handling the device. The near-complete control over customisation of the button layout is also really useful, because we all hold our cameras in different ways and prioritise certain functions over others.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque (SL 601) Dan Feldman (5 of 14)

Sheikh Zayed Mosque (SL 601) Dan Feldman (6 of 14)

Sheikh Zayed Mosque (SL 601) Dan Feldman (7 of 14)

The added value the SL gives to my M lenses was also important in my decision to buy it. I knew I was getting a Q-like sensor and, frankly, would have been happy enough to trade in my typ 240 for a newer M body containing that sensor; but the fact that the EVF makes manual focusing such a breeze and that the SL body design sacrifices no visible image quality when using M-mount lenses means I have a whole new way to use my line-up. It’s not as gratifying to use as a rangefinder, in my opinion, but you’re giving up a little fun for a more predictable result.

As for the image quality of the SL / 24-90 zoom combination, I’m going to let the pictures accompanying this report speak for themselves. These were all handheld snapshots taken in relatively low light over the course of about an hour, as I walked about the grounds and interiors of this spectacular structure as a tourist, then processed the DNGs quickly in Lightroom on the same evening. I don’t know of any other camera-lens pairing that can surpass these results for this kind of off-the-cuff photography.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque (SL 601) Dan Feldman (8 of 14)

Sheikh Zayed Mosque (SL 601) Dan Feldman (9 of 14)

Sheikh Zayed Mosque (SL 601) Dan Feldman (10 of 14)

My experience of using the 24-90 lens has also been excellent. Of course it is large, and I don’t really use it when just walking about with the SL (I use the 35mm and 50mm M lenses for street photography, for instance), but when you are planning to visit locations where you want the full standard focal length range and know the size of the lens won’t intimidate people (e.g. for wildlife, landscapes, architecture, family pictures), it’s a great option to have.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque (SL 601) Dan Feldman (11 of 14)

Sheikh Zayed Mosque (SL 601) Dan Feldman (12 of 14)

Sheikh Zayed Mosque (SL 601) Dan Feldman (13 of 14)

I’ve now had the SL for around a month and will be using it for all types of photograph over the course of 2016. I’ll report back with examples of how the camera and 24-90 zoom lens handle different challenges. But for now, I can’t speak highly enough of my experience using Leica’s latest, and am ready to commit long-term to this new system.”

Dan

Dec 122015
 

Hey Steve and Brandon,

I’ve had the honour of being published on your site before here and here. Today I’d like to contribute a Quick Shot for your consideration.

The picture was taken on a trip to Tokyo on November 2014 – As I was coming out of a subway station, I found this monk right there on the sidewalk. The contrast between the monk’s outfit, his meditative, quiet attitude, and the urban surroundings feels to me like an iconic representation of what Tokyo is all about, a city that surprises the visitor with its mix between ancient culture and contemporary life style. Leica M8, Summicron 35mm ASPH.

For more of my Tokyo street photography, i would like to invite the readers of your site to my flickr photostream.

Kind regards,

Nico Raddatz.

November 2014, Tokyo, Japan

Dec 112015
 

Film Friday

By Jack Abramson

Greetings Brandon!

I am submitting a few photos for your Friday Film feature page. These pictures were taken on a recent trip to the Mekong region of Cambodia and Viet Nam. All photos were shot with my Leica M6-TTL on Kodak
Ektar 100 film.

I have decided to mostly send you pictures of people I came across during my journey because I was most taken by the good nature and friendliness of the local people I met. I have always felt that the
best subjects were the people who faced my camera. I hope you agree that the personalities come through nicely.

Thank you for considering my submission.

More @ https://www.flickr.com/people/i-am-jack/

Jack Abramson

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Dec 042015
 

Hong Kong With Nokton 35mm 1.2

By Fahad A

Hi Brandon,

Thanks for posting my previous submissions, this is my 4th submission and hopefully the 5th will be on the way soon.

Last summer I decided to go to Hong Kong to spend my vacation and of course to explore the streets along with my camera. I only took the Leica (typ240) along with the Voigtlander nokton 35mm 1.2, thinking that i might buy a 50mm from HK if I felt limited with the 35mm (given that I broke the 50mm summicron and for some reason didn’t remember to send it for a repair until the day I traveled)

Luckily, I managed without having to buy a new lens, the images had the usual nokton softness, which I don’t mind at all.
Hong kong is very dense, and streets are tight and narrow that i couldn’t imagine using a 50mm over there, the 35mm focal length served me very well.

Most of the images I am sharing here are not uploaded to my photostream yet, as you can see they are all in B&W, which is the total opposite of my current flickr photostream, however i might upload them soon.

I never thought I would convert any of these photographs to B&W when i was capturing them, it only happened when i messed around with one of the images and felt that nokton softness along with B&W treatment appeals to my taste.

For now, hope you all enjoy the images as much as i enjoyed capturing them.
Fahad A

Hong Kong album on Flickr:
Hong Kong

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