The Seal Tour rolls on – Santiago Chile, Show night with the M9

Holy S*%T am I tired. It is 2:36AM and I have to wake up in 4 hours to go pick up my Visa so I can get into Brazil tomorrow! Crazy crazy crazy but hey, it’s all an adventure right? Today was a LONG day and when I arrived to the arena to shoot tonights show I was ready for bed but I collected all of the energy I had and just went with it.

Before the show I was snapping some test shots and realized that my new Grey M9 body MAY be out of alignment already! Using the Noctilux on it tonight led to MANY OOF shots that I could not use, but I noticed it was only when I focused far off wide open. It could be my eyes but I did not have this problem the other night. I was pretty wiped out though so who knows…

Even with those OOF shots gone I managed to come away with some fun images from before AND during AND after the show! As always CLICK on these images to see the better versions!

Mark Summerlin warming up before the show

Steve during the soundcheck – this one is a bit out of focus but I KNOW I had the lens in focus in the RF

Steve McDonald – Seals best friend, guitar tech and one hell of a photographer

Gus at sound check – shot with the 90 Summarit at f/4 –  1/30s

First things first! Santiago Chile was FANTASTIC! The crowd was amazing and not afraid to get up and dance which made for a very cool and fun show. Everyone had a great time no doubt and the performance by Seal and the entire band was just about flawless.

This time Seal came out in all black so no yellow “pop” in these 🙂

The shot below was shot with the legendary 35 Summicron at f2

The 28 Elmarit wide open at 2.8 just performs amazingly well on the M9

I was shooting in VERY tight quarters tonight so it was hard to get the better angles but this is what this kind of thing is all about. Do the best with whatever is thrown at you I always say 🙂

Marcus Brown up close and personal

a fan gets emotional as Seal comes to the crowd

I’m still digging the combo of the Leica M9 with the 28 Elmarit and 50 Noct. Even with it’s quirky focus I still managed to come away with some images that have strong feeling, emotion and loads of energy. Something I strive for when shooting these shows. The crispness and color from the Nocti, when spot on, is remarkable.  The color from this lens is special and much more vibrant and rich than from any other Leica lens I have used.

Once the show was over there was a backstage meet and greet along with a small party and even Bruce Kulick, former KISS Guitarist was at the show and the after party. The funny thing is that I have been a fan of KISS since I was 9. I’ve always admired Bruce and there he was at the show, front row center. I chatted with him for about 10-15 minutes and he was great. Another down to earth guy who loves music and even photography! He was showing me the shots he got of Seal with his Iphone and they looks damn good.

Seal with the British Ambassador (bottom right) who showed up to the show as well…how cool is that?

Bruce Kulick and Seal

You know there was no light when you shoot a Noctilux at f/0.95, ISO 1250 and 1/30s…this is the reason for the blur here. The guy in the middle was one of the GREATEST guys ever and worked at the W hotel where we stayed.

So another show and another day down. About two weeks to go. Tomorrow we head to Sao Paulo Brazil (Im in trouble if my Visa isn’t ready at 10 like they said it would be) and I am looking forward to more adventure, more photography and more time hanging with Seal and the guys. Having a GREAT time so far! I am hoping to write and article soon (when I get some free time) about shooting with the Noctilux and how to bring out its greatness. Stay tuned 🙂

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  1. Hey Steve,
    I’m back at checking your site twice a day so I don’t miss anything and look forward to the next show. Backstage and after party shots are always good to look at for mortals like us. Keep them coming.

    What ISO and speed are you setting for the concert shots?
    Enjoy South America

  2. Exciting times like these do not offer much time for rest. Be aware of coconut milk, great pics as usual

  3. Steve

    It sounds like you need to do a quick test shot to see if the M9 really is out of alignment. A quick snap of a sign with the Noctilux wide open should do it. Another option is line the band up facing you for a per-show shot. Hve half lean left and the others lean right with the Seal in the center standing straight. Take two shots with the Nochtilux, one wide open and the other at f8 or f11. The wide open shot should tell you if the camera is focusing in front of or behind your intended subject. The other will just be a goofy tour shot.


  4. Hey, man… Funny, I am also going to pick up my visa tomorrow as I will be working in Sao Paulo next month :)… Let me know how you like the place.


  5. Hey, Steve! Great shots (but its the normality)!
    Do some of my country, please post street photography of Sao Paulo!

  6. Which lens is giving you that cool circular halo flair? I’ve seen the Voigtlander 35mm 1.4 do that, but not any Leica. I always figured it was because the 35mm Voigtlander had the chrome filter ring…

    I dig the look.

  7. How sensitive is the alignment of the M9?

    This issue doesn’t seem common nor is it rare. It is one of my concerns of purchasing an M9.

    Any helpful information would be appreciated.


  8. Just bad shots. I mean: bad bad shots, not godd bad shots.

    Hey, i was there- shots. No special moments not special geometry.

    And lots of excuses, it was so tight, so dark and not so easy.

    You wouldnt hear this from a professional.

    And, of cause, everyone youve pictured, is a great guy.

    • Bad words. I mean, bad bad words, not good bad words…

      Ixania, it looks like you ate something bitter this morning… But it’s OK, we like you, anyway. Please be nice, say something sweet! Otherwise, it’s like walking into a party full of joyful people and saying nasty things about everybody’s dress. I mean, aren’t we all just happy dudes here? Don’t spoil the mood. Be sentimental for a change!

      I happen to like some of those shots. Some very much. And I found some special moments there, silly me…

      And what are ‘good’ shots, anyway? Can you show us some, please?

      Greg Shanta

    • No excuses at all! I love these shots regardless, I just know they could have been better. No matter who the photographer is, NONE of us have perfect days every day 🙂 The cool thing is that when shooting Leica you do not end up with 1000 shots but more like 100 on a night like this.

      I am not sure I understand your comment anyway “everyone I shot is a great guy”?? So you are saying I have taken really bad shots of great guys?

      Whatever your response/comment, thanks for reading the site 🙂

  9. Lot of photographic miracles there. That’s what it’s all about. Great job, band and Seal and crowd looks great. Can’t say whether I’d rather be on the stage playing (I’m an old musician), shooting the performance with Leica gear, or hanging out with the ladies in the front row. lol! Okay. I actually could say. But I won’t. Enjoy everyone!


  10. Seriously, Steve… no one in the world can shoot Noctilux like you can. You were made for each other.


    Thanks for that.

  11. Absolutely loving the whole on tour experience you’re giving us here Steve. With the alignment issue I guess you’re having to work very hard to get these shots. Just wondred how you’re finding the 90mm Summarit in this environment? I’m thinking about picking up an older 90mm Elmarit and I know you had prefered the latest version of the Elmarit to the Summarit in the past but has that changed given your experience with it now?

    • Havent shot much with it but will do a full review after this tour when I get back to AZ in April. Going to use it more and more and put it through its paces. Thx!

  12. hey steve i did fire you a facebook post about doing a photowalk in belo horizonte – brasil if you wish but i had to temporarily disable my facebook account. So if you are interested in getting together when you come with Seal to my city shoot me an email at “andrefrocha at gmail dot com”.

  13. More creative angles and compositons! Great eye, Steve. I really enjoy the color pop on the photos you have been posting. Keep it up!

    • Thanks Joseph! Im also digging the colors…after shooting smaller sensor cams for a while you really do appreciate the M9 “look” when coming back to it.

      • In a fantasy world…it would be interesting to see someone shooting a Voigtlander NOKTON 25mm f0.95 MFT side-by-side with you on this tour.
        I know the sharpness isn’t there like the Nocti etc. (the two lenses are planets apart, as is a MFT image file compared to the M9)..but it would be interesting to see if the similar bokeh, DOF etc. of a poor-man’s version of the Leica could capture the “mood and emotion” in the same way that you have. Basically you would have a $1700 set-up vs. a $17,000 set up compared extensively in a “visually-exciting” real world setting. (no test charts or fence photos…LOL).
        It would be interesting I bet.

  14. Great shots (come to expect that of you), but the TIMING on the drummer with exploding light behind him, and not getting washed out by that huge burst of light…. Eeeeiiii!

    • Indeed. Garry, did you know that he once had it inscribed on a ‘collector edition’ Zorki camera which he presented to the director of the Zorki factory while in Russia? I recently saw that camera being auctioned off here in Moscow for about $5000.

      That was some eccentric move on HCB’s part! And a risky one, too! Soviet administrators didn’t have much of a sense of humour those days. The funny thing is those Zorki cameras with kit 50mm they were usually sold with were a major challenge to focus. I once stumbled upon one at a friend’s house and borrowed its lens to try with my Leica M9. No way I could focus that thing! In comparison, when I once tried a 75-year-old Leitz 50 Elmar on my M9 I could get decent pictures out of it right away.

      So, HCB surely knew how to crack a joke!

      Just wanted to share this story with everyone here.

      Greg Shanta

  15. Steve, this day may not have been as fantastic as the first one (maybe due to problems you mentioned) but not bad, either! Great images, great series! My favourite one is with Seal covering his eyes with his hand (or wiping his forehead?). Fantastic picture, Steve! I think, if you manage at least one picture like that at each concert, you will have a great exhibition-ready series. Keep it up, man!

    Thank you very much for this feast for my eyes! Please don’t mind my being a bit too emotional here and there. I’m Russian (of Armenian descend!) after all… We were not trained to hide our feelings.


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