Seal In Zermatt Switzerland with the M9 and Noctilux!

Seal In Zermatt Switzerland with the Leica M9 and Noctilux f/0.95

Hello  to all! The last two days have been full of travel for me as I headed home after being on the road with Seal for the past 3-4 weeks. I am now home, well slept and re-energized. I am hoping to get a hold of an X100 now that I am back so I can put it through its paces, so stay tuned for that! It feels good to be home and back at my desk. Updating on the little 13″ macbook pro was OK, but not as nice as sitting at my huge desk with my 27″ Imac. Speaking of my Macbook Pro (the one I bought just a month ago), I just took it out of my bag and noticed the screen has cracked during my last flight home! ARG! I did drop my entire camera bag once at the airport, and seeing that it weighed in at around 40lbs the little Macbook screen didn’t survive the fall. Hopefully my M9 did.

It has been an amazing month for me. I have been able to see parts of the world I would have never seen, fly in a helicopter through the swiss mountains, meet some amazing people and make some great new friends, eat at some of the most amazing restaurants ever, finally get a hold of a VAJA Iphone 4 case that I have been wanting,  and shoot my ass off at all of the Seal shows. It has been a month of fun, adventure, photography and also moments of sadness when you sit back and miss your family.

It has truly been a blast and what is really cool is that I may be doing it again this summer during Seal’s upcoming 7 week tour. While I am home I will spend my time with my friends, family and special loved ones as that is what life is all about really. 🙂

My last post here featured some snapshots I grabbed while going up to the Matterhorn mountain in Zermatt. Todays post will feature some images from the last Seal show in Zermatt at the “Zermatt Unplugged’ festival. I have to say, Zermatt was an amazing place to visit. It’s a ski town but probably one of the most beautiful in the world, if not THE most beautiful. I’ll go back at some point, just as I will re-visit Cape Town again one day. But Zermatt just has that vibe, fresh mountain air, and even some very cool happy locals.

The show was a bit different than the shows on the South American tour. It was held inside a tent and the chairs were all lined with sheepskin, how funky is that? It was an intimate show and the fans were a little more subdued here as usually this event is ALL unplugged performances, which at times can be a but mellow and dare I say…boring? Seal and the band started off with an acoustic set and then launched in to their normal “plugged” set. Was a great show, and a great time though it was tough to shoot due to the odd angles up close. This was also the first show where there were other photographers, and there were SIX of them with huge DSLR’s just blazing away at 7 frames per second for the first three songs (which is what they were allowed to shoot).

I was there with my M9 and firing one shot at a time, when the moment was right and no joke, most of these guys probably shot 300-400+ frames during those first three songs. I shoot 200 or less during an entire show. I guess that is the technique with a DSLR. Fire away and hope for the best.

In any case, I had a blast as always and am looking forward to the next run. Here are some of the images, all shot with the Leica M9 and 35 cron + 50 Noct.

As always, click on any image for a larger and better version

Before the show – You can see the sheepskin lined seats and the cool atmosphere of the tent..

and the show starts with some acoustic versions of classic Seal songs…

then the show was ramped up a bit and the fun REALLY started 🙂

After uploading all of these shots I sort of already miss it! Wow. I have to say though that after a solid month of use and abuse on the M9 and Noctilux both have performed flawlessly day in and day out. They have some scratches and scuffs on them now but that makes it even better 🙂

I also got to shoot with Seals Titanium M9 while we were on this trip and HOLY SHIT that thing is absolutely incredible. A thing of beauty. It just feels so good and looks so nice in person. The LED frame lines are very cool IMO. Whoever was able to obtain one has one sweet camera, that is for sure. What is cool is Seal actually shoots his and he brought it to dinners ,lunch, shows, walks…very cool to see someone using it instead of putting it on a shelf.

Once again I’d like to thank Seal (thanks so much for the amazingly generous gift and bringing me along), Ric (thanks for the great food, good times) and everyone else who I spent time with over the past month. I feel like I have an extended family now..well, I guess I do 🙂 See you all soon.



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  1. Lu MIX (M9 Budget Version) Micro four thirds w LTM.
    Just wanted to Share this with Leica Steve Huff Hello to all in Leica D 35mm Film
    Working on 2 Gallery shows
    Will keep YOU posted
    Concert Available Light-Stand outs Beady Eye Sex Pistols
    Thanks Great Post. Leica IS Life Simple.
    Click Advance

  2. Steve & ~6: Re. the RF vs. DSLR comments: I’m with you! The photography market is driven by technology, and adding more and more features. But that has nothing to do with a camera’s suitability for a particular task.

    The RF responds instantly, and lets you see the fleeting human expression right through the shot. No black-out and/or shutter lag as you have with the DSLR, Micro 4/3 or NEX. So you can “get in the groove” with your subject more naturally. And you know if you got the shot without having to “chimp.”

    In musical terms, it’s like playing an instrument that responds instantly, vs. one that “speaks” a tiny bit after you articulate a note. You can adjust to the delay, but it’s so much nicer not to have to. And if you’re playing fast or with lots of rubato, the more responsive instrument might be the only way to get it just right.

    I started shooting with Leica because I could focus an RF more easily than an SLR. I stayed with Leica because of the fantastic optics and its suitability for capturing people being themselves. There are times when another type of camera is more suitable, but the Leica is what I reach for the most.

    Congrats on some great work, Steve! And ~6, thanks for taking us along!


  3. I’m a big Seal fan but have never seen him in person (on my list…). But anyway, what I really love about your images is that his energy just comes right through. Even without being there, I know he is giving every show, every song, his all. He’s a dramatic looking character, but your skill and gear takes concert imagery to a new level. Way to go.

    • Now Steve and `6, see what you have done! Bad cases of Noctiluxmania spreading around and it`s clearly you fault. I hope you`ll help poor ris-otto as it looks to be a bad case. Maybe you know a specialist that could diagnose maladies severity grade. I wish I could help, but the only one I know is one from the old days, specialist in rare case of Hologonism ( 8/15mm by Zeiss for their Hologon camera, few pieces made in M-mount). First symptoms were easy to tell. His fits started with choked Ho-Ho-Ho-Ho,( year round, not necessary x-mas time), followed by Lo-Lo-Lo and finished of with Go-Go-Go-Gone. Tough case as there were few Hologones around for antidote and they were bloody expensive (check e-Bay) . Nowadays it`s easy-peasy. For a mild case I would prescribe 4.5/15 Heliar and for more severe one 2,8/15 Distagon. Y. L. D . (your lens doctor)
      p.s. easy Kelvin easy, do not work yourself up the grades, you might catch a lens fever.

  4. I’m not talking about the pictures, but about the review. I want to hear about stuff I could actually one day afford. Since going on tour with you there’s only talk of M9 and Noctilux, which for the amount they’re worth ought to be amazing. Pics are amazing because of Steve’s eye, obviously 😉

  5. Hello everyone.

    First of all I would like to say that I really like the pictures of this concert. But as someone said in the comments, I like very much some of the pictures of this and other concerts.

    I must also say that I understand that Steve don’t like when photographers are firing in bursts mode with huge DSLR waiting that in one of that pictures it will be a good one. I have a DSLR and I have photos of concerts and I try to learn to find the right moment to take a picture. I’m an amateur photographer and sometimes it is not easy. But I try to learn and so I look through the viewfinder and I try to wait to capture the right moment.

    If you want to see it here they are.

    The concerts I’ve photographed are folk music and seeing the pictures of Steve, I know that they are different that Seal’s concerts. I love Seal’s music and seeing the pictures of Steve is noted that he also likes it. And I know that Leica M9 and Noctilux it is a great combo but I know that the soul of a photography will be the same if Steve will be getting pictures with another camera.

    I will try to get a Leica because I like it very much but I know that my photos will have the same soul with any camera that takes in my hands. And I prefer shot a few pics like Steve than a tons of pics in burst mode.

    Thanks for sharing all the Seal photos Steve, and thanks to Seal too to do so great music.

    I’m glad that Steve is living his dream, because not everyone can live their dream.

  6. Mr. Seal when you decide to let go of “your gathering dust stuff” please let me know. I have three projects going that would benefit from some long glass so I can get closer.Ospreys are are very wary birds and I can’t walk on water for my water-ski work.Can’t offer much as I’m kinda cash strapped.Great work Steve and you are so right about the K-5 Seal. I love mine.

  7. No problem anyway. I think they will like the idea but, as an official ambassador, you will have to do a lot of moonshining for them.

    • Haha….they might but my wife won’t see the funny side of it so I guess it’ll have to wait for the next life.

      I think that between you, Steve and every Leica owner here, Leica are pretty happy with the press they get. 🙂


  8. *I love all things Leica and I’m even thinking of getting a red dot tattoo ‘where the sun don’t shine’*. Wow, I wonder what business executive and PR people in Soms say to that! You must have a huge confidence credit in the realm of the ONLY LOVEABLE CUTEST LEICAPUNZEL KINGDOM on he earth.

    • Not sure I understand your question, it was way to clever for me and went way over my head. But I CAN tell you what the Leica business/PR department say when I buy not one, but two Titan M9’s and get photographed with one of them pretty much wherever I go including sporting one on the red carpet at the Oscars. They say “Bravo `6…thanks for the free advertising, perhaps we should start paying you”


      • Hehe…I saw that picture in the papers/online and of course the second I saw it – I saw the M9 Titan in your hand…

        I am sure the guys in Solms do know what this kind of (good) press and product placement is worth.



      • Dear ~6
        Yes, two M9T and you got one of the SerialN I wanted …
        On that matter, where can we see your shots, since you seem to shoot a lot.

        • Hi Alfred,

          if you go to you can see some of my images. I haven’t updated it over the last week and there are two of my galleries there, one mobileme and the other a smugmug one. The mobileme is more current but the smugmug is older however I’m thinking of designating that one as the main gallery because if it’s ease and interface. Flickr is beginning to really get on my nerves due to it’s indexing or more specifically lack thereof meaning that one has to wade through so much junk to get to what one is looking for (junk meaning incorrect listings, not bad photos).

          Hope that helps,


          • Cheers for that – need to view it privately, all blocked here (Swiss Secrecy).
            I can also recommend
            And if you ever want to swap 007 for another cool number, let me know, free ride in the matching vehicle from the 60’s included, no ejection seat nor guns though 🙂

            PS: Do you find any difference between firmware 1.38 and 1.5 (titan only)? Perhaps just Vodoo but the results from the 35 look more “lucid” coming from the T …

          • Actually Alfred, the 007 one I have is very unique in that it does not have the digital frame-lines, it has the conventional system. I asked for it that way so as to truly differentiate it from all others. I wasn’t totally convinced with the digital frame-line concept although I like it. That said you probably prefer the newer concept and would therefore not like my 007 SN. I don’t use that one, instead opting for the 500/500 SN which I use daily.

            Thanks for the link, I’ll check it out.


          • Cool – got the message.

            Don’t understand the SLR discussions, it’s HOW you use it not what it IS. Just because you can spray and pray doesn’t mean you have to. The rangfinder bit is completely overrated, IMHO, and totally imprecise, too. Leave your left eye open when you shoot 50-80mm on SLRs, same effect for being in the scene, but needs practice.

            I can totally follow the weight bit of the discussion, but hey, I use Hasselblads monsters, too, try that for your back … it’s the (relative) slowness, technical limitations (no tele lenses to speak of) and hence thought process that comes with M9 or MF shooting that usually differentiates it from the SLRs, if you know what I mean. It used to be similar with (I am a Nikon man) F2 and F3 but started to change with AF F4. Look at old photobooks from a time where AF and winders where NOT common.

            Could there be an analogy in music? The GarageBand scene versus people that know what they are doing without computers (but use computers to enhance their abilities)?

            The optical “Noctilux” effect can be replicated easily with any other good, shallow DOF lens (NOCT Nikkor, Haselblad 100/2.2) plus some fiddling in Capture1 or LR. I am about to complete a LR preset for some lenses/camera combinations with the help of technicians. We label it “Noctiluxed!”.
            I have all the Noctis so I can compare. Hence, agreed, it isn’t the lens, it’s how Steve uses it. Kudos for that, even with a magnifier my eyes aren’t good enough anymore to nail enough shots in low light.

            Oh and, yes, it helps with people if you do NOT look like your average tourist with a black plastic monster in hand, so using a M9 or Hasselblad-type put you perceptually in a different bucket there right away, especially when it ozes “pro-type expensive” … 🙂

            Lastly, it’s the camera you have with you that counts … it’s nice if you can afford the odd 100 grand for gear but has little correlation with results. ESPECIALLY the Noctilux leads to a monoculture of results with it’s overwhelming signature – shallow DOF, overaccentuated colors, vignetting, accentuated lights in the centre … all nice but often used as an effect for effect’s sake.
            So again, it takes a pro to put it to use. Well done Steve


  9. Hi Michael,

    I actually DO CARE what brand I’m using…I am fickle like that 🙂 I like the red dot, it means a lot to me, it makes me feel great when I take photos and whenever I see another red do photographer, I instantly bond with them…..unashamedly so. I love all things Leica and I’m even thinking of getting a red dot tattoo ‘where the sun don’t shine’.

    All jokes aside, I’m not a HUGE DSLR lover and in fact I’m over them. But each to his own and good luck to whoever gets what they need from them.


    • Hehe…hi again `6!

      Of course I can “feel” the way you do…I like my red dot cameras too a lot!


      And yes – me too using the M9 now at least according the time walking around with it more then my “huge” DSLR…as you do – and yup, I do enjoy that.

      I have not sold my DSLR cause for covering an Opera Festivial here in Austria I really do need isos in the range of 6400 – sometimes even more than that – and there the DSLR shines. But in my spare time, weddings of friends, street shots or just walking around at local events – I am using the red dot cameras – one with the Noctilux (last version of the “old”) and besides that in my Crumpler bag is the X1 – for covering the wide angle shots.
      I am loving it…(ups – I think there may be a copyright on that…).

      Wish you well,


      • Carrying a D-SLR can be a royal pain. Leica wins in that regard. Plus, using a rangefinder is relaxing for me. I still love my Nikon, but it’s more for the sports, action, and dog stuff. I like Leica for the artsy fartsy stuff. Oh, and street, travel. Well, you guys get the idea.Same reason why I like compacts, except with compacts, you don’t have that rangefinder experience.

        • Hi Elaine!

          The only moment the DSLR really does “pain” to me – when I am getting back from the Airpower show (coming up in July 2011) – as in the years before – and I have been carrying around my DSLR attached to a 200-400mm lens, using an 1.4 converter, and doing that for about 8-10hrs the whole day WITHOUT a tri-/monopod!


          THAT really hurts at the end of the day in your shoulders/back…but it gets soon away after viewing the cool pics I did get from this combination…



          • Yeah. That big lens can be a pain. I’ve had issues carrying around two Nikon bodies photographing concerts and weddings. By the end of the day, My neck and shoulder ached, but if I didn’t have shoulder/neck injury, I would have faired better I think. As I get older, it really bothers me to hold a D-SLR too long or a guitar around my neck (standing). I love carrying lighter gear. Back in the day I was carrying around a rented Mamiya RB67, a Mamiya 645 and a Rolleiflex TLR. the Mamiya RB67 was very heavy and wrecked my wrists, never mind the neck and shoulder. LOL! D-SLR doesn’t seem so heavy now, but as the camer gear gets smaller, it makes sense to carry something smaller as it’s less hassle. If the quality is good, then why not? I still adore Nikon though. Too many choices, and so many lovely ones at that.

  10. Hi Steve,

    Fantastic shots from your month on the road with Seal. Those 50mm Noct shots are jaw dropping. Someday I’m going to own one of those lenses. Although I have my M9 and 50mm Cron with me most days they still haven’t gotten any dings or scratches. I still have to get over that first scrape or dent syndrome, so for now there staying nice and cosy and protected. But I know exactly what you mean about your gear feeling better once you’ve gotten past that first scratch!

    Great post, keep up the fantastic work. Also cannot wait to see what you think about the X100 from Fuji. Some early reviews on the web are starting to paint a picture of a camera that has huge potential but some annoying quirks.


  11. Hi Michael,

    I like the X100 but I won’t post any images from it because that’s not the reason I bought it. I really got it out of curiosity as I mentioned before and also because I have no interest in supporting a competing brand. As I mentioned, it’s very cool but cool for people who don’t own or don’t want a Leica. I will never take it on a trip in place of a Leica because I’m happy with what I have. I want Leica to continue setting the standard in the photographic world and I’m proud to be associated with them. I will say though that I think the X100 is great and I’m happy that it exists because competition/innovation is great for us, the consumer and it will push Leica at the very least to bring us more great tools.


    • Hi `6!

      I did not ask to get a statement from you which should support this or that brand…I am really enjoying photography and I don’t care what brand I am using for it…so I do have a DSLR (D3s) for opera and sports shooting where it really shines – either speed, reliabilty and of course high iso but too own a M9 and a X1…I was just interested in the X100 because the only thing I am missing with the X1 is that from time to time – when I am being asked by friends to cover their weddings – is the ability to make at least short HD-Videos which in the end is positive looking at slideshows of the wedding using music and of course besides a lot of still photos 3-4 short videos…

      But thx for your reply.


  12. Great shot as the others of the tour, but in each show, i pick a special one, and this time is the one seal is holding a audience boys hand!! Its simple enthusiastic!

    About this DSLR polemic discussion, when i bought my m8, i showed to a friend, and she said “oh, beautiful!! But look my camera, i can take a lot of shots holding this button, and one, for sure, will be good”… I just answered “Yeah, maybe you have some luck and make a good photo this way”.. =P

  13. Just wanted to chime in here about my DSLR comments. I did not mean any negativity, well, even if it sounded like it. To me it was just irritating to hear constant machine gun clicks from 6 other photographers but I do realize that is their job and they need to get the shot. I watched a couple of them for a moment and it really did appear they were just aiming and firing away randomly. Just a different style I guess, and that is cool. Just not my style.

    I’m not a DSLR hater (just don’t care for the bulk and weight anymore) and as a matter of fact, if I can afford it I may get a silver Pentax K5 and 200 2.8 to bring next time for those venues where it is tough to shoot it all up front. The K5 is small, quiet, and for me will still be used as a “one shot at a time” camera.

    But I wasn’t hating on DSLR shooters, not at all. Just an observation from what I saw that night. Didn’t mean to start any kind of trouble…

    • Hi Steve,
      Good to hear you are not a DSLR hater! 🙂 I guess I felt your comment a little “patronizing” (not sure if it’s the right word – English is not my native language). I too find the DSLRs are getting too bulky and big but keep using them since I’m nowhere near affording a M9 with a lens. I’m desperately searching for a smaller quieter camera with the same IQ and versatility, which will not make me miss my DSLR. Meanwhile Nikon is making even bigger and more bulkier lenses (and cameras). X1 may be my answere for a walkaround camera, replacing both my GF1 and LX5. I must admit I love my D300s, but it’s usually not the one I bring out everywhere. More due to the size than weight.

      Keep up the good work with your site – I’m really enjoying your photos and reviews!


  14. Hi Steve, looking at these, I see you really love this man and his music … Seal is one of the best performers in the world. Looking at these pictures I feel the ‘vibe and spirit’ of a great show.
    Because you know him so well, you can manage it to be on the right place at the right time. It’s just impossible to do that if you don’t enjoy his music. You even make Seal shine more … And to ‘6, hope to see you soon on your European Tour. I hope you will be playing in Belgium or Holland !

  15. Steve, your coverage of this tour was sooooooooo awesome!!! I really look forward to photos from future Seal tours in your amazing rangefinder, “non-DSLR-machine-gun” style! Couldn’t agree more with what Seal said in this thread.

    Regarding going back to Zermatt: Yes, Zermatt is very nice indeed. But my personal favorite in the Alpine region is another village nearby: Saas Fee. There is some special magic at that place IMHO, even for the those of us, who won’t go to the Alps for downhill skiing. 😉

  16. Amazing photos from what appears to be an amazing perfomer and band. Reading between the lines and 6~ comments it looks like Steve, 6~ and the Nocti are going to be an inspring combination for all of us over the coming years. Thanks to both of you for sharing this with us.

  17. Wow. I am amazed at your ability to capture the moment. But I am even more amazed that you are getting such sharp images with a Noctilux. Was the lens calibrated to your camera body? Are all the shots wide open?

    I think you did an amazing job of selecting where to focus. That seems to be very important for making or breaking the overall image when you have such a thin DOF to work with.

  18. It’s all very well to make statements about dSLR users. But I wouldn’t shoot 200 frames in a month. On an active day there is hardly a chance to finish one roll. Even Bruce Gilden, like HCB stated that to have 10 great photos a year is a huge achievement.

    Without risking the pot calling the kettle black – we should just do what we do and enjoy it and leave the commentary and gossip of others alone. It gets tiring when all that matters is the result.


    • Just to be clear,
      Both Steve and I weren’t making “statements” about dslr users, we were making statements about dslr users at MY GIGS which both of us are not only more than qualified to do, but also it’s my prerogative to do so because … just is! It’s also Steve’s site so need I say more.

      Furthermore, a gentle word of advice, you might want to opt for a different analogy rather than the “Pot & Kettle” one.


      • Mate – no need to be so defensive or justify your positition. It is just friendly feedback you can incorporate or ignore as you see fit. It is made in a constructive and helpful manner.

        Part of any business and creative endeavor (like you need a lesson) is to be able to both seek and accept feedback.

        I am not here to bash Steve or yourself or your opinions or to hold you to the same standards as traditional journalists.

        I am merely offering feedback that I find the whole talk of VS wars and comments which can come across as snide (even if not the intention) or overly generalised – as a cancerous meme that can adversely affect a great site – which Steve can attest I was quick to offer help when he needed it too.

        And yes – my analogy was un called for and snide as well (even if unintended). I retract it and apologise to Steve. Smiley face and all that too…..


        • Hi Micahel,

          I’m not justifying my position at all. I have a lot of huge DSLR equipment but the interesting thing is that it’s gathering dust due to being so bulky and difficult to lug around. I don’t think I will get rid of glass because as a policy I promised myself I will never do at again however, the cameras themselves will most sure go to someone who will appreciate them more than I’ve been in the last year or so.

          I still stand by what I said earlier in that I find them annoying at my shows with a souless yeild factor of uninspired images. Once again, we are talking about huge DSLR’s. The Pentax, on the other hand, is a brilliant piece of gear because it still connects due to it’s unobtrusive and inoffensive nature.


          • When did we become so lazy about carrying gear? LOL! Remember the days of Graflex, Hasselblad and Rollei? Funny isn’t it? I’m the same way about carrying less. if I can carry around something as light as possible, I’m happier, and more likely to carry the gear. We never had these choices. Now we do. It’s amazing. We can carry around such different styles of cameras, and all lighter these days, except the D-SLRs. Now, I love D-SLRs, but am totally into carrying something that is much, much smaller, with loads of simplicity and control. As I get older, I hate lugging stuff, as it ruins the moment for me. plus, what I carry, I need to like the way it works, from the lowliest p&s to the sweetest Leica or whatever brand. But…smaller is so much nicer for me.

          • ~6,

            I totally relate to the “unobtrusive and inoffensive” observation. I am in New Orleans several times a week, and until recently drug my big A900 and a BIG lens with me during all my visits. As a private investigator I am very aware of people’s reactions and always considered the “Big Camera” a plus because I was able to go unnoticed; by being noticed. When I started carrying the little X1, I truly became invisible. The street performers and musicians are much friendlier and are now more likely to smile than turn away. Without discovering Steve, I would have never considered such a camera, but now an M9 is on the list for this year! Cheers on a great tour, and the magic between you and Steve. Joe

  19. Sweet shots. Why was this concert called Unplugged? It doesn’t look like that it was acoustic instruments only, like the MTV Unplugged shows. I hope Seal will make to to New England one day again and you will join. 😉 Thanks for covering this amazing tour for us. D!RK

    • I played the first three songs completely acoustically, then broke into electric and lastly, finished with an acoustic song in ‘Secret’. I did this because I make my own rules based on my reading and understanding of my audience. Ultimately people want to hear soulful music and be entertained, they couldn’t give a rats as long as you are respectful, sincere and good.


  20. Wow, the 10k lens is amazing, how remarkable… Seriously Steve, how many people can afford this lens? Obviously it’s amazing, but who cares? I think your site rocks cause of the real world reviews…

  21. Amazing!!! Sublimes ces photos! Sublimes ce concert! Et Seal? Sublime! J’aurais aimé y être. Wow! Quelle claque!

  22. I know what you mean about the DSLR shooters at some events but they are forced into it by the 3-song limit. You shoot to capture the height of the action but with the limited time you have to make sure you get back to the office with something other than “snapshot” material. I know because for some events I used to have to do that.

    But last night I started coverage of the 13th Seabreeze Jazz Festival here in Panama City Beach, FL, USA, and I made a conscious decision to do things differently this year. Here, there is no 3-song limit that I have to adhere to and I have total access throughout the venue including even being able to go on the stage for different angles than what the crowd, even the VIPs, can get. As far as shooting, I have left my monster 80-200/2.8 in the bag and am using a 12-24/4, 35/1.8 DX, and 85/1.8 on my “vintage” Nikon D2h bodies. Then I have tossed in a recently-acquired Contax G2 with a 45/2 and 90/2.8 with Tri-X and P3200. None of the bodies are on continous shooting but have been set for single exposures. I am now anticipating the action more, doing very little chimping (pretending I am shooting film), and visualizing the image as a black&white print. This is slowing me down and that is a good thing. I will submit some “selects” for the Pic of the Day next week.

    In the meantime, keep shooting and writing, Steve. I visit daily and here recently have taken inspiration of your Seal images in preparing for the Seabreeze festival.

  23. Great shots, but felt your comment about the DSLR shooters was a little unfair. I’m sure not all of them were firing away and hoping for the best…

    Hope you will do a review of the X100 and perhaps compare it to the X1. The past few weeks I’ve gotten a sudden need for the X1, but at the same time are well aware that it’s almost two years old and should rather wait a few more months and see what may come next, or go for the X100…

    • Hi Iau,

      I have to say from experience that I agree with Steve regarding the DSLR shooters doing precisely that….’shooting’ and hoping for the best. I don’t think Steve is being unfair at all because I’ve seen those images from those type of photographers time and time again. 99% of the time they are lifeless, boring, and generally speaking crap! For the most part I find them annoying which is the main reason you will find that most artists don’t allow them to shoot past the first song let alone three (which is what I generally allow them). Putting it bluntly they cause such a distraction not only for me but for the audience and if I had my way I would ban them completely from my shows and force everyone to use RF’s.

      Steve has taken the best, most interesting and soulful images of me performing in my twenty-one year tenure in this industry. For that reason I have asked him to become not only my tour photographer but my official photographer to document the rest of my career. I only hope that he enjoys it as much as we do and that he’ll accept.

      I am honestly thinking of selling all of my huge DSLR equipment because I think that the big DSLR days are seriously numbered. Been using the little Pentax K-5 (silver limited edition) together with a silver 43mm f/1.9 and I tell you, it makes me never want to go back to using anything bigger where DSLR’s are concerned, that camera is a work of art and I commend Pentax for what they’ve achieved… is in many way the perfect camera on so many levels.

      I was lucky enough to pick up an X100 from London. My new friend Nick Fyffe, a great musician who was Jamiraquai’s bass player and now plays with Dani Harrison (son of the great Beetle) shipped me one from a dealer in London so luckily I didn’t have to pay a premium. On initial impressions I have to say that I think it’s amazing and will be a huge hit. Sure it has some annoying quirks but they’re mostly fixable through firmware. It is in no way a Leica in terms of tradition and build quality or even IQ but it is it’s own thing and pretty brilliant! Credit where credit is due, it’s an amazing camera that will win a lot of followers and deservedly so. The reason I got one is because I am a Leica loyalist and part of my job as an ambassador is to find out, experience and realise exactly what’s out there in the field (ignorance is a bad and destructive thing). The most interesting thing about it though is that I truly believe that due to it’s quality, feature set and size, it is the shape of things to come. That said, what Leica will bring in the coming years will wipe the floor with everything of that nature…trust me.

      Okay, that’s enough gibberish from me for now. Steve, you were amazing and thank you once again for bringing the gift of your vision and for being my friend, luv ya bud.


      • Greetings and congratulations to your tour-success!

        Great news for Steve that you offer him to be your tour/career-photographer…

        According the Fujifilm X100 – plz put some shots online and if possible write your experience with it – where it “shines” where it lacks and so on.

        kind regards,


      • Hi,

        Thanks for your comments. About being lifeless and boring I totally agree, but don’t you think it could have something to do with their limitations? They usually have to stay in front (of the pit) and have little space to move around. Another thing is that many of them are just from a local newspaper and not specially into concert photography (not knowing when to be where). What I meant was that they are trying to get a good photo for whatever newspaper they are from. It always seems that the best concert photos are taken by those that are very much into it, and have the neccessary access. I love looking at concert photos, but have to settle for taking pictures of lakes, mountains and my dog myself. Not being a pro photographer I have little experience with concert photography, but have of course smugled in many P&S over the years. That is a real hit and miss! 🙂

        Also, I can see how a bunch of photographers in the front can be of great distraction (speaking as an experienced concert goer). I remember Springsteen during his solo acoustic tour in the mid 90’s put all photographers in the back of a not so well lit venue (usually just a tiny spot on him). Those that didn’t bring proper lenses and a monopod had a problem. It being very quiet shows in small venues, you could easily hear their ‘clicks’ when you were seated in the back. I always find that the most interesting photos usually are taken well into the concert, when the artists and audience has “loosened up”.

        Interesting comments about the X100. What I’m most curious about is how the IQ is compared to Leica’s X1. Not being able to afford a M9 myself I have settled for a GF1, but have kept my DSLR equipment. However, I don’t think I will upgrade it but rather see what happens with the mirrorless systems. Panasonic disappointed me last year with their GF2, but since I usually use the 20mm prime I have gotten a sudden need for the more quiet X1 in black finish… I guess what I want to hear is that I should buy it and don’t look back:-)

        Looking forward to see more concert photos from Steve as your official tour photographer!


      • “Steve has taken the best, most interesting and soulful images of me performing in my twenty-one year tenure in this industry. For that reason I have asked him to become not only my tour photographer but my official photographer to document the rest of my career. I only hope that he enjoys it as much as we do and that he’ll accept.”

        Wow. I am speechless. Thank you, and of course I accept! I’m living my dream…see ya soon 🙂

        • this is phenomenal Steve! Congrats 1000 times over!! A wonderful opportunity indeed. I look forward to more incredible images to follow 🙂 x

        • Hi Steve

          Was fun to spot you at zermatt unplugged and to here you had a good time and are even thinking of coming back some time let me know if you do and i will show you around some of my fav photo spots.

          Some great images from the tour is good to see what you can get out of the M9 will keep pop in back to see what your up to.

          Really enjoy reading your Leica tests

          Kind Regards

          [img] web 002.jpg[/img]

      • Hi,

        I have to agree with you on the DSLR comments. I’ve always maintained that because of their inherent design there is a HUGE difference in the way one approaches photography using a SLR/DSLR vs an RF/DRF. With the former you cannot help but try to make the image ‘fit’ the frame. That is, you create a dynamic image that’s more compositional than emotive. It’s natural and instinctive. And with the advances in zooms even more so. Hence your spot on comment that often these images seem boring and lifeless. You’re constrained to looking through a portal and making whatever it is you hoped to get (by a roll of the dice) work to the best of your recollection (you may see the scene or action you hope to capture but once you raise the VF (OVF or EVF) to your eye you are now locked into seeing just what the camera sees and nothing else).

        With an VF that has no interruptions (RF, DRF or even the simplest point and shoot with a VF and frame lines) one raises the camera to the eye and using frame lines (or not) ‘finds’ the image WITHIN the scene (hence all the commentary over the years of seeing ‘outside’ the frame lines so one is essentially ‘part’ of the action). That explains, in my opinion, why the results I find are more intimate and as you so well put it ‘soulful’.

        Yes with an SLR/DSLR you CAN obtain the same results but as I said it’s mostly a roll of the dice and the best cameras can do is give you uber-fast consecutive frame rates so that the odds are greatly reduced (albeit at the sacrifice of film/disk space, battery drain and obtrusiveness if in an intimate setting).

        With an RF/DRF the odds are exponentially increased that you will, indeed, get the decisive moment.


      • I think its part of life to hope for the best and the rest is free entertainment …..

        I was quite excited to hear Thomas had invited you to perform at our Zermatt Unplugged.
        But was even more excited to see steve there with his M9, i love photography more
        than music sorry……. Im lucky that its my job to.

        I use to love going out with my girlfriends mums M6 and 35m in my free time and
        did make some nice images and almost put down all my pocket money on a HCB
        shinny M6 in 91 the rummer at the time was that you were skiing in Saas Fee
        but we put that down to you making a wrong turn in a snow storm on your way to Zermatt and still bought your album, killer is still my fav

        Im not sure if i did the right thing trying to put a …… Love of Music and love for photography together i was thinking i could make them live happy ever after ….
        But i miss jumping up and down to the music and really get up set about been
        kicked out after 3 songs, think about it – you – dream of getting next to the stage then
        when you get there you have 3 songs to get some thing to make some one happy
        who will never be happy or your out of a job …….. to make things even more fun
        the lighting guy has back light at plus 3 to 4 stops for the first 3 songs

        It did blow my mind the first time i had ago watching all the lighting patten move around the stage it always makes my mind race trying to keep
        up its a good test and i have a go each year at Zermatt Unplugged for Thomas as a
        thank you for bringing a dream to the end of the ski season spring skiing is really cool just now.

        I really think the D3 D700 are magic tools for low light when your subject is jumping
        about all over the place and your not aloud to tell them to sit still. I love my D3 and
        the way it helps me do my job but my fav is the little sister D700 it reminds me of
        My F2.

        Im kind of saving up for an M9 its on the list with skis boots and mountain bikes
        that i need to have more fun ……….

        Well thanks for the feed back on the boys up next to the stage i do understand im happy er at the side and back away from the pack.

        Kind regards and thank for putting your stuff on youtube it will make getting the M9


        Ps loved the first 3 songs

        [img] web 001.jpg[/img]

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