My quick visit to Paris with an M9 and Iphone

Wow, just woke up this morning on the bus as we pulled in to Rotterdam Holland. I was dreaming that I was drowning in a big pile of goat cheese…don’t ask me why, I have no clue why I would have a dream like that. Odd πŸ™‚


I left Paris last night around 2Am on the tour bus headed towards Rotterdam. When I arrived in Paris on Thursday I was tired but also excited to see the city, taste the food, and see if what I heard was true…that French people dislike Americans! Woo hoo…an adventure was waiting to unfold…or was it?

As I arrived to the beautiful Park Hyatt I freshened up with a nice hot shower and shave and put on some fresh clothes. Being on a tour bus day in and out can really do a number on you in the body odor department as there is no shower or way to clean up on the bus. After a show I am generally all sweaty and then all I can do is hop on a bus to sleep. Β After that you wake up feeling a bit…icky.

So it felt so good to be in a great city, and a great hotel. I have to say, it was the nicest shower I have ever been in. Period.

Visiting a local camera shop in Paris – Iphone 4 and Hipstamatic

I was ready to take on the day with a visit to a couple of camera shops, a yummy dinner, and I also planned to meet another photographer who I have known for a while through facebook, Helene Pambrun. Helene is very passionate about photography, as well as passionate about life in general and she was coming in to Paris for a couple of photo assignments and it just so happened that the timing worked out perfectly so that we could finally meet.

I always enjoy meeting new friends and other photographers who I have chatted with online. I think it is pretty amazing that we have this technology these days where we can meet anyone, in any part of the world, and things like facebook and even this website bring like minded people together. Amazing!

Having some tea in Paris πŸ™‚ Iphone 4/Hipstamatic

Knowing that Helene was taking the train in from her home town of Toulouse I decided to see if I could set it up where she could get a pass to shoot the Paris Seal show. BINGO! Full access pass granted. I knew of her work as I saw some of her work she did at a Lenny Kravitz show so I knew she would do great shooting Seal πŸ™‚

Helene Pambrun, See her website here and here

So on Thursday I toured a bit of Paris and had some great Pasta with pesto sauce. Yummy. I did take my M9 out but also started shooting with my Iphone and hipstamatic because sometimes you can get really cool results with it. Hipstamatic is pretty fun, even after using it for over a year it is the one phone app I keep coming back to.

Legs, always an interesting subject…

The beauty of Hipstamatic is that you never know what you will get..I usually shake mine before every shot to get a random effect.

and a couple from the M9

So after taking a walk on Thursday and seeing some cool sights I slept like a baby in my comfy bed and awoke on Friday feeling refreshed and revived. Amazing what a good nights sleep can do in a nice comfy bed huh? I ended up taking a quick walk to see what kind of shopping was around my hotel. Didn’t really buy anything but again, took along my Iphone in case I saw any cool photos along the way.

I did not get anything really interesting on that walk but it was getting close to show time so I headed back Β to my hotel and guess what was waiting for me when I got there? Yep my new Black M9-P…lovely! Now THIS is how the M9 should look. Stealthy, classic and with no logos on the front. Looks like an MP, just not as shiny. I have to say though, the chrome M9-P is also very beautiful, maybe more so than the black, but I wanted black after seeing both and am happy with my choice.

of course I was smiling and had to get a shot using the camera..

We all headed over to the venue on the bus and arrived super early due to the hotel making us leave (they were sold out and needed the rooms).

I took a walk around the venue and this time brought along my M9 AND Iphone. I spotted this couple kissing and couldn’t resist a quick snap.

I think this WAS the BEST Lasagna I have ever had in my life.

The show started and away I went. I saw Helene shooting not only with her Camera but with her Iphone so I took a stab at it..

But then it was right back to the M9-P πŸ™‚

and some color…

After the show there was an after party where some of the fans were able to meet Seal. I even met a few more friends who visit this site on a regular basis, so that was pretty awesome. It was cool to see a few Leicas in the group πŸ™‚ After the meet and greet it was time to say goodbye to friends and head back on the bus for the trip to Rotterdam, where I am now sitting at 4:37PM in my hotel room. Paris was lovely and I will have to make sure I get back there soon for some serious photo taking. Maybe a workshop in Paris? Hmmm…anything is possible!

I am looking forward to getting home to loved ones and to get everything in order at home. Besides, I have been battling some rash near my eye for a week so a Dr. visit is in order anyway. It’s been a fun 4 weeks on the road and one more show tonight for me before heading back home to Phoenix, AZ. If anyone is in Rotterdam tonight be sure and say hi!

It was great to meet all of you after the show, and I also want to thank Helene for coming to the show to shoot and showing me around Paris. Looks like she posted an image or two already on her facebook so click here to check it out and if you like what you see, click “Like”. Of course you can also check for all of the tour photos, including those that I do not post here.

Until next time (which may be when I am back home in Phx), keep shooting and make it a GOOD DAY, everyday!

Oh, and did I find the people of Paris to be rude or to dislike Americans? Not in my experience. Maybe you get what you give, and I am always nice to everyone πŸ™‚

Ben at the after party last night…

Seal with legendary producer Trevor Horn

and Conrad the bus driver, the crazy Shoe-fu*@er.. looking for some available shoes – (inside joke)


  1. Great shots! I was in Paris recently too, shooting with a Leica and an iPhone/Hipstmatic … although the Leica in my case was an 0-Series shooting film.

    Those shots are here:

    I make no great claims for them, though … I had flown all night, not sleeping on the plane, and took them while wandering around waiting on my hotel room to open! I did not get to hang out with any rock stars, either … πŸ™

  2. Steve, We do love Americans !! I meet loads on tourists at bars and i never heard someone complaining. Specially chicks :p
    Old rumor i guess.

    Nice pics but u need far more time to explore Paris. There is so way better than those touristic spots.
    By the way, you dreamt of testing our food and u ended up eating pasta al pesto and lasagne ? Loool πŸ˜‰

  3. Cool story Steeve,
    but man, lasagna and pasta are as far from french food than fed from leica…

  4. Hi Steve,

    Once again thanks for ‘everything’ what you have arranged for us in Paris. Once again it was a great show. We enjoyed every moment of it !
    And yes, I’m a little jealous after seeing your black new toy πŸ™‚
    Great pics again, as usual !!
    Ernie and Anja

  5. hey steve…
    nice article like always and congrats to your new m9-p….i just bought myself a used olympus xa going back to film as i can afford any decent and small digital.
    but i love the hipstamatic app as well..most of my recent pics are shot with the iphone and i love that you can create a special unique look!
    i add one of my latest holiday in esperance western australia….it’s so hard to live here!lol
    keep up the good work

  6. Paris was great, Seal was awesome. Hands down one of the best concerts I’ve been to. Period.
    Steve, it was great meeting you in person, hope we get the chance to meet again in the future. I will try and give you a bit more warning next time πŸ™‚ . Have a safe journey back home.

    PS: The Leica M9-P looked phenomenal both in black and chrome. People who knock it: see it person first… then knock it.

  7. Great report. Rotterdam was super last night. Just won 2 tix by retweeting a message from @leica_camera. Got 2 backstage passes as a guest of SEAL. Concert was fabulous, also the ambiance. Very nice to hang out backstage and make pictures. Only battery of my iPhone got empty very quickly. Didn’t bring my leica with me because of the security regulations.

  8. Great report. Rotterdam was super last night. Just won 2 tix by retweeting a message from @leica_camera. Got 2 backstage passes as a guest of SEAL. Concert was fabulous, also the ambiance. Very nice to hang out backstage and make pictures. Only battery of my iPhone got empty very quickly. Didn’t bring my leica with me because of the security regulations. Take a look a

  9. .
    “ new Black M9-P…lovely! Now THIS is how the M9 should look. Stealthy, classic and with no logos on the front..”

    ..Dear oh dear, Steve: never heard of a black felt-tip pen? ..That’s like swapping the Rolls-Royce for a new one because the ashtray’s full!

    Run a little felt-tip pen across the front so that the ‘M9’ text is invisible, and the red badge, too. I do that on the front of every lens, to black out all the distracting white text. Plus a couple of felt-tip smudges on the left and right of the shutter blades keeps the light-reading correct, whether the camera’s horizontal or vertical! [No false readings from a bright sky at the top of the frame in portrait mode.]

    (When my M3’s shot all its 36, I send it back to Leica for a new one. ..What, you mean the film’s removable – just re-use the SAME camera..?)

    • David, if I am lucky, sometimes I get 37 frames before having to send back to Leica πŸ˜‰

      • .
        The money you earn from selling the photo on that extra frame easily covers the return postage costs, no..? That’s enterprise for you!

    • Kind of hard to black out the logos on a grey M9…also, would cost a but to have the sapphire glass and logo inscribed on top. The M9-P looks like an MP, which is the best looking Leica ever. Not the same as blacking out everything on my grey one πŸ™‚

      • .
        Ah, a grey one! ..You’ve chopped and changed a few times, eh Steve? ..Yes, the sapphire ‘glass’ is well worth having, and (rummage, rummage) no, I don’t think I have a grey felt-tip pen. But I do have a tin of grey ‘Hammerite’.

        OK, let’s see, where are we now; you’ve now swapped from a grey M9 [with plastic(?) on the back] to a black M9-P with no logo, no front lettering, unscratchable sapphire rear window, ‘Leica’ script on top, and a black hot-shoe. That’s a lot to live up to: we’re now expecting your pictures to be twice as brilliant as before, three times as outstandingly inspiring ..and – now the camera’s black and white – more colour shots, please!

        But this is still not good enough: quick! ..swap the black iPhone for the white one..!

        ..And what happened to ~6’s varnished fingernails? They migrated down from Pic 1 to Pic 2..?

      • I got my Leica M9-P last Thursday (before Steve!! WOW! How did I do?), and I love it!
        Considering that I was coming from the Leica M8.2 and not the M9, the changes are huge (in terms of photo quality) and I was ready to spend a few extra dollars to have it nicer, details count… and I certainly don’t regret it!

  10. Steve

    After running out and buying every camera and lens that you have used (or wanted to anyway) in the vain hope of being able to reproduce your beautiful images, I finally realized that it’s not the equipment and soley due to your skill.

    The only area I get close is with the iPhone and Histamatic – so I’d better just concentrate there for the foreseeable future.


  11. @ Steve, I was going through your photos above from the bottom up and saw the “I think this WAS the BEST Lasagna I have ever had in my life.” under the picture of the couple kissing and was quite amused. They don’t serve pasta like that in England πŸ˜‰

  12. Great update as usual but only one thing to say… you go all the way to Paris and eat lasagne and pasta?!

  13. This is why I love your site. Genuine, enthusiastic, authentic photography. You love your kit wether it be an iPhone or a m9-p, and with your devotion you can can get the best out of whatever you put your mind to. Awesome work!

  14. Hi Steve,
    Welcome to Rotterdam, the city in which I was born. I soo wish I could meet up with you, and be at the North Sea Jazz festival, but we leave for a vacation and time is up πŸ™
    Anyway, enjoy Rotterdam and the festival! It’s a great city for urban photography. I’m looking forward to see your photos.
    Wish you a good time, Steve! And a safe trip back home in a bit.

  15. Wow, the M9P looks stunning, its just beautiful, congrats. I think black is the only way to go on the Leica’s. Hoping the X100, I guess the X200 or whatever comes out with a black model.

  16. An international workshop seems like a wonderful idea! Great stuff as usual! How were the Paris camera shops?

  17. Congrats on the new M9P, and I enjoyed reading your report from the Journey around Europe, you certainly have had a great time. Shame that you have to head home, but for every start there’s a finish.

  18. Nice pics! While you are touring here in Europe, Leica issued a new firmware for the M8!

  19. Nice photos, and try the goat cheese you were dreaming to drown in, that’s real french food, unlike the all Italian lasagne and pasta with pesto sauce :). You are in Paris after all.

  20. This was a cool post. Not only did you get a new M9 instead of chocolates on your pillow, you met some of your blog fans and played with the Hipstamatic app on your iPhone! I love, love, love Hipstamatic. Love the look of the M9-P too. It’s the M9 that should have been made in the first place! Great pictures as usual, and love the sweat story, but how is the sweating any different from Arizona? LOL!! I am having a tough time adapting to the new dry heat. Have fun on your trip and take more street shots. I love getting a sense of place from other people’s street work. Hey, did you do any videos? Do some concert and street videos too. I bet people would love it.

    • Hey Elaine! You made it to AZ huh? Enjoy the heat! Thanks for the comments! Next time i go out with Seal I plan on doing a ton of video…I have some ideas πŸ™‚

  21. Enjoyable article, as all your reports . .

    And congrats on the M9P . . looks sexy with Noctilux . .

  22. Nice article Steve, and nice M9-P!! I shooto with an M9 but my compact camera is usually my iPhone 4 with Hipstamatic. I just published a book on about my last visit to Copenhagen, with only Hipstamatic shots. Some shots with Leica are also in my Flickr account (Flickr/photos/dansanphoto). I hope you like them, and the book!

    Will you be in all the concerts in Spain?


  23. Thanks Steve for sharing and for mentioning the hipstamatic app for iPhone, in my opinion it’s a great application and it’s been taken more and more seriously: even the latest issue of National Geographic magazines had an article with its photos shot by iPhone hipstamatic.
    I always use it when I don’t have the SLR or the Fuji X100 on me. If you don’t mind I’d like to share some of my hipsta too πŸ™‚

    • Wassim, I had a look at your Hipsta photographs and must say I was extremely impressed. Your New York photos are stunning, more to do with you I suspect than the Hipsta. Great eye for composition. Cheers.

  24. Great post, M9-P looks stunning! And do French people dislike Americans? I had no troubles in Paris last year, at least with my Aussie accent πŸ™‚ they seem to like Australians.

  25. Congratulations for the M9-P. I also love the black one. I have the grey M9 and a bunch of lens (50noc f1 and lux, 35lux asph II, WATE, MATE and 90f2 pre asph) that costed me two arms and one leg. Wish you and Seal could come to bkk : ) Awesome shots and awesome site you create. By the way, I wonder if you could review the 21 and 24 lux on M9. I am considering buying the 21lux. I have the WATE but would be cool to have the 21lux as the ultimate low light WA weapon.

  26. How does an M9-P just show up in your hotel room? πŸ˜‰ Usually I just find chocolate on the pillow.

    Great post.

Comments are closed.