Day 2 – Seattle Workshop 2011, the Assignments!

Seattle SteveHuffPhoto Workshop July 2011

Day 2 – The Assignments!

Happy Monday morning to all! It’s 8am and I am on a plane right now headed back home to Phoenix. Yes, there is WiFi on the plane so I am able to update this site as I fly! Pretty snazzy…

Yesterday was the 2nd day of the Seattle Meetup/Workshop and it was a full day of shooting, laughs, learning, and great food from breakfast to dinner. Everyone seemed a bit more comfortable and confident and the results everyone got were fantastic!  The weather in Seattle was perfect all weekend. Sunny and high 70’s so I could not have asked for anything better.

Photo by SK SAITO

We had tons of M9’s, three M9-P’s, three Noctilux’s. a couple M8’s and three M6’s. Lenses ranged from the rare and  Exotic 35 Summilux AA (ASPHERICAL, and my review is coming soon) to Zeiss and Voigtlander glass. Everyone was well prepared with their cameras, MacBooks, and willingness to walk the streets and areas in Seattle and SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT!

Just some of the $250k worth of Leica cameras and lenses at this event! 

Yesterday each attendee had an assignment to help them with their confidence while shooting on the street. I asked them to approach a total stranger, the earlier in the day the better, and to ask if they could shoot their photo/portrait. I am thrilled to say that all attendees followed through with this and from what I saw, it did help their confidence as the shots from yesterday were all VERY good. Hell, 90% of them beat my shots so I learned quite a bit myself from everyone who attended! To those who were nervous about approaching strangers, it was so cool that you overcame this fear when shooting on Sunday. I find this helps quite a bit when out shooting people on the streets so keep at it!

Here are some of the portraits that were shot of total strangers by those shooting digital. Warning! Lots of Shallow Depth Of Field ahead, which is how Leica lenses are DESIGNED to be shot:

Amy Medina

Andrew Holloway

Ashwin Rao

Chris White

Daniel Harrington

RANDALL KELLEY

Ed Tan

Gerard Van Wesep

Matt Driscoll

Warren Phillips

Roger Paperno (Yes, he asked)

Steve Huff

Peter Lindstrom

Peter Havas

Todd Hatakeyama

I believe a workshop should be laid back, easy going, and should NOT have the attitude that the presenters and hosts are better than anyone in the group. With my meet ups and workshops everyone is treated as an equal and I feel this lets everyone involved loosen up, relax, laugh, and get out there with the group to be the best they can be. I also believe in INSPIRATION and when we all shared our images on a huge projection screen in Ashwins living room I think we ALL were a little more inspired for the next photo session.

As I already stated in the Day 1 report, we had two professional presenters over the weekend – Charles Peterson and Roger Paperno (who had an EXCELLENT presentation, thanks Roger!) as well as myself and Ashwin who gave slideshows and some tips and tricks for the day.

It was a fantastic weekend that flew by and I had a GREAT time along with everyone else. After the long day on Sunday we all went out for dinner at a local pub and finished off the night with conversation, tips, lens sharing and plenty of smiles and laughs.

It seems my 1st day post is getting a few comments about the quality of the Leica shots. First off, a rangefinder is a TOTALLY different experience than shooting a DSLR. I brought along a Canon 5D MKII on this trip as well. I had the 50 L 1.2 attached but my shots with the Canon are sort of flat, have no “soul” and did not compare to the Leica shots in overall look. The 5DII is a GREAT and SUPERB camera but comparing it to an M9 with a good lens is not going to bring the Canon out on top for ME. I prefer the “look” of Leica glass every time.

The fact is Leica glass is expensive for a reason as it is the best glass you can get for any 35mm camera system. Period. Those who bash it simply do not own any Leica glass.

Also, it is MUCH more pleasurable shooting something like an M9 than a big DSLR, which is why the 5D rarely came out of my bag. The rangefinder experience is a joyful one. It puts smiles on the faces of those who own one. It brings a confidence and adds some motivation to shoot. It is an experience unlike any other in the photographic world. It was a PLEASURE shooting with 20 other RF shooters this weekend and I look forward to doing it again soon. The magic is not just in the “snapshots” but in the user experience and glass that we all take great pride in using. It is my system of choice for anything from snapshots to professional work.

Oh and one more thing..Leica is also not just for the rich as I am FAR from rich!

THANKS to all who attended and to Ashwin, Roger and Charles. I will leave you with a few more photos from the weekend. Some are mine, some were shot by others.

1st few are from me, Steve Huff from Day 2 – more behind the scene stuff

and now a few from some of the others! Great shots guys! Enjoy!

AMY MEDINA

ASHWIN RAO

ANDREW HOLLOWAY

CHRIS WHITE

Gerard Van Wesep

MATT DRISCOLL

ROGER PAPERNO

TODD HATAKEYAMA

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45 Comments

  1. Congrats all, on your fun weekend! Loved the shots by Ed Tan and Matt Driscoll above!
    Love that Leica look, and was already out shooting with my X1 this morning.
    ~Tom

    • Hi Peter,
      Yes, it was a bit of a old DPReview get together with Steve, Amy, and myself here. We missed on having you here, but someday soon, I hope that we can meet up and have some photographic fun!

  2. I would attend a Chicago workshop… I’ve used a Leitz Minolta CL for about a year and recently purchased a near mint condition Leica M8 off eBay, which I’m patiently waiting for it to show up in the mail.Part of what convinced me to get the M8 was your 40mm f/2 photos with it and others I’ve seen on l-camera-forum, rangefinder forum, flickr, and others.

    I own a 5D2 as well, and while I love it, I understand what you mean by “lack of soul”. It’s great for getting close and I like using liveview, but rangefinders are much more fun to use overall and there is just something about the photos I prefer, especially the good ones.

    • Per, great to hear from you. Yes, it was a lot of fun. We need to get you out (or I need to make it to Greenland one of these days 😉

      Best,
      Ashwin

  3. It would be nice if there was some information supplied on the lenses used to take these images (given that there is such a wide variety of different “looks”). In particular, I would like to know what lens Chris White used for his “Dial Up shirt” photo – I’m guessing a Zeiss 50mm f1.5, but I’d love to know for sure !

    • Chris White (who also won the big giveaway) was using a 50 Lux ASPH. There were loads of Lux ASPHs there, a few 35 Lux’s a few crons…EXIF data may be there if you click the image for the larger versions. Amy used an M8 and K5…lots of variety.

      • Thanks for responding Steve and darn ! I was hoping the lens I most liked the look of was not one of the most expensive ones … ce la vie !! Thanks for the exif tip – sounds like I’m going to have some fun for the next hour or so 🙂

        • Damen- I use Zeiss glass exclusively on my M9 as I love the warm look they give off. For this workshop I wanted some speed so I rented the 50 Lux ASPH. I found that I ended up post processing the images to match the color of my Zeiss lens.

          • Thanks for the response Chris. Glad to see I wasn’t entirely imagining things. Your images truly do look “Zeiss-like” to me. Well-done on your post processing !!

  4. Great shots everyone! Steve it was pleasure to meet you and the gang at Glazers. I hope to join you at the next workshop in Seattle and thanks as always for the inspiration!
    Cheers
    Brian

  5. “my shots with the Canon are sort of flat, have no “soul” and did not compare to the Leica shots in overall look”

    Steve, I’m a 5DmkII user and I love it to death. I recently took it to Paris with a hand strap, which I found is much more intimate than walking around with the thing on your neck.

    I also love your site because I’m caught up in the allure of having an affordable Leica. I had a Leica 8.2 but sold it after only few months, I found the ISO limitations challenging plus I wanted full frame. Based on your comment on the Canon camera, can you do a comparison? I know there are many out there, but I would like to see the “soul” in the Leica shot vs. the “flatness” of the Canon. Can most people tell or is it just a personal preference?

    Anyway thanks – Love the Blog. Hopefully Leica can do something for me next year. Thanks

    • He mentioned that he will do comparison of 5dmkII with 50mm 1.2 vs Leica m9 with 50mm asph, but based on the quote:

      ““my shots with the Canon are sort of flat, have no “soul” and did not compare to the Leica shots in overall look”

      it is obvious that he is approaching the comparison with an open mind

      • Indeed I am and have been. In fact I was sure that I would not see much difference between the Canon and Leica 50’s BUT that has not been the case. I approach every comparison with an open mind, that is why many of them surprise me. By me saying the Canon shots are more flat means the shots I have taken (but not posted yet) show me this. Thx

        • But this is a somewhat subjective determination. Like any thing is this medium, the likes or dislikes or “soul” vs. “flat” is in the eye of the beholder. There are times you have posted images on here and had us guess as to which lens was the Leica and which ones were not. Sometimes I pick the Leica glass but just as often I miss. Usually my selection, like most everyone else’s I think, is based more on the subjective matter of an image than not. But it is always fun to GUESS!!!

          • Exactly, as you say post where people had to guess which shot was from x100 and which was from x1 showed how absurd the whole “leica look” and 3d quality of leica photos is and that it is just in people’s minds or I should say wallets.
            M9 is without AA filter and lenses cost at least 4x more than canon’s or nikon’s so if you pixel peep there are diminutive differences but talking about the soul of digital camera is just, well ridiculous.

            Jean Baudrillard and similar philoospher’s nicely that as technology progresses and becomes more affordable and available companies will have to come up with a tactics to justify why their premium products are so expensive and actually he lists soul as quality that companies will push as their justification of the price and that people will gladly pay premiums, after all that is quite cheap way to buy the soul, isn’t it.

  6. A lot of great images. Like the idea of just asking a total stranger to take a portrait. Think I’ll try that next time I go to town.

  7. Didn’t anyone use non-Leica gear? It almost seems like people who use that might be afraid to show up!

    I would be very interested to see photographs from other special lenses, like the Sony 135mm STF (which while not necessarily better than Leica lenses, is in a completely different category, being both big and long).

    Oh, and awesome photographs! I particularly love the one of the ugly little dog!

    • Yup, K5 was used, as well as several film M’s, and Konica Hexar RF and a Rollei…mainly M digital shooters, though….Seriously, we are not that intimidating, and anyone with photographic passion is welcome….

      • That is good to hear, as I will probably be in a position at some point in the future to attend one of these meet-ups though I may not be able to take a Leica along. Everything I see on this site and in the comments tells me that members here are photography enthusiasts first and foremost, but the sight of all of those m cameras is a bit intimidating for someone with a mere d-lux 5.

        • D-Lux 5 is more than welcome. ANYONE with ANY CAMERA is welcome to any of these as we all just shoot, discuss, and most important ENJOY ourselves. The weekend FLEW by and we were out there 12 hours each day. Possibly coming soon: San Francisco, Suthern California…also maybe Chicago and possibly PARIS…and one more possibility that I will not even mention but Ashwin, Roger and myself may be working on something REALLY special for a select few.

  8. Only one little hangup with your written thoughts, Steve. I know all Leica owners believe what you said but, for me and my wants and desires for an image, the Leica glass is not any better than my Nikkors. Granted this is just for me and the “soul” or “look” I like in my images which is different than what others want to see in their images. I have recently returned to the realm of primes so I am talking apples to apples instead of trying to compare a Leica prime to a Nikkor zoom. My most recent acquisition of the 35mm f1.8 AF-S G DX has me set on a quest of shooting nothing but “normal” (the 35mm is on a Nikon D2H giving me a 52mm) lenses for a while. Included in that is a Yashica Electro35 GS & 1.7/45mm and a Contax G2 & 2.0/45mm Planar (which is touted as the “best lens ever made” according to some). For me, each lens has its advantages and disadvantages. The Nikkor 35mm gives me a smooth image with reasonable bokeh (IMO), good contrast, nice edge-to-edge sharpness. The Yashica 45mm is a very contrasty lens (IMO) but good sharpness which is why I keep it along with the fact it is a rangefinder with a leaf shutter lens. The Contax 45mm gives great sharpness, reasonable bokeh (IMO), and a very smooth range of tones for the Tri-X that I always shoot with it.
    Now wanting to start a war of words with Leicaphiles but what each photographer wants in his images is very subjective. For me, I enjoy my D2H and have used it both personally and professionally since I got hold of my first body in late 2003. For someone who does very little cropping (preferring to “fill the frame”), my little 4MP camera has pounded out a fair amount of magazine images, a ton of newspaper images, and a couple of billboard images over the years.
    Maybe one of these days, I can break free to come to one of your weekend events along with my “vintage” D2H and my 35mm just to play with the “Leica boys”.
    Anyway, thanks for a great blog. I love coming here and reading everyone’s thoughts on rangefinders and SLR/DSLRs. Just remember, this best camera is the one you have with you!!!!

    • The D2H is awesome no doubt about it. The NEF output is just stunning and I would say it is the only digital camera that I have come across that reminds me of what you can get from film.

      Colors are just great and almost every shot usually come out very well exposed. It is probably the most consistent output i get from any camera I ever owned (including the D700).

      The funny thing is that you can get one of these wonders for almost nothing. The one I got looked like new and had taken around 7500 shots and I got it for around $500.

      The only thing is that it is a big beast.

      • I agree that it is a “big beast” when compared to just about any pro- or consumer SLR/DSLR or, of course, a rangefinder. For me, I have found ways around the weight and size to conceal my street shooting.

        When I am wandering around the streets, I usually set the autofocus to “Closest Subject Priority Dynamic AF” when moving from place to place and shoot from the hip. Most people on the street never hear the mirror slap and I have images from this technique that I really like. When stationary and working a particular area, I shift back to “Single Area AF”. For me and the images that I look to captured, these techniques have worked to my satisfaction.

        Since being forced into early “retirement” with the downturn in the U. S. newspaper industry, I currently have set myself up using the original version of the Nikkor 18-200mm superzoom (my copy works quite well) along with the Tokina 12-24mm wideangle zoom. To finish my complement of travel lenses, I now also carry the new Nikkor 35mm AF-S G DX and a 85mm AF-D, both f1.8 capable, for low light performance. For me, this setup works, keeps the weight for a pro body down to minimum, and gives me the performance I works for me.

        Hope your D2H continues to perform well for you. Keep on shooting!!!

        • Nice tip using “Dynamic AF” haven’t thought about that as I always use “Single AF” and recompose.

          I have the old 35mm 2.0D which works pretty well with the D2H, but could use a wider lens (sold my 24mm 2.8D because I didn’t like that the images were so unsharp outside the center).

          Thanks and hope your D2H will also be performing well in the years to come.

  9. This looks like it was a fun experience. It would be fun to participate in an event like this someday.

    You mentioned a bit about how shooting this a rangefinder (particularly the Leica M9) and how it is a different and better experience than a DSLR. Obviously, this would be hard to experience firsthand considering the cost of a Leica M8 or M9 so I was wondering if there are any other rangefinder digital cameras that are more… economical which you could recommend for someone who has never shot a rangefinder and is curious about the different experience? I have never shot film before so I would want to keep with digital so that I have a good base of comparison.

    Thanks!

    • Your only option, Jeff, is to look to picking up a used body if you are set on a digital rangefinder. There is the Epson R-D1 series along with the Leica M8 and M8.2. I have seen the Epson bodies going for $1500-2000USD on eBay with the M8 and M8.2 starting at $2500USD and up. Not any other options than those exist for digital rangefinders that I am aware of.
      The other option is to rent a digital rangefinder with a lens and see if the rangefinder style works for you. There are several rental places in the States but, not knowing where you are, I do not know what is available overseas. Me, even though I love my Nikon D2H, also shoot film with two different rangefinders. One is a Yashica Electro35 GS that has a fixed lens and the other is the Contax G2 with interchangeable lenses. The G2 is closer to the DSLR viewfinder as it changes depending on the lens on it unlike the framelines that the R-D1 and digital M-series use. There is definitely a difference between my rangefinders and the SLR/DSLR bodies I have used. The biggest difference to me is the fact everything is always in focus so you have to train yourself to visualize what the image will look like depending on the aperture setting. Some people prefer this method over the SLR/DSLR through-the-lens viewing. Some people are never able to make the transition.
      Good luck on your quest!!!

      • Thanks for this great response. I am intrigued by the rangefinder mostly because it seems like everyone who uses one prefers it but I don’t think I’m intrigued enough to spend a thousand or more to own one. So, as intrigued as I am, I think I will try to keep my focus on more traditional camera platforms. Thanks again.

  10. Wow! What a solid collection of photographers and work. I’m definitely going to join in the next workshop. Any ideas on when/where the next may be?

    • Steve’s definitely working on this….this workshop was a total blast, and I was very inspired to be among the gang!

      • Thanks for the reply Ashwin. Also an extended thanks to you for your hosting, contributing and involvement here within the Huff community. I’m a fan of your work/presence here. Keep it up. Regards, Ben

  11. Steve and Company, it looks like you guys had a blast this past weekend. Its very obvious from the shots that all the attendees where relaxed and within their rhythms, that’s such a bonus. Excellent, thanks for posting this so quickly.

  12. Some very nice photographs here. And it looks like you guys had tons of fun. Are you planning any workshop on the other side of the pond? London would be fantastic! 🙂

    • Did you get involved in the Street Photography Festival held last week, Danish? I saw a video online linked through the NPPA listserv that should six street shooters with videographers going around London to document the reaction from British law enforcement and private security officers. On three occasions, the private security called the London police to try to stop the shooters, who were on public property each time, from shooting people or buildings. Each time the London police sided with the street shooters’ right to be shooting from where they were standing. One time the video shows the police telling security that they had no right to stop the photographers. It was at a distance but you could tell from the look on the security guy’s face that he did not like being told he was in the wrong!!!

    • One more thing, Danish. London would be an excellent place for a workshop! I have been to the lovely city on four occasions and have throughly enjoyed what I call a shooter’s paradise!!!

      • Unfortunately I was not in London last week. I would be getting back there only in September. I did watch the video and I am not surprised at the attitude of the security guards. They seem to have an issue with everything. A bit of common sense would do them good.

        Otherwise its a lovely city to photograph with lots of characters. People are very congenial and usually a smile after pressing the shutter does the trick.

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