Daily Inspiration #242 by Ben Thompson

Hi Steve,

I’ve been visiting your site for a while now. Your passion for photography, your writing and the samples that are posted here convinced me the that long path of saving for a Leica would be well worth it. Over a year later and I can honestly say that my new black M9 was indeed worth the wait.

I carry the camera with me at all times. I’m very passionate about preserving moments that I find interesting and/or beautiful. It’s quite a rush when I’m out and a scene reveals itself. I’m learning how quickly these instances can pass so I’m becoming more comfortable with quick decisions and commitment.

I’ve included a few samples for consideration. I have more to view at http://www.flickr.com/photos/bento_asic/

Photo 1: Shot with Voigtlander 50mm 1.5 Nokton. Photos 2 & 3: Shot with Zeiss 50mm 1.5 Sonnar. All with the M9.

Thanks for your consideration and for all that you’re doing here. It’s a great place.

Regards, Ben Thompson


  1. Thanks for sharing Ben.

    Seems like everyone is busy texting on the phone nowadays 🙂

  2. haha, hi steve you are deleting every negative response?
    Fine, what a nice site!!!!!!haha

  3. Steve,
    Just ordered a Fuji X100 and accessories from B&H. I made it clear I purchased as a result of your
    reviews and recommendations to purchase from them.

    • Congrats! Hope you enjoy it! I only get credit from B&H if you order using the online links, no phone in orders, even if you tell them. The cool thing is you got one, so enjoy it and let me know how you like it!

  4. Hey Ben, really liked the first one. Would love to know the story behind that photo, where is he, where is he going, what is he thinking about? Nice. Regarding composition, probably one of the best books on the subject is “The Photographer’s eye” http://www.amazon.co.uk/Photographers-Eye-Composition-Design-Digital/dp/1905814046

    I realised a while back that there is something magic about proportions and placement of the subject in certain scenes that are just right. I then started a journey studying paintings by the grand masters, looking at use of light, proportion and location of subject within the frame, interaction of lines (seen and imagined) and the so called ‘golden ratios’. Absolutely fascinating journey. Get the above book as a starting point. I bet you will really enjoy it and it will suddenly explain why there are certain of your pictures (this happened with me) that are your favourites. It is not a fluke that we prefer some photos to others, a lot has to do with the ratios that were in the scene at the time. Hope you enjoy.

    • Funny, I’m reading the same book which talk about composition in great detail.

    • Hi Stephen, that photo is of my parents. Mom was readying Dad for a wedding. I walked into the room just as this was happening. I found the scene to be very sweet and representative of their relationship.
      Thanks for the book recommendations. I ordered a copy (and a few of his other books) after reading your (and Darell’s) comment.
      Thanks again for your feedback—very much appreciated.
      Regards, Ben

    • dude, i really like your pictures. it seems to me that you already have a pretty good grasp on composition, so if i were to offer any advice to you, it would be to just continue shooting things as they make sense to you. sometimes it makes perfect sense to place your subject in the middle of the frame. most of the time, a boring picture isn’t made interesting solely by moving it out of the center of the frame. it’s good to take critique and to learn, and progress, but hopefully that doesn’t mean coming to the point where you feel obligated to organize the world around you in a manner that befits others.

      “i studied photography by reading the instructions on the box… you don’t study photography, you do it.” -elliott erwitt

      simple, sage advice.


  5. I am thinking about purchasing a Zeiss 50mm 1.5 Sonnar for M9
    Photos 3 and 4 convince me that it is a good choice.
    Great photos Ben

    • Hi Peter, thanks for the kind words. The Zeiss is a very nice lens for that classic look. The size and handling also make it a great addition to the M9. I did have mine optimized for 1.5 though. The focus shift can be an issue if you like to shoot wide open as the sample you get will likely be set for 2.8 (seems most are). I contacted Zeiss and they re-calibrated it for free.

  6. Thanks for the feedback guys, JR in particular. I appreciate the input and will work on better (more dynamic) composition from here on out. Thanks again, Ben

  7. Ben, I clicked through your flickr pics. All your photos share one common characteristic: the subject is always in the center, right there where the focus spot of your rangefinder is located – which is boring. Try to improve your technique by placing the subject somewhere else.

  8. Hi Ben,

    I really liked the first photo and also enjoyed your flickr collection, you manage to capture atmosphere and the feel of the place very well

  9. Glad you’re enjoying the Leica bug Ben. I really like shots one and three. They both capture a mood or atmosphere even though they are totally different in style and content. Thanks for sharing them.

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