Daily Inspiration #264 by Anton Candra

Dear Steve,

Hi Steve, My name is Anton Candra, I am from Indonesia. (first thing, please excuse my english) I’ve been your blog frequent reader since the day I was interested in Leica ( probably 1.5 years ago ). I was a Nikon D700 user before I switched to M9. I love Leica M9 and so I want to thank you for giving the most valuable info and inspiration about it. THANK YOU. Yesterday I tried to put my feeling towards M9 into writing, and my brother thought that I should send it to you, so here it is:

A little imperfection.

I’ve been shooting M9 for almost 6 months now. As I write this post, I am now officially no longer a DSLR user. I am selling all my Nikon gears to fund some lens. Do I regret my decision? hardly……since the day I hold M9 with my hands, I knew I was in love. I’ve sacrificed many, and yet I feel worth it. Back then, I was so afraid that I would not be able to use manual focus M9. Now….using auto focus DSLR scares me. Funny how life can turn our thoughts upside down.

I am not gonna brag about how great Leica is, how amazing the image quality is….. instead I would say the opposite. No doubt. If I were a journalist I’d use Nikon D700. If I were sport photographer I’d use Nikon D3s, If I were wedding photographer I’d use Canon 5DM2. If I were landscape freak…hell I would use Canon 5DM2. In fact, If I earned my living by shooting, I would certainly use DSLR. But I am not a photographer, I am a workingman who happened to love shooting. I have the luxury to take my time.

I enjoyed when I forgot to remove the lens cap, I enjoyed getting unfocused image, I enjoyed getting imperfect exposure and most importantly, I enjoyed to learn how to fix it, to get better as slowly as I want. Perhaps that’s why I love Leica M9. A little imperfection that makes my life a little bit longer to live, a little bit longer to be perfect, a bit longer to get everything in a right way. When being fast means a shorter joyful process….I’d take a longer route, and wished I would not be there yet because I love my journey. To put in it in one sentence, it would be “My Nikon D700 is the best camera to shoot anything, my Leica M9 is the best camera to live with”.


My flickr account is http://www.flickr.com/photos/visualvineyard/

I attached three images in this email, two were shot by Leica M9 and the other by Nikon D700.

1. Xian Dancer

Leica M9 – Summilux 50mm ASPH (F/3.4, 1/125 secs exposure, ISO 500)

2. Hooligan

Leica M9 – Summilux 50mm ASPH (F/1.4, 1/15 secs exposure, ISO 1250)

3. Self Portrait

Nikon D700 – 24mm ASF-G F/1.4 ( F/9, 1/15 secs exposure, ISO 500)


Thank you for your time Steve. Keep up the good review and inspiration.



  1. The negative space issue is quite subjective, the trick is to stare at the positive space and if any of the negative space distracts then you crop. Nice work Anton.

  2. Thank you very much everyone, for all your kind and warm comments. It’s flattering really. You have no idea how much I appreciate it. To my surprise I never thought Steve would publish this, and I am really glad for all the wonderful feedbacks.

    Once again, thank you Steve, thank you all.

  3. By the way. Great shots on your Flickr account. Congratulations.
    And the 50mm Summilux asph is definitely also my favourite lens.

  4. The combination of the two cameras also works wonders.
    I’m using M8.2 and after M9 since 2 years, but I felt I couldn’t shoot anything I wanted with only the M9.
    So I sold my less used Leica lens to buy a Nikon D700 with one lens (very rare AF DC 135mm).
    Now I’m using both cameras. M9 with two lenses and D700 with 3 lenses.
    Great combo.
    Still love my M9, but try to keep your D700 as well.

  5. Anton, well said, well written, and I think that you have captured my thoughts on the Leica as well as where the other cameras are more suited to the task.

  6. Very nice shots and inspiring article u wrote! I saw your flickr page, wow! cant describe it in words… Keep going, bro!

  7. by the way Anton, no need to apologize about your English. Your English is excellent and your message delivered perfectly. cheers from Australia

  8. Anton, thanks for such an inspirational reminder of starting anew, experiencing life from a fresh set of eyes and enjoying the process. In some way, your images reflect this quality as well. “When being fast means a shorter joyful process….I’d take a longer route, and wished I would not be there yet because I love my journey.”


    • Regarding the growing concern over your use of negative space in the first image, why not play around and see if you might make it even more powerful by doubling it? I.e., take the exact dimensions of the photo – for example 10×8 – then stack another 10×8 of negative space above, thus making the photo 10×16. It would change the layout of the photo from a landscape to vertical, and really draw the viewer’s attention to this powerful image!

  9. Anton, I love how the ribbons in the first image seem to rise from nowhere with your composition. All of the negative space, IMO, really helps this image. the other two are nice images but #1 is #ONE to me. Also liked your writeup. Glad you are enjoying your M9! As long as it inspires you, that is all that matters….

  10. Great images; #1 is just fine as it is. They could all have been taken with the D700 of course, and the mirror image in #3 doesn’t suggest an M9.

    Not that it matters; the images matter.

  11. Leave image no.1 as it is – the ‘negative space’ (as onigo mistakenly describes it) makes the shot – the isolation of the figure against an expanse of black is powerful. I’d have liked to see more ‘wasted’ space if anything … the missing feet and fabric already makes the shot look truncated. (Not a criticism – I know it’s not easy to get the ‘perfect’ shot we might all envisage. All these shots are worthy images!

    • There has been NO mistake in my post. Negative Space is described as the space around and between the subject(s) of an image. In the case of photography it is used as background to draw attention to the main subject which is then referred to as the positive space.

      If there are other dancers, or had there been a different background, then it would not be considered negative space, because it does not draw attention to only one subject. Without the black background (negative space) you might not have noticed the flow / swirl of the fabric.

      I simply suggested to crop the image so the picture would reveal the details such as the dancer’s smiling face, ruffles on the head piece, sequins & dangles on the dress.

  12. Very nice! i like the sharpness of the first one. Maybe when i’ll get rich i’ll buy myself a M9! just tell my wife it’s the same price of my D7000 😀

  13. Good job.
    I suggest you crop the first pic to reveal more detail.
    The negative space is taking away from the overall picture.
    Oh yeah, Mr. Goh picture is nice as well.

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