Daily Inspiration #279 by Laurence Norton


Thanks for committing your time and passion to your site. Many sites attempt to be all things to all people, and the biggest compliment I can give to you is that it’s clear you are remaining true to who you are, and that comes across loud, clear, and consistently.

You and your site’s community are responsible for me buying a M9 and 35 lux a few months back, and it seemed appropriate to give back to you and the community with some images from my first trip with this combo. First a quick background on me – I’m primarily a landscape shooter, and my main kit is a Pentax 645D. I love the 645D, but when you add a few lenses, sturdy tripod, filters, etc, the size and weight require serious commitment on my part, with a planned landscape shoot in mind.

The M9 is a terrific compliment to the big landscape kit. It is capable of high quality landscape images, while being lightweight, portable, and easy to take anywhere.

I just returned from a trip to London (with a 1 night stopover in Iceland) to take part of the 2011 Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards. I entered the competition for the first time, and was fortunate enough to be recognized for my Wave Abstraction photo taken in Hawaii earlier this year (gratuitous plug!). I made the decision to leave the big Pentax kit at home, and travel light with just the M9 and 35 lux.

This first shot was taken from our hotel porch in Iceland. We booked a 1 night stopover at the hotel at the Blue Lagoon, famous for their hot salt water and mineral baths. The temperature was just above freezing, and the wind was blowing over 40mph. I looked out the hotel room window, and light was just beautiful, illuminating the green moss on the black lava. I walked outside with the m9 in my bath robe, as we were getting ready for the pools. Needless to say, I didn’t agonize over the details of the shot, as I was freezing!

Moss on Lava: M9/35 lux, ISO 200, f/4, 1/125

The 2nd shot was taken at the Portobello Market this past Sunday. The market is an amazing experience on Sunday’s, as Portobello Road is shut down and filled with antique, food, & tourist vendors for a 2 mile stretch through Notting Hill. This is a street musician working in the middle of the hustle and bustle. I mistakenly left the ISO at 800 from some earlier indoor shots, so the settings weren’t ideal (in case anyone is wondering about the ISO/shutter speed choice…).

Solitary Flipper Jam:  M9/35 lux, ISO 800, f/1.7, 1/4000

The last image was taken on our walk back to our rented flat from the market.  We stayed in a quiet residential neighborhood, and fell in love with this sign, as it both represented the pace of the neighborhood, and was a fun, different sign from what we are used to at home.  The sun was low in the sky, and I was shooting into it, so I positioned myself so the sign blocked the sun.

Life in the slow lane:  M9/35 lux, ISO 80, f/1.4, 1/250

For anyone interested in seeing more of my work, my Facebook site is: http://www.facebook.com/laurencenortonphotography
Laurence Norton
Seattle, WA, USA



  1. I like number one and three in particular. Number three does have that special glow that I like so much. The rather heavy chromatic abberation does not even disturb me.

  2. #1 is good. #2: subject solidly in the centre, very mediocre image. #3: some awful contrast fringing there. With equipment costing that much?



  3. Hi Garry,

    very nice reply, very honest!!!

    If you have a hobby about technical gear it has an emotianal aspects as well.

    35 years I was into hifi, still have a lot of gear. Nowadays I use a 7.1 HT, terrific sound. But my heart belongs to an Onkyo from 1978, still working nice(sometimes have to repair it). Bought for me by my father when I finished high school. But the sound is special, more emotional than the HT stuff.

    I cannot afford M 9 plus glass but my heart belongs to fuji x 10, at least from what I saw on the web.

    If it feels as nice as everybody says, the leather bag….

    Nice toy!

    Best regards

  4. I like “Moss on Lava”, very nice shot.

    Heiner: Of course you don’t need $11k of gear to take good photos, we get Leicas because we like them, and that’s reason enough in my opinion.

    Ansel Adams took his landscapes on gear which would be worth maybe a couple hundred dollars now. I love my Leica M3, but I don’t pretend it has any special qualities like “glow”, or “Leica feel”, or even “soul” (I particularly dislike that one). However, it is a lovely camera, which I like very much, and that for me was reason enough to buy, it’s nothing to do with image quality, I can beat Leica IQ very easily just by shooting medium format.

  5. Hi Laurence,

    quite nice photos but you don’t need to spend 11 000 $ for gear to shoot them.

    Sorry, but I don’t see the glory of Leica here (thual).

    My not so state of the art Lumix FZ 28 can shoot them and can do better on B&W like No.2. The range from white to dark black seems to very limited (do you call this “dynamic range” in English?)
    Sometimes I have to add “contrast” in pp and loose detail, than the photos look like this one.

    My Nikon DSLR can do much better.

    No. 1 is quite nice but again any decent DSLR can shoot it and some good Bridge Cameras as well.

    Best regards

  6. Hi, First of all, congratulations for your Daily Inspiration selection Laurence ! On the first picture, I see the Leica lense + sensor quality, something in the way it renders light so beautifully. On the third one, I see what I disliked about my M9 (i didn’t keep it), the way it burns highlights. I see you tried to correct it by adding a gradient or vignetting, but it looks fake, especially on the high right corner on the leaves. I don’t blame you, I’ve had the same situation with my M9 picture. In the future, I hope the Leica guys will select a sensor with a wider dynamic range…

  7. Nice pics. The last one brought back lots of memories – I married a girl who lived in the apartments shown. Long divorced though. Wasn’t such a quiet neighborhood back then – early 70’s – Saturday nights round there were certainly interesting 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.