A weekend inspiration – Part 1 – “The children, the M9, and all of the lenses” by Bjarke Ahlstrand

From Steve: Hello to all! Happy Saturday! It is the weekend and the last 2-3 weekends I have taken a break from the site to get some rest and clear my head but today I wanted to post some great shots sent in by a reader using his Leica M9 and all kinds of lenses, even some classic beauties. He sent in way more than 3 images so this is kind of an extended ‘weekend edition” of the Daily Inspiration, more of a showcase of great shots and the equally amazing Leica M9 and glass! Tomorrow I will post part 2 with his samples from his Hasselblad and Canon. Enjoy and remember that you can click on any image below to see a larger version, as always!

Weekend Inspiration – Part 1 – “The Children, the M9, and all of the lenses”

by Bjarke Ahlstrand

As most of us, including you Mr Huff, often end up shooting and testing gear on the “models” we have at hand, I thought it might be interesting to share some of my private shots, taken with a variety of lenses, with you. After being a steady Canon shooter for years, my (photographic) life changed when I purchased a digital Hasselblad H3D, and later the Leica M9, and now the M9-P, but the motifs remain pretty much the same, even though they age a little bit.

I’m including two samples of each Leica lens I’ve ever tried and if you scroll to the end (NEXT MAIL, STEVE) you’ll be able to compare with Hasselblad and Canon lenses.


LEICA M9 + LEICA 21 MM ELMARIT F/2.8

Berlin, Summer 2011. A fine little lens, even though I had to get used to the extra 21 mm viewfinder. However, I thought it lacked some contrast, so after long consideration, I passed it on.

LEICA M9 + LEICA 21 MM ELMARIT F/2.8

Copenhagen, Summer 2011.

The 21 mm gives a nice wide angle perspective on a full frame camera in my opinion.

LEICA M9-P + LEICA 21 MM SUMMILUX F/1.4

Copenhagen, Autumn 2011.

Since I just got the 21 ‘lux, I haven’t had the oppurtunity to shoot a lot with it yet, so here’s one from it’s virgin trip two weeks ago, including me, and shot by my friend, Thomas Larsen.

LEICA M9 + LEICA 35 MM SUMMARIT F/2.5

Thailand, Spring 2011.

My first Leica lens, which I purchased along with the camera. I’ve since sold it, and replaced it with a 35 Summilux, since I’m a sucker for light, and often shoot under dark conditions, but this Summarit actually performed wonderfully on the M9. I know most of us seek those Summicrons and Summiluxes, but this is a very nice lens actually

LEICA M9 + LEICA 35 MM SUMMARIT F/2.5

Thailand, Spring 2011.

Being Leica’s “cheapest lens” (ha!), it’s still a wonderful performer

LEICA M9 + LEICA 35 MM SUMMICRON F/2 ASPH

Copenhagen, Summer 2011.

The classic 35, deadly sharp and with a nice rendering.

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LEICA M9 + LEICA 35 MM SUMMICRON F/2 ASPH

Knuthenborg Safari Park, Summer 2011.

A Leica M9 and a 35 ‘cron is a very nice and portable combo, and it’s even animal friendly 🙂

LEICA M9-P + LEICA 35 MM SUMMILUX F/1.4 (PRE-ASPH)

Dyrehaven, Autumn 2011.

Those Lux’es are fantastic, also this 40 year old version, which is a bit unpredictable when it comes to how it deals with artificial and sunlight.

LEICA M9-P + LEICA 35 MM SUMMILUX F/1.4 (PRE-ASPH)

Copenhagen, Autumn 2011.

My son and the sun

LEICA M9-P + LEICA 35 MM SUMMILUX TITANIUM F/1.4 (PRE-ASPH)

Copenhagen, Summer 2011.

An extremely expensive and relatively new Titanium version that I borrowed for a couple of weeks from Photografica. If money wasn’t an issue, then I would by that glow god!

LEICA M9-P + LEICA 35 MM SUMMILUX TITANIUM F/1.4 (PRE-ASPH)

Copenhagen, Summer 2011.

At the childrens’ school they did a fundraising for homeless children in Cape Town and I spent a whole day watching and shooting those hopeful youths, a truely amazing experience, and I think this image captures the situation perfectly. 

LEICA M9 + VOIGTLÄNDER NOKTON 50 MM F/1.1

Copenhagen, Summer 2011.

I borrowed this lens from my friend and fellow Leica-shooter, Klehmann, and even thought it to be a bit too stressy, it sure is amazing how much light it lets in

LEICA M9 + VOIGTLÄNDER NOKTON 50 MM F/1.1

Copenhagen, Summer 2011.

Shot in the dark. F/1.1 · ISO 200 · 1 SEC

LEICA M9 + LEICA 50 MM SUMMICRON F/2 (THE LATEST VERSION)

Copenhagen, Summer 2011.

My ex-girlfriend’s baby alongside my youngest son, and some absolutely wonderful colors. This is one of my favourite aspects of the Leica — those colors…

LEICA M9 + LEICA 50 MM SUMMICRON F/2 (THE LATEST VERSION)

Knuthenborg Safari Park, Spring 2011.

That 50 ‘cron is so easy to focus and the sharpness is unbeatable

LEICA M9 + LEICA 50 MM SUMMICRON F/2 (50+ YEAR OLD VERSION)

Spring, Summer 2011.

Those old Leica lenses are sometimes pure magic, and this one, which I’ve borrrowed from a colleague’s father, is a favourite of mine. Notice the glow on the Obie Trice text.

LEICA M9 + LEICA 50 MM SUMMICRON F/2 (50+ YEAR OLD VERSION)

Copenhagen, Summer 2011.

Young Yedi-knights on the play field, as captured by an old lens.

LEICA M9 + LEICA 75 MM SUMMARIT F/2.5

Copenhagen, Winter 2011.

A (young) superhero with a mission

LEICA M9-P + LEICA 75 MM SUMMICRON F/2

Copenhagen, Autumn 2011.

The sharpness, the bokeh, the colors — this lens is an absolute winner in my eyes. Btw, it’s not his real teeth, but the Halloween-ones.

LEICA M9-P + LEICA 75 MM SUMMICRON F/2

Copenhagen, Autumn 2011.

Mirror mirror on the wall

LEICA M9 + LEICA 75 MM SUMMILUX F/2

Copenhagen, Summer 2011.

I ended up buying the 75 ‘cron for professional reasons, but this 75 ‘lux I had a hard time letting go off, after having borrowed it for a couple of weeks. That ‘lux glow…

LEICA M9 + LEICA 75 MM SUMMILUX F/2

Copenhagen, Summer 2011.

At f/1.4 this lens is absolutely unbeatable when it comes to bokeh and that sweet, sweet Leica-glow

That’s all from me this time around. I hope it was useful. Part 2 is posted HERE. Also,you can see more of my creations here:
Best,
Bjarke

The Leica M9 is available at the following recomendded dealers – B&H Photo, Dale Photo, PopFlash and Ken Hansen via E-Mail (khpny19@aol.com)

22 Comments

  1. Hi Bjarke,
    Great photos. They are all amazing. Kids are a real joy to photograph and you have managed such gems of photographs.
    Thanks to Steve and his fantastic website I am hooked to photography and really enjoy reading about photography after a hard day’s work.
    Most of the time my subject is my 2 and half year old daughter.
    I would like to share some of her photographs with you. Below is the link-

    http://gallery.lfi-online.de/gallery//thumbnails.php?album=10933&cat=14690

    Cheers!!

  2. Really nice shots inbetween & like others have mentioned/noticed before me i appreciate the fact that you use the m9 in such a dynamic/self-involving fashion…. challenging indeed…. Now, settle for just a few of all these wonderfull glasses and get fully absorbed in what they can add to your creative outlet.. BUT most importantly: get over that 35 summi, be done with it & hand it over to yours truly;o) CUZOON dude.

    • Who said they were anything more? 95% of photography is indeed snap shots! What you use to get them is up to you. Hobbies like photography are great because we can choose to go cheap or go insane. If we have the money and it is a passion and we enjoy it, we have every right to shoot a medium format camera for snapshots 🙂 Why do people get negative when they see someone using an expensive camera for shots like this? Makes no sense. We do not all have to use this type of camera for studio and landscape only! I found his post and images quite interesting, mainly due to the fact he used a MF camera for these!

      • To piggy-back on your thoughts, Steve — The history of photography (by which I mean the history of photography as an “art form”) is heavily populated with so-called “snapshot” photographs. That said, to add my own two cents, I have to say many of the photographs above are brilliant. Whereas one may see merely “snapshots” I see “portraits.” They capture a moment, a personality, a feeling, a mood. The guitar shot, the underwater shot, the through the store window shot, the running in flip-flops shot…all are fantastic, and in my mind, great art.

  3. Your photo no. 3 of your son swimming under water is absolutely angelic .

    I know how tough it is to shoot kids with M9 . Bribing them and zone focussing sometimes helps !

    I too have juggled with a 3 year old with my M9 . Its the ultimate challange for a photography enthusiast !

    [img]http://www.flickr.com/photos/ravirajamadan/6250340633/[/img]

  4. Leica M9 and kids are a most challanging mixture . This is the perfect test for any photography enthusiast ( as I too realise ) .

    Bribing the kids on one hand and zone focusing seem to be the only tricks that work here . Your shot of your son in water is angelic !

    Brilliant !

    [img]http://www.flickr.com/photos/ravirajamadan/6250340633/[/img]

  5. Wow. Very nice work! Yeah… That swimming shot is awesome. Love Photographica. One of my favorite camera shops in the world. Only had a day in Copenhagen, and spent almost 1/2 of it there toying with the idea of an Alpa. Thanks for sharing all of the images from all the lenses! 🙂

  6. Nice to see real world examples of these lenses in use – far better than endless internet discussions by so called ‘experts’ or enthusiasts – who then fail to back their claims with real images!

  7. Great to see the various lenses and the images you have produced.
    Your kids are very natural in the images.
    Thanks for sharing.
    I

  8. You have quite a variety of lenses to play with, and I like how you described each one. I love how your kids pose. Great angles and interesting story. Thanks so much for sharing.

  9. Really great pictures, most of them. The first coloured one is my favourite.

    (BTW: the links to the bigger pictures don’t work)

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