Daily Inspiration #299 by Desmond Huey

Hi Steve,

Like many other lurkers around your site, I have been a regular reader on your blog on all things Leica for the past year. You site had assisted me tremendously in my transition from DSLR to Leica when I was looking for a high quality compact with good IQ to record the birth of our twins. Well, I bought the X1 first and loved it so much that I bought a M8 with a 35mm Summarit a month later. I have been shooting with the 35mm for a year now. Aiming for a 50mm cron for 2012. I have to say Leica really rekindles my long lost love of photography since my days with a FM2 back in art school. As an expat working in India, the Leica really opens my eyes to this wonderfully photogenic country despite the challenging work environment. Well, my Leica had helped me in surviving India by allowing me to see the beauty in the mundane!

I have never been much of a “portrait or street” photographer before I started using Leica but, somehow, the Leica gave me the connections with subjects that I never had previously when I shot mostly architectural and landscape works. Somehow, shooting with a Leica is about a more intimate and considered relationship with your subjects and surroundings as a photographer. I have attached some of my favourite shots using the M8 and 35mm Summarit. Some had made it onto the LFI Mastershots Gallery. 2 shots are from the Holy city of Varanasi on the bank of the Ganges after the monsoon and the rest are from a series of Indian shopfronts study that I had done in New Delhi.

Hopefully, these will be interesting enough to be featured on your daily inspiration nos 300 to share and receive some constructive critique from other Leica aficionados.

Best Regards,


My flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/desmondhuey/


  1. Very interesting subject matter. Really like the color tones you were able to capture. First shot belongs in an art gallery.

  2. Des, one more point about noise reduction (I actually never vary from the LR3 preset for the D700; there’s no need, fine IQ up to ISO 3200). I find it does reduce noise or grain, but it also makes the image look “gooey”, for lack of a better word.

    Having grown up with film I don’t find grain objectionable at all; it sort of belongs to the image imo.

    Same for sharpening. LR3 preset for the D700 is +25 if I’m correct; I never look at it, no need, and fiddling with it deteriorates the image.



    • Thanks, Michiel, for your advice on NR in LR3. I will look into it but I can’t recall if LR3 has any presets for Leica M8 or M9. Thx a mill.

      • Des, I can’t recall either, but when you import files you will see (in the righthand bar) whether LR3 has recognized the camera (and the lens), and you will see some sliders set to pre-determined positions. Have fun, and don’t take my observations as important; it’s your eye that counts for your photography.



  3. Thanks for sharing these great photos Des, the connection that you felt through your M8 can be seen in the photos. I made the switch from Dslr’s to an M8 and enjoy it for the same reasons for this type of photography.

    Thanks for the great Daily Inspirations Steve.

    • Hi Nomaan, you are correct..These two shots were taken in Benares, Varanasi neat the Kendar Ghat and the alleyway behind after a heavy monsoon in late September this year.

  4. Dear All,

    Thank you so much for your constructive comments.

    And, to Michiel, I agreed that I had overdone the NR in some of the photos but, somehow, the images all appear to be less sharp on the blog than I intended when comparing with my original LR output files.

    Nicely spotted on the contrast fringe issues. I can’t explain it but It persists on some of my other photos with light backgrounds. It might be a sensor issue and I might need to get it checked.

    Much appreciated for all your comments.

  5. Thanks for sharing Desmond, great shots. I’m a bit worried about the contrast fringe problems in the first shot (the best of the lot actually), and the quite agressive NR in all of them (the agressive sharpening is due to the blog). Could you explain that? I’m probably wrong anyway.

    • Thanks for the constructive comments, Michiel. On hindsight, I did overdo it in the NR.
      Well spotted on the contrast fringing issue. It persists on some other photos of mine with light background. can’t explain it but might be a sensor issue that I needed to get it checked out next time.
      Your critique is much appreciated.

  6. Great post, Desmond. I love your shots. Just added you as a contact on Flickr.

    I am still shooting with a 5D Mark II and do love that camera, but I really want to have the Leica experience some day.

    Not being able to justify the cost yet, I purchased an X100 earlier this year and I clearly notice the difference it makes using a camera like that for street photography as opposed to the 5d2. The classic look and lack of shutter sound makes it instantly a more friendly experience with your subjects.

    Thanks for sharing, Desmond. Great stuff!

    Steve, thank you for these daily inspirations. I’ve only been subscribed for a couple months now, but they’re usually the best email I receive each day.

    • Hi Ted,
      Thanks for your comment and I made you a contact on Flickr as well. Looking forward to see more on your work from the City of Sin and your muse!
      With respect to your cost justification for a Leica setup, I went through the same. OK, the M8 is not a full frame camera but the set up cost for a used M8 and a summarit lens like mine is not much different from a brand new D700D300 or 5D/7D setup.
      After a year with my Leica, I can’t even bother with the multitude of buttons, shooting modes, sub menus and menus on even a simple DSLR.
      The simplicity of Leica is just that… You strip away the gizmos and just concentrate on the photographic process.
      It does deserve a place in any shutterbugs’ arsenal and it is cheaper that a D3x or 1D! 😛

  7. Beautiful work Desmond, your flick is even more interesting, I lived in India for a few years and I can breathe the singular atmosphere through every one of your photographs, those are the images of a passionate heart, thank you and Merry Xmas.

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