Daily Inspiration #318 by Gert IJszenga

Hi Steve,

First of all, I love your site. I love your reviews and your. You give me inspiration. I am a photographer in the Netherlands and I have to admit, I am (was) a Canon man. I have shot with my 5D MK2 for years and it is like second nature to me. I don’t have to think, I can hear by the sound of my camera if I set it up correctly in any situation. But Leica was something I have been longing for. There is something special with this brand, something mysterious and Leica photos have something. Difficult to describe what it is.

So, I got myself a M8. Off course, like everybody who wants a Leica, the M9 is the sum mum, but also like many others the budget is the limitation. I have to be honest. The first time I had my M8 in my hands I was like a little boy who got something he dreamed of for a long time, but thought it would never be something he could ever have. I bought it because I do a lot of street photography, especially in third world countries and I wanted to have some smaller equipment.

I loved the size, the feel and the beautiful small lenses. And then I started using it.

For a 10MP camera the pictures have a great sharpness. They have beautiful bokeh, you can make great shots with this camera. I found out that people think you have an old (silly) camera and don’t ask you all the time “What are you going to do with that picture”. Really nice. But it was difficult. I really had to get used to this camera. I had to think about everything again. For example the manual focus, I used the whole swing of the lens to go up and down and checked the focus three times by turning it into focus, out of focus and back again. I had to think about exposure and diaphragms. I did this on my 5D, but there it was like a second nature and with the M8 I had no automatism at all.

So it was love and hate and the Canon and the Leica where used side by side. The Canon was my working horse, the Leica was for love. But the strange thing is, though when I really had to trust myself with my camera I took the Canon, the Leica never left my side and I started to use it more and more.

Now I am at a point that the Canon stays home. My M8 is my companion. I trust myself with this new friend. And he is becoming more and more of a friend.

At first I thought that you could only take good photo’s with a Leica if you had plenty of time. Now I look further ahead, think more in advance, set up my camera in advance, use my depth of focus strategic and I even think that I am faster now.

So, if anyone is asking what it is to step into Leica? Just tell them it is a hustle at first, but once you get it, you will not go back.

The pictures I sent along are from my trip to Bangladesh. I had to do a shoot in Dhaka. I had both camera’s with me to Bangladesh, but this was the first shoot I was confident enough to leave my Canon in my apartment. The first time I had to rely on my M8 without any escape. I taped down all the Leica indications and just went for it. And never went back. All the photos are shot with my M8 and 28mm Biogon.

Kind regards,

Gert IJszenga




  1. My favorite is number 3, I think it really works geometrically with the doors and roofs and it’s almost symmetrical but with stone and concrete(?) on the left and corrugated iron on the right. I also wonder what it’s like in his house! The more I look at it the more I like it. Inspiring work.

  2. Inspiring images, thank you.
    Why did you choose to present that first one B&W? Leaves me wondering about the colors of their clothing.

    • Hi Jeffrey,

      The ladies on the left where distracting from the girls in the school uniforms because of there colorful clothing. I wanted the girls to be the center focus. This way it brings out the rhythm of the uniforms and also puts more attention to the girls.

  3. Hi Gert, great photos nicely composed. I went through a similar transition from D700 to M8. I was very comfortable with my D700 and was using it only with manual primes. What I found was that nothing beats a Leica M for this type of photography.

  4. Even after years of being interested in photography and using Canon DSLR (and film prior to that), I still do not understand the Leica mystique! Why is it that everyone that has ever laid a hand on the M series becomes a convert? Why is it that those that do not have one want one? Why is it that the M series has survived (and going strong) after 60 years?

    What is it???

    I have seen photograph after photograph taken with M cameras – both film and digital. That “Leica look” – it is definitely there! The photographs that I have seen – they all have something in them. Maybe the colors, or the way the lens renders or the way the sensor captures it…don’t know what it is, but I just love it!

    These shots are just beautiful and makes me want an M camera even more :-(…

  5. Wonderful. And a strong case for using not only Leica, but any smaller camera. Many times, while dining at an Italian restaurant, I have spent much time looking at the black and white pictures on the walls…usually of gatherings of people doing simple things together, like eating around tables with family. Of course color is great too sometimes, but I lean strongly toward monotone. Most of these shots were probably with film, but no matter. They are wonderful regardless of the capture method.

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Hi Gert, great submission! You have an eye for composition, and I share the same experience as you re: the M8. I still love my 5D2, but I find myself using the M8 more and more all the time.

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