Daily Inspiration #398 by Thorsten Richter

Dear Steve,

After following your blog now for almost two years I take myself a heart and send you today my first submission for your daily inspiration section. I always found it very rewarding to see excerpts of the work and stories of people from all around the world that share a passion for photography but have different approaches in expressing this passion. And for me it has been an inspiration many times indeed.

Last summer I travelled through the south of Peru for three weeks equipped with a good backpack, hiking boots and my trustworthy M9 including two lenses. I understand myself as a lucky man as my lovely girlfriend is very patient and also has a great understanding for my infatuation for photography. That’s an important factor for someone who thinks of holiday and travel time also as photography time.

And in Peru the subjects that make you want to use your camera are ubiquitous. They go in line with the diversity of this country between the restless pacific, the lonesome deserts, towering andes, cloudy jungle and different people living in all these landscapes.

Below you find some pictures I took with the lightweight camera and lens set-up. The M9 was accompanied by the Summarit 35 and the Planar 50 – some might say that both lenses are too close together to make a good all-round kit, but for my approach they feel just right. While the Summarit lives as a standard on the body the Planar jumps in especially for pictures of people or generally if I feel the need for applying a stronger amount of bokeh than the slower and wider Leica can offer.

Normally I tend to process the majority of my work in black & white as color in my feeling often distracts from the essence of a photo. But Peru let me change my mind here. There is a very special character of colors that is in good part based on the very different and often extreme lighting conditions between sealevel, altiplano and mountains. Especially blue sticks out here both as color of the natural elements but also as color on man-made stuff  like walls, cars and textiles. Frequently blue popped out of my pictures as commanding element in a way I have not experienced before and sometimes even draw me to take a specific picture.

Picture 1 shows a view from the cemetery of Vialla El Salvador – part of the city of Lima and built on a stretch of hilly desert.

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Photo 2 has been taken in the national parc of Paracas an offshoot of the Atacama Desert.

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The pittoresk truck on photo 3 crossed my way in Nazca. Close to this city you can visit the famous ancient desert lines.
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And on photo 4 you can see a young boy on the Lake Titicaca. It was warming the heart to see how much fun he had with making soap bubbles and see them dancing and finally vanishing on the surface of the lake.

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Picture 5 is a result of chance and shot while waiting for free seats in a restaurant and using the time to discover the near neighborhood.

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Keep up the good work, Steve!

Cheers from Germany,

Thorsten

27 Comments

  1. Fantastic set, looked at the photos first, then read the text. I really like how blue ties everything together, great work!

    • Ciaran, Andrea, bpalme, Jinho, Jaap, Vincent, dtop, Jonny, EH: Thank you very much for your feedback and comments concerning my photos. I’m happy and feel honored that you like them.

  2. Thanks for those great images, Thorsten. I’m actually from the south of Peru (juliaca near to the touristic lake Titikaka) and I’m trying with compact digitals, superzooms, film cameras (an old but very good Canon EF with FD lenses and a Zenith EM), even cell phones and in few days I’m going to receive my first camera with an aps-c sensor. I try every camera I can not cause I like to have cameras, but I love to take photographs that tale stories and in Peru is hard to take with the deep contrasts that one can meet in a country with thirty three climates.

    What I try to mean in my poor English is that I LOVE the colours of your photographs!!!, and of course your eye to take them. The second photo with the thinker above the sea against the desert is my favourite. Regards.

    Post Data: To the readers who have plans to travel to Peru in touristic places you can use any equipment u have, although always with care of them, but if you go for not so touristic places try to use little cameras and without shutter sound. The people, i.e. in the countryside in the highlands or blocks with commerce, could be nervous, or even aggressive, with big and evident cameras or the sound of SLR or DSLR cameras.

    • Thank you very much for your warm comment, Francis. Unfortunately I only crossed through Juliaca when driving by bus from Chivay up to Puno – this whole area is very special and different from everything I’ve seen before. The contrast between the yellow countryside and Lago Titicaca is breathtaking.

      I’m also using a mix of different cameras including film with some battered old juwels – have fun with your new digital and I hope, to see some of your photos somewhere and someday.

  3. A real treat to be allowed to share your colour work. I like nr 5 especially. (And BTW nr 2 actually makes a strong picture in B&W as well! – And the horizon can be straightened at the same time – sorry!)

    • Thank you, John – you are right! I also think this picture would work well in B&W. It was just that the color version grabbed me more. Especially, I wanted to preserve this palette of different blues.

  4. Thorsten, wonderful colors, wonderful rendering! I remember that sort of faded bluegreen from my visits to Mexican American bordertowns, long ago. Fuji NPH 200 as I recall, loaded in the FM2n, was really wonderful there.

    Please tell me you didn’t do anything with the colours nor additional sharpening…

    • Hi Michiel – understand what you mean. Would also love to go on such a trip equipped just with an analogue camera and a bag full of film – unfortunately I don’t have the guts for this.

      Have to disappoint you ;-). The colors are tweaked in PS and by using a customized slide film setting in Alienskin – also selective sharpening is applied.

  5. Fantastic images Thorsten! Number 4 is my favorite and wonderful leica colors as expected from M9

  6. Congrats! Now this set of pictures really stands out. The colors are appealing. I wonder how you managed to create this kind of colors without looking artificial. Great! I like pic 1 and 4 best.

  7. Even as I wait for the arrival of my M240, it still amazes me of how incredible the colors and definition of the M9 can offer. I will surely keep my M9 for its distinct and powerful imagery for many years to come. Thank you, Thorsten, for the beautiful images, they are great reminders to why the M9 became such a legendary camera and set such a high bar for future M cameras to follow. Bravo, Thorsten!!

  8. Really love the colors here. I’m glad you processed these in color! I think it portrays the environment perfectly. I too prefer B&W but then its when the conditions are right color works the best.

    • Thank you, Ernst, George, Dave, Tuananh, Duane and Shawn! Really appreciate your comments and nice words. 🙂

  9. Beautiful work, I love the color it works perfect for these images. Good package of equipment I use the same but add a 90mm.

    • Thank you, Jim. BTW: I’m also thinking of adding a 90mm tele since quite a long time (Summarit would be nice). Just still have to work this out mentally as there is also always the luring of a nice 21mm super-wide angle.

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