Daily Inspiration #409 by Ray Larose

Hi Steve,

Since our last talk this summer when I was contemplating the jump from the DSLR world to the Leica world (in which you encouraged, “do it”) I am happy to say, I finally did a couple of weeks ago. Sold off my obnoxious pile of gear and picked up a M-E and a Zeiss 2/35. It really is a whole new world looking through that bright viewfinder. Zen, I might say.

I’ve barely squeezed out 100 images at this point which is a huge change from my D700, where I’d rattle off a few hundred shots a day, 5 or 6 days a week. I now take my time, think of my shots and only squeeze when the moment is right. So long to spray and pray! I’ve also had the privilege of saying goodbye (for the most part) to Photoshop. With this set up, I like the shots nearly SOOC. Sure, I’ll touch up, clean, etc. but I have to say, it just does it right.

For your consideration in the Daily Inspiration, I give you the first few images I have made. This first one is of my good friend, Holly Brewer – one of the most gifted singers I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. This was taken at a pre-shoot last week, to see how I could pull off an album shoot in natural light with a Leica, rather than the usual metric ton of gear I hauled with my D700. This was taken in her living room at ISO 640 and the 35 set to f2:


Next are a couple of shots I took in Boston this past weekend – f/2 ISO 160. The color it can capture is amazing – I can’t get enough. I love the magic of this lens. The second shot was taken by the Old State House  which is the location of the 1770 Boston Massacre.



I can honestly say, the DSLR is gone forever. This is my new world, and I love it.


Take care


Ray Larose Photo: http://raylarose.com


  1. Well Ray,
    The moment I turn my back, you make the BIG TIME ! Ha !
    Congratulations ! Nothing would feel better than a Post on Steve’s Site…
    Your images are great, but the ones of your wife ~ in color, and B & W,
    are your best so far. Post them next time…
    My Opinion…

    • I chose the M-E over the M9 for the simplicity of things. Basically, it was a stripped down M9 (no USB, etc) and the cost was pretty attractive to me. The M9-P and the M-E were the two I was eyeballing – and in the end, the M-E seemed to fit my needs to a T.

  2. The images are nice enough and show off the quality of the M-E and Zeiss lens. The DSLR mantra in the intro spoilt it a bit for me though. I really fail to see why these couldn’t have been taken with the D700 and a good 35 prime.

    I had the D700 for three and a half years, used only primes, mostly one at a time, and never felt the need to “rattle off” the poor thing. Nor have I ever felt the need to talk down other equipment. I do feel the need to look through a lens, and I do feel the need for full frame.

    That D800 is something special though…

    • I hear ya, Mike. These could have been taken much easier with my D700/Zeiss combo that I had used for years and years. Primes were all I shot in my DSLR days which made the jump to the rangefinder body that much easier for me.

      I think you’ll love the D800 when you move to it – I shot several hundred shots with one and just loved it to death – have to say I was tempted to pick that up as well.

  3. “It’s more limiting, but at the same time more freeing” makes a lot of sense if you’ve been there and done that. Now been using the X100 for 18 months, the sense of freedom and satisfaction far out weights any “lost” capabilities using this camera. Some people keep anything and everything whether used again or not, but it didn’t take me long to discard previous equipment which in itself is very freeing.

    • Oh yes. I just traded in my D300 and half a dozen lenses, and I found that I have been taking 3 times more photos with my EOS M and 22mm lens notwithstanding slow auto-focus. It has certainly been a big load off my mind ( and off my shoulders ). Now I just concentrate on the image rather than scrolling through menus and trumpeting zooms and carting the hardware around. Remember Cartier-Bresson ?

      • I feel that way too. I have the Leica with me 90% of the time whereas the D700 was with me only when going out for a specific reason. Love the simplicity and ease. Not for everyone, but it sure is for me.

      • I do remember Cartier-Bresson. But Cartier-Bresson never shot sports or wildlife.

        Had he done so, he would have adopted a Nikon F system in the late 50s/early 60s.

        In fact, I’m hard pressed to remember any close-up or dynamic wildlife or sports photographs prior to 1959.

        • So true. And children were well behaved, and stood still when told to back then as well.

          Ah, those were the days.

  4. I didn’t realize at first that it was *that* Holly Brewer until I took another glance at the tattoo on the chin. I have Humanwine’s Fighting Naked lying around, which reminds me that I should dust it off and listen to it again. Gifted singer indeed!

    Don’t be so quick to discard SLRs. You may find need of one again some day.

    • “Don’t be so quick to discard SLRs. You may find need of one again some day.”

      I’m forced to agree with that sentiment. I would never throw out a hammer because I’d bought a screwdriver. Autofocus; buffer capacity; system capability…the list of capabilities for a DSLR over a rangefinder goes on and on…

      That said, I totally get the desire to have a smaller, lighter and more discreet form factor. Using the Leica (or X100s or XP1, etc) definitely alters one’s “method” when making images.

      It’s more limiting, but at the same time more “freeing,” if that makes sense?

      • I hear what you saying which is why I have not already sold my Nikon gear. BUT I am at a stage in life that I doubt I will ever work again other than for myself. With that thought in mind, moving to a “smaller, lighter and more discreet form factor” is inticing!! BUT that is just me. I recently relocated closer to my grandkids and spent time shooting my oldest granddaughter in her senior softball season and really relied on my D2H bodies and the f2.8 80-200mm zoom.

        • Seagrove: why use a zoom? Because it’s there? Because it’s sports photography, and the distances involved demand a lot of reach? I can see that, and I also remember a post not all that long ago here that sang the praises of using a RF with a (50? 90?) to photograph a field hockey game. Well…

          Keep using what you have; it won’t disappoint you.

          • Why a zoom? Can not afford the Nikkor 200mm f2.0 and had sold my 300mm f2.8 several years ago when I was laid off from a newspaper I was working for. I have always preferred to “fill the frame” as much as possible. Now I am kept outside the fence as a spectator rather than being able to find a spot inside the fence like I did when working.

    • I’ve done a ton of work with Holly since that first test shot – actually shot her new album, liner notes, posters and so on all with the Leica and Summilux 50. Also working on two side projects with her. So if you’re a fan of her stuff, you can see some of the sample shots on my blog that Steve linked or follow that to my FB page where there are a ton of low light shots I did with her on Monday with her first live show with her new band.

      • I’ll have to check out what she’s been up to since I lost track of all the indie bands I was into years ago. I pulled out Fighting Naked to listen to on the ride to work today, and had the pleasant surprise of finding the original handwritten note that was in the mailer when I ordered it.

        • That’s awesome – one of the shots I have for her is her process of putting together all the handwritten notes she does for each release – it’s actually a cool process.

    • The one thing I am finding out with the X100S is the 35mm fixed focal length. It is a great sensor (especially for someone coming from the 2003 era and Nikon D2H cameras) but I would like a little more flexibility in focal length. But what I really love about the X100S is not only the sensor and low noise at high ISOs, but the focus peaking and digital split image. If the next X-Pro incorporated the X100S upgrades along with the adjustable viewfinder diopter, I will gladly pick one up!

  5. Erm…is it just me, or are these images not terribly interesting? I find it hard to be convinced by an enthusiastic gear review when the photographs are pretty uninspiring. Maybe I missed something?

      • Let me give you an analogy here. When you go to a restaurant, does the waiter say:

        “I’m going to ask how you liked the food, but please note that we will only listen to your opinion if you can show us that you can cook better than the chef.”

        Perhaps you should suggest to Steve that nobody be allowed to post a comment on the site until their own portfolios have been approved and deemed worthy…

        • Colin

          I think over time you will see that there is a fair amount of discussion about the merits of images that are posted here. Though there are times when a comment touches a nerve in the reader, which may or may not be the intent of the author. Which is probably the case here.

          In my case, I was admiring the tonality of the first image and think how it could be different by cropping. When I read your comment about the images not being interesting my first reaction was that you were saying, “Why did you bother.” Now that I have had a chance to review the images and your comments again I recognize my over reaction and where you are coming from.

          As noted below, interesting is in the eye of the beholder. And we all see different things. Which can lead to different discussions.


    • Sorry. It was difficult to pull off a Pulitzer shot in my first dozen exposures with a new camera and lens.

        • Oh dear. Why is it that anything but unadulterated adulation for photos that are posted elicits the usual responses: ‘well could you do any better’ and ‘the pictures are just to show off the capabilities of the camera’.

          I hoped this website was a place for thoughtful discussion of things photographic and not just another place where viewers press ‘Like’ for every picture or make “OMG, AWESOME CAPTURE, DUDE!!!!!” comments when somebody posts an Instagram picture of their cat. I was merely saying that these picture didn’t do much for me, but apparently that’s not acceptable.

          And before anybody jumps on me, no, I’m not comparing these photographs to Instagram cats…

          • I agree with you on the first image. It appears a little too static for my tastes and I would have composed it differently. The compositions of the remaining three I like as I am more of an “off center”, or rule of thirds style shooter. BUT that is what makes photography so much fun. As they say, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” I am sure a lot of people do not care for my style of imagery but that is ok.
            That being said, I have to also say that the more I shoot with my Fuji X100S along side my Yashica Electro35 GS, the more tempted I am to dump all my old DSLR equipment. Since I am no longer shooting for newspapers, my “vintage” D2H bodies and heavy f2.8 zooms just are not much fun to carry around. Maybe it is time to move on to a new experience after 35+ years of SLR/DSLR shooting….

          • oh dear? Raylarose was just showing some SAMPLE images. Should we only show test charts if we are not showing a best of “I put a lot of time and effort into these images”? I personally really like this site because it has something new daily. Colin, watch a feature motion picture photographed by Roger Deakins, he puts a lot of time and effort into every frame, you’ll be happier.

          • That’s why I wrote this to Steve in March – love that there are all kinds of experiences written about here; from masters to total novices. I figured sample images from someone that had no idea how to use a rangefinder would be nice to share.

          • Holy cow, what’s wrong with everybody? All I did was say that I found some photographs “uninspiring” and therefore was struggling to be convinced by the enthusiasm being expressed for the gear used to take them. Last time I checked, the point of cameras is to take photographs. Clearly it’s not acceptable to express any reservations, however moderate, about anything posted here. By the way, I think the images in the adjacent post on the Nikon V1 do showcase THAT camera very well and have posted to say so: as you’ll see from that, I’m not just some grumpy troll. I think that any website like this benefits from an honest exchange of views rather than compulsory group hugs and a chorus of Kumbaya.

    • Colin: It’s not just you.

      And, Ray: “Over a thousand” is your “first dozen”?

      Now, for the record: I can’t photograph worth a damn, and seldom turn out better images than these. But no problem. We are all having fun doing this (and learning from each other).

      I am glad you found a camera you can connect with. Keep at it.


      • Thanks Jan – I really do love it. Have been so inspired to try new things with it too, lately.

        No, my first dozen was 12 shots – literally. I wrote this post in early March I only had the camera 2 weeks and only took it out three times – very few photos at that point but was in love. This weekend I took photo number 1500 with the Leica – really getting into the swing of things now. My other post was referring to my current count – not that of early March.

        • Got it! I thought you had just sent these in.

          I totally get the overwhelming sense of connection you sometimes get to a newly aquired piece of equipment, photo-related or otherwise. And what a feeling it can be! Thanks for sharing that enthusiasm with the rest of us.

          Speaking of which: I think I speak for many of us when I say that it is ENTHUSIASM that makes us all love Steves site so much. It totally permiates this whole blog. And I, for one, ALWAYS use Steves links when buying from Amazon. We should all chip in and get that M back into Steves rotation ASAP. Get those credit cards warmed up and ready to go.


          • You couldn’t be more right – it’s what brought me here (all the enthusiasm from Steve and others).

  6. Loved the last shot..

    one day… one day… for now I will have to be contented with Fujifilm x100s ;0)

    • I have to say that the more I shoot with my Fuji X100S along side my Yashica Electro35 GS the more tempted I am to dump all my old DSLR equipment. Since I am no longer shooting for newspapers, my “vintage” D2H bodies and heavy f2.8 zooms just are not much fun to carry. Maybe it is time to move on to a new experience after 35+ years of SLR/DSLR shooting. I am looking forward to the next iteration of the Fuji X-Pro (with focus peaking, digital split image, and X-Trans sensor and processor II) as Leica will continue to outpace my pocketbook.

        • I found an old advert online. Shows a fountain in a square and says “Flash? Not with Yashica’s Electro 35?”

    • Thank you – I just love it – have shot over a thousand images now and have since picked up a Summilux-M 50 which almost never leaves the body now. (A bunch of images on my Flickr page right now – if you care to see, you can link from my blog above.) I went back to the Zeiss 35 a couple days ago, but it only stayed on for a dozen or so images before I put the Lux back on. Like Steve has said before, it’s just a perfect lens.

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