(Day 1) (Day 2) (Day 2 Night) (Day 3)

Leaping Koi

While waiting for the wife, I walked around Grant and Bush. I figure it’s where the China Town gate is, there is got to be some interesting things to photograph. As I walk up Bush toward Grant, I notice something on the light pole. I thought I was seeing things. As I move closer, it disappears. As I move farther, it show up again. Looks like someone made a Koi out of wires hanging on the pole. The sun was perfectly hidden behind the tree to cast enough light just to show the fish.

One thing I forgot to mention earlier. They got a 2nd shipment of equipment in. The original shipment of loaner equipment was stuck in customs so Leica ended up shipping another set out in time for the Friday kick off. The 2nd shipment finally cleared customs and made it on Saturday. This also means there is more lens!! According to the Leica guys, Leica supplied over $200k worth of equipment for the workshop. This also means there might be another 0.95 Noct. I chased down one of the Tom as soon as the package arrived and snatched up the 0.95 Noct. I actually had a chance to spend a few hours with my friend Joe’s copy a few month ago. But I wouldn’t give up any opportunity to play with this lens.

Once again, I had over $30k of Leica gear, not including my computer bag on me. This time, wondering around downtown SF. Also holding the M9-P with the 0.95 Noct. I had to keep my eye wide open.


After the wife picked me up, it was heading to the grandparents to pick up the kids. They live in the east bay so we crossed the bay bridge. On the way back, I notice how clear the sky was. It’s typically hit or miss with the fog and smog whenever you try to shoot the SF cityscape. Knowing that the next day’s agenda was a 6:30am photo session at Treasure Island, I wanted to try the nightscape and scope out the scene first. Once again, a very understanding wife, dropped me off at my car still in the city and let me do some more shooting.

What's over there?

I first walked around Union Square to see if I can capture something spectacular with the Noctilux. It proved to be more challenging then I thought. Not to mention I didn’t really want to get mugged with all these Leica stuff on me. I was able to capture at least one interesting shot.

It was dark now. I figure it was a good time to head over to treasure island. As soon as I got there, I notice the parking lot was packed. Lots of people with tripods and cameras as well as tour buses. It was an awesome view.


Shortly after I found parking, I heard fireworks going off near AT&T Park. Quickly grab my tripod, found a spot and setup. I went with an exposure that I’m familiar with for night shots and started snapping away. I still had the 50mm lens on. I figure if go through the process of changing the lens and tweaking the settings, I would miss the fireworks show. I just compose it for the 50mm and fired away.





After the fireworks, I swap the lens to the 24mm Summilux ASPH. I haven’t had a chance to play with this lens yet. This range would be perfect for capturing the entire cityscape. I also wanted to capture part of the construction of the east bound side of the Bay Bridge. I turned around and notice the moon was extremely bright that night which was casting a very nice light over the yacht dock.

Rising Moon

Amazingly, the water was also extremely calm. Creating a mirror like effect for the reflection of the boats.


Tip #1: To get star shape out of the camera from the lights, use a smaller aperture. In these few pictures, I used f/8 with at least 16 second exposure. This will depend on your lighting condition as well as the environment. The amount of spikes coming out of the lights depends on how many aperture blade. The 24mm f/1.4 Summilux I was using had 11 blades!!


All in all, it was a very worthwhile side trip. One last tip for night shots.

To get steady night shots with long exposure with the M9/M8 especially if you don’t have a remote shutter release, use one of the build in functions. You can set the shutter release to 2 seconds in the menu. Then set the mode on the camera to timed release. (It’s the on/off switch. Just turn it all the way to the left if you’re holding the camera lens facing out.) This way, every time you hit the shutter button, it will delay the release for 2 seconds. Plenty of time to get your hands off the camera and step back to prevent any camera shakes while the camera is doing long exposures. Do remember, Leica does apply Noise Reduction for long exposures that’s longer than 1 second. ie. You will see a message on the LCD that reads Noise Reduction 5s right after you take the 5 second exposure. The camera is taking a picture without opening the shutter and then merging the expose and non-expose picture together. This will help eliminate any of the potential hot pixels created by the camera sensor heating up during long exposures.

Continue on to Day 3…

(Day 1) (Day 2) (Day 2 Night) (Day 3)

  1. […] 2011 Leica Akademie San Francisco Weekend Photography Workshop Day 2 Night […]

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