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

Whoa it’s early. But if you want that glorious morning light, you have to get up early. Thank god it’s fall now and sun rise isn’t as early as it was a few weeks ago. Nonetheless, hitting the snooze button was a bad idea. I had the alarm set at 4:45am. Hoping to give myself enough time to get out of bed and head over to Treasure Island by the meeting time at 6:30am. When I finally drag myself out of bed, it was already 5:45am. As I drove, I notice the day was getting brighter and brighter. One thing for sure besides death and taxes, the rising sun don’t wait for any photographer. I pull into the parking lot at 6:40am as day was getting really bright. Luckily I already caught a few good skyline shots the night before so I focus my time across the street toward the construction. It’s also the side that the sun started to peek out behind the bridge. I still had the 24mm Summilux on from last night. It worked great for capturing the entire scene.

Under Construction

Bridge to the Bay

Not all the attendee made it out. I don’t blame them. I’m usually not an early bird myself either. But I figure not too many weekends I get the free pass from the wife to go out and shoot, I need to take advantage of it.

After arriving back at Hotel Triton around 9:30, down 2 cups of coffee and settle in to start downloading pictures from last night as well as pictures from this morning. I was eager to see how the night picture as well as the sun rise picture came out. From first glance, they looked useable. One thing I learn from using the M9. The camera LCD screen leaves alot to desire. But it also forces you to work on your shot before you press the shutter button. Contrary to common belief, I actually have a lot more keepers with the Leica than when I was shooting with the Canon. I think part of it is the discipline of see the shot you want before you shoot rather than shoot then see what you get on the screen. I believe Kim quoted Ansel Adam with something similar during his Friday Keynote.

A group of us started to headout a little earlier to the next shooting destination. One person I kept on forgeting to mention is Tyler Gee. He’s the sales rep from Fireside Camera off Chestnut St. To be honest, before today, the only place in the Bay Area I would think of that carries Leica is Keeble and Shuchat in Palo Alto and Camera West in Walnut Creek. But after chatting and hanging out with Tyler over the weekend not to mention all the praises from Tom, Tyler from Fireside Camera definitely gets my vote for Leica gear from now on.

Anyways, we started to walk through China town with Tyler and Will to capture some images before the meet up. One of the attendee forgot to bring her memory card. Being always prepared, I loan her my spare card. Tyler seems like a local in China Town. Showing all the alley ways and great photo ops as we walked around. There was a ping pong tournament in couple of the street which turned into excellent photo op. I snap a few shots that I was please with. Today, my goal was the shoot with the 0.95 Noctilux wide open. This present a challenge on it’s own since at f/0.95, there is a lot a lot of light hitting the sensor. At some point, I had to use the pull iso80 to even get proper exposure at 1/4000th. This leaves me only to be able to shoot in the shade.

A few more shots later, I got a flash card full message. I forgot to format my card before I headed out this morning. Since I loan out my spare card, I had two choices. Start deleting some of the previous pictures that I already downloaded or just format the card and give up the 10 shots of China Town that I already took. Knowing there is potential memory card issue with deleting and I didn’t want to run the risk to loose the rest of the picture that I will be taking, I choose the later. Bit the bullet and formated the card.

Tip #1: As simple as it sounds. Make sure you download the pictures off the card before a schedule photoshoot and ALWAYS format the card in the camera before you leave for the shoot. You will always have a fresh card with full capacity to shoot. And, Always carry some extra cards.

As we continue to walk through alleys of China Town, we came upon a group of kids getting ready to do the lion dance.

Dance of the Dragon

Shortly after, we met up with the rest of the group at Cafe Trieste. If any of you ever go to North Beach, make sure you stop by this Cafe. One of the guys there making coffee is also a Leica shooter. Not to mention, they have excellent scones and cappuccino. The ambience was also perfect for the Noctilux!!




The rest of the morning was to walk around North Beach and meet around Washington Park.



the Thinker

the Thinker
When we all met at Washington Park, Tom B. gave us an assignment. Try to get a picture of a couple kissing. you can capture the decisive moment or make your own decisive moment. I first follow around with Tom B. He walked up to a family that was sitting at the park. Introduced himself and told the family that he’s an instructor for Leica Akademie. Handed them his card and told them about the assignment and nicely asked the mom and dad to kiss while we photograph them. The family giggle and complied to his demand. I just learned street photography 101. One of the attendee hit up a 2nd couple and once again, the giggle and complied.

the Kiss

It seems simple enough so I figure I try my luck at the 3rd couple that we saw sitting at the bench. I did notice they didn’t seem like they were enjoying each other’s company but it was a good looking couple. So I approached them and ask them if they mind if we snap some photos of them for the photography class? The guy guy declined, but he was nice about it. No worries, at least now I feel empowered to try out my new found skill next time.

The group split up as we headed back to the hotel. I had a chance to shadow Will and learned a few tips from him as we dodge through China Town. It was great to see how he approaches people and also mixing it up on “stealing” that shot. One question I pose to Will as a street photographer, what’s one thing that he looks for. His answer?

Tip #2: Contrast. But contrast in the sense not only color, or black and white. But contrast in people, contrast in the scene. It could be a tall person walking with a short person. Or an old man walking with a young lady. These are the things that will draw people to your photo. It’s also how you can tell a story with your picture.


On the way back, we met Chiu-Bacca in the middle of China Town….


After eating lunch once again at the downstair cafe provided by Leica, (The food there was excellent by the way. Get the Chicken Club!! I had the burger on Saturday, it was only so-so. The fries was good though.) we headed back up stairs for our final editing session. This time both Tom came around as well as Will to help us sort through and critique our photos as well as giving us suggestion on basic edits.

The last speaker was Tom B. He show us a selection from his personal collection as well as share some sneak preview of what Leica Akademie has plan for the next upcoming year. There were some amazing shots!! What’s even more amazing is some of them were’t taken with the M9, or the legendary S2. But rather with a DLux2!! The final sound bite I want to leave with my weekend experience.

If you carry your camera with you all the time, you wouldn’t have to go out and Shoot!!

Lastly, The final project was to select 4 picture for a slide show as well as pick one picture that you want critique on.

This was my shot for critique. Feel free to leave comments to let me know what’s good and what I can work on!!


When it was time to check back in the loaner equipment, I didn’t really want to give back the Noctilux nor the 35mm Summilux. Knowing that now I have a line with Tyler, I placed my order. Hopefully I’ll see it one or the other soon!! And of course not both at the same time… I don’t think my wallet nor the wifey will appreciate that!!

All in all, if anyone has the chance to attend one of these Leica Akademie weekend workshops, by all means sign up!! It’s worthwhile. Even if it’s just the one day course, it’s still very worthwhile!! I know I will be applying everyting I learned this weekend on my future photographs.

Here is the links to Leica Akademie’s website for more info. http://us.leica-camera.com/service/leica_academy/

They will be announcing the new schedule sometime in October. I can’t wait to sign up for the next event!!

Higher res of all the pictures can be seen on my flickr set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dclindesign/sets/72157627586191869/

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

  1. […] 2011 Leica Akademie San Francisco Weekend Photography Workshop Day 3 […]

    • Laurie Wilcox says:

      Great write up on an excellent course. You have summarized some really key tips from the course too, will definitely keep your notes.

      see you next time…Laurie

      • d.clin.design says:

        Thanks Laurie! I will be keeping this blog updated as I learn more tips. Looking forward to the next event! See you then!

  2. […] 2011 Leica Akademie San Francisco Weekend Photography Workshop Day 3 […]

  3. […] 2011 Leica Akademie San Francisco Weekend Photography Workshop Day 3 […]

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