Posts Tagged ‘Leica’

It’s been a long long time since I had a chance to post. Work and family had kept me fairly busy. Still had a bunch of backlog of pictures I had taken in the past couple of years that have not been edited. Likewise, I did had a chance to post some of them up on Flickr. Just didn’t have any chance to write about them.

Even though I haven’t been shooting, I still have been doing some reading about street photography. Especially some blog post by Eric Kim. One of the skills I’m always timid to try was approaching people and ask them for their portrait. One of my buddy recently moved back to the States. He’s the one I blogged previously about how I got started in photography. With the recent passage of the equal rights marriage on Friday and the Pride Parade happening on Sunday, it was just as good of a chance to dust off my Leica and go hang out and shooting with my buddy. Likewise, there would be ample opportunities to mingle with the people as well as people that are just dressed for the occasion.

To make sure I work on the goals I set out to do, I brought only 1 camera and 1 lens. I choose to bring the 35mm f/1.4 Summilux so I can get up close to the people I’m shooting. Likewise, the Leica M240 since shooting in color was a must for such an event. I did contemplate about bringing my film Leica as a backup camera, but I know I’ll end up focusing too much on which frames I want to shoot and miss all the decisive moments.

I had 2 criteria I set out to do.

  1. Talk to people before I shoot. Looking to get the eye contact in the camera.
  2. Add multiple layers of complexity in the composition.

I can’t say I achieved it in all the frames, but overall it was a good experience.  Likewise, all the folks were beautiful, wonderful, and very friendly subjects.

Enough blabbering.  Here are the photos and commentary.  Remember, you can always click on the photos for larger image and camera settings off my Flickr account.  All photos were only lightly retouched and/or cropped in Lightroom.

Love Won
Love Won

This was the first frame I captured right off the Powell Bart station.  It was a good start to the theme of the rest of the day!

Rainbow
Rainbow

The other trending theme of the day.  Lots of vibrant colors and jovial groups of people.

Ahead Merging
Ahead Merging

For those that have followed the blog or seen some of my work.  I like to shoot streets.  Literally.  With the right angle, they are visually appealing (Well, to me anyways).  Likewise, be able to find something that always conveys the theme of the Pride Parade.  We are finally merging all diversity and creating equality.

Selfie Stick
Selfie Stick

Now days, you wouldn’t be able to go to any events or destinations without seeing one of these.  But for this couple, I’m sure the selfie sure will create lasting memories!

All Ages Welcome
All Ages Welcome

It was a great sight to see how true the statement on the banners says.  EQUALITY WITHOUT EXCEPTION.  This is truly crossing not only gender, race, orientation, but even AGE!

 Wrap Around
Wrap Around

There were plenty of Rainbows!

Disco Inferno
Disco Inferno

And Dancing!

Freedom
Freedom

And People

Clusterphoia
Clusterphobia

And More People

Diversity
Diversity

More Dancing

Shall We Dance
Shall We Dance

Even more dancing

No Turning Back
No Turning Back

This was one frame I really wanted to capture.  But I don’t think I was able to fully convey the multiple meaning in the photo.  The US rainbow flag was fully extended when the cable car wasn’t there.  As soon as the cable car passed by, the flag dropped.  The message I tried to show was Cable Car = SF.  US Rainbow flag = Equality with out exception.  One way Sign/No Turning back = we are finally progressing.

Grip
Grip

Here is yet another missed opportunity.  After taking this frame, I notice there was another couple to the right of them.  Both couples were arm in arm, very focus on the parade.  As soon as I got the picture I wanted framed up, a pink tutu girl on the cellphone stopped right in my frame blocking the arm position of the couples I try to capture.  When she finally walked away, both couples had already dropped their arms.

Black and White
Black and White

I wanted to capture a portrait of each of the LGBT.  Starting with this one. [L] It was the hat that drew my initial attention.  Further more, it was the contrast in the black and white shirt that created a sub-context of Racial equality.

All American
All American

[G]  This was a lovely couple.  Showing the true meaning of America, where equality is achieved in race and orientation.

Boogie Night
Boogie Night

[B] It was deliberate pose he did, showing it all.  I was playing on the store name behind him to insinuate “Peck Cashing”

Smoke a Fag (Brit)
Smoke a Fag (Brit)

[T] I intentionally put a controversial title for this photo.  He was very kind.  He even took a break from smoking to pose for me.  I only wished I had capture the full body in the frame.  He had on a lovely black 5 inch heel.

Peek-a-Boo
Peek-a-Boo

As I approach this gentle-lady and asked for a portrait, I was surprised on what happened next.  Though it was fitting with the face half veiled and the bottom exposed.

Thor’s Uncle
Thor's Uncle

Even Thor’s Uncle showed up.  It was fitting especially we’re in the Leather Alley “The Fetish Zone”!!

Hog Riders

It wouldn’t be a SF event with out the Police presence.  Especially one donning a black leather jacket.

Chasting the Law

And more police presence to make sure no Chasting of the Law happens!

Danke Schön

If you made it this far reading and viewing my photos.  I like to say Thank You!  This was an interesting capture as there were a plethora of street venders selling everything.  Funny part was you have these old Chinese ladies selling all exactly the same cereal, can food, juices.  While you have Mexicans selling bacon wrapped hot dogs.  Then you have the Brothers selling waters and beers out of igloos.

Anyhow, it was an eye opening experience for me.  This was an experience beyond what I originally setup out as a photography expedition.  I’m really glad I was able to participate as part of history and celebrate Diversity and Equality without Exception.  Likewise, I like to thank all the subjects that graciously allow me to capture their portraits.

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New York New York!

New York has always been an great place for photography.  We originally had a family trip planned in 2011 that fell through so there were a lot of flight credits that we had to used up before it’s one year expiration.  Tough problem to have right?

New York has always been a favorite destination with my wife.  With all the shopping, sight seeing, and exploring all the foodie spots, what’s better way to burn off the airline credit with an extended weekend in New York.  Within one week left to spend the credit, we booked and took flight!

Here is the link to the entire NYC set in Flickr

New York City
Flickr link:
http://flic.kr/s/aHsjC3U7iY

Turbulence

With the new 16mm Sony E-mount lens in-tow, I had to capture something during flight.  I love the ambiance of the Virgin America interior with the glowing comfort color lighting.  Just by slightly twisting of the perspective with the lady peaking back at me gave me a uneasy feeling during flight.  Of course, the flight was fine and very comfortable with the large screen between each seat.

Sony NEX-7 + Sony E-Mount 16mm f/2.8, ISO 1000, f/2.8, 1/60 sec, No Flash
Turbulence

Buildings

New York is filled with contrast.  I also taken a habit of shooting out of my hotel windows.  As soon as I looked out of the window, I knew this would a b/w shot.  The old red brick building contrasting with the modern white apartment/office buildings.  The old twin water towers with the light water stains.  Truly giving me the feeling of New York homology.  As a trend I try to build with my black and white shots, keeping the Yin with the Yen balance.

Sony NEX-7 + Leica 35mm f/1.4, ISO 100, f/8, 1/1600 sec, No Flash
Buildings

NYC Glow

I wouldn’t be doing New York any justice if I didn’t include any landscape city view picture as a top 3 pick.  This one was shot on top of Empire State building.  Originally we took the ride up to the top not expecting to be staying around that long.  Then it dawned (Pun intended) on me.  Wouldn’t it be a great picture to capture the sunset off the Empire State building.  I must give a lot of credit to my lovely wife for hanging out with me for an hour on top the Empire State building waiting for the sun to set.  Also, for her to fend off people trying to squeeze into my perfect spot!  Prior to the count down of sunset, I already scoped out the areas I wanted to shoot and the shot I was looking for.  Figuring out the correct exposure was tough.  With the sun right in your face, trying to capture enough detail of the city as well as the sky.  The make the entire process even more difficult, finding a spot to prop since I didn’t have a monopod or a tripod.  At the same time trying to shoot with people constantly bumping into you.  Atlast, one of the shot came out exactly as I imagined.  The glow from the sunset lighting up the streets while the City lights are slowly getting brighter.  At the same time capturing the blue sky with the white clouds.

Sony NEX-7 + Sony E-Mount 16mm f/2.8, ISO 100, f/8, 1/320 sec, No Flash
NYC Glow

Shortly after the Dubai trip,  work took me to a brand new development in Korea.  It’s an entire city build on reclaimed land.  The city is Songdo, Incheon.  Not too far from the Capital of Korea, Seoul.

The city is still in construction but there were already abundant high rises that tower over the city.  With the jetlag, I was able to wake up early in the morning for a stroll around the Central Park as well as capture some wonderful landscapes from the hotel room’s view.

Here is the link to the entire Korea set in Flickr

Korea
Flickr link: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjzxFENd

Songdo Sunset

This photo was shot through the glass window from my hotel room.  I was lucky to get a high room that’s facing the Incheon bridge, thus able to capture most of the city.  As every photographer says, timing is everything.  This is especially true if you’re chasing sunrise or sunset.  I saw the sun starting the set as I walked into the hotel room.  It had been a very long day full of meetings and I only had about 10 minutes to change before meeting up for dinner.  With the clear sky and the warm glow from the sun, I had to use the 7 minutes of my changing time to capture the exact moment when the sun meets between the two tower of the bridge.  Since the window was tinted, it was tough to get the exposure that I wanted.  My favorite part about this photo is the color contrast between the sky and the sun being reflected off the river cutting through Central Park.
Sony NEX-7 + Voigtlander Heliar Ultra Wide-Angle 12mm f/5.6, ISO 100, f/8, 1/5 Sec No flash.
Songdo Sunset

Right Side up

This was another image that I had a lot of fun shooting.  It was very early in the morning as the sky started to get bright.  The late was so calm that it provided a perfect mirror image of the landscape.  As I started to edit this picture, I decided to flip the image.  It created a surrealistic effect especially with some of the buildings no being reflected.  It still amazes me how serene the Central Park can be considering it’s very close to the bustling capital.

Sony NEX-7 + Voigtlander Heliar Ultra Wide-Angle 12mm f/5.6, ISO 100, f/8, 1/80 Sec No flash.
right side up

Songdo @ Night

Since there isn’t much to do during night at Songdo, I had many chances to capture the wonderful light scene.  The entire city was well lit with many colors.  Only issue was that the light on the bridge cuts off at 10pm.  IT was good that I kept that in mind and was finally able to capture this with the correct timing.  Another part of interest is that the buildings and the little cross bridge of Central Park was reflected clearly even it was so dark at night.

Sony NEX-7 + Voigtlander Heliar Ultra Wide-Angle 12mm f/5.6, ISO 100, f/8, 30 Sec No flash.
Songdo @ Night

First stop.
Dubai
Flickr link: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjzqHK1t

Burj Khalifa

With the busy meetings schedule, I finally found some time in the late hours to try to snap some picture of the tallest building in the world. With no clue on my bearing, I just walked aimlessly with this building in my sight. Eventually I stumble upon this spot right across from huge man made lake. I knew capturing this monument would require a very wide lens. The only lens at my disposal was the Voigtlander Heliar Ultra Wide-Angle 12mm f/5.6 M-mount. I guess lenses don’t get wider than this for a Leica M mount. The only issue was that at f/5.6 in such a dark setting means even the most steady hand is not gonna cut it. I need a tripod. Where am I going to find a tripod in the middle of the night in the middle of Dubai when all the stores are closed. I wanted to capture this. Next option, bump up the ISO. The Sony NEX-7 does have somewhat of a usable high iso through not as good as the trusty 5D MKII nor the 1D MK4. Without any choice, I bumped it up to ISO 6400. Even at ISO 6400, I still need to be very steady. I found a spot right next to a light pole on the stairs. Literally contorted my body around the pole and wedged between the stairs and fire off the shot. I think the image of me taking this photo might actually be more interesting than this landmark.

Sony NEX-7 + Voigtlander Heliar Ultra Wide-Angle 12mm f/5.6, ISO 6400, f/5.6, 1/5 Sec No flash.

Burj Khalifa

Caravan

I had the opportunity to head out to the dessert to enjoy a very interesting meal.  It was about an hour and half bus ride to the middle of no where.  All you see is sand.  Since the meal was buffet style ie. there is no requirement for seated course meals, I had a chance to wonder around.  I saw a Camel caravan that was resting near us that’s just begging for a photo to be taken.  It was very dark with only a few fires stakes and lights making the entire caravan barely visible. Taking the picture was pretty much impossible not to mention checking focus.  Once again, no tripod so long exposure requires special talent.  Being in the middle of the dessert, there is no light pole for me to wrap around.  I got on my knees and dig in to the sand.  Bump up the ISO as high as the camera can go, set the aperture as wide as it’ll go.  Frame the picture as good as I can, then guess the distance so I can do the zone focusing the aid of my cellphone’s light on the barrel of the lens.  Hold still then click.

Sony NEX-7 + Leica 35mm Summilux-M FLE, ISO 16000, f/1.4, 1/8 Sec No flash.
caravan

Milk Bar

Dubai is a very interesting place.  For being in the middle east, it’s a very westernized locale.  Getting around speaking English is no problem.  Likewise, besides all the standard chain restaurants/bars you see in the state side, I came upon this bar as I was searching for dinner.  It immediately reminded me of Clock Work Oranges’ milk bar with the middle east twist of Arabic script on the ceiling.  The lighting was perfect.

Sony NEX-7 + Leica 35mm Summilux-M FLE, ISO 200, f/2.8, 1/60 Sec No flash.
Milk Bar

It’s been over one year since my last blog post.
2012 was a crazy year for me. New job at work kept me pretty busy. In addition to busy work, I traveled globally quite a bit. Even though I didn’t have time to update the blog with each and every expedition, I still kept close to me my trusty Leica Lenses and Sony NEX-7.   Snapping photos anywhere and everywhere.

All the traveling started with the last Salt Lake post I did. Since then I literally flew around the world. Of course, it’s was span across the entire year. Nevertheless, it was quite an experience.

Instead of recreating each and every destination, I’m going to dedicate the next few post as a look back at 2012 while highlighting each destination and 3 photos from each set. For more photos on dedicated sets, you can click on the links to my Flickr sets. 2012 is also the year that my flickr surpassed 50k views!! thanks for all the support!

2012 Travel Flickr Set

I recent trip took me out to Salt Lake City. It’s freaking cold. Well at least cold for me considering I’m from sunny California. Anyways, during this time of the year, I was expecting lots of snow. To my dismay, the only snow I saw was during the first day I was there. Due to busy schedule, I only had 25 minutes to walk around Temple Square on way back to the airport. Of course the weather was beautiful. Clear blue skies!!

Well, I do wish I had more time to visit more of the buildings and interiors. I’m sure I’ll get another chance.

Title: reflection
reflection

Title: sip
sip

Title: glow
glow

Title: enlightment
enlightment

Title: Almighty
almighty

Title: blessed
blessed

Here is some sweets the lovely wife baked for Valentine’s Day. I know it’s a few days late, but I figure it’s still good to show. I’m always amazed by how well the Leica M9 works as a product shoot camera.

Everything was shot with a Leica M9 with a Leica 50mm Summilux-M. Lit with 2 CFL soft box.

Here is the link to her blog posts for more pictures

http://dreamcakesbymaggie.wordpress.com/2012/02/14/the-art-of-love/

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day

It’s been a while since I last updated the post. I been posting pictures mainly on Flickr. I have an entire set of Lake Tahoe South Shore pictures I took over the xmas break. Work have been keeping me pretty busy to allow me to update this blog. Anyways, I’ll just post a few pictures from the set here. You can see the complete set of 22 pictures on my flickr page.

Flickr Set: Lake Tahoe 2011

Title: Rise
Rise

Title: Trek
Trek

Title: Flipped
flipped

Title: Charcoal
Charcoal

Title: Drift
Drift

Title: Shapes
Shapes

Title: Up Skirt
Up Skirt

Panasonic GF2

GF2 is not Leica’s new model. Though lots of Panasonic MFT (Micro 4/3) lenses has the Leica designation on it. I’m still not sure if it’s actually made by Leica or not. My take? Probably not. Anyways, the wife had this camera for a while now. I also bought the M to MFT adapter since day one that she had it. I just been having so much fun with my Digital M that I rarely even think of using her camera with any of my M lenses. It’s been over a week since I got my Noctilux so I thought this would be a good chance to see how the GF2 matches with the Noct. I also have the new Sony NEX-7 on order. This would give me some what of a first look at shooting the Leica M lenses on non-Leica bodies. I know it’s well over done on the internet. any simple google search will net you plenty of other links of someone using Leica M on non-Leica bodies. Though I have yet to find anyone that put a Noctilux on a GF2? Thus this at least will give the first look for the very specific audience of GF2 owners that are curious on how the Noctilux look on their body.

Leica GF2 Noctilux

Leica GF2 Noctilux

At first look, The lens is huge. It’s probably bigger than the GF2 body and definitely weights a lot more. But this makes carrying the camera a little easier since you have to keep your hand on the lens barrel for focusing regardless. So the weight just naturally pitch forward. Since the wife’s GF2 doesn’t have the view finder and I’m too cheap to buy either the EVF or just the regular VF, I find my self continuously putting the camera up to my eye then realizing that everything is done via the rear LCD screen. It’s a tough habit to break after so many years of shooting. I’m sure this would be a lot easier whenever my NEX-7 comes in.

The Adapter (DMW-MA2M)
Panasonic M to MFT Adapter

The Adapter on the Noctilux
Noctilux with adapter

Other than that, I’m using the Panasonic M to MFT mount which is pricy, but very well made. No lens play at all. Everything clicks in perfectly.
So first thing you have to do when you slap a non Panasonic MFT lens is to allow shooting with no lens attach. You can find that option under Custom setup. Once set, with the M lens, everything is manual now. I typically put it in Aperture priority mode. It won’t detect your actual aperture, but it does meter correctly.

Well, here are 3 shots I took while waiting for the kids at the local Barne’s and Noble. More of a test shot to see what the lens/body combo can do at f/0.95. Of course, the first thing you notice would be the depth of field. But I felt it still lacks the soul that the M9 provide. You be the judge!

Title: Ice Fishing
Ice Fishing

Title: Focus Grover, Focus
Focus Grover, Focus!

Title: Beany bunch
Beany bunch

I had some time over the Thanksgiving break to play with something new or rather old!!

I’m sure there is a lot of you that have non 6 Bit Leica Lenses you would like to use it with the Digital M body (M8, M8.2, M9, and M9-p). There is a handful of solution from DIY to 6 bit coding kits that you can buy. I know for the die hard Leica Fanatics, only shipping it to Leica would work for you. I done some research on the prices and I seen anywhere from $100 ~ $300 to get it professionally coded either by Leica or renown CLA shops. For that price, I could live without the 6 Bit (Since it’s selectable in my M9).
Then I saw a post in one of the forum with someone talking about these code-able ebay rear flange. I have yet to see anyone do a write up or tutorial. I thought I share my experience.

This is where I got mine. Yes it’s shipped from China and it does take a few weeks to get it to the states.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/140597071401?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649

The first impression I got the flange was fairly well made. Further inspection with comparison to my original flange show why the German made was superior to the Chinese version. The biggest gripe I had was the edges were very sharp. It felt like the flange just came out of the CNC machine without any finishing. Minor sanding on the edges does smooth it out. Regardless, this was under $13 shipped per mount.

Here is a comparison picture of the eBay flange on the left coded with the original 24mm flange on the right.

6 Bit Flange

6 Bit Flange


The next test was to see if the coding cutouts were matched as well as how well the bracket sits on the camera. Things I look for was of course, is there any lens play.

Quick Google search brought me to this excellent site with all the Leica M Lens codes and sample pictures. This provides a great reference on which lens you want to code.
Leica M Lens Codes

The lens I was going to code was my Leica 24mm f/2.8 Elmarit-M ASPH. I enlisted my wife’s help on painting the 6 bit code. Her dexterity is much better than mine, not to mention she’s use to paint small things on her nail with nail polish. She started coding the 28/90 frame line bracket with the code 011001 (1 being black and 0 being white). It didn’t work. Since the M9 does not have a frameline of 24mm, I figure 28mm would be the closes. I thought it was a problem with the nail polish. So we wipe it clean and started over again with acrylic paint instead. We ran into the same issue. The camera could not read the code. After couple of days of trial and error, I found out that the 6 bit code is link to the frames.

TIP #1: Make sure you use the correct frame line for the bracket. Both the Leica M8 and M9 does take into account the Frame line as well as the code. i.e. Using a 28/90 frame line bracket with the 24mm will not work. Instead, you will need the 35/135 frame line with the 24mm. The above website does list the Frames required.

After switching over to the 35/135 and painted the correct code, it worked flawlessly on my M9. I also tried it with my friends M8.2. It even picked up the 24mm frame line that the M8.2 has!! Best of all, no lens play. It fit just as snug as the original flange.

So quick summary and tutorial for those that knows how to use a screw driver and remove 6 screws.

Disclaimer: I will not be hold responsible if you damage your lens or camera in the process of using this tutorial. This tutorial is provided as a guide. Remember if you still have warranty on your lens, this might void it. Though, I assume most of you that’s doing this to lenses that’s already out of warranty. Regardless, proceed at your own risk!!

Tools needed:
-Small Eye glasses Screw Driver
-Nail Polish or acrylic paint
-Fine paint brush
-Tooth pick
-Q-tip
-Nail Polish remover or Thinner

Tools

Tools

1. Go to this site to see what frame line flange you need.

2. Order the flange (ebay link)

3. Paint the codes per the site listed above. Do the black first. The white is purely cosmetic.

TIP #2: Here is a tip from my wife on how she clean around the edges. She uses this to do her nails. Pull off a tiny chunk of cotton from the end of the Q-tip and wrap it around the blunt end of a tooth pick. Dip that end with nail polish remover. The hard surface of the wood tooth pick with the nail polish remover cotton will give you more control to clean the edges of the coding groove.

4. Let it dry for a few hours.

5. Remove the 6 screws from your lens. Make sure you don’t move the focusing ring after you remove the 6 screws. I actually counted how many turns it took to take the screw out so you can put it back the same way.

6. Take the original bracket off.

7. Match up the holes with the new bracket. (The ones I got matches up perfectly)

8. Put all the screws back in but don’t thread it tight yet.

9. With the screw mostly in, I now turn the focusing ring one full turn both ways. This will help with the alignment as well as provide equal pressure on the rings so that focus will stay smooth.

10. Now tighten the screws in a star shape (similar to tightening the lug nut on the wheel of the car.) I started with 2 screws across from each other then rotate the focusing ring to make sure it’s still smooth. Then tighten 2 more screws. Rotate the focusing ring again. Tighten the last 2 screws. Rotate the focusing ring. Give it a final tightening on all the screws in a star shape. **Make sure you do not over tighten the screws and stripe the thread.!!** Finger tight is good enough.

11. Check the focusing ring to make sure it’s still operating smoothly.

12. Put the lens on the camera and enjoy your new 6 Bit coded lens!!

24mm Elmarit Coded

24mm Elmarit Coded


M9 6 Bitted!!

M9 6 Bitted!!

Hopefully this tutorial was useful and takes away a lot of fears about operating on your Leica lens. It’s fairly simple and straight forward. Just use a little common sense and you will now have a 6 bit coded lens!