Thursday, April 24, 2014

Quick Portrait with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7

A subject near to my heart, and light that I just couldn't pass up.
Japanese Window Light, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7, Portrait Setting
I've been using my LX7 quite a bit on this trip to Japan. This little camera never ceases to amaze me. I am not one to use the canned settings packages in my cameras, but the SCN settings in the LX7 are extremely good. This is the portrait setting. The image is a jpg, straight from the camera.
I used a mini-reflector to fill in the shadows on the right side (her left). They can still use a little increase in brightness, but the detail is there.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Street Portrait From Behind?

I'm in Tokyo still as I write this. Yesterday, on my morning walk, I captured this image.
Street Portrait From Behind, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Leica 35mm Summicron F2 Lens
iso 400, f8, 1/125 sec.
The only place you can see the subject's face is in the big round mirror on the left. These are place all over around Tokyo for safety (so drivers can see pedestrians and vice-versa). It's pretty cliche to photograph them. But, I've never seen them used in exactly this way.
It would be fun to see this projected or printed very large, to see if capturing the face as a tiny part of the overall composition works or not. I think the lines in this composition work very well.
This is a straight jpeg, out of the camera, but with some cropping in Snapseed.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

From My Morning Walk in Tokyo

Tsukishima Boat, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Carl Zeiss C-Sonnar 50mm f1.5 Lens
iso 400, f2.8, 1/750 sec.
I am in Tokyo today as I write this. One good thing about the jet lag I'm suffering with - it gets me out for sunrise walks and photography.
This morning, I took the morning train one stop from where I'm staying, to Tsukishima. It's a nice little island section of Tokyo, with some nice boats and morning reflections. I hope you enjoy the view. This is a jpeg directly from the camera.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Nikon S Rangefinder - First Test Roll Results

I wrote a few days ago about how I've finally bought in to the Nikon rangefinder line.
(Click Here) to see that post.
In that post, I included some test images shot with the Nikkor 5cm f1.4 lens that came with my Nikon S. Here are a couple of shots from my first roll of film through the camera.
My Favorite Subject, by Reed A. George
Nikon S Rangefinder, Nikkor 5cm f1.4 lens
This image is converted to black and white from a color film negative (Walgreens iso 200 color print film). It's pretty sharp, but I think I very slightly missed the perfect focus setting (or moved a little with a slow shutter speed).
The image below is much sharper.
Outside Starbucks, by Reed A. George

Nikon S Rangefinder, Nikkor 5cm f1.4 lens

Overall, I'm pretty impressed with what this old camera can do. It's true, the Nikon rangefinder line is a dead end - no new cameras, and no more use of the mount. But, I am glad that I got this camera. I'm going to have some fun with it.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Springtime for a New Teenager

My daughter has just turned thirteen. So, as you can imagine, I had to bribe her to come out for some pictures with the cherry blossoms, which have just really started to bloom near our home. Here are a couple of shots I made with the Leica M9 and Elmarit 90mm f2.8 lens.
I haven't used this lens as much as I should. In fact, when I want a telephoto on my M9, I usually grab the amazingly good Canon LTM 135mm f3.5. But, the Elmarit is also so good. As a result of remembering that, the Elmarit is in my bag for the trip to Japan. I'm leaving today for that one.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Russar (Russian 20mm Wide Angle) Remake v. 2014

The folks at Lomography have been doing some interesting things lately. For me, any company that keeps film photography alive is okay. But their latest antic is really pretty interesting.
Image Source:
Lomography is producing an updated version of the 1958 Russian "Russar" 20mm f5.6 lens with what seems the perfect combination of classic optical design and modern materials and manufacturing methods.
The new Russar+ will be made in Leica Thread Mount (LTM), also known as "L39," which is great for us Leica users. That makes it native on the Barnack cameras, and easily adaptable to Leica M cameras. It also makes a nice base for adapting to other mounts, like Micro 4/3.
It sounds like they really are making some upgrades to the lens. For example, while the original lens body was made of aluminum, the new one is brass. Reportedly, it's being manufactured by Zenit in Russia. I don't know Zenit's full history, but I know from classic camera shopping that they've been around a while.
Now, a maximum aperture of f5.6 is a little hard to live with, especially if you're shooting film. But, that's the classic design, and one of the tradeoffs of using them. I have a Cosina Voigtlander 12mm f5.6 lens that rarely sees use because of that small maximum aperture.
But, any way I look at it, this is a cool development. One of my highest-use lenses is the awesome Carl Zeiss C-Sonnar 50mm f1.5. If the Russar+ implements a classic design with modern improvements in even a slightly similar fashion, it will be worth having.
You can pre-order yours by (Clicking Here). The price is US$649, and they're scheduled for delivery in July 2014.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Dreaming in Monochrom(e) - Ilford Delta 3200 Film at a Concert

A few weeks ago, I posted digital pictures from a Keel Power Trio concert at Gypsy Sally's in Washington, DC. They were all shot on the Nikon D700, and processed in Lightroom to emulate Ilford Delta 3200.
(Click Here) to see that post.
I also shot my "Dreaming in Monochrom(e)" camera, the Leica M4-2, loaded with the real deal, actual Ilford Delta 3200 film. Here are the results:
Larry Keel Power Trio, by Reed A. George
Leica M4-2, Carl Zeiss C-Sonnar 50mm f1.5 Lens
Man, I really love shooting the M4-2, and Delta 3200 opens up a lot of opportunities for low light shooting. I typically shoot it as if it were rated at 1600, and have it processed normally at The Darkroom (
This "Dreaming in Monochrom(e)" project has taught me so much. First, it reopened my ability to shoot film at live music events. It also refocused me on a style of monochrome images that I think fit my chosen type of music very well. In fact, it even transformed how I process my digital images from these events.
But the experience is giving me the distinct feeling that restricting any given camera to black and white only may not be for me. While I love shooting the M4-2 with TMax 400 or Delta 3200, I sometimes leave it at home because I've temporarily dedicated it to this project and am not using it for color. I would not be happy with a several thousand dollar digital Leica Monochrom that I couldn't carry without reservation any time I want.
I feel very fortunate to be around such great musicians. What could be better than bringing together two passions - live music and photography?
My Friend, Polly, by Reed A. George
Leica M4-2, Carl Zeiss C-Sonnar 50mm f1.5 Lens