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

Thursday, April 17, 2014

By and By Bluegrass at Gypsy Sally's - Including Some "Dreaming in Monochrom(e)" Shots

I've already posted some shots of the Larry Keel Power Trio (aka Larry Keel Experience) that I shot at Gypsy Sally's in Washington DC a while back.
(Click Here) to see my earlier post and link to my images on the live music blog Cosmic Vibes Live. Since that post, which was all digital shots, I've received my film back from The Darkroom. I have more Keel pictures to post, when I get to it.
In the meantime, here are some images of one of the opening bands, By and By. The bass player, Matt Iadanza, is a friend and co-worker in my regular job. The first set is digital, all shot with the still-amazing Nikon D700. I processed these in Lightroom using my settings to emulate Ilford Delta 3200 film.
(Click Here) to find my Lightroom settings that lead to this look.
I'll follow that with a couple of film shots from the Leica M4-2 that I'm using for the Dreaming in Monochrom(e) series.
By and By, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor AF-D 20mm f2.8, Nikkor 85mm f1.8 AF-D Lenses
And here are a couple shot with my Leica M4-2 and real honest-to-goodness Ilford Delta 3200 film.
By and By, by Reed A. George
Leica M4-2, Zeiss C-Sonnar 50mm f1.5 Lens
Ilford Delta 3200 Film
This was Matt's last show as bassist for By and By. He's now in the UK, working at the University of Leeds. Best wishes, Matt! But, the band continues on. (Click Here) to learn more about By and By Bluegrass.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I'll Be Adding This to my Photo T-Shirt Wardrobe

Image Source:
The Film Photography Project has issued their first t-shirt, with the venerable Pentax K1000 on it! I'll be buying one of these.
(Click Here) to see it on the FPP site.
I've already got several classic camera Ts from Dodge & Burn. (Click Here) to check them out.
Yes, I'm a camera geek. No need to try and hide it any more.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Quick Test of an Old Leica

A couple of months back, I had the fortune of finding two Leica IIIC cameras, separate but very close together in time, both manufactured at the end of World War II. Coming from separate sellers, the cameras are extremely similar, both having the wartime "stepper" design, and having been manufactured in 1945. In both cases, according to the best source on wartime Leicas anywhere (James Lager, my colleague in the LHSA), they were most likely sold to allied soldiers in Europe at the end of the war.
One of the cameras came with a date-matching Elmar 5cm f3.5 collapsible lens (the standard lens of the day). I used that lens for the images below.
I've now had both cameras serviced by Youxin Ye, and they're working as-new. I took the second one that I purchased out for a walk and test roll recently. You see the results below.
I happened onto a model yachting event in Reston, Virginia. These images are straight from the camera, Walgreens iso 200 color print film, processed by The Darkroom.
In the shot above, you can see what I believe is internal reflection in the lens/camera. I was not using a lens hood.
This final shot is my favorite of the bunch.
No Pulitzers here, I'm sure. However, I did accomplish my goal, which was to test the camera and lens. I kind of like the rather low contrast result, especially as the light was quite harsh. I'm not sure how much of the low contrast comes from the lens (most, I suspect), versus the film. The cheap Walgreens film tends to have this sort of look on its own. Most of these were shot at f8 or smaller aperture, and relatively high shutter speeds.
The images are plenty sharp, and I think the color representation is quite nice.
It's amazing to me that such a piece of photographic history, made well before I was born, still works and yields results that are at least as interesting as modern cameras. Certainly the technical performance of modern cameras and lenses is better, but I'm quite happy with the look this camera and lens produce. And that's what matters to me.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Luis Gomez Finds Spring in Washington, DC

Image Source:
So, first I need to tell you that I wrote this post on April 6. There's usually a delay between when I write and when the post goes up on DMC-365.
I put some effort into finding cherry blossoms, the official sign of spring coming to Washington DC, this weekend. First, I went to Meadowlark Gardens in Vienna, Virginia. Nothing. Nadda. I was surprised. Today, my lovely wife and I fought the traffic to get into DC proper. While I must admit there are some trees blooming, it's very far from peak (or at least what peak has looked like in past years). In fact, we decided not to park after all that, and instead drove to Georgetown for some nice tea and conversation. I shot a few film images there, so more on that in a week or two.
I'm heading to Tokyo in about a week. We try to go every year to visit family. My usual routine is to see the blossoms here in DC, hop on a plane, then see them in Tokyo. That may not happen this year. It seems like the peak has already passed in Tokyo. Oh well, you can't win them all.
By the way, Luis Gomez (who took the picture above) runs a very consistent 365 day photo posting blog from Washington, DC. I've been enjoying his work for a couple of years now.
(Click Here) to go to Luis' blog.
Oh, and (Click Here) to see some gorgeous cherry blossom shots from Yahoo Japan.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Dreaming in Monochrom(e) - Buddha in Snowstorm

Here are a couple of shots I made with Ilford Delta 3200 film in my Leica M4-2, at a Buddhist temple during a snowstorm. Both were made with the Zeiss C Sonnar 50mm f1.5 lens, one of my favorite lenses.
Wat Yarn in Snow, by Reed A. George
I selected 1/125-1/250 sec. for my shutter speed, in an effort to catch the falling snowflakes.
Parasol, by Reed A. George
I like how the statue's eye shows up in this image.
I wouldn't normally use high speed film for images like this, but it was what I had with me. I think it worked out pretty well.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

New Mexican Art, Shot With Lumix DMC-GX7 Micro 4/3 Camera

I've been posting a few images from New Mexico, including a couple of fisheye images. Well, here are a few more, probably the last I'll post from this particular trip.
Old and New, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7, Lumix 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 Series II Kit Lens at 31mm
iso 200, f22, 1/200 sec.
This was shot outside an art museum. I very much like the contrast of the modern art right up front, and the more traditional looking sculpture in the background. After capturing this, I decided to get up close and personal with the stature, taking advantage of the fisheye lens' capability of simultaneously showing detail of the sculpture and the distinctly Southwestern architecture and courtyard surrounding it.
Native, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7, Bower 7.5mm f3.5 Fisheye Lens
iso 200, f-stop unrecorded (f8?), 1/1000 sec.
I really like how the fisheye captured this scene. I don't consider this to be only a special effect lens, as I had anticipated. Yes, there is quite a lot of distortion of the lines in the building, but I don't think it takes much away from the composition. I would like to compare this image to what I would get with the Voigtlander 12mm f5.6 (rectilinear, not fisheye) lens on a Leica M body. Less distortion, and even a little wider angle would be expected, but I don't know if I'd like the image as much or more. Sounds like a good test for the future.
Finally, a purely tourist-targeted scene:
Southwestern Kitsch, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7, Lumix 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 Series II Kit Lens at 34mm
iso 200, f11, 1/640 sec.
I don't mind that this is a stereotypical tourist trap scene, including some fake, painted peppers (the multicolor ones; the red ones are real). It's part of the environment in New Mexico now. So, why not show it?
One of my goals on this short trip was to see if I can rely on the GX7 for good travel photography. Carrying the GX7 and the even smaller GX1 as a backup body worked very well for me. I'm thoroughly impressed with the image quality of the GX7, if not the handling. I still don't feel that it quite fits my hands. But, it's pretty darned good.