Friday, May 31, 2013

Found Film! - The Brownie Bullet Yields Six Frames

A while back, I wrote about the Brownie Bullet that I found at an antique store. I converted it to shoot 35mm film, which is kind of cool.
(Click Here) to see the camera and some of my recent 35mm results.
The Bullet was a little challenging to convert for two reasons: 1) a roll of 35mm film doesn't fit inside the body; it has to be removed from the cassette, and 2) it shoots onto a curved film surface, so I had to build my own insert to get the correct film curvature.
But, the real reason I bought the camera was because it had a roll of 127 film still in it. I wanted to see if there were any images that had survived since the Bullet had been put on the shelf at some point in the past.
Well, The Darkroom ( has finished processing my 127 film, and guess what? Six frames came out!
Seems one of its last trips was to the beach.
As far as I can surmise, this little girl is probably about my age (48) or a little older now, assuming all is well and she's still around.
There were also a couple of shots of a house:
I haven't post-processed these scans from The Darkroom, other than to increase contrast a bit. If I zoom way in on the closer shot, I am pretty sure I see a Ford Mustang. That means it was at least 1964 when these images were taken.
I am always surprised at how well a roll of film can survive sitting for forty years or more in a camera. Getting six of the original eight frames was more than I could have wished for.
I have no idea where these were taken. If anyone recognizes the beach or the house, let me know!
Here's a link to a book on Amazon about converting a larger 127 Brownie to 35mm film. I think this one's probably easier than the Bullet:

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Some Fun With the Lumix DMC-LX7 and Snapseed

I am on the airplane, returning home from a visit with my parents in Oklahoma. I didn't do a lot of photography on this trip, but did get out for a morning hike at Roman Nose State Park, near the town of Watonga. Here's a simple shot I made of a butterfly at Roman Nose.
Backlit Butterfly, by Reed A. George
Panasonic DMC-LX7
Certainly what caught my eye in this instant was the backlighting, with the pattern showing through the thin translucent wings.
I thought I'd play around with this shot on my iPad, using Google's Snapseed program. Here's what I came up with:
After Snapseed Adjustments
In order to get this effect, I used one of Snapseed's vintage film colorations, cropping, and of course a custom frame. I tried not to overdo it. I find it reminiscent of cheap color print film and drugstore processing. Kind of fun.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Scientists Make Insect-Like Compound Eye Sensor

This post comes close to bridging my hobby (photography, obviously) and my real occupation (science).
A project at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has produced the first electronic sensor that uses the concept of compound eyes, as demonstrated in nature by many insect eyes. Compound eyes are made up of independent imaging sensors, known as ommatidia. Each ommatidium has its own lens, independent of all the others, and its own sensor.
(Click Here) to read a review of the project on the BBC news blog.
This design from nature has the benefit of being able to cover a very wide angle without extreme distortion as seen with a single wide angle lens, and it can simultaneously focus at multiple distances.
While the immediate applications being considered for the compound sensor include miniature flying robots and such, it does make me wonder how it could be applied to art. Very interesting.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Skeletons From The Closet Supplement - Inspiring Blog About Minolta Autocord

Image Source:
While searching for some inspiration for getting out to shoot my Skeletons From The Closet camera for May, the Minolta Autocord, I came across an interesting blog by Agust Olafsson, specifically focused on using the Autocord.
(Click Here) to see my post introducing my Autocord.
Agust has a couple of interesting features on his blog.
(Click Here) to read about why he's chosen to commit a lot of time to using an Autocord.
Agust has also started a series of interviews with other photographers who use the Minolta Autocord.
(Click Here) to read the Autocord Interviews.
The last interview seems to have been posted back at the end of 2010. I wonder if I can revive Agust's series by offering to do an interview with him once I've produced some nice images with my Autocord? I may just have to give it a try.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Film Photography Project Report on Shooting B&W Film


Photo by Lance King
Image Source:
I fell in love with the picture above when I saw it. It was taken on a recent walking workshop, put on by the Film Photography Project (FPP).
(Click Here) to check out FPP. These guys are great. They have a regular podcast that's pretty fun, and their store sells Kodak film for prices equivalent to the big NYC stores. I like to support FPP.
In a recent article on the FPP site, Jim Austin writes about black and white photography's important characteristics of austerity, authenticity, and abstraction.
By austere, I take Jim to mean that black and white photos offer none of the warmth or comfort of rich colors. It makes me think of the expression "It's right there, in black and white."
His point on authenticity is that monochrome images give the impression of being made before the days of photo manipulation. This is not true, of course, as manipulation has been around since the beginning of photography. But, I see his point. Most photos that are manipulated with modern software tools are likely to be color images.
The abstraction point is also good, in my opinion. Lack of color immediately takes us away from ust trying to replicate and show exactly what we saw, and hopefully leaves us with what we felt.
The Libyan Sibyl, by Reed A. George
Leica M4-2
So, go buy your film at FPP. Let's support the guys (and gals) who are keeping film photography alive!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

How About Those Russian Leica Copy Cameras?


Image Source:
Most of us have heard the stories of how the Russians copied high end German cameras. Some of this went on before World War II, starting in the 1930s. After the war, some factory equipment, specifically from Contax, was moved to Russia, where production began again, albeit under different (lower) quality control standards. I have a Zorki 1, which is a very respectable copy of a 1932 Leica II rangefinder. It was produced starting in 1948. Zorki reportedly means "sharp-sighted" in Russian.
(Click Here) to read about Zorki cameras.
Russian copies of Leica were usually named either Zorki or Fed, depending on the factory where they were built. My Zorki 1 is a really neat camera. While it does look like an old Barnack Leica, it has a decidedly louder "clunk" when the shutter releases. That said, the Russian lens on it really performs quite well. I haven't had the Zorki out in years; I guess I prefer to shoot the genuine Leica product, since I'm lucky enough to have access.
In any case, the blog Rangefiinder Chronicles recently featured a post on using a Fed2 at the horse races in England.
(Click Here) to see the full series of really impressive black and white images from the Fed.
Maybe I'll drag my old Zorki out for a future "Skeletons From The Closet" exercise. I would be worried about it continuing to work for a full month, but after 65 years, it can probably make it.
If you're intrigued by Russian cameras, I say go for it. They're pretty cheap, and do a nice job if they're well-preserved.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

"Scanning" Negatives and Slides with the Leica M9 - Lars-Goran Hedstrom Shares His Approach

Leica M9 and BEEON Copy Stand
Here's an example of one of the benefits of being in the International Leica Society (LHSA). Today on our Google+ community page, one of the members posted a question about film scanning. Among several good answers, I found Lars-Goran Hedstrom's approach - using a Leica M9 on a Leica BEEON copy stand! Lars' blog is called Sculpting With Light.
(Click Here) to read the full post on Sculpting With Light
Lars started off using a flatbed scanner, but wasn't pleased with the resulting sharpness. So, he decided to try using a Leica Visoflex III, which essentially turns a Leica rangefinder into an SLR by adding a mirror box, which allows for through the lens focusing. While this worked well for him, the challenge of getting the negative that he was "scanning" and the M9 sensor in paralle was very challenging. Even at f16, using either a 50mm lens (giving 1:1 reproduction) or a 35mm lens (2:1), he often found part of the image to be just out of focus.
Next, Lars moved on to using a Leica copy stand made many years ago. Called the BEEON in Leica terminology, this stand allows you to use a magnifiying loupe to focus, then attach your camera to the stand. This is necessary, since Leica rangefinders don't allow for close focus. This works very well for Lars.
I've played around with this concept, using my Nikon D700 and Micro-Nikkor 60mm lens. It works well, but I've never taken it to the level of reproducibility that Lars did.
One of the best things is that by photographing your negatives or slides with a digital camera, you get raw files, which are easily adjusted in Lightrooom or other software. This is a big benefit. And, if you are set up properly, it can be very fast. I'm sure it's faster than flatbed scanning.
So, I may give this another try. I'll use my Nikon again, and put my effort into standardizing a setup (both arranging the camera and film planes to always be parrallel, and getting the backlighting right). I could even connect the D700 to my computer and have the files write directly to my hard drive.
Beyond this single concept, I'm happy to have found Lars' blog, Sculpting With Light. There's a lot of great information there.
Finally, I love this Ansel Adams quote that I found there:
"I have often thought that if photography were difficult in the true sense of the term -meaning that the creation of a simple photograph would entail as much time and effort as the production of a good watercolor or etching - there would be a vast improvement in total output. The sheer ease with which we can produce a superficial image often leads to creative disaster".
- Ansel Adams - "A Personal Credo," in American Annual of Photography, vol. 58 (1944; repr. in Photographers on Photography, ed. By Nathan Lyons, 1966), Photographers on Photography : A Critical Anthology by Nathan Lyons (Editor)

If you're interested in joining the International Leica Society (LHSA), please (Click Here). We'd love to have you. If you're a member, and want to join the LHSA Google+ community, drop me an email. I can help.

Friday, May 24, 2013

It is Great Having a Leica Store Nearby - Leica Akademie - "The Truth About Photographs"

Image Source:
I recently signed up for a Leica Akademie course, "The Truth About Photographs," to be held at the new Leica store in Washington, DC on June 7-9, 2013.
(Click Here) to read about the course.
The course is led by Quinton Gordon, and focuses on the creative aspects of developing your own style in photography.
(Click Here) to see Quinton's website. I always like to see the instructor's work before deciding to take a workshop. Quinton's work looks in line with the subject of the course.
Here is the list of topics, directly from the course description:
  • Seeing the light.
  • Working in three dimensional space.
  • Developing complexity in your images.
  • The elements of winning images.
  • The benefits of limitations.
  • The significance of editing.
  • Finding your distinctive style.
The course is limited to twelve participants, and runs from Friday afternoon until Sunday afternoon. This will be a great little creative retreat for me.
While I'm on the subject, I want to say how nice it is to have the Leica store nearby. In addition to being able to walk in and talk Leica with the knowledgeable staff any time I feel like it, they host Akademie courses (I took a street photography workshop there, led by Leica's Justin Stailey, last year), and always have something interesting in the gallery in the way of Leica photographs.
(Click Here) to go to the Leica Store DC's description. If you're in town, be sure to stop in.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Chase Jarvis Shares Ten Things Every Creative Photographer Must Know

Hearts, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7
iso 400, f1.5, 1/50 sec.
I like to read about how to stay (or become more) creative. Many themes are repeated over and over in books or posts regarding creativity, but I figure, hey - until I'm actually using them all, I can stand to read about them again.
Chase Jarvis recently shared ten things every creative person should remember:
  1. The "experts" don't know it all.
  2. Clients can't express what they want.
  3. Try to be "different" as opposed to "better."
  4. Challenges are good.
  5. Knowing good design concepts is important.
  6. Simplify.
  7. Don't be afraid of mistakes, learn from them.
  8. Make your work so valuable that price doesn't matter.
  9. Work with great people.
  10. Really create something.
I like these concepts, and agree with them. For me, #3 is one of the most interesting. I don't think Chase means that you should be different just for the sake of being different. But, if you can bring a fresh perspective to your art, it doesn't necessarily have to be better than someone else's. Just fresh and new.
Of course, #10 makes a lot of sense, too. I remember putting together my first project submission for a magazine. It failed to get published in my target journal, but the experience of putting it together, really finishing it, did pay off. Finish things. If you don't, there's no chance they'll succeed.
(Click Here) to read Chase's thoughts in more detail. Worthwhile reading.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Film to Digital and Back - Leica Rangefinder Brings Rikard Landberg To Film

Here's a short piece on Steve Huff's blog, written by Rikard Landberg, describing how he went from his first camera, the Canon AE-1 to Canon digital DSLRs, and now back to film with a Leica M2 rangefinder.
(Click Here) to read Rikard's thoughts and see several of his photographs on Steve Huff's site.
I am an avid film user, still. But, I can't really imagine going 100% film any more. To me, there's nothing funner than shooting a Leica film rangefinder with 50mm lens on the street. However, for example, I'm going to shoot a music event in a dark theater this evening. I can't even imagine trying to do that with the same equipment. Nope, I'll be cranking the Nikon D700 up to iso 1600 or 3200 for that show. But, just to illustrate the conflict, I'll probably use my rangefinder for the shots I get to take in a pre-show interview.
I no longer fool myself into thinking my next camera will replace all the others.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Oklahoma Tornadoes - I Watched The Storm Develop

I am visiting my parents in El Reno, Oklahoma on May 20, 2013, the day of the horrendous tornadoes in Moore, Oklahoma. We knew that severe weather was coming; the local news stations had been warning for days.
The storm formed just to the East of us. I got in the car to see if I could safely get a shot or two.
The Oklahoma Tornado Storm Forming, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7
Enormous Storm Cloud, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7, in-camera panorama
I did not get close to this storm. It was just too ominous.
About 20 minutes after I took these pictures, we started hearing about tornadoes on the ground. The strangest thing is that where I was, we never even got any rain. Forty miles away, mass destruction was happening. I'm still struggling with the images and news we've been seeing on the television all day.

Storm Clouds Over the Plains, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7, in-camera panorama
My thoughts go out to all those affected by the tornadoes.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mark Hirsch's Tree - 365 Days Project

Burr Oak, Platteville, WI, by Mark Hirsch
Image Source:
Photographer Mark Hirsch took on the challenge of shooting an image of a single tree, every day, for a year - with his iPhone. He posted his images on facebook, and they became extremely popular. Every day from March 24, 2012 - 2013, Mark trudged to the tree, regardless of weather, mood, or anything else.
Mark reports that this has taught him to slow down, to be "contemplative" in his photography.
(Click Here) to read about his project on the Denver post blog.
His project meant a lot of different things to different people. He reports how viewers associated specific pictures with what happened in their lives on that particular day.
Over 300 people showed up on-site for his final picture of the project.
Mark is now producing a book of all of the images.
I once thought of an extremely similar project - shooting a cypress tree near where I lived in Tampa, Florida. Of course, thinking and doing are two different things. And, Mark's tree got a lot wider range of weather than my cypress would have.
In any case, I can identify with this project. It's extremely well-done.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Low Tech Wonders - Kodak Brownie Bullet Comes Back To Life!

I can already hear the questions: "Why, Reed, why? Why would you mess with a junk store camera that shoots film you can't even buy any more?" Well, maybe I'll be able to convince you that it's because it lies right at this interface of technology and art that I love to be in. Even if the tech is low...
Kodak Brownie Bullet Camera
Okay. I bought this little Bakelite Kodak camera at an antique store. I paid too much (anything over $2 is too much). But, I'm still happy I did. Read to the end to see the special (hopeful) feature that really convinced me to buy it.
The Brownie Bullet was made from 1957-1964. It's final year of production was my birth year. It was designated as a "premium" model, which meant that you had to save up Campbell's soup labels to get one (no joke). It features a plastic Dakon lens, fixed aperture, fixed shutter speed.
(Click Here) to read a little more about the Bullet.
The Bullet is designed to shoot 127 roll film, which is essentially no longer available. Efke was making it until recently, but they've shut down. You can still buy Efke (iso 100) at Freestyle (Click Here), but it's just running down their stock. There is another company that still advertises 127 film, but they're out of stock.
Well, I just couldn't stand to let the Bullet sit without shooting something in it. After an hour or two of turning it different ways and thinking, I found a way to load 35mm film into it. The 35mm film cassette won't fit in the back. I had to unroll the film in the dark, roll it back up more tightly, and insert it into a modified film canister, cut down to fit inside. It worked!
But, there was one problem. The Bullet is designed with a curved film plane, which means that the 127 film doesn't lay flat in the camera; it's curved to match the curvature of the image produced by the Dakon lens. So, while I got images from the first roll (which pulled the film flat), they were unfocused in the center. A bonus, though, is that because the 127 film is wider than 35mm, the images were panoramic, and the sprocket holes were exposed. Cool.
So, a little more modification was in order. I got some thin plastic material, and through trial and error cut it to the perfect size to fit inside the camera back, under where the film plane should be. It was important that it support the film from under the film plane, to put the film in the right place. Then, I cut a window into the plastic to serve as the image space. Finally, I covered the plastic in black electrical tape, both to reduce light bounce, and to smooth out the rough cut plastic surface.
Here's what the mod looks like:
35mm Mask for the Bullet, by Reed A. George
This time, I loaded up some iso 800 print film (I noticed that 400 was underexposed, even in daylight outdoors), and tried again.
Success! Here are the results. All are shot with the Bullet, all the same (only) aperture and shutter speed.
Here are some vertical orientation shots:
As you can see, I wasn't completely successful in eliminating scratches on the film. But, I'm pretty impressed by what this cheap old camera can do.
The hardest part? After finishing a roll, I have to once again open it in the dark, remove the 127 spool that it's now wrapped around, tape it to a leader sticking out of the original 35mm film cassette and wind it back in. Then I just take it to Walgreens, and remember to ask them to not cut the negatives.
So, I got my money's worth out of this experience. But, I still don't have an answer for a friend of mine who says "Hey, Reed, if you paid $20 more, could you get a camera that already works?" Yeah, yeah, I could.
I don't really understand the exposure. How can it take iso 800 to shoot in the daylight with this camera? 800 speed film sure wasn't there when this camera was made. It has no way to trigger a flash. And I doubt the shutter is faster now than when it was new.
I did order some iso 100 film in 127 size from Freestyle, but I honestly don't know how I'll use it. It will be too slow, even in broad daylight.
So, here's a true piece of history that still works.
Brownie Bullet
Oh, yeah. That hopeful secret? There was still a roll of 127 film in the camera when I opened it up. It was near the end. So, I'm hoping to get a glimpse into the last pictures this camera took before it got stuffed away into a closet or attic. Who knows how long ago that was? Fingers crossed - I'll be sending that roll off to The Darkroom for processing soon.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Kirk Tuck's Blog Takes A New Turn - Mine Is Finally Hitting A Straightaway Again

Department Store DJ, New York City, by Reed A. George
Pentax K1000
Kirk Tuck's blog, the Visual Science Lab, is going in a new direction. Wildly successful at leading discussion, debate, and yes, argument about photography equipment, Kirk is now focusing on process and technique.
(Click Here) to read about how it's going for Kirk on his blog, Visual Science Lab.
If you've been reading my blog very long, you'll know that I made a similar change in January of this year. For the first year of DMC-365 (2012), I focused mainly on using Panasonic Lumix cameras. However, I found that limiting. I'm an admitted camera junkie, and other equipment - Leica, Nikon, and others - kept creeping in.
So, for 2013, I've decided not to abandon the equipment side, but to add to it. In fact, my interest in Panasonic continues, and I'm even expanding that area, by becoming one of Panasonic's Early Adopters and testing new equipment as the opportunity presents itself. But, I've decided to bring in more of the creative side. In fact, I'm focusing at the exact interface between the two. Let's face it, photography is a bridge art. Photography depends upon technology, even if it's that old Brownie camera from your grandma's closet. But, even the latest greatest technology doesn't make a good picture without creativity. So, I'm going to focus on where they come together.
I did see a drop in page views when I first made this change in January. Now, in May, I'm consistently getting more traffic day by day than I did last year. And, I'm much happier with what I'm writing about. Of course, Kirk would never be happy with my level of blog activity. I think he's had about 200 times more hits than I. But, I'm gaining experience and exposure each and every day.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Panasonic Wins TIP Awards for DMC-GH3 and DMC-TS5 - Can't Wait to Test the TS5!

Technical Image Press Association (TIPA) Awards
Panasonic has won the TIPA awards 2013 in two classes. The GH3 has won best Compact System Camera (CSC) award. This is an accomplishment, especially given the strong competition that Olympus has provided in this category.
Panasonic's DMC-TS5 has also won the award, in the Rugged Camera category. As I've written, I was chosen to test the new TS5, and am watching the mailbox every day until it arrives. I've already downloaded the app to connect to the TS5 with my iPhone. I'm ready to go out and get that camera wet and dirty - which won't hurt it a bit!
In the meantime, I have been covering the wet stuff with my DMC-TS3, the younger older cousin of the TS5.
Fossil Hunting, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3
Buy your own TS5 here, and help to support this blog!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Skeletons From The Closet - April Results - Agfa Solinette II

April's SFTC camera was the Agfa Solinette II.
(Click Here) to read about my Solinette.
So, how did it go? Honestly, I'm getting tired of guess focusing. My last two SFTC cameras - the Zeiss Ikonta folder and April's Solinette are both guess focus cameras. It can be fun and refreshing to work without a rangefinder or through the lens focusing. However, I did come up with several images with both cameras that were just not quite sharp enough. That's frustrating, especially when I can see how good it could've been.
Here are some more images that I shot with the Solinette.
Spring is Here!, by Reed A. George
Agfa Solinette II 35mm Folding Camera
You may recognize the house below from one of my pinhole posts.
(Click Here) to see how it looks in black and white through my pinhole camera.
Thornton House, Manassas National Battlefield, by Reed A. George
Agfa Solinette II 35mm Folding Camera
Here's a quick grab shot of an early spring barbecue in preparation. I really like how the color in this shot came out. It's a trivial subject, but I think it shows how the Solinar can perform when you get things right.
Burgers and Dogs, by Reed A. George
Agfa Solinette II 35mm Folding Camera
I'll wrap this up with some shots of an activity that caught my eye - window washers on the gigantic curved glass structure where I work.
Spring Cleaning #1, by Reed A. George
Agfa Solinette II 35mm Folding Camera
These shots were easy, since there was plenty of light and I could shoot at about f11. Of course, the guys working on the glass wondered why this crazy guy with an old camera was taking picture of them.
Spring Cleaning #2, by Reed A. George
Agfa Solinette II 35mm Folding Camera
Spring Cleaning #3, by Reed A. George
Agfa Solinette II 35mm Folding Camera
I like ths shot above especially. I like how you can see the guy on the left clearly, while the guy on the right has made an interesting pattern of cleaner on the window in front of him.
Spring Cleaning #4, by Reed A. George
Agfa Solinette II 35mm Folding Camera
The fact is, this little folder is capable of making some nice images. I really like how the Solinar lens represents color. With a maximum aperture of f3.5, applications in low light are very limited. In today's word, f3.5 seems so slow. However, the truth is that a wider aperture would make guess focusing even harder, due to the reduced depth of field that would result.
I actually had trouble finding the right circumstances to shoot this camera last month. It's not that there aren't plenty of places this camera does fine in; there are just many more where a little more aperture, or some type of focusing aid would have made it more useful. So, I found that I couldn't really rely on this camera to be anything like general purpose. I made it a point to carry it all month, but found limited opportunities to use it.
In May, I'm shooting my Minolta Autocord. This is also an f3.5 camera, but has the benefits of the big 120 medium format negative, and gorgeous ground glass focusing capability. We'll see if I can get more use out of that.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

So How Good Is A $4,200 28mm Lens? Leica On Loan at LHSA Spring Shoot!

At the recent LHSA (International Leica Society) Spring Shoot in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Leica continued their tradition of providing the "Leica On Loan" program to LHSA members. At the beginning of the meeting, Justin Stailey of Leica wheeled in his suitcase literally full of Leica cameras and lenses for us to borrow and test. Yes, you could borrow a Leica M9 or even the M Monochrom, and just about any Leica M lens you can imagine. I decided to borrow the Summicron 28mm f2.
I immediately attached the 28 to my film body, an M4-2, where it stayed for most of the meeting. I shot a roll of Fuji Sensia slide film that I needed to use before age took its effects. Here are some of the results.
Villa Vizcaya, by Reed A. George
Leica M4-2, Leica Summicron 28mm f2 Lens, Fuji Sensia 100
How's that for color? No polarizer or filter of any kind.
Vizcaya Stairway #1, by Reed A. George
Leica M4-2, Leica Summicron 28mm f2 Lens, Fuji Sensia 100
I really enjoyed the wide angle and well-controlled distortion of the Summicron 28.
Garden Towers, by Reed A. George
Leica M4-2, Leica Summicron 28mm f2 Lens, Fuji Sensia 100
I picked this particular lens to challenge myself. Preferring 50mm for my normal lens, a 35mm feels wide to me. 28mm is even wider. It's not easy for me to compose with this lens. For example, in the shot above, the lady on the terrace just to right of the center of the image was an important element for me. While I kept the whole composition in mind, using the multiple frames of the towers, my mind was focused on her as a compositional element. As it turns out, she's barely visible due to the wide angle perspective of this lens. This is my limitation in seeing in wide angle, not a limitation of the lens.
Colonnade, by Reed A. George
Leica M4-2, Leica Summicron 28mm f2 Lens, Fuji Sensia 100
In the case above, the wide perspective allowed me to include the entire column closest to me, which really adds to the shot.
Leading Line and Fountain, by Reed A. George
Leica M4-2, Leica Summicron 28mm f2 Lens, Fuji Sensia 100
We visited the gardens at almost high noon - the worst light of the day. Combined with a wide angle lens, that presents quite a challenge.
Vizcaya Stairway #2, by Reed A. George
Leica M4-2, Leica Summicron 28mm f2 Lens, Fuji Sensia 100

The shot above is my favorite from Vizcaya. All it needs is an alluring lady dressed in white (or red) walking down the steps. Again, the 28mm allowed me to take in the full sweeping shape of this elegant piece of architecture. I love how my eye follows the stairs right up to the sky in this shot.

Now for a change of pace. When we visited the Leica Store in Miami at the Miracle Mile, we saw plenty of high end automobiles. This Ferrari really caught my eye.

Ferrari, Low Angle, by Reed A. George
Leica M4-2, Leica Summicron 28mm f2 Lens, Fuji Sensia 100
Ferrari, High Angle, by Reed A. George
Leica M4-2, Leica Summicron 28mm f2 Lens, Fuji Sensia 100
The high angle shots says "South Florida" to me - expensive car, palm trees and blue skies reflected in the hood.
So, Leica On Loan is yet another great benefit of being an active LHSA member. I can only guess what rental on a $4,200 lens would be for a weekend. Certainly not free as it was for me. If you're interested in joining LHSA, which includes a subscription (electronic or hardcopy) to the Viewfinder journal, access to an amazingly well-informed group of Leica folks, multiple annual events, a new Google+ community, and much more:
(Click Here) to join LHSA. If you have any questions about LHSA, feel free to contact me directly.
My slides were processed in highly professional fashion by my favorite mail-in processing service, The Darkroom.
(Click Here) to go the The Darkroom's page. Very reasonable prices, fast, high quality service, including automatic scanning of every image, posted to your album on the web. You get to see how your images turned out while you're waiting for the originals to arrive in the mail.
Thanks to Justin Stailey and Leica for letting me borrow this awesome wide angle lens!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Whole Lotta Leica - May's Lens for the M9 is the Summaron 3.5cm f3.5 LTM

Leica Summaron 3.5cm f3.5 LTM, ca. 1949-1960
This month's pick for my Whole Lotta Leica (WLL) series, where I pair up a different "normal" focal length lens with the Leica M9 is the Summaron 3.5cm (35mm) Leica Thread Mount (LTM).
This is one of those sleeper lenses that gets underestimated because of its relative small maximum aperture of f3.5. However, it's capable of great things.
I got mine along with an old LTM camera kit I bought on eBay. This was the diamond in the rough in that bag. It is in great shape, and looked pretty much unused, except for some haze on the internal elements. A quick trip to DAG fixed that, and now it's really a great little lens.
And by little, I mean little. I compare it to the Nikkor 3.5cm f2.5 that was my WLL pick for February. While my Nikkor is also in beautiful shape and faster, the Summaron outperforms the Nikkor in image quality.
(Click Here) to go to my WLL page and see all of the lenses I've used in the series so far, along with results.
Here's one of my favorite shots from the Summaron, made with a Leica CL film camera.
Harpers Ferry Train Station, by Reed A. George
Leica CL, Leica Summaron 3.5cm f3.5 Lens
This image has won contests and even sold prints.
This lens has a great way of handling color, quite warm and subtle. Below is an image I shot in an afternoon project on a business trip to Concord, Mass. It was Halloween, and I shot pictures of the pumpkins around town with my CL and the Summaron 3.5cm.
Pumpkins of Concord, by Reed A. George
Leica CL, Leica Summaron 3.5cm f3.5 Lens
(Click Here) to see the whole Pumpkins of Concord series.
But, this month, we'll see how the Summaron performs with digital sensor technology, on the M9. I'm pretty sure it's going to do great.