Saturday, February 28, 2015

Some Love for the Leica CL

Symposium, by Reed A. George
Leica CL, Minolta Rokkor 40mm f2 Lens
Ilford HP5+ Film
I own several Leicas, including a digital rangefinder M9. I own two CLs, the little Leica that came from a fling, if not a marriage, between Minolta and Leica in the 1970s. The CL is not the top of Leica's offerings. It has some drawbacks, primarily the short rangefinder base length, which makes ultra-precise focusing difficult or some would say impossible. Yet, it has some real great features as well. Smaller than other Leica M models, with a built-in meter, the CL is a powerful little tool. And, the lenses designed for use with the CL - the Leica/Rokkor 40mm f2 and Leica Elmar C 90mm f4 are both just wonderful. The 40mm is one of the very best lenses I have ever used. Both lenses are compact like the CL body, and are great for travel. I've never gotten to try the Rokkor 28mm f2.8 that came with the CLE. The CL doesn't have 28mm framelines, so the 40 and 90 are the most often-used lenses.
The CL gets little love from the photographic crowd. That's okay. I love mine.
(Click Here) to take a look at a 1973 catalog for the CL on The Online Darkroom. Be sure to look at the comments as well. Again, no love for a great little camera.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Leica M9 - Still Something Special About It

Teen Style, Morning Light, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Zeiss Sonnar C 50mm f1.5 Lens
iso 500, f1.7, 1/15 sec.
Yes, there's still something unique about how the Leica M9 sensor renders an image. Nothing in your face, for sure. But, this is basically the tonality that I had in mind when I made this shot on the way out of the house this morning. There's something subtle about the way this camera draws.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Win Hamish's Leica IIIC!

Image Source:
I'm always looking for new blogs to follow. I've recently discovered Hamish Gill's blog, 35mmc.
Hamish is running a fun photo contest, and the first place prize will be his Leica IIIC and Russian lens (above). In order to win, you must submit a photograph made with a cheap 35mm camera. In fact, the film and camera together must have cost no more than US$15. Hamish wants the photograph you took, and a photo of the camera you used, along with a brief description.
(Click Here) for all of the contest details on 35mmc, and good luck! I entered a shot made with my Ricoh 500G, which I got for free.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


I made this shot recently at work. I was shooting my Leica CL and Rokkor 40mm f2 lens, one of my all-time favorite combinations.
Obscured, by Reed A. George
Leica CL, Minolta Rokkor 40mm f2 Lens
Ilford HP5+ Film, Developed in Kodak D-76
I've recently gotten back into bulk loading 35mm film, with a couple of my friends. It's weird, but at current prices, Kodak's products cost the same per exposure in bulk (100' rolls) as they do packaged into single rolls. So, there's no advantage to bulk loading Kodak at the moment. Ilford's products are still priced so as to make bulk loading economical. At $54 per 100' roll of Ilford HP5+ (Adorama), I'm paying $3 per roll of 36 exposures. You get 18 rolls of 36 exposures from a bulk roll.
I'm also back to processing my own black and white film. I figure that with the relatively little time I have available for shooting, bulk loading will force me to focus on shooting black and white for a while, which is a good thing. So, I'll take the much cheaper route of processing my own film, since it will be mostly black and white anyway. To be honest, I really enjoy the hands-on processing of my film, anyway. It's good to smell the fixer once in a while.
The fact that my friend Dennis gave me 20 rolls of Gekko 100 black and white film, and a 100' roll of Agfa black and white 400 speed film only adds to my rationale.
So, get ready for a lot of black and white film shots from me! Hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Self-Portrait at 50

I posted a self-portrait yesterday. Here's another. This one was harder for me, and deals with the fact that I've just turned fifty. There's symbolism in the cards, and no attempt to hide my age in my face.
Self-Portrait at 50, by Reed A. George
Nikon Df, Nikkor 35mm f2 AF-D Lens, Nikon SB-600 Flash
iso 200, f8, 1/60 sec.
You'll notice there are only two cards left in my pocket, and one's the ace of spades. The other fifty say something about the years behind me now. The queen of hearts is still there, close by.
I shot this by setting up my Nikon Df on a tripod, pointing straight down at me as I lay on the floor on black background material. The SB-600 flash is pointed in exactly the opposite direction, bouncing off of the ceiling. Twenty second self-timer, just enough time to get the cards in place.
Again, the inspiration for doing self-portraits came from the Photographer's Playbook. See the Amazon link below if you want to know more about that book.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Self Portrait

I've been referring to the Photographer's Playbook (see Amazon link below) for some inspiration. Self-portraits come up multiple times in the book.
It was a very cold Sunday, so I decided to set up and try to make one that I had in mind. Here's the result:
Zen Circle, Self-Portrait, by Reed A. George
Nikon Df, Nikkor 35mm f2 AF-D Lens, 3-stop ND Filter, Nikon SB-600 Flash
iso 200, f11, 2 seconds
I hung up a black backdrop, put the Df on a tripod, and connected the SB-600 flash with a remote cord and mounted it up higher on a second tripod with a small softbox over it. Using a 20 second self-timer setting on the Df, I was able to get situated before the shutter opened. With a 2 second exposure, I had enough time to make the circle with a small flashlight I held in my hand. It was my intention to leave the circle unfinished as it is. The flash was set to rear curtain sync, so that it froze my position at the end of the exposure. I also like how the preflash left an impression of where my arm was at the beginning of the exposure.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with this. I have a couple of other self-portrait ideas that I may try next.
If you think it's easy to do a self-portrait, you should give it a try. I find it quite difficult to get an image of myself that I don't hate.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

More From the Polar Bear Plunge - Rolleiflex 2.8F

Yesterday, I posted a series of pictures from the Polar Bear Plunge, an event to raise funds for Camp Sunshine, a wonderful place that helps families dealing with childhood cancer.
All of the images yesterday were from my Leica M9. Today, I'll show some that I made with my Rolleiflex 2.8 F twin lens reflex (TLR) camera.
And here's my favorite shot - these young spectators were just so cute under their blanket together.
It was a blast using the Rolleiflex alongside the Leica rangefinder at this event. Perhaps not the optimum equipment, but it sure worked out well.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Polar Bear Plunge - For a Great Cause

Last weekend, I happened into an unexpected event in Reston, Virginia, a polar bear plunge. It was a charity event, for the benefit of Camp Sunshine, a place where families with children battling cancer can go to relax and enjoy time together. (Click Here) to read more about the event.
As luck would have it, I had my Leica M9 and my Rolleiflex 2.8F with me. This post will show my color pictures, all taken with the M9 and Zeiss Sonnar C 50mm f1.5 lens, and a few with my new Leica Elmar C 90mm f4.
While it was unseasonably warm last Saturday, the water was still plenty cold. Here are the safety divers, clearing the diving hole of ice.
As you can imagine, an event like this attracts an interesting crowd of contestants.
When the event started, things got lively. I had a great location to shoot from as well.
People generally looked happy going in, shocked coming out, and downright uncomfortable after that.
And now, here are two of my favorites. First, my favorite shot of the jumpers.
And here's one of the crowd reflected in the icy water.
It was a very nice unexpected surprise, and I'm glad I was there to photograph it. I think I am indeed falling back in love with my Leica M9.
I'll post some images that I made with the Rolleiflex 2.8F tomorrow.

Friday, February 20, 2015

"My Little Town" Exhibit at Photoworks, Glen Echo

I've been participating and learning from a great group of photographers at Photoworks, Glen Echo Park, in Maryland. (Click Here) to read more about the group.
Photoworks is hosting a juried exhibit from February 27 - April 13, 2015.
I entered the following images, but did not get selected for the exhibit. I shot all of these in DC, with my Rolleiflex 2.8F. Though they weren't selected, I'm still proud of these images.
It's important to remember that we don't only learn from our successes. In fact, some would argue that we only learn from our failures. I am looking forward to seeing the work that was selected for the exhibit, to help me improve my own photographic skills.
There is a reception at the exhibit on Friday, February 27.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

My Favorite Concert Shot From Last Weekend

I got out to see one of my favorite bands ever, The Woodshedders, last weekend. Here's my favorite shot from the show.
Dwayne Brooke of the Woodshedders, by Reed A. George
Nikon Df, Nikkor 180mm f2.8 Lens
iso 250, f2.8, 1/250 sec.
I took this from backstage. I spot metered Dwayne's face, letting everything else go very dark. Dwayne's a very thoughtful, creative guy, and I think this picture represents him well.
I will likely share more from this show, and my pics are going to be featured on the concert blog Cosmic Vibes Live in the coming days.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

You Saw it Here! Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 for $720 New!

Okay, here's the best deal I've seen on this camera, by far.
$719.99, with Amazon order delivery and return policy. Excellent. Grab it now. I have not seen it below $799 before, and the list is $899.
Please use my link below to get this price, and support your favorite blogger, me!

New Construction, Old Camera - Kodak Brownie Reflex Synchro

The Washington DC Metro has finally come to Northern Virginia. Not yet all the way to where I live, but it is now in Reston. Below, you'll see a few pictures of the construction going on around the new Wiehle Avenue Station on the Metro's Silver Line.
As in my previous two posts, these were made with the Kodak Brownie Reflex camera. (Click Here) to read a little about that camera. I picked mine up for $10 in dirty, but good working order.
Wiehle Station Construction, by Reed A. George
Kodak Brownie Reflex Synchro Camera, Efke 100 Film (127 size)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

More From the Brownie Reflex - The Corn Crib

A while back, I posted a slideshow of images of an old corn crib on the property where I work. (Click Here) to see those, shot with Nikon SLRs (both a 50 year old Nikon F and a brand new Nikon Df).
Here are two more shots of the same building, photographed with my $10 Kodak Brownie Reflex, on 127 Efke 100 film.
Rather dark and moody. I like them.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Brownie Reflex 127 - Some Results

Remember when I posted the question pondering why cheap old cameras are so much fun? (Click Here) if you don't remember, or want to see what the Brownie Reflex looks like.
Here are a couple of results from my first roll of Efke 127 (I bought it a couple of years back), developed by Dwayne's. The first is just an odd perspective of the new Metro station in Reston, Virginia. I actually like the way the film exposure numbers show up at the top (who knows why?).
Metro, by Reed A. George, Kodak Brownie Reflex Camera
And here's a scene you may have seen before, as I shot it with both the Brownie and my new Nikon Df. (Click Here) to see the Df version.
End of the Season, by Reed A. George, Kodak Brownie Reflex Camera
I like the randomness of shooting with very basic old cameras. They're cheap, and I think at least as much fun as shooting with a Holga. Once you've loaded film, the only variable in your control is composition. Exposure and focus are fixed.

This Brownie Reflex was $10, and cleaned up very nicely. However, getting 127 film is not easy, and it's expensive ($11-$12 per roll, twelve exposures). The only place I know to get it reliably is The Frugal Photographer ( I bought a few rolls last time, including some black and white and some color.
You can still get 127 developed with no problem. This time, I used Dwayne's. But, I'm not as happy with their work as I am with The Darkroom ( Just my opinion. It's good to have them both as options.
I've got a few more images to share from this first roll, so stay tuned!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Lest You Think Gekko 100 Can't Make Sharp Images

Recently, I've posted a few images made on the expired Gekko 100 black and white film that my friend Dennis Gallus sent to me. Some of them are less than tack sharp (see yesterday), but that's due to me, not the film. Here's an example of what the film can produce:
Tones and Sharpness, by Reed A. George
Leica CL, Rokkor 40mm f2 Lens, Gekko 100 Film
Developed in D-76 for 7 Minutes
Just to show what it can do.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Crossing

The Crossing, by Reed A. George
Leica CL, Rokkor 40mm f2 Lens, Gekko 100 Film
One of the things I like about film is the stochastic - the thing that can't necessary be repeated. Of course, that random nature goes against one side of photographic purpose, which is to document accurately. On the other end, it makes for some very interesting happy accidents, like in this case. I think this image has an apocalyptic feel. And I like it.

Friday, February 13, 2015

You've Got to See the World Press Photos of the Year

Image Source:
(Click Here) and watch the slideshow of the 14 selections for this year. Incredibly powerful.
The images that stick with me are the delirious ebola patient, and the still life with blood from the Ukraine. All of them are amazingly powerful.
I'm also struck by the pictures of the Nigerian schoolgirl's uniforms - you get the whole story of the kidnapped girls from a single image, which does not even include a person. The same is true of the Ukrainian still life.
These give me something to aspire to.

Hollywood Activists Do Something RIGHT! Kodak Film Here to Stay!

I'm so glad to read that the director's group in Hollywood, which includes Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorcese, was able to convince (I'm sure with money as well as influence) Kodak to commit to continuing film supply well into the future.
Cold Shenandoah River, Shot on Kodak C-41 B&W Film
I don't know which films are going to persist, but I'm sure that some motion picture films will be useful to us still photographers as well. Good job, guys!
(Click Here) to read more on Indywire.

Thursday, February 12, 2015


Mystery, by Reed A. George
Another image made with the Leica CL and Gekko 100 film. When exposing it, I knew that no film could represent the full range of light levels in the scene. So, I had to make a decision - would I expose for the interior, letting the outside light go to pure white (which may have been interesting), or expose for the highlights, letting the inside go black?
Obviously, I chose the latter. I love seeing the structure in the window glass and especially the buildings outside. I also like the mystery of the darkness inside.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

In Cars - On Composition

I believe that once you've learned the mechanics of photography - exposure, depth of field, focusing, etc., you can begin to look at the less concrete aspects of making good photographs. However, I think there are some concepts that bridge the gap between purely technical and artistic: lighting and composition, for example.
I shot a couple of rolls of Gekko 100 black and white film (donated to me by my good friend Dennis Gallus) last weekend. While doing the embassy row walk in DC, I shot two pictures from the Dumbarton Bridge. Here they are, side by side.
Two Compositions, by Reed A. George
Leica CL, Rokkor 40mm f2 Lens, Gekko 100 Film
Can you see the difference that the location of the cars in the scene makes? To my eye, the line of cars in the image on the left leads the viewer into and up the entrance ramp on the left. In the image on the right, the line of cars leads the eye in a curve to the right, and back to the bridge in the distance. Other than the placement of the cars, these images are nearly identical.
I feel that I have mastered the purely technical aspects of photography. Composition and lighting continue to challenge me, and perhaps always will. That's okay; it's part of the fun. I'm just scratching the surface of the higher "artistic" aspects of photography.
Here's a fun car shot, made the same day, from the new Metro Silver Line that runs from Reston, VA into DC.
Zoom Zoom, by Reed A. George
Leica CL, Rokkor 40mm f2 Lens, Gekko 100 Film

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

My M9 is Back

I've written a couple of posts about the sensor corrosion issue and how I've responded to the news.
(Click Here) to read my latest previous post, regarding the fact that my M9 was checked out by Leica USA, and found to NOT have the sensor corrosion issue.
I am pleased to know that my sensor is unaffected, and appreciate the free checkup from Leica. I just got the nerve up to shoot a test shot of the sky, and confirm that the spots I saw before are gone. They are gone. Whew!
So, now that I know that Leica will make good on their promise to check and repair my M9 if the problem does arise, and have confirmed that I'm pleased with the results it's giving, I'm going back to just using it and enjoying it. I wasn't planning an upgrade to the M240 or anything else soon, so why should I now?
I did consider selling my M9 immediately upon its return from service. I don't think I'll do that. It's a wonderful camera, and I will just relax and start shooting it again.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Contrasting Styles at the Japanese Ambassador's Residence

And one final shot from the new year event at the Japanese Ambassador's residence. I really like the feeling of this one.
Contrasting Styles, by Reed A. George
Nikon Df, Nikkor 35-70mm f2.8 AF-D Lens
iso 220, f4, 1/250 sec.
I could write a good fiction story based on this image. I love the reflected man in a business suit, with a female character, likely his wife, directly behind him, while two women in traditional kimono walk the corridor from the teahouse. There's some mystery in this image.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Reflecting - Japanese Ambassador's Residence

Here's a shot I made at the new year's event at the Japanese Ambassador's residence:
Reflecting, by Reed A. George
Nikon Df, Nikkor 35-70mm f2.8 AF-D Lens
iso 100, f4, 1/250 sec.
I enjoyed the combination of the traditional Japanese style teahouse in the background and the pine-surrounded pond, and hot it contrasted with the man in business suit, and especially the suited man reflected in the glass at left of center.
I have another reflection image from the same scene - come back tomorrow!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

A Special New Year's Celebration With the Japanese Ambassador to the US

I was extremely honored to have received an invitation to attend a new year celebration at the residence of the Japanese Ambassador in Washington, DC a couple of weeks back. This was my first invitation to such an event, and I enjoyed it immensely.
Of course, I brought a camera along - the Nikon Df and 35-70 f2.8 AF-D lens.
The ambassador's residence is immense, impressive, beautiful. There is room for literally hundreds of guests, and even a full-size Japanese tearoom, situated on a small pond.
We lined up and got a chance to say hello and happy new year to the ambassador and his wife, along with other dignitaries.
Next was a set of very short speeches (the kind I like), followed by a Japanese sake toast (Kanpai!). Then, on to food and conversation:
Wrapping up with an amazing selection of Japanese sweets (actually, "semi-sweet" in comparison to Western desserts), this was a lovely event.
I have a good contact and friend at the Embassy to thank, Mr. Akira Tsugita. My wife and I really enjoyed this event, and hope to be invited again in the future.
In addition to these rather documentary shots, I did make two images that I feel are more expressive and interesting. You'll see those soon!