Friday, July 29, 2011
Just before leaving work yesterday I met up with a friend from work who is also a Leica shooter. He wanted to try out my 21mm Summilux and I wanted to try out his Voigtlander 12mm lens so we wandered around the basketball court on the 6th floor of the Adobe buildings shooting random targets.
I've never been much of an ultra wide angle photographer but working with the 12mm was a lot of fun, especially when you get really close to your subjects.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
|Sandhill Cranes at Twilight - 1Ds3, Zeiss 21, f/5.6, 25s, ISO 200|
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Sunday, July 24, 2011
|M9, 21 Summilux, f/2, 1/250s, ISO 800|
|M9, 21 Summilux, f/1.4, 1/60s, ISO 160|
|100% crop, M9, 21 Summilux, f/1.4|
|M9, 50 Summilux, f/2, 1/60s, ISO 320|
|M9, 50 Summilux, f/1.4, 1/125s, ISO 320|
Saturday, July 23, 2011
|M9, 21 Summilux, ~f/2.8, 1/3000s, ISO 160|
Its summer, and that means time for the Lick Observatory's Summer Visitor Program. This year, I decided to organize an outing for a larger group, inviting several others in my lab as well as a bunch of our summer interns. In total, our group had 18 people and this was the first time to the Lick for most of them.
I also received a new lens yesterday to help round out my Leica kit, the 21mm f/1.4 Summilux and that was the only lens I used last night. I will intersperse my observations of the 21 Summilux throughout this post.
|M9, 21 Summilux, f/1.4, 1/30s, ISO 250|
Before heading up to the observatory, we all had a very tasty dinner at my favorite Thai place in the bay area, Thai Lover's located in East San Jose. The dinner was enjoyed by all with many saying it was one of the best Thai places they'd been to in a while. The 21mm focal length gives a nice wide view to capture groups.
|M9, 21 Summilux, f/2.8, 1/30s, ISO 2000|
|M9, 21 Summilux, ~f/2.8, 1/750s, ISO 160.|
|M9, 21 Summilux, f/1.4, 1/1500s, ISO 160|
|M9, 21 Summilux, f/8, (varying shutter speeds), ISO 160. Fusion of 5 exposures.|
Just before the start of the excellent "history" lecture, we had a chance to check out both telescopes in daylight (another good reason to get there early).
|M9, 21 Summilux, ~f/2.8, 1/12s, ISO 2500|
The 40" reflector (pictured above) was pointed at the star Altair which could be observed even in daylight.
|M9, 21 Summilux, ~f/2, 1/30s, ISO 1600|
|M9, 21 Summilux, f/1.4, 1/25s, ISO 2500|
High ISO is definitely not the M9 sensor's forte but the 21 Summilux is reasonably sharp (though not as sharp as the 50 Summilux ASPH) has excellent contrast and very balanced color. Though the files when zoomed up do have a lot of noise the overall image is still very pleasing.
|M9, 21 Summilux, f/1.4, 1/30s, ISO 200|
Thursday, July 21, 2011
|Family Afternoon Nap - Canon 5D2, 24 f/1.4 II, f/9, 1/125s, ISO 100|
Looking back on my Tanzania images these last couple of days, I sure do miss it. Can't wait to return, but sadly it will be some time before that happens.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Saturday, July 16, 2011
|Photographer at Work - X100, f/2, 1/40s, ISO 3200|
|California Theatre - X100, f/2, 1/45s, ISO 3200|
|X100, f/2, 1/60s, ISO 2500|
|San Jose Museum of Art - X100, f/2, 1/50s, ISO 3200|
They other 2 important things that Fuji fixed in this firmware version is that the camera now remembers settings like Macro AF shot to shot as well as remembering settings when changing from aperture priority to manual, etc. Also one other annoyance thats been fixed is that its now possible to shut off Red Eye reduction when shooting RAW (which was a bug I mentioned in my first X100 post). Finally, just to demonstrate that I do occasionally make color images:
|What Shot Next? - X100, f/2, 1/60s, ISO 3200|
Friday, July 15, 2011
|Canon 1D4, 70-200 II @ 200mm, f/11, 1/400s, ISO 400|
I made this image on North Seymour Island which is a small island just off the north shore of Baltra Island. Though the bulk of the time at North Seymour was spent with the Blue Footed Booby, we did run into a bunch of Marine Iguanas near the end of the hike.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
|Canon 5D2, Zeiss 21, f/14, 0.4s, ISO 100|
Ed returned to this area on a subsequent morning and made a panorama which I like very much.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
|Canon 5D2, 24 TS-E II, f/14, 1/50s, ISO 100. Fusion of 3 exposures.|
Saturday, July 09, 2011
|Unnamed Waterfall - Tioga Pass - Canon 5D2, 24 TS-E II, f/10, 0.4s, ISO 100|
I returned to Yosemite and the Bristle cone pines the last couple of days. Unsurprisingly the water was flowing quite heavily all along Tioga. I stopped at a few places to make some images and this unnamed (at least I couldn't figure it out) waterfall was one of the most spectacular right along the Tioga Pass highway.
Sadly, I didn't have very much luck with weather so my plans for the images I wanted to make with the Bristle cone pines didn't happen.
Thursday, July 07, 2011
|Arists at Work - M9, 50 Summilux, f/2, 1/4000s, ISO 160|
|First Time with a Leica - M9, 50 Summilux, f/1.4, 1/2000s, ISO 160|
|Arist at Work - M9, 50 Summilux, f/2.8, 1/500s, ISO 160|
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
|Locked - Leica M9, 50 Summicron, f/5.6, 1/350s, ISO 160|
|100% crop (actual pixels) of the lock area from image above|
|100% crop (actual pixels) from extreme upper right area from image at top|
|Leica M9, 50 Summicron, f/2, 1/60s, ISO 320|
The biggest change is that my need for a compact, high quality system has gone up. Last year the prospect of adding an M9 along with the appropriate complement of Leica lenses was financially impossible. Now, having sold a significant chunk of my dedicated bird photography gear, it becomes possible.
The second is a rather obvious realization. The reason I added an M9 is the same reason I disqualified getting a Pentax 645D and is the biggest complaint I have with the Sony NEX. The overall system. In both the Pentax and Sony case, the lenses available for each body is woefully inadequate. In the case of the 645D, its modern high quality lenses that can do the sensor justice. In the case of the Sony, its really any high quality lenses for the system. In the case of Leica, there exists a whole slew of high quality lenses that are not only great but in many cases are the best lenses for the 35mm format ever made.
So the M9 still has some of the short comings I mentioned in my post, but I see those short comings as the price to pay to get to work with Leica's superb optics. In short, I have confidence that Leica will address these shortcomings in an M10.
These last 4 days, I went on a family trip to the Eastern Sierras. I did some shooting but it was mostly a scouting trip for future trips, including a short 3 day trip to Bishop on which I'm leaving tomorrow.
I had the chance to use both the 5D2 and the M9 quite a bit. I had forgotten just how much I liked the Leica ergonomics, everything was in exactly the right place. I'll post several images in the coming days to show the image quality of the M9, but in general I was very impressed. I'm confident that if Leica adds LiveView to the M10 (so that very precise focusing at intended depth of field is possible), I will probably use it for the majority of my landscape work.
|Leica M9, 28 Elmarit ASPH, ~f/11, 1.5s, ISO 160|
One difference that is striking is colors, especially the greens. The above image was pretty much exactly what my eyes saw at capture time. I didn't fiddle around with the colors, pretty much straight out of Lightroom, Adobe Standard color profile and 'Shade' as the white balance setting. Below is the 5D2.
|Canon 5D2, 24 TS-E II, f/8, 1s, ISO 100|
Thats one of the things I noticed right away in the hundreds of images I took, the M9 images required very little fiddling to get colors right while post processing. This also has a direct consequence when converting to black & white as I find it easier to get the tones exactly where I want them when there is a good color separation in the original file.
Still, the image quality differences between the cameras themselves (especially after careful post processing) are IMO minor enough that they alone might not be enough to go down the Leica route. But its the size and weight thats the icing on the cake.
Saturday, July 02, 2011
I am heading out on a trip through Yosemite and to the White Mountains today, so it seemed like an appropriate day to release a new image of Half Dome & El Capitan. This trip will mostly be a scouting trip for future dedicated photographic trips, though I'm bringing some new gear which I'm excited to try out.
The above image was made during my trip to Yosemite in February this year. The warm evening light bathed both Half Dome and El Capitan with just a hint of purple starting to show in the sky.
Technical: Canon 70-200 @ 70mm, f/5.6, 1/5s, ISO 100. Grad ND filters were used.