Aidan is 8 years old...
Happy birthday to my little one... We invited all the family for a nice surf and turf dinner. With the older cousins going off to college and military, it'll be harder and harder to get everyone back together for group photos in the future.
... and don't forget, a "funny face" photo! Processed with VSCO Film "S - Fuji FP-100c Cool ++" preset.
Valentines at the Beach...
I see people do this all the time... turn the camera around for a selfie. However, it's as easy with the M9... my arm was just a little short of the minimum focus distance.
Anyway, for Valentine's Day, my wife and I took a stroll by the beach and had a nice dinner at a decent restaurant. Looking back, we've been married for 10 years already, and we have developed an irreplaceable bond of comfort with each other. Looking forward to many years to come.
Now that everyone has gave their thanks, it's time to go back to our regular lives, until Christmas comes. Dropped off my niece to LAX today for her return flight back to Michigan. Took advantage of the nice sculpture in the background...
Taking a Drive...
We've had the little car for a while now, but have not allowed my son to drive it beyond our own backyard, until today. I'm once again reminded how good the 50'Lux is.
I wonder... how many photographer/enthusiasts end up shooting a lot in their backyards like me. Sure, it's great to go to exotic locations or wander around busy city street to feel the adrenaline rushing, but sometimes you just want to lay back, enjoy time with the family while snapping some memories.
I still have the 28'Cron mounted with the new hood (from 35'Lux ASPH pre-FLE). Someone asked me if I'm noticing vignetting around the edges with the new hood... it's really hard to tell, because in my experiences the 28'Cron always had some vignetting when shooting wide-open. It's one thing that I liked about this lens. Now, I'm not seeing "extra" vignetting than usual... if that helps. I suppose I could bring out the tripod and make some test shots, but that means I'd be pretending to be some technical qualified photographer, which I'm not :P Anyway, I love the feel of the smaller lens and I have not noticed any detrimental effects on the final image.
This has been one hell of a late summer. We haven't even need to turn on the air conditioning for the whole year until this past couple of weeks. Didn't want to stay home, we decided to go take a swim...
I brought the M9 with the 90mm Macro-Elmar, and of course, my latest toy, the Rolleiflex MiniDigi. Rangefinder focusing really isn't that difficult, my wife was able to pick up the camera can capture of few shots of me playing with my son.
Here are few shots from the Rolleiflex MiniDigi:
This little camera has almost nothing going for it, except for its retro look. The LCD viewing screen so horrible that I can barely use it to frame shots. Apparently, it is always on ISO100 and the fastest shutter speed I've seen is 1/6 of a second. Autofocus does work, but I think the minimum distance from subject is at least 1 meter. I think most cellphones today take better pictures. That's what you'll most likely to read in camera gear forums. I often read about people's comments compare this camera/lens to that camera/lens, about how one gear is overly priced for its specs (mostly targeted at Leica), and how one cheaper camera performs better than an expensive camera, etc... It just makes me think, if that's all we cared about, doesn't it take the fun out of photography?
There's no way to measure the fun factor of this little camera. With all its handicaps, I find it challenging and rewarding to be able to produce a good looking shot from it. "Limitations breed creativity", a wise person has said before. You need to know what your gear can do, then work within those parameters to capture the best image you can. Here are some shots I took this morning while walking my son to kindergarten. So, whatever cameras you have, go out and shoot!
Downtown LA is always an interesting place to visit. The area has a lot of rich history tucked away in various corners, and yet there are also modern developments happening in the city.
Took my son on the Metro and headed into the Union Station on our last day of mini vacation. We've always came during the weekend so the station has always look emptied and deserted, during Friday's high traffic hour, the place was actually bustling with passengers. I'm sure it isn't like its glory past, but I allowed myself to imagine how this place looked when trains were the main mode of transportation between cities.
There are always soft light filtering through the various windows and interesting people to watch. I was limited to the 35'Lux I had mounted, but I think next time I would like to try a 90mm for stealing shots of people, and maybe a 21mm so I can capture its grandeur.
Across the street from Union Station, there's the Olvera Street, which is a permanent market full of Mexican restaurants and shops. Also around there, is the Pico House, which was hosting a gallery of photos taken around the place. The Pico House has an inner courtyard which was glowing red by the sunshine reflecting off the brick wall and floor, and even though it was closed to general public, the lady in charge was nice enough to let us in to take some photos.
Of course, I couldn't resist visiting the Bradbury Building again. What an amazing place that continues to challenge me to photograph all its beauty with a single image, still can't do it though. Then we went up the Angel's Flight and walked our way east to the Civic Center Station and eventually back home. Here are only some selected images to show, and the full set can be found [HERE].
Visiting Old Files...
Oh man, I'm in trouble here... Since I haven't been out shooting lately, I've started going through some old favorites and played with the VSCO film presets. This one is again with the "Fuji FP-100c Negative - -" preset. It worked great with my previous landscape shot, I think it also look good with this portrait. I have originally developed this image with a cream tone BW look... but I do like this color version, too. I think I'm going to add a "VSCO" tag for future posts... :)
The Film Look...
The above shot is actually an outtake from our trip to the Valley of Fire State Park. I took the shot from the passenger side window while my wife drove. The clouds were very interesting that day and I liked the setting sun falling on the red rocks. However, after we came home and when I reviewed the images, it didn't feel that special to me so it ended up on the cutting floor, so to speak.
Then... I was trying out some of the VSCO Film Presets and happened to pick this image to try it out on a landscape shot. I simply went through a variety of film presets and when I landed on the "Fuji FP-100c Negative --", I was immediately attracted. Perhaps it's the mixture of warmer color, contrast, and even some nostalgic link in my mind, but it really spoke to me. Here's the unprocessed version:
I'm still unsure about the idea of using film-look presets because most of the time I still prefer the color straight out of the camera. I guess they're just another tool in the bag, and it's nice to have something to play with when working with an image that's lacking certain "je ne sais quoi" ;-)
My Journey into Leica...
A path not to be taken lightly, not without reservations, and not without dedication, but the results can be sweet, OH SO SWEET! This is a documentation of my trials and tribulations into the world of Leica Rangefinder Photography, and I hope you'll enjoy coming along with me.