Yesterday was my son's elementary school's carnival day. It was windy, cloudy, and rainy. Still, we managed to have a lot of fun, while keep the camera relatively dry.
Everyday, we let many moments pass by. Being a photographer in training, I noticed those moments, and while I'm appreciative of them, I also understood that I failed to capture them. There are times, though, where I recognized something and decides to go grab the camera, and when the results came out, I'm so glad. This shot has been waiting for probably 2 months. I don't know why I like it... I can hardly remember why I took it, but it speaks to me now, just as it spoke to me then.
For some reason unknown to me, kids' world are full of primary colors. The colors are strong, vibrant, and make beautiful histograms :)
Once in a while, we gather all the kids up and take a group photo. We already have 3 of these on our wall, and I'm sure we'll be putting this up as well. They grow up so fast, don't they? Looking back, the first one we took, my son was still just a baby. I just don't know how many more of these we'll be able to take...
Just something I pass by on my way to work each time... finally, this time I had my camera ready to capture it.
I'm a bit shocked... This is a first event I've photographed this year. Man, how fast time flies.
On Sunday, there was a CicLAvia.org event in Studio City near Universal Studio. I missed their last event in Downtown LA, so I was determined to participate this time. It's just simple, fun-loving event where they blocked off about 6 miles of busy city streets for a day to any non-motorized transportation take over. There were lots of people on bikes, skateboards, rollerskates, and strollers. It was well organized and we had lots of fun... can't wait for the next one.
Since I had to keep one hand steering, I shot mainly using the hyperfocal and zone focusing. However, with the focus tab on the 35'Cron, I found that I was able to focus with my right hand. Not real critical focus, because I had to make sure I don't fall off the bike, but with aperture at f/4 to f/8, I felt I was able to focus well enough.
In an effort to take myself out of my current photography rut, I've started taking my camera to work. I leave it turned on during my commute, ready to snap at anything I see interesting. It's helping, I think. It forces me to observe more, think more, instead of just space out during the drive. I can't say the images are very interesting, but this will have to do until I find more chances to shoot more seriously.
I heard someone said "There's no way out but through", and I liked it. When you're stuck in something, whether it's a creative rut or depression or something else, sometimes there's no way to get to the other side except fighting your way through. You fight it by doing what you're suppose to do, or what you would do once you reach the other side. Just keep at it, and eventually you'll realize that it's by doing that things improve and breakthrough. Well, here's me... doing it...
My M9 just received a CLA (clean, lube, and adjustment) from Steve's Camera in Culver City. This is the first time I've sent it in for a service of any kind, so it's been quite trouble-free. The only reason I did drop it off was because I was noticing some rangefinder alignment problems at infinity and I had some close focus problem with the 35'Lux. Steve was able to perform the CLA in just a few days and now all's well. Lately, I've been lagging photographically, so I hope this can give me a boost to go out and shoot something this weekend.
Here's a roll that's been sitting on the shelf for a while. Most of the images were captured in November at the Red Rock Canyon outside of Las Vegas. It was the first time I took the Rolleiflex SL66 out to take some landscapes. A few important lessons were learn: 1) that's not the right hood for this lens, 2) it's hard to take an interesting BW landscape shot. The first lesson is evident in all of the shots I took, but the second lesson is only realized after I scanned the negatives. I thought I had captured a bunch of interesting shots, but in BW, I lost the beautiful colors of the red canyon and are left with just a bunch of rocks. Now I understand what people mean by focusing on the forms and contrast, because those are the characters that will show through. I ended up with a couple exposure left that I spent while on a biking trip with my son, testing out the built-in tilt function of the SL66. If you look closely in those shots, you'll see the plane of focus isn't parallel to the film.
Saw an interesting discussion in a photography forum tonight.... a guy was describing how he has an active child and he want a camera that has killer autofocus that can keep up with his son. Any modern DSLR camera would have been an easy answer, except they are rejected because he wanted something that is smaller so he can always carry it around and keep it handy. So the conversation revolved around which mirrorless camera had the fastest autofocus and how people tried various cameras under various situations and various camera failed to nail focus. It got me thinking... who's taking the picture?
It seems the camera took a lot of blames for missing the focus, so the logical next step is to find a better camera that won't fail. I think differently... I think they are relying too much on the camera to take the photo, and since we don't yet have artificial intelligence running in our cameras, they are bound to fail sometimes. They don't know exactly who you want in focus, what part of their body you want in focus and not in focus, and they're not tracking the subject you want to anticipate their movements. This is exactly what I learned after shooting with a manual focus camera like the M9 after a few months. You learn to relax the depth of field, you learn to move the camera with the moving subject, and you learn to anticipate their movement forward and backward with your focus so you can nail the shot even as they run toward you.
Of course, I don't nail the shot 100% of the time. However, when I fail to nail the focus, I knew it was my fault. No need to get another camera, I just need to practice more, or try a few extra exposures to be sure. Now looking back, I've been shooting the M9 for almost 3 years and the camera itself is over 5 years old, and to me, it's just as awesome of a camera as it was when I got it.
I heard a great quote by Craig Semetko in a Leica ad:
"For me, the Leica M is the path of least resistance between what I see on the street and a final print in my hand."
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.