No Fear

Came across this little chap along Minster Leas seafront. Just look into those eyes, absolutely no fear of me or my camera!

Leica M-P (Typ 240) with the Summilux 50mm f/1.4 ASPH lens, taken at Minster Leas, Isle of Sheppey, England. September 2021

Street Portrait

A couple of years ago I dismissed digital photography as not being ‘real’ photography. My perception of digital was all wrong, believing that the digital photography was just computer manipulation and could never replace film was a very naive perspective on my part.


Now having used the M-P for a few weeks, I’m beginning understand where I was so wrong. Few years ago I owned a crop sensor Nikon D7000 and just didn’t get on with the camera or understand the controls let alone how use the it creatively. My images back then were to say the least, were terrible, so I sold the camera and returned to film photography. While I know manipulation in the digital can be done, I learned the format doesn’t have to be or need to use such techniques to get a pleasing image. To be perfectly honest this dim witted fool would have a clue or any idea of how to manipulate a digital image anyway.

It’s helped by the fact the Leica controls are, how should I say, to me are normal. Using the digital Leica like it’s film counterpart has helped a great deal and limiting my post processing to what I would otherwise use for negative post production. By sticking to just cropping, brightness and contrast editing plus some dodge and burn has not only won me over but made this very enjoyable experience. To only worry about composition, not be concerned what the camera is doing, which is probably where I went wrong the first time round with the Nikon.

I found these two young ladies in Canterbury and asked if they won’t mind a letting me take a street portrait of them. The jewellery and tattoos lent themselves to a black and white image.

Leica M-P (Typ 240) with the Summilux 50mm f/1.4 ASPH lens, taken in Canterbury, England. September 2021

Wisdom

Last Friday I spent a day street shooting, while the wife was shopping in Canterbury, England. Standing on the junction of Burgate and Butchery Lane near the Cathedral, this elderly gentleman walked up, stopped, looked up Butchery Lane, I focused. Then he turned to look back down Burgate, just as I pressed the shutter. I was for a moment concerned he might be lost or a little confused but then a woman called to him.

Luckily for me I had focused the Summilux spot on with aperture wide open and later viewing the image on the computer, to my amazement the picture is pin sharp. Indeed I’ve had to do very little to the picture other than a bit of dodge and burn on the buildings behind plus add my copyright at the bottom.

This for me, this has got to be my best image of this year so far.

Click to enlarge

Leica M-P (Typ 240) with the Summilux 50mm f/1.4 ASPH lens, using a B+W Neutral Density 2 Stop filter.

Folkestone

Thoroughly enjoyed being out shooting with the Leica M-P and the Summilux today. I had not been to Folkestone, England in some twenty five years and it has somewhat changed. Last time I been there it was a very run down seaside town, with little or no investment or jobs after the demise of the ferry service to France was closed down in 2000 and the Channel tunnel which had opened six years before. Today it’s a very different place to town I knew.

Although very harsh light all day, I made this work in my favour and managed to get some great street shots and this was after I’d realised I had left my Weston lightmeter at home, so leaving me with no choice but to use the Leica’s own built in meter. Think I’m starting to get the hang of the of the M-P now.

I even got some abuse from a young woman who told me I was breaking the law taking pictures of people in the street. I do love these individuals who like quoting laws that don’t exist in the UK!

Walking along this shore path made out of old railway sleepers located on Folkestone seafront I was looking at the light was shining off them. Just waiting for the right moment, this girl walked pasted me and managed to catch her in the 1.4 depth of field.

Coffee Folkes

Along the old harbour railway station this coffee vendor was parked between a gap under the old railway station canopy with sun lighting up his auto rickshaw. Little tricky getting the metering right but I got there in the end.

Art

Out of tune

Since last being in Folkestone, there’s a lot of art work around the town now. This one is by Norwegian artist A K Dolven called ‘Out of tune’

Quote from the Creative Folkestone website

“It features a 16th-century tenor bell from Scraptoft Church in Leicestershire, which had been removed for not being in tune with the others. It is suspended from a steel cable strung between two 20m high steel beams, placed 30m apart”

…must make a terrible noise on a stormy night!

Reading the news

There was two men on this bench but this larger gentleman appeared in the frame, sat down virtually pushing the other guy off the seat. Then started reading the other man’s newspaper.

Dots & spots

The above image is a crop from a landscape picture, annoyingly other people kept walking into the frame …hard life being a street photographer! This been a film negative I don’t think I would have got away with such a crop without losing detail.

The 50mm Summilux and digital imaging shines through again. If you can get your hands on an example if only for a day, I highly recommend you give it a try. It’s sharpness even wide open is unbelievable. The harbour shot below was taken wide open as was the other images in this post.

House boat

Folkestone harbour …don’t ask!


If your ever visiting the seaside town of Folkestone, I can highly recommend ‘Marleys’ café for a great cuppa at only £2.00!

Marleys

Also back down the same street there’s Nik & Trick Photo Services store. Well worth a visit, cameras, film and darkroom supplies. Link below.


All images taken with my Leica M-P (Typ 240) with the Summilux 50mm f/1.4 ASPH lens, using a B+W Neutral Density 2 Stop filter.

Final image at ‘Marleys’ taken with my Samsung A12 phone.

Nik & Trick Services Photographiques

The revealing tide

I took this picture of a father and sons collecting their crab pots from the receding tide. This was two days ago on a cloudy, very dull looking the morning giving a almost winter feel to this image but later on Sundays weather would turn out fine and bright day. Shot wide open at f/1.4 with the Summilux 50mm lens once the picture is enlarged, the detail in the middle of this image I’m really impressed with.

Click to enlarge picture

Cropped top and bottom, it almost to me gives the image a look of being taken with a wide angle lens but without the distortion. Here’s the original image below before post processing.

Minster on Sea, England. September 2021

Leica M-P (Typ 240) with the Summilux 50mm f/1.4 ASPH lens, using a B+W Neutral Density 2 Stop filter and digital yellow filter.

The storyteller

I was lucky with this shot. I’d taken a few images of people sitting outside this public house in Faversham, England on market day and as the sun had made an appearance I couldn’t clearly see what I had captured. Later, having got home I found this one which I thought was ideal with the gentlemen’s mouth wide open to the right and the woman covering her eyes from the sunlight.

I shot the images with the Summilux wide open, ISO 200 using my Leica M-P (Typ 240) and using a B+W Neutral Density 2 x Stop filter.

Faversham Market, England. September 2021

Suncream

I just love the way street subjects get distracted by my dog Charlie. In this shot he is down to my left side. Charlie has got to know me well that when I stop and hold funny black box to my face he knows he’s to stop. He’s very patient, he waits and sometimes wag’s his tail, which is very useful for distracting people. Perhaps it should be a tip for anyone starting out in street photography, take your dog with you!

Taken on my Leica M-P (Typ 240) with the Summilux 50mm f/1.4 ASPH lens and using a B+W Neutral Density 2 Stop filter.

Faversham Market, England. September 2021

Summilux

Well, what can I say …I’m in love!

This was the first shot taken using the Summilux 50mm f/1.4 ASPH on the Leica M-P of my dog Charlie on the beach. Shot wide open at an very bright afternoon yesterday, the ISO was set to 200 with a B+W 43mm Neutral Density 2 Stop filter attached, and the camera set to black and white plus digital yellow filter. I waited for Charlie to come back up the beach until he moved into the depth of field and this is the resulting image. Shot JPG I have done nothing to the picture other than uploading it here for you all to see.

Click to enlarge images

Today the my wife Helen and I spent a day at Broadstairs in Kent and wherever possible I shot this lens wide open. Having had lunch in this little fish and chip shop I roughly set the distance, leaving the f stop on 1.4 and the camera on Aperture priority (which I think is the first time I’d used AP on this camera) and the resulting picture I think is amazing considering the lens is wide open.

I can now appreciate why they say this lens is so good, it’s like using autofocus lens …you can’t miss!

Gymnastic decorating

Gymnastic decorating

While visiting Headcorn village yesterday, on the drive in my wife pointed out this young lady painting the front of this old grade two listed building. I believe it was an old Inn but now houses a couple of small businesses, one of which I think is a ladies hair salon. I managed to get an informal portrait of her on what was a very hot day for us all in the south of England. To be honest I’m surprised the paint wasn’t drying out before she could apply it with the brush!

‘Painting by numbers’ – Headcorn, England.

Both images taken with Leica M-P (Typ-240) Summicron 50mm f/2.

September 2021.



Decisions.

Jacks‘ the Doberman Pinscher – Summicron 50mm f/2

Recently I made a decision regarding my Leica lenses which I have mulling over for quite sometime. For the last few years I have been mainly using a 50mm lens for my photography and I like the idea of using just one lens but couldn’t make my mind which focal length I wanted stick too. There’s always that thought in the back of my mind that you’ll need different focal lengths for every occasion.

Two years ago I purchased the Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH partly out of wanting to make it easier to do street photography by using a wider lens and the fact that everyone else seems to use a wide angle lens for street images these days. The other thought was it to be used for any landscape images and could even eventually be my go to lens. On conclusion I think this was silly idea on my part and shooting zone focusing at f/11 or f/16 with a fast ISO all the time just to guarantee getting a street shot is not my style of working. While I’ll done it, I didn’t really enjoy shooting street images this way and as for the odd landscape or seascape I might take, interestingly I found most of the this type of images I’d previously taken where with the 50mm lens.

‘Choppy waters’ Isle of Sheppey, England – Summicron 50mm f/2

Another point was finding my dislike for the finger or focusing tab. I found every time I used the 35mm after using the 50mm Summicron (which on version V has no focus tab) I would find the finger tab annoying and did not use it. I think, you either like using a focusing tab or you don’t and I now find it just getting in the way all the time. Don’t get me wrong it’s a great lens but the focal length is just not necessary for me now some how.

The 90mm f/2.8 Tele-Elmarit, at the end last year before Brexit came into force I bought this lens from the Leica Vienna store online. It’s a lovely little Canadian made lens from the early 1980’s and wasn’t expensive at all. While thinking it was a good idea to have such a focal length available to use I in fact only used this lens twice since purchasing it. Once for testing and the other occasion for my image ‘Shoes’ you can see below.

Conclusions.

…So I have decided I am a 50mm focal length photographer.

Having rambled on, how I have come to the conclusion, I do only really need one lens, a 50mm lens for my photography and going through my images I found nearly 80% of them were shot using a 50mm lens, so why use anything else. I’m glad I had use of the 90mm but I so rarely shoot portraits or have the need to take pictures at this distance that I found they can also be done with a 50mm lens. I got 35mm Summicron for street photography but it’s not a necessity for shooting the subject nor do I need to have it in my bag for a landscape I might take. Yes it wasn’t cheap but I knew that either way if I sold the 50 or 35 I would get my money back.

Not wanting the 35 or 90mm to be collecting dust on the shelf, I’ve decided to sell them both. While looking up current prices of used Leica lenses on the internet I see a review on a 50mm Summilux lens, a version I wasn’t not aware of, the Leica Black-Chrome Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH. Knowing all about the older Summilux’s and yes there’s always that envy factor of the f/1.4 …I know. For sometime I have had half an eye on maybe purchasing an example but the not the new version Summilux ASPH, model: 11 891 with it’s built in hood and focusing tab.

On a side note regarding the Summicron 50mm f/2 version V hood design. I have found the built in hood on the Summicron can get damaged very easily and I read some other photographers having had the same issues with Summilux and it’s built lens hood. Two years ago while in Le Mont-Saint-Michel in France, a woman lost her footing going up some stone steps and fell against me and in turn knocking the lens into a stone wall. While the damage to the lens didn’t seem that great at the time, a small nick on the other edge of the metal lens hood, later I found the hood would not retract properly back into the Summicron lens body …expensive repair!

New acquisition.

So onto the new acquisition, this lens is a modern version of the 1959 Summilux 50mm f/1.4 but with 2014 aspherical optics, made with solid brass, it has no focus tab, comes with a detachable brass hood and should last my lifetime. The extra stop will be a great bonus and the Summilux gives very smooth creamy bokeh which is as far as I know is unrivalled by any other lens.

Image courtesy from Leica AG

I didn’t see the point of owning two Summicron 50mm lenses, so I’m keeping the Summicron 50mm Duel Range lens to use on my M3. By selling three of my Leica lenses, this will cover three quarters of the cost for a used, excellent condition Summilux from Red Dot Cameras, London which hopefully I’m expecting to arrive tomorrow morning.

https://www.reddotcameras.co.uk/