A little over a month ago, I had the opportunity (or should I say, misfortune) to spend a day testing out a Leica. The Leica store here in New York has a program that allows you to test drive a Leica camera for an entire day. The obvious intent is to allow people like me who had never used a rangefinder before to try one, and obviously entice us to procure one for the future.
The kit I received consisted of the digital Leica M (typ 240) and the 50mm Summicron f/2 lens along with a battery and charger (in Leica jargon, a f/1.4 lens is a summilux, an f/2.0 lens is a summicron and a lens in the range of f/2.5-2.8 is an Elmarit). For people not too familiar with Leicas, these are rangefinder cameras where, unlike SLRs wherein you view directly through the lens, here you view through a separate window with frame lines based on the focal length. Focussing is done by aligning the double image within a small rectangle in the center of this optical viewfinder. But since this view is only a representation of what you can shoot, a lot of Leica newbies (myself included) take a photograph without realizing the lens cap is probably still over the lens.
After a short handling period while I got accustomed to shooting with my new borrowed toy, my
girlfriend wife and I took the subway to Jackson Heights to run a few errands for the day. I tried some discreet shooting techniques using just the distance scale on the lens but my efforts were probably a bit too early during my brief time with the camera to be of any interest. Out in Jackson Heights though, we stepped into a couple of saree stores and one gentleman in the store was kind enough to let me take a snapshot.
I am not (yet) much of a portrait photographer but it is something I am definitely interested in; something to do in the off-months when I am not travelling. This is a black and white conversion from the DNG file in Capture One.
The next stop was the New Calvary Cemetery, a location I had been meaning to visit for a long time now. It was also nearing sun-down and I was excited to shoot images in the soft evening light. Something that was beginning to be apparent to me from the photos I was taking was that there was something definitely special about the system; or perhaps it was the lens. The colour was always quite beautiful and the images (when in focus) were always sharp; but unlike the aggressive contrast seen in some other outputs, the tones were very soft – something that I now refer to as the sharp yet soft look; very film-like even. Enjoy the following shots from New Calvary Cemetery. They haven’t been touched in any way and are straight out of camera from the original DNGs.
These images are very different from most of the images in the main galleries. As of now, I still am not sure how they fit within my style; the blog is definitely my best approach to sharing my more casual photography for the moment. Do drop me line below in the comments; and also any thoughts about the imagery in this and future post. Until the next post, cheers!