Sunday, February 28, 2010

Leica is Frustrating

Shooting with this Leica M8.2 is frustrating and wonderful at the same time. Dealing with the Leica's little qurks, but also enjoying the fine design features, is what the experience is all about. It's an addiction to see what I can get for pictures out of this camera. It's fascinating and I love it. This camera is like a work of art and when I hold it, something happens inside me. I become more centered. I delve into the process of making a piece of art with this instrument, as opposed to shooting at rapid speeds with my D-SLR. It's a different approach or style of shooting that seems to wake up my creative side. I know it sounds odd, but it reminds me of playing my guitar. It's like playing a fine instrument. (I may be a beginner and fumbling around, but it's like learning how to play guitar. I'm in a zone.) I'm sure I'll get blasted, but the Leica M8.2 is like playing a violin as opposed to playing a banjo with the Nikon D80. LOL! (And I love Nikon! It's just that it's a totally different experience.)
 One thing I've noticed, the Leica sucks at low light compared to Nikon. Can't go past ISO 640 without the files turning to mush and noise. 
By the way, I registered my Leica on the Leica US site, and am supposed to receive 2 free IR filters. Yippeee! I also listed my lens on this site. It's a great way of keeping file information on all of your equipment in one place.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Portrait of a Martin Minus Alex

Well, after the portrait session with Danny, I wanted to take a few shots of my nephew Alex holding a Martin Acoustic Guitar. The only problem was that Alex was on the phone for a good hour and the light was disappearing fast. While I waited, I took a few shots of the Martin Guitar. (I also converted them to black and white). Then the battery on the Leica was quite low and I didn't end up taking any shots of Alex with it. The light was gone.

More Portraits with the Leica M8.2

Danny was nice enough to pose for me again while I fumbled around with the focusing on the Leica M8.2. I'm getting used to lining up the images. This rangefinder focusing thing is all new to me. I'm so used to auto focus, and have come to rely on it, especially now that I'm older and my eyesight isn't as accurate. (Trying the Zone Focusing yesterday was fun, and it certainly will have its uses, but I had plenty of time to focus these shots for this portrait session.) Danny is a natural model. The only problem is that his skin is so pale, I always seem to blow out the highlights. LOL!

I took my time and slowly Danny started to relax. I started getting better at the focusing too. I was pleased with many of these shots. If the focus wasn't there, it was because I screwed up. My sister Diane even got into the portrait session! This practice session is just another day in the learning process of getting to know my Leica M8.2.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Cropped Zone Focus Photos

I just wanted to try out cropping these zone focused pictures. I also converted to black and white.

My Attempt At Zone Focusing

1. Black and white conversion of sheds using Alien Skin Demo.
2. Color Filter of Sheds using Alien Skin Demo.
3. Black and White conversion using Alien Skin Demo.
4. Velvia Shot using Alien Skin Demo.
5. Velvia Shot using Alien Skin Demo.
6. Black and White conversion.
7. Color Shot
Today I attempted zone focusing. I went out while it was snowing today to take a few quick shots from my car using the Leica M8.2 in aperture priority mode. I shot in f/8 and f/11, while the camera chose the shutter speed. I set the distance at 8 feet going by an article on zone focusing that I read. I wish I actually focused some of these shots, because I think I could have gotten sharper results. Even so, this little experiment yielded some interesting results. I want to experiment more with this when I start shooting street shots with the camera. I converted to black and white, because I like it. (Yes, it's snowing. Look at a close-up of the shed. The flakes are small, but while shooting, they did get my camera wet.)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Cropped Photo

A Flickr member K4eyv suggested that I crop my Dog Park photo and I did, because it's a better composition. He was right. I lost some detail due to noise, but because it's converted to black and white, it actually looks pretty cool. I want to thank K4eyv for his input on Flickr. The moment I cropped the photo, I got an invite from an Admin named "Gothic Toad-back to basics" to place this shot in "Terence Trophy-Invited Images Only" group. Here you see the cropped and unaltered photograph. Thanks, K4eyv!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

This Is Harder Than I Thought

I went to the Dog Park in a nearby town, and I brought the Leica M8.2 with me. Let me just say that it was difficult to focus this camera on moving subjects. I was disheartened. I used to be a lot better with my all manual 35mm film cameras back in the day. (We're talkin' back in 1976!)

Now I'm just an older woman with eyesight issues, who wished she brought her D-SLR to the park. I really want to capture the scene, and if Henri Cartier Bresson was there, he'd have no problem focusing quickly with his slew of Leica gear. Hell, even dead, Henri could have done a better job. I'm ashamed. It made me want to go running back to Nikon. I was on the fence about a Nikon D700, and I certainly wish I had use of that camera today, just for the AF alone! It sucks getting older and having to deal with eye sight issues.

Anyway, I'm trying to lick my wounds and get on with it. All of the shots I did today sucked. I'll put up a few anyway, just to give you a sense of how much I suck! LOL! I think I would have lasted a bit longer at the park if I brought my gloves and a hat. Seriously, I'm not happy about how much I have to re-learn. I think it's more of the rangefinder focusing that my eyes couldn't get today. I know! I should have slowed it down and pointed the camera at one spot in the park to grab a shot of a dog that walked into my range, but I wasn't prepared to be frozen cold. (Supposed to be in the 40's, but the wind kicked in and it was bitter out there!)

I went to my local health food store afterwards and took one shot indoors. That sucked too. I'm not inspired today. It's windy and cold outside. Here are the few shots I took. Sorry they suck so bad. Until next time when I improve. :)

From Bottom to Top:

1. Dandie Dinmont Terrier chasing Shepherd Puppy
2. Sun Beams hitting the park in late afternoon.
3. Older Lab had an interest in me and kept wandering by, as I missed almost every shot. LOL!
4. I photographed the reflections of trees in the huge puddle in the parking lot.
5. Health Food Store has Organic Pasta Sauce on sale. Yum!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Accessories For The Leica M8.2

I talked to Dave from Dale Photo on the phone to ask him what would be useful accessories for the Leica M8.2 camera. I've heard of a few and Dave confirmed a few good ones. First of all, these are expensive, but I think very useful to the Leica Digital M body series.

The most expensive accessory I ordered was the Thumbs Up Grip Lever from Match Technical Service, which cost $162 at Dale Photo. I bought the CSEP1 Model which attaches to the hotshoe, but still allows for an external viewfinder. It's worth every penny. This makes it easier to hold the Leica M8.2, which is like holding a big bar of soap sometimes. The thumb grip feels comfortable, and it feels safer to use the camera with this on. It's like an insurance policy from dropping the camera.

A little research on their website shows another accessory which I added to make my picture taking more pleasurable. It's called a Bip soft release, a little button that screws on the Leica M8.2 body. If you notice how your finger has to bend in to release the shutter, this just makes it a more fluid movement. It's comfortable and useful. Costs $20, but worth it to me. There are other designs for people to choose from. Beep, Boop , and Bug. Check out their website. Pretty cool inventions! I took a few pictures to give you guys an idea of what this stuff looks like. I love the packaging designs of both products. Very professional.

I've provided links within the text to direct you to these products. My biggest worry is dropping this expensive camera. Now, I don't have to worry as much due to the Thumbs Up Grip!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Portraits with the Leica M8.2

Took a few portraits of Devon and Danny using the Leica M8.2 camera. Then I tried out a demo of Alien Skin Exposure 2 black and white filters. I also used a color film somewhere in there. The rest of the shots I also kept in color to show the difference. I added some Bokeh via Alien Skin, and Photoshop. Devon is a natural model, and the camera loves him. He would be great in movies or as a musician in a rock band. LOL! Danny photographs quite well himself, but is shy.