I was out driving around yesterday and came across this scene off Highland St. in Hamilton. I have passed it before and paid it no mind but this time I stopped and made a photo knowing that it really did lend itself to a B&W conversion. I made several different angles but this was the best and of course the first one that I made. I used the Leica M-P 240 with the 35 Summicron. The light was fairly flat and the conversion was pretty quick and easy in Silver Efex Pro. I first did some standard adjustments in Lightroom and after the conversion knocked down the clarity a bit.
Yesterday I happened to be in Boston at a Pedal Partners event at Fenway Park which was a really great event to meet the young man we are riding for this year. After this event we headed off to lunch and then the MFA. I had not been for a while but could have walked around all day shooting photos of people engrossed in the exhibits. I decided to concentrate most of my images at the Herb Ritts exhibit. The images that Ritts made over the years were in a word striking. The use of shadow and design in his images of people were really something and of course being in B&W are something I love to look at. The only thing that was really bugging me while I was shooting was the really slow start up time of the M-P. God it's slow. When I get the new 64 gig card that is 90mbps speed it will be faster. All the B&W images were made using the M-P in B&W film mode. Here are some images that I made at the MFA.
By the way I still have a couple open seats for the Thacher Island Photography Workshop. Check here for more information.
Leica M-P 240 w/35 CronDizzy Gillespie blows out those famous cheeks. Leica M-P 240 w/35 CronJodie Foster by Herb Ritts has its photo taken. Leica M-P 240 w/35 CronA woman looks over a collage of Herb Ritts work at the MFA. Leica M-P 240 w/35 CronTwo women look over the DaVinci exhibit at the MFA in Boston.
Leica M-P 240 w/35 CronFlying men MFA Boston Leica M-P 240 w/35 CronInteresting design near the Green Monster at Fenway Park. Leica M-P 240 w/35 CronAn Asian couple takes advantage of the blossoms on this tree to make a photo.
I have adjusted the course description for this workshop as several people have inquired about who can come out. It was originally scheduled as an advanced workshop but I have since changed this to anyone who wants to learn and enjoy the day photographing on Thacher's Island. Check out the new course description and sign up here.
I'm getting used to the new M-P 240 it's a wonderful camera. I have set up four user profiles that fits how I shoot and it's been great to switch back and fourth for certain situations. I guess I have been used to the center weighted average metering in the M9 because I ahve set everything to that setting. Using the sensor metering makes a weird sound as it re-cocks the shutter release. I don't like it. So I don't use it. I really like the thumb wheel for scrolling through the menu items, blowing up images to check for sharpness etc. I have used Live View a few times and feel like I need the EVF to really enjoy looking through the sensor. The color has been really great. For a guy that leans toward B&W I have been very impressed by the CMOS sensor in this camera. The lenses make the color look a little different from my Canon images which of course are also CMOS images. The images below were made with the M-P 240 of the Cape Ann Tool Co. in Rockport. It has had this orange insulation on the metal since it closed a long time ago. I remember the familiar loud thumping coming out of this forging operation way back in the 60's when the wind was blowing toward Annisquam. I have made a few images of the outside of this building before but only in B&W. Yesterday I came home a different way and the low light and shadows were playing across the front of the orange building making some very interesting images. Here are a few.
Leica M-P 240 w/ 35 f2 SummicronCape Ann Tool Company Rockport MA Leica M-P 240 w/ 35 f2 SummicronCape Ann Tool Company Rockport MA Leica M-P 240 w/ 35 f2 SummicronCape Ann Tool Company Rockport MA Leica M-P 240 w/ 35 f2 SummicronCape Ann Tool Company Rockport MA Leica M-P 240 w/ 35 f2 SummicronCape Ann Tool Company Rockport MA
So I love my M9! But when I had to send it back to Leica for a sensor change out I was a little miffed. Six years and the sensor needs to be replaced, uggggh. The good news was it was being replaced along with the leatherette and a few other things, gratis. Awesome Leica, fabulous! What happens when the sensor goes bad again in six years? Well at the same time the good news came in they also offered an upgrade to an M 240 or an M-P 240. Now normally the M-P is $1000 more than the M so when I saw the upgrade to the M-P was only $250 more I said now that's really interesting. The difference between the two is significant. First off everything on the front is blacked out with the Leica signature on the top, sapphire glass on the monitor, frame line selector on the front and 2 gigs of ram instead of 1. Pretty decent upgrade from the M 240. So I hemmed and hawed about it but finally took the M9 off the que for repair and ordered the M-P.
Yesterday was my birthday and it showed up via UPS whoohoo. Now you have to understand that a camera that cost this much requires some special packaging and it was pretty special. A nice black box that housed the camera in it's on special box plus two pull out drawers (yes drawers) with the battery, charger, cables in little bags and literature, very nice. So last night I started figuring out the menus and setting things up which was pretty easy but I a still have a long way to go. So I charged up the battery, about two hours while I read the book of instructions. This morning I took it out for a spin with my M lenses and here are some of the images I got. All I have done in Lightoom was a normal tone then and a slight crop if it needed it. Just some quick shots walking around the wharf for testing.
I was pleasantly surprised by the dynamic range of the CMOS sensor as the reds did not block up like the M9 would. More to come on color rendition in future posts.
The image below was processed in Silver Efex Pro 2 to bring the sky up then back in Lightroom I did some more work with the gradient tool.
I really like this shot - the black and white guy could not resist converting at least one image.
A couple of years ago I made several wave photos over on the backshore off Atlantic Rd in Gloucester - they are some of my best selling images. A gallery in Boston continues to sell the large canvas images I have printed of them. Why then has it taken me so long to get out and do more - life has gotten in the way. Work and other things have kept me from shooting my landscape stuff.
The conditions this week have been inspiring. Nice early morning light and a crisp off shore breeze (depending on where you are) combined for some images this morning. Some photog friends on Facebook have some really nice wave images so after seeing some awesome wave curls this morning early on my bike ride I went back to shoot some more. Now I shoot this stuff differently than most. I used my Canon 7D mk2 (cropped sensor) with my Canon 300 2.8 and a 1.4x extender which brings the focal length to 672mm. I was rushed for time or I would have ditched the 1.4. I only climbed down a bit to the water. The exposure was 1/2000 sec. at f4 100 ISO. Here are a few from today's shoot.
Canon 7D Mk2 w/300 2.8L & 1.4XWaves along Atlantic Rd in Gloucester, MA Canon 7D Mk2 w/300 2.8L & 1.4XWaves along Atlantic Rd. in Gloucester, MA Canon 7D Mk2 w/300 2.8L & 1.4XWaves along Atlantic Rd. in Gloucester, MA
Even though this winter was nasty snow wise it gave the B&W photographer some great opportunities. Even before the snow arrived January was cold and this provided at least one opportunity for sea smoke. I have posted my shot from this year which was done from the Abbot Hall clock tower in Marblehead. The cold weather did provide some other interesting images that I had fun with. The Ipswich River was a really interesting place as the ice and light snow created some very interesting shapes and tones in B&W. The shot shown here was made with the Sony Nex-7 and the Leica 90mm Tele-Elmarit which on this camera makes it a 135mm. This combination has proven to be a wonderful setup. I process the color version in Lightroom and then open it up in Silver Efex Pro2. I tweak it a little here and there until it looks like how I envisioned it when I made the image.
This next image is of frozen snow on one of my sky light windows. The early morning light was making some interesting tones and I just had to make an image of what was going on. To me it was a great abstract moment that just begs to be made into a B&W. I processed it in Lightroom and added a little contrast but really not much tweaking involved. I made this image again with the Sony Nex-7 but this time with the 50mm Summilux 1.4. Which on this camera is a 75mm. To some this image may seem dark but this is how I envisioned it with sparkles of light areas interesting tones everywhere.
Today I was stuck outside for a good hour freezing my butt off waiting for some folks to show up for an assignment I was working on. The assignment was out at Glen Magna in Danvers which is a pretty cool place. I wondered around a bit out by the Derby Tea House and noticed that the gray light was making things look really interesting. The trees were looking really cool, no pun intended. I had with me two Canon cameras the 5D Mk3 and the 7D Mk2 the 24-70 was on the 5D and the 70-200 was on the 7D. As I poked around images just started flowing as they often do. Some of the trees really attracted me and I made images that I knew would be B&W. A bench with some really cool sides just jumped out at me. A window in a shed was my main attraction as it had some new tools in an old window, just really cool stuff. The Canon's while breaking my back did a great job as usual.
Back in 2012 I purchased Final Cut Pro X and found it a real departure from Final Cut Pro 7 and the baby version Final Cut Express. So I was a little skeptical when I installed the latest version onto my new Macbook Pro. I was pleasantly surprised at what I found. I am not a wiz at the video thing but I was surprised at how easily I got the hang of it. My first project was pretty easy but I found that things that were pretty difficult in the older version were now really simple. Multiple audio tracks are a breeze. Splitting the video and audio is also simple and less of a headache than the last version. Working with still images was also very easy. Changing time, doing animations, cropping, etc were a snap. It helped to know the program a little and what some of the buttons did but overall a pleasant experience. I was able to pull together tons of material and put together a decent piece on the historic season of the Hamilton-Wenham boys basketball team. Check out the Adobe Slate I created for our Wicked Local websites here.
It's been a while since I have been out and about with the Leica. So today, Palm Sunday, I wanted to bring the camera along to church because I knew that the photo opportunities would be numerous. The Leica M9 or any Leica are the perfect tool to record life as it happens. The size of the camera gives photographers the ability to blend in and make images that really give feeling. Last year I shot with my dad's Leica 28mm lens and I got a couple of outstanding images. I was really excited about them. Today the images did not come easy. The palm fonds were given out by the children and not at the door like last year. So I needed to look for something different but nothing really presented itself. I was able to make some nice images but nothing that really grabbed me like last year. This year I had the Leica 35mm Summicron on the M9 and it worked out great. I have always used the Leica 35 cron as my carry around lens even when I was shooting film on the Leica M5.
I don't know what it is but when I shoot with the M9 I like to convert my images to B&W. They just have a different look to them when I convert them. Today it was obvious as the AWB was off and on, mostly off. My brain also thinks in B&W as I was trained in my early years shooting B&W all the time so I tend to think that way. The images below are from today's shoot. Some are converted and some are not. They are all made at ISO 1600 at 5.6 or 2.0. Normally I try to process my B&W in Silver Efex Pro but this time I did them in Lightroom.