fall

Leica M Monochrome with Leica 75mm f2.0 Apo Summicron sharpness

A stunningly crisp and detailed image of one of the first fallen leaves of the season as it sat in the shadows of the early morning sunrise. I don’t often take close up images like this anymore, but I couldn’t resist the effort to capture the light and and liveliness of this leaf– even though it is dead. It seemed to be standing on it’s own two feet enjoying the warm morning sunshine and asking for a photograph. If you have the opportunity to view this image on a 4K or 5K monitor, go for it, you’ll be shocked at the detail that is contained in the image.

Taken with a Leica M Monochrom and a 75mm Apo Summicron lens.

Available as 1 of 50 archival prints by clicking here.

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fashion forward

black and white street photography with Leica M240 and Leica 50mm f2.0 APO Summicron

… one of my favorite photos of all time…

I took this image while walking along the newest far-west section of the High Line Park, near the Hudson Rail Yard, using a classic “street photography” technique that I decided to start experimenting with. This was shot “from the hip” with the aperture set at f/8, and the lens pre-focused to about 8ft using the distance scale. I’m certainly not an expert street shooter, so this image is about 2% skill and 98% luck, but it turned out fantastic!

The light is exactly how it appeared on that late Sunday evening, the shadows are dark, and the details are crisp. And yes, the gentleman pictured here did actually look this fashion forward.

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the last days of summer

Photo take with a Leica M9P camera and Leica 90mm f2.0 pre-ASPH lens.

This photo was taken on an empty boat dock during the “golden hour” where the evening sun has a certain warmth and comfort that can’t be felt at other times of the day. This gentleman was alone on the dock enjoying the last warm rays of the summer sun on the last day of August, and this candid photograph of that moment is one of my favorites in my entire collection.

I used a Leica M9P and a Leica 90mm f2.0 pre-ASPH lens manufactured in 1983 for this shot, and I think this is an excellent example of the sense of realism that these vintage devices are capable of capturing. I’ve never been able to convey such a sense of warmth and relaxation with more modern equipment, and I’m tremendously pleased with my decision to switch from Canon/Zeiss to vintage Leica for this reason.

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show me the money

Voigtlander 35mm f1.2 version I

Evening light outlining the iconic financial hub, the Citigroup Building in Midtown.

For me this image is all about the light. With an older camera like the Leica M9P I used for this shot, you have only two choices in a situation like this. You can meter in the center bright portion of the image and obliterate the shadow detail, or you can meter in the dark portion of either lower corner and preserve more detail in the shadows but completely blow out the highlights. The lack of choices here would be considered a major fault of a camera system by many modern photographers using ultra modern sensor technology like the Sony A7 series, but I actually like that the old-school Leica system makes it this simple to capture the images just as it looked to me at the time, not a pumped up, semi-CGI looking version of it.

Don’t get me wrong, the landscapes and cityscapes that I’ve seen coming out of the Sony system are stunning, but I’ve never been in a situation where I could see every detail in both the brightest portions and the darkest portions of the image at the same time. The human eye is not capable of seeing light and dark that way, and a sensor that creates an image that the human eye could never see always looks a bit artificial and unnatural. It loses the feeling, the allure, the reason why that scene prompted me to put the camera to my eye in the first place.

It’s all about the light here. It feels warm. It reminds of you of that relaxing evening summer light we’ve all seen and enjoyed. And it’s ironic that the Citigroup Building is highlighted here because it takes a small fortune to purchase a Leica camera even though the technology is considered outdated and irrelevant nowadays.

Taken with a Leica M9P (out-of-production) and a Voigtlander 35mm f1.2 version I lens (also out-of-production).

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lightning

Lightning

It’s been quite a while since I posted a photo on this site. A hectic work schedule at my day job, and a relative lack of inspiration from my photography gear, led me to put photography to the side for a while… something that is occasionally necessary with almost any artistic endeavor. My beloved Canon 5D Mark III and lovely collection of Carl Zeiss lenses stopped inspiring me to go out and take photos, so I made a very difficult decision to sell everything and take a step backwards in technology to see if it could get my creative juices flowing again. Within 24 hours of selling one of my prized possessions, the Zeiss 21mm f2.8 Distagon, the photographer who purchased it took a photo that I’ve been dreaming about for years. His name is Stanley Lewis and he took the above photo near his home in Florida with a lens that I adored for quite a while. That makes this photo special enough to post here, and to feature Stanley’s breathtaking work for everyone to enjoy. Thank you for your contribution Stan!

“Weddings on Pensacola Beach in the summer are always risky because it is either extremely hot or they are interrupted by the predictable afternoon thunderstorm. The one I was involved in on July 31 was no exception because in the early evening a severe thunderstorm rolled through just as the wedding was finishing up. I set up my Canon 5D MarkIII with a Zeiss 21mm lens for a night shot hoping to catch a lightning strike and I was fortunate to catch this stepped leader as it streaked downward across Pensacola Bay toward the Gulf of Mexico.”

–Stanley Lewis

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early fishing

Zeiss 21mm f2.8 Distagon menaul focus lens photos

There is a wonderful energy and light in the early mornings in New York, especially in the summer. The city is at it’s quietest, and there are usually only a few other people around who all appreciate this feeling. I came across this gentleman waiting for a bite on his series of fishing poles under the Queensborough Bridge while enjoying the view of Manhattan. The rising sunlight silhouetted the whole scene, and allowed this image to feel warm and quiet, just like it actually did at the time I was standing there. Taken with a Zeiss 21mm f2.8 wide angle manual focus lens at f/2.8.

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morning run

Zeiss 21mm f2.8 manual focus lens with B+W ND Vario filter

This is one of my favorite photos, not because of the lovely colors or the wonderful city backdrop, but because of the motion. I find motion in still photography to be one of the most challenging techniques, especially when the motion has to do with people. Traditionally, long exposure photography that captures motion is in a nature setting where the photographer places his camera on a tripod and then exposes the shot for 15-30 seconds so that water and clouds will take on that lovely smooth appearance we’ve all seen in those beautiful landscape images. Capturing motion with people requires a completely different skill set. You have a use a neutral density filter on your lens so that you can increase the exposure time without letting too much light in. You have to have your focus just right, which is quite difficult with moving subjects and manual focus lenses. You have to have the exposure just right or your subject will end up so blurry that you can tell it’s a person, or not blurry enough so that it only looks like the image is out of focus rather than in motion. You have to keep your camera VERY steady so as not to blur the background, which is quite difficult when you’re not using a tripod and shooting at f 1/10 or 1/20. And you have to do all of this in less than a second before your subject runs away and makes your shot impossible. The whole thing sounds like a big hassle, and while it does lead to quite a few messy photos, when you get it right the results make for really interesting and original photographs. Taken with a Zeiss 21mm f2.8 Distagon manual focus lens with a B+W XSPro ND Vario Filter, handheld at 1/30, Shutter Priority mode with vario filter adjustments to ensure an aperture of at least f/8.

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