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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