alan frost photography

in monochrome with occasional colour lapses

Posts tagged ‘Leica’

‘Lost Glove’ – photo titles or even some Haiku perhaps?

dew on hand of wool
posts and wire in mist belong
cold fingers missing

I don’t know what you think but when it comes to giving a photograph a title it can be something of a struggle. At best a title can enhance the image; at worst it can be bland and add nothing at all. Some are purely factual which can at least inform the viewer, but these lack any artistic merit. I have even read a few titles and to be perfectly frank they were a distraction and it would have been much better to have let the image stand on it’s own two feet. There are of course occasions when the photographer feels the need not just to give the photograph a title but also a very lengthy description, which somehow almost becomes more important than the image itself.

All of this got me thinking, particularly as I have almost certainly been guilty of poor and uninspiring titles, overlong descriptions, the list goes on…….

I can’t profess to be a great lover of poetry but I do see a definite connection between the art of photography and writing poems as a creative art. What if the two were combined? Well it’s hardly the most original idea but I thought I would give it a try. 

One of the simplest forms of poetry is Haiku, a Japanese poem of just seventeen syllables on three lines – five on the the first line, seven on the second and five on the last line. Traditionally the poem evokes images of the natural world. There is no requirement for rhyme and whilst the number of syllables on each line has changed over time I thought I would stick with the original guidelines. I like the minimalist approach and the strict parameters prevent verbosity – something I could be accused of in this post!!

So below the photograph is my very first attempt at a Haiku verse combined with one of my ‘Chichester Harbour’ project images. ‘Lost glove’ is an apt, albeit unimaginative title, but I think the verse adds a little something extra. Masters of this form of poetry would probably mock the result, but I enjoyed linking words to an image. Will it be something I will use again? I can’t answer that but I’m pleased to have had a go. Your thoughts as always would be most welcome on both the image and the words!

It’s great to have my Monochrom back!

A couple of months ago I discovered I had a problem with my Leica M Monochrom. In essence a new sensor was required. You can read more about the issue by clicking here.

Just over a week ago I returned the loan camera to The Leica Store, Mayfair in London and collected my trusty camera; fully serviced and with a new sensor, all at no cost to me. The service had been excellent and I have nothing but praise for the way the whole thing was handled.

It’s strange but the loan camera just wasn’t the same; perhaps the feel of the shutter was slightly different, but for various reasons it was hardly used in the 8 weeks my camera was away in Germany.

Delighted to have the Monochrom back in my hands, I went down to Chichester Harbour and took a few shots – nothing special; more of a test to see that the camera was behaving itself , which it definitely is!

 

 

Do click on any image to see a larger version which will open in a new window.

An eye for detail – just one reason why I love the Leica Monochrom

I have now been using a Leica M Monochrom for eighteen months or so and there are many reasons why I have grown to love this camera. It was a fairly steep learning curve switching to a camera which has no colour sensor – each pixel only records luminance resulting in a black and white file with any number of shades of grey in between.

The fact it is rangefinder with its split frame manual focusing mechanism was an added hurdle for me to get over. Initially it was difficult enough to focus a still subject let alone a moving one, as is the case here. Even more challenging when using the 50mm Summilux f1.4 nearly wide open. The depth of field is so narrow I would be the first to say that a little bit of lady luck is required to get the main subject of the picture in sharp focus. When it happens though, you can jump for joy because the level of detail captured is quite extraordinary.

I very much doubt this image would win any prizes and I have used it simply to illustrate a particular point; and that is quite simply the level of detail or resolution captured by this camera.

For reference the final image (at the bottom of this post) is a fairly mild square crop of the original RAW file which has been processed in Lightroom 5. There are some adjustments but principally the addition of contrast, clarity and a tone for effect, but no sharpening. I repeat no sharpening.

The original image is shown below with just the processing applied and no crop.

 

Un-cropped image

 

Next is a much more detailed crop. You can now see the exceptional level of detail captured by the Leica Monochrom.

 

A tight crop

 

If you are yet to be impressed, below is an even tighter crop. The number of eyelashes can almost be counted and if you look closely veins are visible in the eye itself. If nothing else this image confirms my good fortune when I focused on the eye.

 

An even tighter crop

 

And by way of a reminder the final image which is how I imagined the picture might look when I pressed the shutter. I knew I wanted the eye to be at the centre of the viewers attention, but the photograph also needed to include part of the leather harness to add context and another element of interest. The harness also confirms you are looking at the horse’s head in profile and not straight on.

 

The finished photograph

 

As I said at the outset there are many reasons why I love this camera. It can be a frustrating and quirky tool at times, but get to know its ways, and I defy any photographer not to be impressed by the quality of file it can deliver when coupled with an equally exceptional fast Leica lens. It has a purity and a simplicity to its operation which places the photographer in complete control. You need to consider every step, every setting but the rewards are more than worthwhile.

I would strongly urge you to click on each image to view a larger version. This post is all about ‘detail’ and it’s only by looking at a bigger version that you will truly appreciate the output of the Leica Monochrom. 

Snowdonia – A new gallery page

It’s hard to believe that three months have passed since I visited Snowdonia. I had a great time and after a lot of processing, curating and ten blog entries later, I have now put together a gallery page of what I consider to be my favourite images. The ones that take me straight back to a particular location. I can remember the time of day, the weather conditions and what I was trying to achieve when I took the shot. The gallery is here.

 

 

Pressing the shutter doesn’t work every time, far from it in fact, and my ‘keeper rate’ is probably no better than 1 in 50, but I am very happy with that. Sometimes the light wouldn’t be right, or the image would be badly composed or out of focus. Inevitably there would be many occasions when I didn’t select the correct camera settings, or quite simply I was trying to take a photograph when a good image never existed in the first place. But that’s the joy of photography.

I believe that each time you press the shutter you should learn something from the experience. That way I learn more from the ones I didn’t get right, as opposed to the ones that eventually find their way to the printer or onto this blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have included some new images in this entry but the gallery itself is made up of 39 photographs, so do click here to visit the Snowdonia Gallery page.

I do hope to have the opportunity to return to Snowdonia later this year. It’s an inspiring and beautiful place for any visitor, let alone a photographer. The changing light and dramatic scenery are very special indeed.

Last but not least I would like to extend a big thank you to fellow WordPress blogger Andy Beal FRPS for organising and hosting an excellent and instructive workshop. To David Mills ARPS for his extensive knowledge of the area, and finally to the other participants for their company and good humour. Together we had a lot of fun and a week of photograph to remember.


If you want to visit any of the previous blog entries I have added all the links below, together with a thumbnail image to whet your appetite.

Llyn Gwynant

Snowdonia – It’s all about the light

Tryfan

Tryfan – a majestic mountain in Snowdonia

Sunlit fern

Creative use of depth of field in Snowdonia

Burning mist

The appeal of ‘light on dark’ in Snowdonia

Early morning in Snowdonia – with or without a tripod?

Old road

The old A5 – Nant Ffrancon valley in Snowdonia

Mist and missing Capel Curig – Happy New Year!

Dinorwic slate quarry – a harsh and inhospitable place.

Cwmorthin slate quarry in Snowdonia – the lower section

Cwmorthin slate quarry in Snowdonia – the upper section

 

 

Light, shadows and illusions – inside The Turbine Hall of Tate Modern

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A couple of days ago I posted an entry depicting the people, light and their shadows inside this same venue. You can read my words and see the images here.

When I first arrived at Tate Modern I was fascinated by the way the afternoon sun came through the vast roof light above me and the tall vertical windows in the west wall. Together they created many interesting shadows and patterns of light on the building’s structure, the textured concrete floor and in some cases the reflective surfaces enclosing the Turbine Hall. For your information this hall is 152m long and 35m high; it’s huge.

I liked the view at the head of this post, but I did wonder what it would be like if taken at ground level. The next shot is looking into the same corner of the hall, but has a more abstract feel to it.

 

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It was then that I noticed the light and shadows falling on the floor being mirrored in the the ‘polished’ wall surface. Would a slightly different view point and a more abstract composition give me an image which truly bought all these elements together and what would be the result?

Here is the final image in this short series of three. You may wish to click on the picture to see a larger version.

 

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It has a rather surreal look about it. There appears to be a layer of ‘floating light’, hanging above the floor. It’s an optical illusion of course but the way the light and shadows are being mirrored produces this effect and for me this is the most visually interesting of the three.

Here are two other photographs taken inside the Turbine Hall.

 

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Here again I like the way the people behind the glass are distorted whilst the light makes interesting patterns, adding further interest to the overall composition.

Finally here is a shot looking towards the tall vertical windows. Taken through glass the reflection of the hand rail is distorted and a small figure stands alone in the bottom left hand corner. A point of interest but also necessary to give scale to the image.

 

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I only spent an hour or so wandering around, but I am inspired to go back. Arrive early and leave late – Watching, observing and waiting for the light to change direction and intensity during the course of the day. Waiting for a suitable person or a group of people to be in the optimum place, moving in the right direction to enhance the composition. When all these ingredients come together I will press the shutter, and who knows what the results may be. I can’t wait to return!

All the images in this post were taken with the Leica M Monochrom using a Leica 90mm f2.4 Summarit lens, processed in Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro. Do click on any of the photos to view a larger version.