Archive for Leica 35mm Summilux FLE

In Rui Palha’s Lisbon

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on July 7, 2019 by johnbuckley100
All images Leica Monochrom and 35mm Summilux FLE.
John Buckley’s Instagram is @tulip_frenzy.
His photo site is John Buckley In Black and White and Color.

There are very few photographers who have as complete a grasp of, or association with, a single city as Rui Palha has with Lisbon. Sure, many of HC-B’s images of Paris are what first come to mind when you think of him, but Cartier-Bresson was equally associated with Mexico, China, Spain, even New York. Rui has pictures from other places besides Lisbon, but to those who follow the world’s preeminent street photographers, Rui Palha is Lisbon.

Rui Palha in his element.

He’s a joyful, engaging task master, curious what his new friend is interested in before heading to various neighborhoods, clear at the outset that he expects to see, and critique, his work.

Lisbon, we learn, is a city of hills and textures, stairs covered in graffiti, squares inlaid with patterned stone, street car tracks that reflect the afternoon light, pigeons everywhere, buildings festooned with tile. Though its literature is rich, there is to Lisbon an air of Garcia Marquez, of magical realism within portions that have seen better days, even as Rui would take me to places that are modernist and futuristic. It has a Metro and a station designed by Calatrava, and the possibilities for picture making are endless. Why, a master such as Rui could create a world from these possibilities. Could I?

If, as Rui prefers, you choose your background for the image first (another thing he has in common with HC-B), waiting for people to come on stage, as it were, there are neighborhoods in Lisbon like few others, and his work shows he knows them all. He’ll gladly take the Metro or drive through neighborhoods filled with people, but lacking the required stage setting, he moves on. Like all street photographers, he wants people in his images, but people alone aren’t enough, and in Lisbon, you don’t have to settle for any background less than the ideal.

Friends have left tickets for him at the Metallica show that night, but he doesn’t really want to go. He takes me near the site of the Metallica show anyway, to that area of the city with its Calatrava-designed train station, modern and mysterious with interesting possibilities for photos. It’s magical, the possibilities for photos in Rui Palha’s Lisbon. Ancient and modern, textured and streamlined, dark and light.

There are some cities made beautiful in prior centuries that rest on their laurels. Lisbon is not content to leave things as they were, to simply preserve under aspic what was built in the halcyon days of empire. It’s a charming, living city still in formation from the center to the docks. A culturally rich milieu, with book stores for readers and thinkers whose imagination is not limited by living in a comparatively small country on the water’s edge of bigger empires, of Europe.

On this day, as Rui takes a new friend around, he keeps a Leica Q suspended on his upper body by a small leather half-case and straps, but it’s only later that we see that, even as he so casually lifts his camera to his eyes to take pictures, he really is a master. My pictures below are pretty good; Rui’s version of the same scene — even granting that he knew just where to stand — is breathtaking.

A gentleman comes up to him. “Are you Rui Palha?” He knows him for what he is, Lisbon’s finest chronicler of the street. As it turns out, the man who greets him is one of Lisbon’s finest painters, and they had never before met.

Rui Palha is a poet in the camera sensor’s etching of black and white. He’s quite vigorous despite a back that is sore, leading the occasional photo workshops, including one this past March for the Leica Store Miami. (Hint: keep an eye on that calendar.) The next day, prominent photographers from Spain are coming to greet him over coffee, for if you are a street photographer, and coming to Lisbon, Rui looms like a giant, the man with the keys to his city.

Late in the day, in the bright sunshine and tourist ambiance of Chiado, we prepare to part. “Make sure you show me your five best pictures,” he says, and then reconsiders. “No, ten. Send me ten to look at.”

A maker of gorgeous images in a gorgeous city, and one of the nicest, most generous people you will ever meet.

Here are a dozen images, Rui, and an extra one of you in your element. How’d I do, my friend?

The New Normal: Third Consecutive Weekend With Anti-Trump March In The Nation’s Capital

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 4, 2017 by johnbuckley100

third-trump-demo-march-18All pictures Leica M10 with 35mm Summilux Asph FLE

And so it came to be that for the third consecutive weekend, Washington was the scene of large, peaceful protests against Donald Trump’s presidency.  Last weekend saw a spontaneous demonstration arise in the aftermath of his attempted ban on Muslims and refugees.  The weekend before saw The Women’s March, wherein 500,000 people took to DC’s streets.  Today’s rally and march were the result of a Facebook call to assemble at 1:00 outside the White House — and by our count, more than 50,000 people showed.  Families, couples bringing their dogs, a diverse crowd united in opposition to what’s happening. What follows are photos documenting the crowd — angry, peaceful, yet joyful at the fellowship, knowing that thousands are willing to stand up to this guy.  The sign that said, “Same Time Next Week” will likely prove accurate.

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For The Second Time In Eight Days, Trump Protests Take Over D.C.’s Streets

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on January 29, 2017 by johnbuckley100

 

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All images Leica M10 with 35mm Summilux ASPH FLE

We don’t typically march in the streets.  We went 50 years as a Republican, some of those years spent as a spokesman for Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp, and Bob Dole. But this is a moment in the life of our nation when one must stand up for what’s right.

Last Saturday’s Women’s March On Washington was a joyous, defiant statement on the newly inaugurated president.  Today’s rally in Lafayette Park near the White House was something different.  It was an emergency response to the mind-boggling news that, without any real thought other than hatred of Muslims and a desire to shock the world, the Trump Administration had banned all refugees and initiated the first step in its planned ban on Muslims.  The Women’s March was planned months in advance; this one came about on a few hours notice, announced on Facebook.  The crowd wasn’t joyous, but there was an esprit de corps, a sense we are in this together.  Last week, when we posted images from The Women’s March, we wrote, “We think we’re going to be out in the streets quite a bit in the months and years ahead.”  Who knew it would be only eight days.  Here are some pictures from the event today.

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The Leica M10 At The Women’s March On Washington

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 21, 2017 by johnbuckley100

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All images Leica M10 and 35mm Summilux Asph FLE

The Trump inauguration was yesterday, drawing crowds estimated as less than 1/4 of what Barack Obama drew in his first inaugural.  (We were there eight years ago, and have seen pictures of the crowd yesterday — like the new president’s hands, his crowds are small.)

Trump’s swearing in also featured the single worst inaugural address of my lifetime — signaling a possibly tragic detour from the path we thought our nation was taking.  We were already looking forward to the Women’s March on Washington, but Trump’s crude debut as President of the United States made us even happier to get out on the streets of our home city this morning.

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And today was a very different event.  As fierce and defiant in its own way as Trump was yesterday, but the Women’s March on Washington was filled with hope as well as fear — and Hope seemed to be having more fun than Fears.

womens-march-6Today’s march was celebratory and joyous, a communal dance, even as it was completely serious and signaled a prolonged period of struggle.

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The sky was dull and white, maybe in honor of our new president.  The quality of the light matters because we went down to the Mall with a secondary purpose.  We had the new Leica M10 with us, trying it out in earnest for the first time.  Maybe in this awful light, with women wearing artificially bright pinks and garish purples, the new camera could really be tested.  We would have hoped for a better day — and not just to try out the camera. But we were really pleased with how it performed.

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Like all digital Leica Ms before it, and the film version going back to the late 1930s, the M10 is an ideal street camera.  When we saw John Kerry, a new civilian, it was easy to capture his presence even though the M, a rangefinder, takes only manual-focus lenses.

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It continues the Leica tradition as the essential street camera — small, fast, non-threatening.  In fact, this version of the M is as small as their film cameras used to be.  And with the ISO dial on the camera itself, not just a menu item you have to press a button to access, the camera is faster to operate on the street than ever.

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womens-march-33Did we mention the light was truly awful? A few images were shot at ISO 800, but the majority here were shot at either ISO 1600 or 3200, and in post-processing, only the slightest amount of noise reduction was necessary.

I’d worried before coming down to the March that I had only a single battery, but having taken over 200 photos, when I left, the battery was down to 75% — which is incredible.

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We came in solidarity with the marchers, in alignment with the cause, with a genuine sense of alarm about the era that is being ushered in.  But we also came on a mission to test this camera and see how it did in the wild.  There were a few hiccups — not the Leica freezes of old, and nothing that interfered with the shooting.

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Despite the bad light and garish colors of the pussy ears and costumes, I found the M10’s color rendering to be incredibly accurate.  In Lightroom, I tried seeing if I could get a more pleasing white balance, but Auto seemed closest to what I remembered from having been there.  Leica has come a long way since the M8 in getting Auto White Balance right.

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We have used every Leica digital M since the M8 a decade ago.  We were not one who complained about the size of the M240, because by adding Live View, it enabled us to use, on occasion, an EVF and, with an adaptor, long Leica R lenses.  The M240 also had video capabilities.  This new M has scrapped the video, but gotten smaller in the hand as a reward, and the EVF — which I did not use today — is pretty great.  I find the optical viewfinder in the M10 the best I have ever used, and found it very easy today to focus even in the jostling of the crowd.

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So the ultimate street camera is even better.  Which is a good thing.  We think we’re going to be out on the streets quite a bit in the months and years ahead.

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Reflections On The D.C. Funk Parade

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on May 3, 2015 by johnbuckley100

Funk Parade 7-4 We couldn’t help thinking, as we got to the corner of 14th and U, that the street fair preceding it and the route to be taken by the D.C. Funk Parade was exactly where, in 1968, the riots that gutted Washington’s interior all began.  Even as our nearby neighbor Baltimore was bracing for more disturbances in the wake of Freddie Gray’s murder by police, D.C. was fixing to throw a party, a parade. Funk Parade 7-2 14th and U: exactly the street corner where, on the Thursday night in April 1968 when word of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination reached the streets, the Nation’s Capital began to burn, with key commercial corridors — the heart of Black D.C. in particular — not recovering for thirty or more years. Funk Parade 7-14 That the Funk Parade would travel from the Howard Theater at one end of U Street, to the Lincoln Theater at the other end, made sense symbolically.  Washington is far from a perfect city.  If you created a histogram of its population, you would still see the zone to the left completely black and the zone to the right completely white.  But especially along this commercial entertainment zone, so filled with history from the Duke Ellington era to the time that began, for some of us, when the 930 Club moved nearby and rock bands began playing in a neighborhood white kids might previously have feared to tread, D.C. has become a city where whites and blacks mix more freely than most others in the U.S. Funk Parade 7-7 And so the D.C. Funk Parade was preceded by a street fair in the U Street Corridor, as it is called, with every alley booming with music. Funk Parade 7-6 Kids were there with parents, old folks mixed with the young, and for a few hours, the city shined. Funk Parade 7 We could not help thinking also about how history was everywhere around us, and the hero of the past might now loom with irony in the present. Funk Parade 5 But as the parade time came closer, this was a city ready to get its funk on. Funk Parade 7-9 People were out in their celebration finery. Funk Parade 7-8 And the parade itself — which for some weird reason had been forced to go along a different path last year, until this year a Change.org petition and a new mayor restored it to its rightful route — was finally almost here. Funk Parade 7-10 The streets filled and people took their places, even as clouds gathered behind us. Funk Parade 3 Until finally the Funk Parade arrived, and it was a joyous event. Funk Parade 7-13 Everyone clamored to see it.  And we were again left reflecting on what a remarkable city our home of more than 30 years really is, its problems notwithstanding.  What was destroyed by civil disturbances 47 years ago has in many ways come back, with a changed, multiracial population.  The very streets that were destroyed by rioting — 14th Street, the U Street Corridor, 7th Street, the H Street Corridor — being the places that today have been restored as the most vibrant sections of a city that is livelier than ever.  It made us hope that nearby Baltimore can have the same rejuvenation, but in much, much less time. Funk Parade 7-19 We know there is much to think of, to reflect on, if the progress that D.C. has made is to continue in the future. All images Leica M (typ-240) and 35mm Summilux.

Hear The Word, Parts 1 and 2

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on November 9, 2013 by johnbuckley100

7th and H Street on a beautiful autumn Saturday is the center of D.C.   And don’t the street preachers know it.

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But there’s a lot of competition for everyone’s attention.

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Leica M, 35mm Summilux.

A Different Kind of American Gothic

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on October 24, 2013 by johnbuckley100

Halloween is a very important holiday, for some folks.  Leica M, 35mm Summilux Asph FLE.

Seriously Halloween

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