Archive for Leica SL

Rodeo Night In The Tetons

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on August 26, 2018 by johnbuckley100

Rodeo Project Supplement-21Over on our sister site, TulipFrenzyPhotography.com, we’ve just added a gallery devoted to the Jackson Hole Rodeo.

It is a wonderful, small-town rodeo with riders, bulls and horses assembled, three times a week in the summer, from around the West.  One of the things we like about it so much is the way they incorporate young riders into the competition. Go to Tulip Frenzy Photography for a variety of galleries that have been updated this summer.  But if you’d like a further preview of some more images from the rodeo, see below.  All images Leica SL.

Rodeo Project Supplement-14

Rodeo Project Supplement-2

Rodeo Project Supplement-5

Rodeo Project Supplement-11Rodeo Project Supplement-9Rodeo Project Supplement-12Rodeo Project Supplement-3Rodeo Project Supplement-16Rodeo Project Supplement-18Rodeo Project Supplement-28Rodeo Project Supplement-29Rodeo Project Supplement-34

Out Here In The Fields

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2018 by johnbuckley100

Tetonia-7Leica SL with Super-Vario-Elmar-SL-16-35mm

Teton and Fremont Counties in Idaho can sometimes seem like the red-haired stepchild of Teton County, WY.  They have Teton views, spectacular ones, but Pierre’s Hole is not the same as Jackson Hole, at least in the eyes of tourists and rich folk.  Ah, but in these Idaho counties, around this time of year when it is too smoky to see the Grand Teton from downtown Jackson, they have something special going for them.  We decided to drive over the pass for a look.

Tetonia-3Tetonia-4

These are farming counties.  Yes, many of the people who live there have a tedious and sometimes dangerous commute over the pass to jobs in Jackson, WY: construction, waitering, guiding fishermen, positioning the fannies of Easterners into the embrace of the chairlift that awaits them.  But still, this is farm country.

Tetonia-5

Between Driggs and Ashton, on Route 32, cars and trucks rush on by.  But sometimes it’s fun to mosey along, camera in hand, and pull into turnouts.

Tetonia-6

When I walked behind the silo to take a picture of it, the area around my feet exploded with grasshoppers, moths and butterflies.  I heard them before I set foot there, but couldn’t see them.  A little like Fremont County — you might not notice it until you set foot in it.

Tetonia-2

Tetonia

As we were heading back toward Jackson — with dinner planned at an excellent Thai restaurant in tiny Victor, ID — we saw an old abandoned barn near the road.

Tetonia-8

Tetonia-10

It was a reminder of how harsh life can be out here.  And also how sublime it is, just a few miles away from Jackson Hole, which is considered among the loveliest valleys in the country.  Teton County, ID looked every bit as pretty as its more famous neighbor across the Tetons tonight.

Tetonia-9

The 2018 D.C. Funk Parade

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on May 13, 2018 by johnbuckley100

High Heel Race 2018-18

All images Leica SL and 75mm Noctilux

It almost didn’t happen this year, the Funk Parade.  It’s the city’s greatest single day, and if D.C. had not found a way of bringing it back, we’d be poorer for it.  Thankfully a Kickstarter campaign, the persistence of the organizers, and a groundswell of support prevailed.

Herewith an experiment — trying to use the 75mm Noctilux, with its razor thin focal plane, in bright light at a street event.  We see possibilities.

Here’s the funk.

High Heel Race 2018

High Heel Race 2018-20

High Heel Race 2018-2

High Heel Race 2018-4

High Heel Race 2018-3High Heel Race 2018-5High Heel Race 2018-14High Heel Race 2018-15High Heel Race 2018-7High Heel Race 2018-6High Heel Race 2018-8

High Heel Race 2018-9High Heel Race 2018-16High Heel Race 2018-10High Heel Race 2018-17High Heel Race 2018-12High Heel Race 2018-11

The Tulip Frenzy, 2018

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on April 14, 2018 by johnbuckley100

Tulip Frenzy 18-6

All images Leica SL and Noctilux-M 75mm f/1.25 with 10X ND Filter

We missed the peak.  Which is what happens when you choose to go away for a week during the period when the Tulip Frenzy might emerge.  God, what a joy it is to see these friends, even if they are past their prime.

Tulip Frenzy 18-4

We can’t account for our love of tulips.  Maybe it’s because their advent signals spring in earnest.  The ephemeral appearance.  Their individuality. How they’re a metaphor for financial excess.  The joy they bring to all. Whatever it is, we’re glad they’re here.  Even as by next week they’ll be gone.

Tulip Frenzy 18-10

Tulip Frenzy 18-9

Tulip Frenzy 18-7

Tulip Frenzy 18-2Tulip Frenzy 18-3Tulip Frenzy 18-8

Snow Day With The 75mm Noctilux

Posted in photography with tags , , on March 21, 2018 by johnbuckley100

First day of Spring-2

It’s a fun lens, on a day like today.  Using the Leica SL’s 1:1 aspect ratio means that you give up some megapixels, but get to capture images with a different degree of classicism.

As we wrote a few days, the combination of the new 75mm Noctilux and the Leica SL is a marriage made in photography Heaven.

First day of Spring-3

It has not snowed very much, and it’s very wet snow, but enough fell make me want to see what could be captured in the brief time before the melt.

First day of Spring-4

We’ve done this in the past with the 50 Noctilux, but my eye is beginning to adjust to the 75 focal distance.  The square format helps.

First day of Spring-5

The drop off from the in-focus area to what is out of focus, with the corresponding softening in contrast, is like no other lens, including the 50 APO, that we’ve worked with.

First day of Spring-6

Another big difference between the 75 and 50 Nocti’s is the minimum focusing distance is reduced.  This is not quite like a macro lens, but we do appreciate being able to get closer.

We cannot wait for the Tulip Frenzy…

 

Preliminary Thoughts On The Leica 75mm Noctilux Used With The Leica SL

Posted in Leica Images, photography with tags , , , on March 18, 2018 by johnbuckley100

Nocti 75-16All images Leica Noctilux-M 75mm f/1.25 and Leica SL

In 2012, when Leica released the M9 Monochrom and the 50mm APO-Summicron-Asph, the pairing of camera and lens was considered by many, including me, to be a marriage made in Heaven.  The combination of the digital CCD sensor and extreme resolving power of that modern lens produced pictures that were unequaled until, in May of 2015, Leica upgraded the Monochrom with a CMOS sensor.  Purists complained about the switch from the poetic CCD to the more utilitarian CMOS sensor format, but the big improvement lay in the fact that with CMOS, live-view technology enabled the photographer to use an Electronic Viewfinder, which crude as that first-generation EVF was, enabled images to be captured with a focus precision worthy of the lens.

We also loved using our 50mm Noctilux f/0.95, Leica’s legendary thin focal plane low-light marvel, with the Monochrom.  But in 2015, when Leica released the SL, a mirrorless professional camera with an EVF that many believe to be the finest in use with the 35mm format, new possibilities were opened.  The SL’s EVF made both the 50mm APO and the 50mm Noctilux incredibly easy to get exactly that shot wide open you’d always dreamed of.  We couldn’t imagine a better combination of lens and camera until Leica went and spoiled everything by releasing the 50mm Summilux-SL 50, another low-light marvel that, dammit, made use of the SL’s autofocus.  Suddenly, it became the go-to lens for certain images, because the bokeh was really pleasing, the color rendition was marvelous, and the thin focal plane was completely usable with an autofocus that, while initially slow, was incredibly accurate.  We thought then, that’s it: there couldn’t be a better combination of camera and lens for stationary images.  And then yesterday, my 75 MM Noctilux-M arrived.

Nocti 75

Yes, when word that Leica was releasing a lens that had a shorter minimum focal distance than the 50mm Noctilux and, nine years after that version of the Noctilux was released, it also claimed to have a variety of other improvements, we were intrigued but not sold.  And then we thought it through.  We are fortunate to have both the 50mm APO-Summicron-Asph, that manual focus gem mentioned in the first paragraph, and the SL-50mm Summilux.  Why did we actually still need the *50mm* Noctilux?  Moreover, if we traded that Nocti in, as well as our 75mm APO-Summicron — a lens we loved but seldom used — we could get within striking distance of the very expensive 75mm Noctilux.  And so we traded in our 50mm Noctilux and 75mm APO-Summicron and waited, somewhat impatiently, for the new 75mm Noctilux to arrive.

Nocti 75-3

First impressions of this lens, when used with with the Leica SL, are that it is every bit the match of that 50mm APO-Summicron-Asph and Monochrom combination.  And, it makes for the ultimate Noctilux experience because it actualizes the Nocti into what it is supposed to be: the paradigm of selective focus, achievable through actually being able to focus on what you have in mind.

Yes, this is a specialty lens.  You won’t use it every day.  It is pretty much a one-trick pony. It may not be ideal — given its size and weight — with the M10.  But it feels perfectly balanced and not too heavy with the Leica SL.  And given that camera’s gorgeous EVF and precision focusing using the magnification button, you can get shots previously only dreamed about with a Noctilux.  For example, in the picture below I was focusing on the bird’s eye.  You may not be able to see it here, but honest, the bird’s eye is, on my computer screen, captured in pinpoint focus.

Nocti 75-8

Yesterday, I had time only to take the lens out on some errands but it immediately impressed me, in combination with the SL, for how easy it was to get the focus I wanted, as well as for the incredibly gorgeous drop off between the in-focus plane and the out-of-focus area.  Below, I focused on the technician’s eyelashes.

Nocti 75-5

I was pleasantly surprised by how little color fringing there was, especially compared to the 50mm Noctilux.  Today, when I took it to the National Cathedral, it was a joy to use in bright sunshine, taking advantage of the SL’s electronic shutter.  (We can’t wait to get an ND filter to use with this.)

Nocti 75-10

Over emphasis on bokeh is an adolescent vice.  You use the Noctilux for special effects.  One of the things that makes it so seductive, though, is the way it can be used to to create relatively abstract images in certain situations.

Nocti 75-9

Nocti 75-13

Nocti 75-15

The lens performs as if it had an Apochromatic blending of red, green, and blue colors.  But it also seems like it is going to be a very special lens for black and white photos.

Nocti 75-18

Nocti 75-7

We will have to get accustomed to the 75mm focal length, as 50mm or 35mm are our standard.  But once we’ve gotten the hang of it, we can see many uses for this special lens.

Nocti 75-17

Nocti 75-12

For Leica users, and especially those who have struggled over the years with getting the image they wanted from their Noctilux in use with digital Ms, trust us when we say that our ratio of images taken where the focus was spot on was like no previous experience we’ve had.  The SL EVF, the magnification tool, and the 75 Noctilux work perfectly in combination, even when taking into account the significantly smaller focal plane of the 75 when compared to the 50.  (We have read that the focal plane at minimum focal distance is 8cm, compared to the 50’s 20cm.  That’s a big difference!)

Nocti 75-11

Nearly six years ago, we thought that Leica had produced the greatest combination of camera and lens, the Platonic ideal.  With the Leica SL and the new 75mm Noctilux, we think they have surpassed their prior performance.

NOTE: We have some updated images of the 75 Noctilux in use with the Leica SL here.

 

The Found Abstract Art Of Yellowstone

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on September 28, 2017 by johnbuckley100

Yellowstone Abstract-3

All images Leica SL and Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90 ASPH

If you visit Yellowstone National Park and drive up the eastern side of its crazy-eight loop, the world is precise, rectilinear, even as it is, of course, wildly gorgeous and gorgeously wild.  A gorge in fact, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, shows how the park got its name, and if you are a photographer, you are drawn to take certain pictures, year after year, each time reveling in the precision and sharpness of your lens capturing every facet of the rock faces in the plummet to the water.

Yellowstone Abstract-16

Ah, but after you’ve spent time crossing Dunraven Pass and seeing the movement of the animals in the Lamar Valley, when after a day or so it is time to head back down the west side of the park, things get weirder.  This is the land of the fumarole, of the geyser, a steaming, smoking remnant of the volcano underneath your feet. You leave the world where the sharpness of your lens is what matters and enter a place where the art that’s thrust before you everywhere you turn has become unmoored from familiar geometry.

Yellowstone Abstract-10

Once you’re in the Norris Geyser Basin, you are in a completely unfamiliar place, mystical in many ways.  And before you know it, you’re surrounded by pure abstraction and found art.

Yellowstone AbstractYellowstone is sublime, an environment worthy of Rilke.  As you work your way further down its western road, it becomes nothing short of magical.  The herds of bison you’ve seen earlier in the day seem as far away as the grid pattern of Manhattan. Things get very strange.  And found art, nature’s Jackson Pollacks, is everywhere you look.

Yellowstone Abstract-4

Fountain Paint Pot, a perennial stop on our visits there, is different every time, the bacteria pools a completely different color then when last you were there.  Which makes sense, since they’re piping hot and exist in a fierce environment.

Yellowstone Abstract-2

Yellowstone Abstract-6Yellowstone Abstract-5

You begin to wonder how the surface of the Earth would look as a giant photograph hung on a large living room wall.

Yellowstone Abstract-7

Yellowstone Abstract-8

Yellowstone Abstract-9

By the time you get to Grand Prismatic Spring, you know that no human could possibly compete with the caldera of Yellowstone in creating non-representational beauty.

Yellowstone Abstract-12

Yellowstone Abstract-13

The Earth is a beautiful place, but the Lower Geyser Basin is more than simply beautiful.  It is, in its own way, terrifying, even as you marvel at it, jaw agape.

Yellowstone Abstract-17

Yellowstone Abstract-11

Lurking behind the question of how nature determined its design is, of course, the world’s greatest mystery.  Where did this come from? How did it happen to be here?  Answer that and millions will follow your words down the centuries.

Yellowstone Abstract-18

And when you leave, and head back to your safe existence, you do so determined to come back to this repository of glorious natural art.  And you do so, year after year, like visiting the Louvre, or in this case, Nature’s MOMA.

Yellowstone Abstract-14

For more images of Greater Yellowstone in color, go here.  And if you’d prefer black and white, go here.

%d bloggers like this: