Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Children are tough. They experience things and deal with them most times, and somehow find ways of coping. In the aftermath of the recent earthquakes in Sumatra, I met a few hardy kids who were taking it all in their stride.

Monday, October 26, 2009

so what does bokeh at 21mm look like?

At close distances, surprisingly very much like the 50/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH stopped down a little. This was shot pretty close to the minimum focus distance, and wide open. (All images shot with the Leica M8 and 21/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH.)

Although backgrounds in middle distance are quite blurred, there's still enough definition to be able to tell what's in the background.

If you don't have any cues in your image as to scale or geometry, it's quite easy to believe that you're shooting with a normal or moderate tele:

Backgrounds are always busy, because it's a superwide and the further away from the camera you get, the more there is going on. So no matter how fast your aperture, the relative blur you can achieve compared to a longer focal length is always going to be significantly less - just look at the depth of field scales.

At longer distances, there's just enough defocus to separate the subject from the background - it looks MUCH better with a large image, or better yet, a print. This has the nice advantage of giving a photo a more 3D feel thanks to that separation.

Overall, the 21 'lux actually has a bit of a schizophrenic personality: at closer subject distances - say below 1.5m - it shoots and renders like a short tele; you have to be very careful of your focus point. At around 5m, it devolves into a supremely competent classical wide: focusing precision isn't that critical and you can mostly get away with zone focusing. Even wide open at f1.4 you've got enough depth of field to cover everything to infinity.

Bottom line: not as much isolation as I'd have thought or liked, but opens up new opportunities when light starts to get low, or your subjects are a little closer...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

continuing the urban monologue

No better way to loosen up a focusing ring than by shooting...

Petticoat Lane, London
Leica M8, 21/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH

Yet another protest, St. Martin-in-the-fields Church, Trafalgar Square, London
Leica M8, 21/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH

Just your average migrants
Leica M8, 21/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH

Up, London Bridge
Leica M8, 21/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH

Clink Street, London
Leica M8, 21/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


An elderly lady leaves her earthquake damaged home for a communal meal area. Padang Pariaman, West Sumatra, October 2009.

The Malaysian Insider, a local news portal/website has picked up on the earthquake material and published it today.

Do take a look at the article.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Faces, West Sumatra Earthquake, October 2009

The mass media has focused on Padang, West Sumatra for virtually all of their images and stories. Like in many mass populated Asian country, the hardest hit and longest suffering members of society are those in rural and semi-rural areas. MERCY Malaysia's mission of medical aid and emergency relief based itself around Pariaman, a smaller city, approximately 80km north of Padang.

While entire villages have been destroyed and casualty counts still uncertain, the resolve of the hardy and tested come to the fore. Even before aid has arrived, life is set back in motion, with re-building and healing at the very top of the agenda.

Batu Basah, Pariaman, West Sumatra, October 2009

Tandikat, Pariaman, West Sumatra, October 2009

Batu Basah, Pariaman, West Sumatra, October 2009

MERCY Malaysia mobile clinic at Sungei Ibur, Pariaman, West Sumatra, October 2009

MERCY Malaysia mobile clinic at Ampalu, Pariaman, West Sumatra, October 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

coming soon...

It's been a busy couple of weeks for both of us, and yes, that's what you think it is. Review coming in the next few days!

Incidentally, I had a chance to play with the new 50/0.95 Noctilux-M ASPH; long story short, it has a very Summilux ASPH look. It's not quite as sharp as the Voigtlander 50/1.1 wide open, but the OOF areas are just much smoother. At 1.4 it's a toss up between the Noct 0.95, the Voigt 1.1 and the Summilux ASPH. It's also huge: about the size of a manual focus Nikon AI 105/1.8.

Also, a thought on the new D3S: can you actually even see well enough to compose if you require ISO 102,400 for a hand-holdable shot?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

all about the skies

No doubt about it, winter is coming.

Technical note: no HDR mapping. Just a good old fashioned red filter overlay to darken the blue channel.

Tate Modern, London
Leica M8, Zeiss ZM 21/2.8 Biogon

The call
Southbank, London
Leica M8, Zeiss ZM 21/2.8 Biogon

Tate Modern, London
Leica M8, Zeiss ZM 21/2.8 Biogon

NB: What looks like a halo from overprocessing is actually a serendipitous cloud formation.

Southbank, London
Leica M8, Zeiss ZM 21/2.8 Biogon

Girl talk
Southbank, London
Leica M8, Zeiss ZM 21/2.8 Biogon

Sunday, October 4, 2009


And now for a change of pace, while Fuzzbucket is on assignment documenting the recent devastation in Indonesia (I can't wait to see the images from that.)

I'm working on a project for pro-am photographers which I think might interest you. Consider it an advanced preview!

Pullfolio (www.pullfolio.com) is a service - the only service - which uses your flickr stream to construct a professional photo webpage and portfolio. It updates when you update flickr, and you can selectively choose what goes in. Think of it this way: it's for the photographer who concentrates on shooting and can't code for nuts (like me), but would like to be able to show potential clients a serious, professional looking site when needed. It's powerful enough to create something like my own site out of it and pull photos off flickr if you've got the coding savvy, or automatically setup with a few clicks. Pro account users can also control their meta tags for search engines, as well as analytics code to monitor usage. We've also got plenty of exciting features planned and in development - including methods for increasing visibility of work for pros.

At the moment we're in invite-only beta mode, but plan to go live soon. So, if this is something you'd like to be part of, in return for giving it a test drive and telling your friends about it, we'd like to give you a free account: you can use this link to sign up:

And the best thing is you can tell us what features YOU'd want to use! So go check it out.