Tuesday August 29, 2017

NEW YORK NEW YORK – I strapped my Leica 50mm f.95 Noctilux onto my Leica Monochrom camera today and went out to the Conservatory Garden in Central Park. The concept was to shoot it wide open with an neutral density filter, using live view to focus, rather than the rangefinder which isn’t that reliable at f.95. From a focus standpoint the results were fine, but I’m finding that I don’t really care for the swirly bokeh – the look of the out of focus portions of the image – that characterizes this lens. Judge for yourself.

Day 2,875 of one photograph every day for the rest of my life.

On this day seven years ago (day 319): Food Market, Nairobi

Thursday April 13, 2017

NEW YORK NEW YORK – I’ve been shooting off and on with a Leica lens made in 1962: a 50mm “rigid” Summicron. Mechanically and as an aesthetic object it may be the most beautiful lens every made. It was the staple for photojournalists in the 1950s and 1960s. I’ve generally been using it in daylight stopped down to f5.6 or so and have been pleased with its performance and rendering.

My untested bias this that this uncomplicated design from the 1950s has excellent “bokeh”. In other words the out of focus portions of an image are creamy and transitions from focused to unfocused are smooth. I decided to test this hypothesis today so I mounted the lens and fitted a neutral density filter so it could shoot wide open (with thin depth of field) in daylight and retraced yesterday’s path through Central Park (which I shot yesterday with my Luxocron lens with pretty good results, bokeh-wise)>

I shot a hundred or so images with disappointing results. Say goodbye to nostalgia. The 1962 lens produced harsh, jarring bokeh. In fact at f2.0 the rendering of in-focus portions of the image was harsh. There were very few images that I found useable on these pages – see the twigs and daffodils below. This lens is going into retirement.

I’ll be continuing bokeh testing for the next few days.

Day 2,737 of one photograph every day for the rest of my life.

Central Park

On this day two years ago (day 2007): Boston

Day 2007 0f one photograph every day for the rest of my life.
Boston

Wednesday April 12, 2017

NEW YORK NEW YORK – My one-photograph-every-day project is heavily weighted toward landscape and cityscape. Each season presents challenges to the landscape photographer. The problem with Spring in New York is that after the dirty snow drift month of February and March, the lavishly flowering parks here have an irresistible attraction. But as I review the work of other photographers I know that pictures of flowers generate little or no interest. I should add an “no flowers” rule to my “no pets” and “no cute kids” rules.

I shoot some floral duds in the Spring. This year I’m trying to circumvent the problem by shooting wide open with neutral density filter to at least separate out backgrounds. I’m cycling though all of the 50mm lenses that I own to sort out (again) what their out of focus images look like (the quality that is referred to as “bokeh”), Today the 50mm APO-Summicron is up – the lens that I refer to as the Luxocron.

Day 2,736 of one photograph every day for the rest of my life.

Manhattan
Manhattan
Manhattan

On this day two years ago (day 2,006): Connecticut backlit.

Backlit
Backlit

Monday April 3, 2017

WARREN CONNECTICUT – I had an extremely productive day with my Leica Monochrom and a 10mm Voigtlander lens. 10mm is as wide as it gets. I mean it’s really wide. It basically takes in everything that you see. It’s rectilinear (ass opposed to a fish-eye) which means that straight lines appear straight, but the size and shape of objects near the edge of the frame are distorted. It’s a handful to handle because it has to be absolutely level and orthogonal – otherwise the wide angle distortion produces weird images.

Day 2,727 of one photograph every day for the rest of my life.

Really wide
Really wide
Really wide
Really wide
Really wide
Really wide

On this day three years ago (day 1,631): Park Avenue

Racquet Club
Racquet Club