Carrying a camera

It’s been a while, but now that I’m almost moved in to the new place, I think it’s high time I start photographing again. Mostly this means carrying around the camera, even if I haven’t gotten used to pressing the shutter button again.

Recently, “the camera” means my trusty Leica and [the original lens I purchased with it](http://terrychay.com/article/cosina-voigtlander-lenses.shtml “The crack cocaine of the Leica World. I have five M-mount lenses, but this is still my favorite. Maybe because I’m used to the focal length; maybe it’s because it is silver.”).

Marie at the Food Court
Marie at the Mall
Stonestown Mall, San Francisco, California

Leica M8, Cosina-Voigtländer NOKTON 35mm F1.2 Aspherical
1/60sec, iso 160, 35mm (47mm)


Marie was couched over her sushi when I asked her to look up, but I like her expression in this photo. Candids are like a box of (usually really-bad out-of-focus) chocolates. This one is out-of-focus also, but you can’t tell because at f/1.2 the background separation is insane.

One thing a lot of people don’t realize about primitive cameras like this rangefinder is that they can only focus in the dead-center. You usually don’t want to compose that way, so you pre-focus with the subject’s eyes on the center, re-compose, and then take the photograph.

L1002665
Standing up straight
Stonestown Mall, San Francisco, California

Leica M8, Cosina-Voigtländer NOKTON 35mm F1.2 Aspherical
1/60sec, iso 160, 35mm (47mm)

Many people forget to do portrait orientation. Unless your camera shoots square photographs, always try for a portrait orientation. And since it is digital, you can always shoot black-and-white in-camera, and then recover the colors from the RAW photograph—like I did here.

Again note the focus point (her left eye) is not dead-center. Recompose before pressing the shutter!

L1002666
L1002666
Stonestown Mall, San Francisco, California

Leica M8, Cosina-Voigtländer NOKTON 35mm F1.2 Aspherical
1/60sec, iso 160, 35mm (47mm)

The meter on the Leica M8 is this messed up center-weighted slit. So it is best to put as much skin tone in the center and take a test photo in “A” mode. Then adjust manually from there (my first three frames were unusably dark because of the bright backlight). Thank God for digital (even if this digital Leica barely outpaces an old Polaroid in development time).

Once I have a good setting, I “stay there”—in this case 1/60 sec. Even then, you can see from this un-retouched in-camera JPEG that she underexposed about 2/3 of a stop. Postprocessing recovered most of it.

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