2009-06-25 Out comes the Leica

I haven’t shot the Leica in a long, long while. The main reason is both the M-mount lenses I have were busted and I have been too lazy to get them repaired. But actually, the larger reason is that I haven’t been shooting much of anything in over a year.

The introduction of the Olympus E-P1 reminds me that I have to get some of my money’s worth out of my cameras. Good dSLR bodies depreciate at the rate of 25% per year compounded. Photography with $5000 bodies gets expensive quickly!

So I purchased the 40mm sister of the lens I mentioned before and started to snap away—the fact that I can adapt this as an 80mm f/1.4 portrait lens on a E-P1 figured partially into that decision :-)

I’ve been trying to take advantage of my recent move to SoMa to set up some way to share interesting discussions with friends. Since I didn’t want to kill my friends with my risotto just yet, that meant scheduling a dinner at a nearby restaurant suggested by an old friend but new neighbor Jonathan.

2009-0205 7
COCO500 Dinner Menu
COCO500, South of Market, San Francisco, California

Leica M8, Cosina-Voigtländer NOKTON Classic 40mm f1.4 S.C., B+W 486 IR Cut
1/20sec, iso640, 40mm (53mm)

Just outside the restaurant, flackette met two friends Ryan and Stephanie. While they were catching up, I decided to practice trying to manually focus on their new pug, Frank, who resembles his namesake—delta a cut of CTO.

Frank
Frank
COCO500, South of Market, San Francisco, California

Leica M8, Cosina-Voigtländer NOKTON Classic 40mm f1.4 S.C., B+W 486 IR Cut
1/30sec, iso640, 40mm (53mm)

Shooting the restaurant

When doing “what I’m eating” food photography with a Leica, the big thing to remember is that your close focusing is ass and so is the noise. This has the added benefit of a razor thin depth of field which is all the rage.

COCOmole tacos
COCOmole tacos
COCO500, South of Market, San Francisco, California

Leica M8, Cosina-Voigtländer NOKTON Classic 40mm f1.4 S.C., B+W 486 IR Cut
1/16sec, iso1250, 40mm (53mm)

The color is off because, I couldn’t find my calibrator because of the move. The big lesson here is is that you must have a properly calibrated display if you plan on doing food photography.

Because you are further away, you end up getting a “whole plate” shot. This can be alleviated with creative abuse of the vignette tool. I personally prefer the gamma vignette in Apple Aperture.

Sardines
Sardines
COCO500, South of Market, San Francisco, California

Leica M8, Cosina-Voigtländer NOKTON Classic 40mm f1.4 S.C., B+W 486 IR Cut
1/30sec, iso1250, 40mm (53mm)

No, this isn’t a closeup. The Sardines are really that big.

Yes, .7 meters means standing on my chair to take the photo of my own dish.

american kobe bavette steak, mizuna, organic radish, salsa verde
America Kobe Bavette Steak
COCO500, South of Market, San Francisco, California

Leica M8, Cosina-Voigtländer NOKTON Classic 40mm f1.4 S.C., B+W 486 IR Cut
1/30sec, iso640, 40mm (53mm)

Believe us, we’re just as confused as you abot how something can be both American and Kobe.

Portraits

Here were two other people I ate with…

Shire
Shire
COCO500, South of Market, San Francisco, California

Leica M8, Cosina-Voigtländer NOKTON Classic 40mm f1.4 S.C., B+W 486 IR Cut
1/30sec, iso1250, 40mm (53mm)

Check out that Bokeh? It’s really insane in color, but I spared you.

Ma.tt
Ma.tt
COCO500, South of Market, San Francisco, California

Leica M8, Cosina-Voigtländer NOKTON Classic 40mm f1.4 S.C., B+W 486 IR Cut
1/12sec, iso1250, 40mm (53mm)

What’s with the suit?

With Facebook, WordPress, and Tagged in the house, obviously, we talked about how great Ruby on Rails is. ;-)

Besides that, I won’t bore you with our dinner conversation because you weren’t willing to play credit card roulette with us. You gotta pony up!

I will mention that Matt tried to levitate the green beans.

Fried Green Beans
Fried Green Beans
COCO500, South of Market, San Francisco, California

Leica M8, Cosina-Voigtländer NOKTON Classic 40mm f1.4 S.C., B+W 486 IR Cut
2 images, iso1250, 40mm (53mm)

I “won” at roulette, but beyond that I can’t say because someone took pity on my and treated me to some whiskey…the rest of the night was a blur and I woke up with a killer hangover.

Definitely worth trying again.

Aperture note

If you are wondering how I made the cool borders, with a whole lot of fiddling, I did it with BorderFX in Aperture. I used to use a Photoshop action for this, but this has the advantage of looking nicer from a preset and being much easier to create. It’d be nice if I could do more customization of fields, but since I had trouble with the automated field mapping working across presets, it’s not that important.

I did find three strange issues though.

The first is that the plugin hung on me. Actually, I’m finding all the Aperture export plugins hang on me randomly with assorted nastiness written to the logs, so I’m guessing it’s a bug in Aperture. Reinhard sent me an update though that seems to be working fine for me.

The second is when you “Edit with… BorderFX” on a previously edited file (i.e. Photoshop file), it replaces the PSD with your own. This is a problem because I currently prefer Photoshop plugins to Aperture plugins for the file size savings when applying multiple Smart Filters. If you edit with BorderFX then loose all that! The workaround is to duplicate version (option-V) before editing. Because of the behavior, I’m guessing this is a bug with Aperture not remembering which plugin was applied to which edit.

The third is the worst of the lot. If you then try to delete the extra version you have, then instead of deleting one of the files, Aperture deletes both! Not only that, but you don’t notice what happens until you leave and restart Aperture. I really got burned by this and lost my intermediate edit because of that. Even if you use Aperture voodoo to “Show Package Contents” there is a high likelihood you won’t be able to find it unless you do it immediately. Since no plug-in was used, this is definitely an Aperture bug.

Click here to report issues.

One thought on “2009-06-25 Out comes the Leica

  1. Pingback: Unsupported RAW workflow in Apple Aperture

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