Leica Glow:An appreciation of classic Leica M photography.

Posted in age of elegance, camera, England, hobbys, Leica, Leica Lens, Leica photography, luxury camera, photo, photoblog, Photography, photojournalism, road trip, rustic, travel, Uncategorized, vintage, Wales, writing on September 9th, 2014 by wabisabipix

kd_leica_m6_1The Leica rangefinder camera has over the years become as legendary as the famous photographers that have become synonymous with using it.

Cartier Bresson,Eve Arnold,Robert Capa,Robert Frank and Vivian Maier to name but a few, have all been associated with its name and the body of work created with this photographic tool has spanned over many decades.

In an era where photographic quality and longevity seem to be taking a back seat, in a world obsessed with the quick fix and inherent obsolescence and yearly upgrades, it seems the ubiquitous smartphone has dominated the requirements of the masses.Even internet service providers are struggling to cater for the deluge of every day images flooding the internet and it is allegedly rapidly running out of capacity in its current form.

Interestingly there appears to be a rekindling of interest by many in the younger generation that have read and learned about the photographic legends of the golden era of photojournalism and are kicking back against the digital world that cocoons them.Many are seeking to learn more about the old techniques of dark room printing and the power and minimalism of black and white photography.

Film appears to be making a come back and even the film industry is turning away from the current vogue to use video and returning to celluloid in a bid to recapture that classic 35mm look.Such is rumoured to be the case in that of the new Star Wars Film currently being filmed at Pinewood Studios in the UK.

The legendary Kodak film Tri-X, famous for use by such photographers as David Bailey,Don McCullin,Anton Corbijn and Sebastiao Salgado,is also gathering resurgence of interest,especially for those seeking that natural film grain and rich blacks and whites that add character and depth to an image,a complete contrast to the digital, rather clinical, grain free effects of todays digital offerings.

Indeed a close friend who had a fridge load of date expired film has found that it was purchased enthusiastically on ebay by fans of Lomography who love the psychedelic effects of the film in their Holga and Lomo cameras who cannot get enough of it.

Many are now stepping off the digital merry go round and seeking out classic film cameras to shoot their important pictures and memories, after all its easy to scan a negative for internet purposes and you can keep a negative for archive purposes for hundreds of years, but when your hard drive dies or becomes obsolete thats a big problem,who can remember zip disks?

Over the decades I have used many cameras,but one that I have a special fondness for is the Leica M6 with a 35mm F2 Summicron IV pre aspherical.

This lens has become known as the “King of Bokeh” among rangefinder aficionados.

A true jewel of a lens,this optic is possessed of a unique set of characteristics that almost give the lens a life of its own.

When shot wide open this lens gives an extraordinary creamy bokeh(Japanese Bo-ke),a term coined by the japanese to describe the out of focus or blurry background effect when a wide aperture is selected.It also gives a wonderful glow in the specular highlights and a full range of tones that really jump out of the picture giving an almost 3D quality frequently described as the Leica glow.It is almost as if the lens maker has dropped a tiny pipet of bottled nostalgia onto the front lens coating and all images suddenly seem in some way like a captured frame from a dream sequence.

Mechanically the optic really is a dream.It has beautiful click stops,silky smooth focus and a full array of depth of field settings,enabling a photographer to take full advantage of setting hyper focal distance and pre-setting the camera for street photography.

I also like the 90mm Elmarit f2.8 which is ideal when you need that extra little bit of reach or a tight portrait and the gorgeous Elmar 50mm f2.8 is a cracking pop out pancake lens in the old tradition and style for keeping in a discrete pocket.

In modern times the Leica M6 body may not seem the most ergonomically designed of film cameras and the loading procedure can be a little bit more time consuming than opening the back door of a typical 35mm film SLR, however in my opinion this is not what rangefinder photography is about.If you require a camera to rattle off 12fps and send the images directly online via a wifi connection to your laptop then you are looking in the wrong place.However if you are the kind of person for whom the internet is a mere after thought and you want a small discrete camera that can be hand held to stunningly low shutter speeds and which is whisper silent and doesn’t draw attention,and if you enjoy doing your own black and white prints or thrill when you get back your prints from a lab,then this could be for you.

The Leica rangefinder is for people who prefer to smell the roses and enjoy life at a more laid back pace while taking the scenic route.It is for those who may relish the pleasure of sitting in a cafe watching the world go by while enjoying the pleasure of winding on the gears of a classic precision photographic instrument,almost like a swiss watch,that instills you with confidence in its design and the quality of its build and optics.The enjoyment of following a classic ritual from an age of elegance that makes you feel that taking pictures with it should be more thoughtful and considered.

 

In essence,shooting a Leica rangefinder eventually becomes an almost Zen like experience as one can see all the action prior to the subject entering the frame,preset the focus using hyper focal distance and use experienced judgement to set the light levels.Combining all these elements successfully creates an almost instantaneous extension of your mind and eye and culminates in a single understated whisper quiet click!

They are such mechanical wonders that they do not even require batteries.In my opinion thats quite something in this modern age.

It takes practice and discipline to master this technique of course,but the reward is there for those patient enough.

Indeed Leica cameras and their lenses are not cheap and seeking out the classic lenses is a costly affair.However of all the cameras on the market they are clearly an investment and you will almost certainly find that the camera or lens you buy either holds its value or becomes more valuable as the years pass by,the problem is that you probably will not want to sell it anyway as it becomes very much a part of your life.

There is also something pleasing knowing that in all likelihood that rangefinder will still be shooting when those digital wonders are are long gone into the annals of upgrade history or are relegated to the status of expensive paperweights.Indeed a battered and bronzed Leica with years of usage,has a certain beauty and appeal to it that is quite frankly priceless.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING:A VISIT TO THE FORMER HOME OF RUDYARD KIPLING.

Posted in aircraft, britain, Burwell, country houses, England, english village, enthusiasts, europe, Great War Society, Nikon, photo, photoblog, Photography, quaint, re-enactment, renactment, retro, road trip, travel, vintage, walking, walks, warhorse, Western, world war one, writing on August 3rd, 2014 by wabisabipix

A glorious sunny day in August and what better a place to visit than the former home of Rudyard Kipling the author of such classics as The Jungle Book and The Man Who Would Be King. Set in the rolling countryside of the  Sussex Wield,just outside the village of Burwash,it is a wonderful 17th century Jacobean house that was his home until his death in 1936. The house is now cared for by the National Trust and is open to the public. You can wander unhindered around the splendid oak beamed interior left very much as the great man left them. His own writing desk is left pretty much as if he has just popped out for an afternoon tea,scrapped sheets of paper containing his writings piled high in the litter bin opposite his desk,even his own Rolls Royce is on display in the nearby garage for viewing. The rooms are full of artefacts that reflect Kipling’s association with the East. The gardens are a spectacular affair,sunflowers ablaze and fresh vegetables and herbs in the allotment growing in abundance. Here you can pick up one of the kindly offered blankets,borrowed to visitors,and enjoy a picnic on the spectacular lawn surrounded by its rustic charm. My visit coincided with the national commemorations of World War One. Hundreds of events are taking place across Britain to remember the “Pals”-groups of friends,neighbours or colleagues who joined up to form their own battalions in World War One.In the spirit of the event, the lawns at “Batemans”,which is the name of this splendid house,had a wartime biplane parked in its midst and a gathering of tents as re-enactors from the Great War Society sent us back on a trip in time to the beginning of the First World War. Mostly volunteers,they gave authentic displays and explanations of the weaponry from the period including pitched battles that stunned the crowds and sent the gunfire and explosions thundering across the landscape.Truly spectacular and a fitting salute to the man who wrote many classic about the period and who indeed played his well documented part in the Great War.

More images can be viewed here:http://…/p830052178 Images Copyright:Kerry Davies/No unauthorised usage/All Rights Reserved

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

ALL ABOARD THE CRAB AND WINKLE LINE:A DAY OUT IN WHITSTABLE.

Posted in art, beach, classic, England, english village, Kent, lumix lx7, nature, news, photo, photoblog, Photography, photojournalism, quaint, railway, relax, retro, road trip, rustic, steam locomotive, sunday lunch, tourism, train, travel, unusual, village, vintage, walking, walks, Whitstable, writing on July 6th, 2014 by wabisabipix

A short drive out of London, on the Kent coast,lies a gem of a town that still retains the flavour of an old English seaside resort of the kind that is much missed these days on this sceptred isle. Whitstable is a perfect family destination for those in the know,where time hasn’t moved along in a hurry and families can still enjoy that beach experience very much relegated to the halcyon days of nostalgia. An afternoon spent wandering along the sea walls, meandering among the multicoloured beach huts, breathing deeply of the sea air and exploring the old fishing village and harbour with its fresh seafood,Oysters,Cockles and Winkles.Exploring the old alleys filled with boutique shops or simply savouring the peace and quiet and recharging ones batteries here,the traveller is left with the feeling of time well spent. Originally built in 1832 by the Canterbury and Whitstable railway company, the harbour was created to serve what was called the Crab and Winkle line ,which linked Canterbury and London by a steam ship and also helped carry coal and timber as well as providing a thriving sea food industry. By 1849 the town had turned into a bit of a boom town and played its part during the war transporting munitions and grain. Sadly the town fell into a downward spiral after the Crab and Winkle line closed in 1952. As time passed,the town became more of a traveller destination,preserving much of its original character for being quiet,reserved and far enough off the beaten path to feel like a haven away from the big smoke of London. A great plan for visiting Whitstable is to start in the harbour with its seafood markets and walk up the sea front, stopping at leisure and absorbing the atmosphere along the sea walls. Children will be in their element as there is so much to do. The Old Neptune Pub,a famous landmark that has often been seen in films made in the area,would be a great place for refreshments. Why not head into the quaint town centre and its delightful boutique shops and restaurants where you cannot help but feel that there must be a reason this town attracts a lot of artists. After lunch, perhaps a stroll back up the hill visiting Whitstable Castle and dropping back down to the beach to enjoy the beautiful light of the sunset over the Isle of Sheppey while rounding off the day cooking a fish supper over a beach barbecue.

 

See more images here:http://www.surreypix.co.uk/p31361888 All images copyright Kerry Davies/All rights reserved.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

PAINSHILL PARK:HAVING A BLAST WITH THE NAPOLEONIC ASSOCIATION.

Posted in age of elegance, britain, cannon, cavaliers, cool, drama, England, english village, enthusiasts, equine sport, europe, feature, film location, Film set, folk, forts, french, fringe, hussars, legends, london, lumix lx7, moods, muskets, myths, Napoleonic, Napoleonic association, napoleonic wars, nature, news, Nikon, painshill park, photo, photoblog, Photography, photojournalism, re-enactment, redcoats, relax, renactment, road trip, skirmish, surrey, swords, tourism, travel, unusual, vintage, Wales, walking, walks, warhorse, waterloo, writing on May 25th, 2014 by wabisabipix

The May bank holiday on sunday 25th 2014 certainly went off with a bang as the Napoleonic Association of re-enactors http://www.napoleonicassociation.org blitzed the Painshill Park near Cobham in Surrey http://www.painshill.co.uk with the thunder of hooves and the crack of muskets and cannon fire. An incredibly authentic experience of the “age of elegance”,they delve deep into all aspects of the period delivering an enthralling battlefield skirmish and other camp and entertainment experiences along the way. You have to blink twice to remind yourself that we are in fact still in the 21st century and cannot help but feel that these were in fact more elegant times. This group clearly eat,sleep and live this colourful period in history and provide a great insight to onlookers who ever wondered what it would have been like to live in these times. I can still smell those camp fires! Now where did I put that musket!

More images can be viewed at: http://www.surreypix.co.uk/p393250091 Copyright Kerry Davies /All rights reserved.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

SOMEWHERE OVER A RAINBOW.

Posted in britain, deer, England, europe, folk, london, may, nature, photoblog, Photography, relax, richmond park, road trip, stag, surrey, Time-lapse, tourism, travel, Uncategorized, unusual, Video, weather, writing on May 14th, 2014 by wabisabipix

A rainy day anywhere in London is not generally something to write home about and when its blowing a howling storm its even less appealing.However this week a stroll in Richmond Park in West London armed with just a Panasonic SD700 camcorder,on a foray into time-lapse videography, proved quite a treat when I found myself perched under a tree as a heavy downpour accompanied by a howling wind and menacing clouds rolled across the area. Much to my surprise as the rain eased off for a few moments, a glorious rainbow spread across the sky forming in effect a double rainbow.Soon another deluge rolled in and yet another multicoloured manifestation spread across the sky followed by yet another deluge.In total in a matter of one hour I counted three rainbows before the dusk drew in.Not bad for an afternoon stroll but unfortunately I have yet to stumble across a pot of gold!

Copyright Kerry Davies/All rights reserved.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jack in the Green Hastings 2014

Posted in Battle of Hastings, beach, britain, Castles, Celtic, Christians, England, europe, feature, Festival, folk, fringe, gawain and the green knight, green man festival, hastings, Jack in the Green festival Hastings, jack-in-the-green, legends, may, mayday, medieval, myths, nature, news, Nikon, pagan, photo, photoblog, Photography, photojournalism, quaint, relax, retro, road trip, saxons, tourism, travel, Uncategorized, unusual, vintage, Wales, walking, walks, writing on May 6th, 2014 by wabisabipix

As the clock ticked over and the Sun rose over Great Britain on May 5th 2014, blowing away the cobwebs of winter, I revisited the Jack in the Green Festival on the south coast of England most famous for being the gateway for the Norman invasion in 1066.

It was a fantastic warm spring day of Morris Dancers and mayhem and quite a sight for the senses.It was held in a field next to Hastings castle and overlooked the splendid sight of the main town in all its glory.At its centre was a stage where performances of various kinds ranging from Morris dancing to belly dancing entertained the masses that descended upon the seaside town.

It starts with a procession around the town and culminates with the symbolic slaying of the Jack of the Green which symbolically frees the spirit and welcomes the transition of the Winter into the Summer.The tradition has many roots and I have another article on the subject earlier in this blog.

Needless to say,this festival never disappoints and is one of the best Green Man festivals in the UK and well worth a visit.

Here are a few shots shot on a Nikon D700 with a 17-35mm f2.8.

More Images can be viewed from previous years at www.surreypix.co.uk.KD_Green_Man_2014_Copyright_Kerry_Davies_45ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Images Copyright Kerry davies/No unauthorised usage .

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The London to Brighton Jaguar Run 2014

Posted in Brighton, britain, classic, classic car, England, enthusiasts, europe, Festival, film location, Film set, hobbys, jaguar, london, motoring, news, Nikon, photo, photoblog, Photography, photojournalism, relax, retro, road trip, surrey, tourism, travel, Uncategorized, writing on April 28th, 2014 by wabisabipix

The Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich near London which is also the home of the Cutty Sark ship,the Greenwich Observatory and recently the setting for the film version of the recent movie Les Miserables provided the grand backdrop for the 16th London to Brighton Jaguar run where members of the Jaguar enthusiasts club gathered together in the region of 300+ classic Jaguar cars in a leisurely cruise down to the English coastal town of Brighton with its Victorian pier and beaches.It was time to knock back the bacon butties have a hot coffee and don the driving goggles and scarf and burn some rubber throughout some of Englands prettiest coastal routes while trying ones best to read the maps and avoid using the 21st century sat nav…… Ahhh nostalgia!

  Images Copyright Kerry Davies/No unauthorised use or reproduction.

Tags: , ,

Traveling light

Posted in Alcoy, Castles, Crusades, Festival, knights, Leica, lumix lx7, medieval, moods, Moors, photo, photoblog, Photography, road trip, Spain, technology, tourism, writing on November 17th, 2013 by wabisabipix

P1010836I took the opportunity of shooting a few pictures with only a lumix LX7 camera the latest incarnation of the LX series of cameras which has proved very popular with professional photographers because of its high speed 24mm Leica Summilux f1.4 zoom lens. DSC07462 (2) It is a great option for carrying just one small camera that has a quality that you can rely on even in the lowest of light conditions. I was particularly impressed by its great ability to shoot rapidly at 5 frames per second with full follow focus at f1.4 and also its wide range of special effects filters ranging from soft focus to HDR and the exposures always seemed to be spot on finding that sweet spot almost every time. It truly is a pocket Swiss Army Knife of a camera. The pictures shown are of the walled castle town Alcoy near Alicante in Spain.

Alcoy is famous for the yearly festival held in April every year celebrating the historical event in which St George and his Crusader knights who according to legend are said to have swept into the town through the cliff arches that form the center stage of the town and defeated the occupying Moors in april 1276.

Alcoy is also said to have been the home town of Federico Borrell García the falling soldier in the famous image of a “falling soldier” captured in his dying moments by Photojournalist Robert Capa during the Spanish Civil War. He is said to have worked in the Alcoy textile mills and was part of the Alcoy Militia

 

  la glorieta Federico Borrell García is seen pictured at the La Glorieta Park in Alcoy in this article,www.photographers.it/articoli/cd_capa/img/taino.pdf and this is the band stand and park today.  

P1010443                                                                                                              P1010822                                                                                                                                      A view of Alcoy during sunset. P1010826 A few examples of the LX7 built in HDR effect showing the arches where Saint George as legend says                                                                     rescued the town from the Moors P1010684 P1010704 Two pictures one day apart showing the Saint Jordi Bridge during an unusual weather front in the region. P1010785 A mural of Saint George a popular historical figure in the region. P1010655 Doves flying in the Plaza De Dins. P1010650   P1010060 alcoy 3 The Town hall in Alcoy. P1010593     P1010657The Saragata Cafe ,great coffee, food and service located in the Plaza de Dins. Check out the Spanish omelette rolls for breakfast.   P1010616     P1010619       P1010625The plaza De Dins P1010434   San Mauro Watch TowerP1010440

For more on Federico Borrell García see this excellent and well illustrated article (in Spanish):

www.photographers.it/articoli/cd_capa/img/taino.pdf

Colour photographs copyright:Kerry Davies.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A HAGUE RESEMBLANCE

Posted in art, beach, europe, existential, Film set, hague, holland, moods, netherlands, photo, Photography, relax, road trip, travel, Uncategorized, walks, writing on March 30th, 2010 by wabisabipix

Found myself in the Hague on a flying visit recently and during a spare moment took a stroll along the coast where the locals were preparing their businesses for the rapidly approaching days of summer.It was a cloudy windswept spring day with a foaming north sea swirl and I was struck by the bizarre way that shapes and colours particularly a red and brown hue seemed to form within the landscape,conscious or unconscious it was quite apparent.The area struck me as a perfect film set for an existential epic by the likes of Michelangelo Antonioni or Wim Wenders, quite peculiar.

The Hague was described to me  as a kind of Amsterdam for diplomats and it is certainly the case as the city is the traditional home of many not to mention the international courts of Justice famous for its war trials.

I was very surprised however at its vast cultural side.There are no shortage of museums ,the Escher museum and the Mauritshuis with its Rembrants and Vermeer to name a few and the city has may sculptures at various park locations.

By the way and check out the local fast food,chips and mayo  yum.

Pictures copyright: Kerry Davies no unauthorised reproduction allowed.

Tags:

Avebury Ramblings.

Posted in Archaeology, Artifact, avebury, British Museum, Castles, Celtic, Christians, Churches, crop circles, leylines, medieval, Monument, Moors, pagan, photo, Photography, Relics, road trip, saxons, Stone Circle, stonehenge, sunday lunch, Treasure, ufo, Uncategorized, walks, wiltshire, writing on March 24th, 2010 by wabisabipix

A fantastic day out that stretches the legs and refreshes the spirits while clearing the head and providing plenty of time for inspiration and contemplation, why not try a springtime trip to the ancient town of Avebury in Wiltshire situated in the heart of the British countryside.With the wonderful rolling ‘big sky’ Wiltshire downs creating a stunning panorama and  the enigmatic Avebury Stone Circle and Silbury Hill ancient monument at its core. The area provides a superb escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and of course the chance to enjoy a well earned sunday lunch and perhaps drink a pint of cider while admiring the sunset raking across the ancient stones.You can enjoy the infinite silence of the ages past and trying to figure out  Why!!!!  did these ancient ancestors of ours go to such an unbelievable effort to arrange this apparent giant  game of  enormous stone Dominoes for our appreciation and contemplation.

We took a sunday afternoon trip through this well trodden path through an ancient land just as the buds  of springtime were starting to emerge and it was quite frankly delightful.

Our 7 mile ramble made use of the Explorer 157 map of the area and for added fun and accuracy I took a  Garmin etrex Legend GPS  with pre programmed grid references and my trusty Swiss Army knife Camera a 13.5 mega pixel Nikon P6000 compact.

After parking in the local car park on the A4361 we began our stroll by crossing the main road and heading along an aptly named White Horse Trail along the infant River Kennet just across from the stunning Silbury hill monument.You can but wonder who, if anyone, was buried in there.Excavations have so far failed to shed any light on the mystery.My imagination suggests to me that this platform could have been an epic position where very important ritual cremations or ceremonies could have taken place.The location could have drawn large gatherings of onlookers where the surrounding slopes would have given a grandstand view of the blazing spectacle or oration that would have been visible for miles.

A short walk further the trail met the A4 again which we crossed to a small gate on the opposite side affording great views of Silbury hill behind us.

At the sign post we took an uphill walk to the West Kennett long barrow ,the most complete example of an ancient burial tomb in Britain that you can actually go inside and have a look around.The stones outside probably blocked the entry way originally.

Retreating back down the rolling slopes we the headed eastbound along the path of the river Kennett and past Avebury manor before strolling through some spring snow drop covered pathways and following the designated White Horse trail.Along the way we stumbled across a random brown horse with a friendly attitude.

Heading left up a main road and then across the river Kennett bridge we then head  towards some ancient barrows on the top of  the slope before crossing the A4 and joining the Roman road known as The Ridgeway.

Looking back behind you can see the landscape dotted with ancient burial mounds.

Heading uphill on a steady incline on our left the sun raked across the ancient Roman Ridgeway trade route backlighting more eerie looking burial mounds known as The Enclosure, marked out by sinister deep black trees on our left that overlook the Silbury Hill,its peak oddly still visible at the pinacle of the slope between the barrows  in an almost intended fashion.

A little further up the Ridgeway our journeys leads us left at a sign pointing us back in the direction of Avebury village towards Manor Farm and across some breathtaking  sunlit downs landscape along  another ancient pathway trail.

Turning left at Manor Farm we follow the road into Avebury village famished and in need of lunch before exploring the amazing stone circle that surrounds the village.At the center of the village is the Red Lion pub where refreshment and meals are served.We tried out some delicious pear cider along with a tasty sunday lunch.

After lunch and in serious need of either a wheel barrow or a good stroll at least, we crossed the road to see the sunset catch the monuments on fire with light,a photographers dream and a moment of enlightenment that  leaves you feeling like you are observing the mechanism of some ancient clock as its mechanism whirs into life.

TICK! TOCK! STARDUST.

copyright Kerry Davies.Re-Use forbidden.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: