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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

WINGS AND WHEELS

Posted in aircraft, aviation, britain, camera, classic, classic car, England, english village, FIGHTER PLANES, london, motoring, news, Nikon, paratrooper, photo, photoblog, Photography, re-enactment, relax, renactment, retro, surrey, technology, tourism, travel, Uncategorized, unusual, vintage, Wales, wings and wheels, world war 2, world war one, writing on August 24th, 2014 by wabisabipix

 

A sensational bank holiday weekend at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey watching the fantastic Wings and Wheels event, an absolute gem in the air show calendar,celebrating its 10th Anniversary. Wings and Wheels combines fast cars with stunning flying demonstrations. There was a fantastic range of aircraft and cars on show as well as World War II  re-enactment societies and displays. There was a awesome display by the Breitling Wing Walker “amazons” who at times, were showing steely eyed skill as they held on without harnesses and inches from those deadly propellors and amazed the crowds.At one point they almost touched hands while flying inverted,remarkable!

Iron Maiden rock star Bruce Dickinson made a surprise appearance and hopped into a World War 1 Fokker Triplane and duelled his Great War adversaries  around the airfield in a  simulation of a world war I air battle. Also present were the famous last two remaining Lancaster Bombers,one from Canada,bringing a nostalgic tear to many eyes as they flew with a battle of Britain fighter escort. There were also many cars speeding around the race track including a Ford GT40 a variety of classics and supercars and a selection of motorbikes,some with side cars,tearing around the track famous for its role in the Top Gear TV Series.

A short video clip of an Apache Gunship and the British and Canadian Lancaster Flypast shot on a Lumix LX7 compact camera:

More images from Dunsfold can be viewed here:http://…/p763200112 Copyright Kerry Davies/All rights reserved. 

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

Sardines and the legend of Lefi Ganderson the Goat boy

Posted in britain, Celtic, England, english village, Festival, folk, legends, london, lumix lx7, may, mayday, medieval, myths, nature, pagan, photo, photoblog, Photography, quaint, relax, Relics, surrey, tourism, travel, Uncategorized, village, vintage, walking, walks, writing on May 4th, 2014 by wabisabipix

You never know what you will discover during a stroll in the West London area of Kingston,Surbiton and Richmond on May 4th. Today was one of such day. In the quiet town of Surbiton,a popular residential area for commuters working in central London, I was drawn to a large gathering of people in a small quiet park called Claremont Gardens.It transpired that it was the manifestation of the Seething Wells Sardine festival.It’s the second year for this event that celebrates the rich history of freshwater sardine fishing in Surbiton. A chance to remember when Seething was famous for its freshwater sardine fishing industry and held its annual festival to celebrate the first catch of the season.There was much merriment and dancing and live folk bands played at the event,a great gathering of the community.The smell of fresh Sardines filled the air and there were various amusements for the youngsters including face painting and magnetic fish catching,even a large number of fairy wing wearing adults.After several great musical performances the day culminated in the crowning of two members of the community who were designated as this years Seething Wells King and Queen of hats.To much applause last years King and Queen swapped hats with this years chosen nominees.Many of the local community was present and also there were banners representing the various ancient guilds in the area such as the ancient Guilds of Seething-The Cheesemakers, The Talcum Miners, The Taxonomists, The Water- Bearers, The Sardine Fishers and The Curriers and I spotted a Cyclists Guild too.Flying on flags were images of a horned rather legendary looking character who also had a prominent statue at the front of the stage. This was a character which I was not previously familiar with but research revealed to me the surprising legend of Lefi Ganderson the Goat Boy,a local half man,half goat character who had a rather cataclysmic clash with a legendary giant.A tale that probably never pops up on the radar of average Londoner but which just goes to show what interesting legends,many ancient,that lie below the surface of even the most quiet,unassuming of places along the banks of the ancient River Thames.They say that if your tired of London,your tired of life and this is an example that there is clearly always stones that remain unturned revealing interesting legends along the way.A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon in the spring sunshine. Picture Copyright  Kerry Davies The Seething Wells Sardine Festival.Lefi Ganderson The Goat Boy
Picture Copyright  Kerry Davies The Seething Wells Sardine Festival.

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

The new King and Queen of hats. Image   Fresh Sardines served to order. Image   For more on the legend of Lefi Ganderson see this excellent portrayal of the tale here:

 

Pictures Copyright Kerry Davies

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

Guardian of the sands.

Posted in Uncategorized on April 19th, 2014 by wabisabipix

At Nash Point on the Heritage Coastline of the Vale of Glamorgan in South Wales stands the Nash Point light house.

Trinity House instructed Joseph Nelson to construct the two light house towers 300 meters apart.The towers and their lights helped vessels steer clear of the Nash Sands which extend 7 miles west of the headland. The sands are a major hazard to shipping which had contributed to the loss of many vessels and lives.

A passenger vessel, the Frolic, foundered on the sands in March 1831 with the loss of around 78 lives and this gave extra impetus to have the station completed as soon as was possible.The foundations for both towers were laid by 1 October 1831 and the station was completed and first shone its lights on 1 September 1832, just 11 months later, an incredible engineering achievement. The lighthouse has shone its light every night since, successfully assisting mariners in their safe passages with very few maritime incidences occurring in the intervening time.ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Photographed with a Lumix LX7

Copyright Kerry Davies No Unauthorised reproduction.

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

A walk in fields of gold

Posted in Uncategorized on April 16th, 2014 by wabisabipix

April in Oxfordshire,England,is quite a sight for the beholder as vast rapeseed fields spread across the rolling landscape painting everything in a warm golden glow. Image Image   ImageImageImageImage Camera Nikon D700 and lenses 17-35mm and  300mm f2.8 AFD. No unauthorised reproduction.

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

Britain Under Water

Posted in Uncategorized on March 23rd, 2014 by wabisabipix

During the start of 2014 Britain was subject to a series of unprecedented storms that changed the face of the country,smashing coastlines and causing flood waters to overwhelm communities.After the shock of the event passed the communities got back on their feet and took matters into their own hands,a remarkable self reliant Churchillian community spirit started shining through as different groups and cultures combined to fight against the overwhelming odds as nature showed no sign of stopping the onslaught.These pictures show some images from my coverage of the events in Oxford,Wraysbury and Burrowbridge Somerset.

 

More images can be viewed at: http://www.surreypix.co.uk/p156670577 Images strictly copyright:Kerry Davies/No unauthorised reproduction.

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

Sacre Bleu!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 1st, 2014 by wabisabipix

Covering an assignment yesterday I watched with amusement as British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande emerged from a pub lunch at The Swan Inn in Swinbrook,Oxon in the heart of Oxfordshire in England.The look on the French President Francois Hollande as he felt the full the full force of an English downpour during the current torrential rains and flooding as he made a dash to his car was quite a picture!Image

You First Sir!ImageImageImageImage

Pictures copyright Kerry Davies/INS News Agency.

Strictly no unauthorised reproduction.

Images available from INS News Agency:0118 944 0600

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

Oxford Floods

Posted in Uncategorized on January 10th, 2014 by wabisabipix

As much of the UK suffered from one of the worst flooding deluges for many years,the Oxford area along with many other areas affected by the Thames found themselves under water as the massive build up after days if rain started to flow down river.Many people in the Oxford area were evacuated from their homes and many picturesque villages found their roads turned into rivers.

Pictures copyright:Kerry Davies/INS News Agency. Strictly no unauthorised reproduction.

 

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

Foggy Eton by lamplight

Posted in Uncategorized on December 11th, 2013 by wabisabipix

As large parts of the east of England awoke to a thick blanket of fog covering all in its path,major airports were subject to delays and cancellations and roads were clogged by traffic jams.I took a dusk walk around Eton on the River Thames just as dusk fell.Famous for the Eton College and in close proximity to Windsor Castle it is a quaint town which retains a very historical flavour.

Camera-Nikon D700 and  Nikon 24-70mm.

Image

Image

ImageImageImage

Image

Image

Pictures Copyright Kerry Davies/INS News Agency.

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

Glorious Autumn

Posted in Uncategorized on December 1st, 2013 by wabisabipix

P1010983

As the first day of December 2013 turned its page we were treated to a stunning display of rustic autumnal colours in Richmond Park near London.

P1010968

P1010964

P1010955

P1010945

Photographs taken with a lumix LX7DSC07462 (2)

Images copyright Kerry Davies

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