Leica M6 with 50mm Summicron Rigid

According to the serial numbers, my Leica M6 was made in 1987 and lens in 1957.

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The lens has its distance scale in feet only. It’s a bit annoying for me as I think in metres. Oh well. This teaches me to check before buying. But there’s a broad depth of field to work with when zone focusing at f16 so that’s fine.

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The lens and camera were a good combined bargain way back in 2011. I remember walking into a shop in Singapore. It’s either at Peninsula Plaza or Peninsula Shopping Centre – my favorite place for vintage cameras and electric guitars. I asked for the lowest-priced Leica M6 and 50mm lens. Didn’t like the first option and so I went with the second. They came with a 6-month shop warranty.

The prices for both the camera and lens had increased over the years. Could you say the same for digital cameras? A digital camera is like a smartphone these days – there’s built-in obsolescence at work.

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There’s no such thing as a purely analog process anymore, especially if one is scanning the negatives and displaying the images on the Internet. I can’t help but tweak a little bit for contrast.

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Film photography is about slowing down and understanding the light. The Leica M6 has a meter I can check to ascertain the range I can work with.

Zone focus, decide between f8, f11 or f16 depending on whether the scene is in the sun or shade and snap. It’s pure poetry – camera and lens and the mind are one.

We all need to find a sense of calm in a time of Covid-19. (My second-hand Washburn HB35, a semi-hollow guitar, is also getting a regular workout: “Mama take this badge off of me … I can’t use it anymore … it’s getting dark, too dark to see…” )

Zone focusing is actually faster than auto focusing with my digital camera. I missed a few shots with the Canon M50 as the lens hesitates once in a while and takes a little too long to decide.

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Neat display.

IMG_20200721_0036 15In the midst of things.

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I aimed at the wall and waited for someone to walk past.

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Selfie on glass display. This was outside my go-to place for film development, lenses and cameras, where I got the film (Ilford XP2 400) processed right after this shot. It’s sunrisephotohk. You could find it on FB.

There’s a Leica M3 in there for a nice price. The ground rule is you put down the cash and go for a spin with the camera and develop the film right there to check for issues. If you don’t like what you see, you get your cash back.

There’re other pricier places in Hong Kong you could go to in Mongkok and Tsimshatsui and they generally give you a 6-month or 1-year shop warranty. But a Leica M is a simple mechanical thing, relatively speaking, and generally serviceable. They are built to last.

I could pair the current lens with the Leica M3, and the M6 will be a permanent home for my Voigtlander 35mm Nokton Classic. Hmm…

 

 

 

Canon M50 with Viltrox EF-EOS M2 Speed Booster and the Nifty Fifty

The nifty fifty with an APS-C camera is useful for street photography because it’s either a short 80mm tele with a regular EF-EOSM adapter (useful if you’re a shy street shooter) or a 56mm (50 x 1.6 x 0.71) with the Viltrox speed booster.

56mm is not too near but near enough to be noticed.

I’m with the speed booster with 56mm today.

I did try to establish eye contact. Some smiled. Some glared.

Many are unconcerned.

He sits there often. Today he smiled at me and asked if he’s better looking with or without the mask.

A bit creepy. It’s a plumber’s advert.

Canon M50 with 7Artisans 35mm F1.2

Trying out a new lens… wifey was braving the heat at Sham Shui Po with me.

Trying to get into the flow. I think I was spotted.

Hard at work.

Was a bit self-conscious with wifey next to me but I did a good job of ignoring her.

Hot day.

I need a better camera bag… one with an external mesh pocket for a water bottle.

Testing.

I can see wifey melting in the hot sun. Am ignoring her.

Listing them down.

Wifey is checking the time on her watch. Am ignoring her.

At rest.

A 35mm lens gives me a 56mm view with the crop factor. Ok lah.

Maybe I should get that 7Artisans 50mm lens for a short telephoto 80mm equivalent.

Wait… where’s wifey…

Against a Wall

It’s a simple idea – one I’ve used many times.img_20160929_0023-640

A simple wall with interesting texture.

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A window.

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And equally interesting people.

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The composition takes care of itself.

Thanks for reading!

Camera: Leica M6

Lens: Voigtlander 35 Nokton 1.4 SC

Film: Venus 800

 

Finding Flow

Part of street photography or art-making is about finding flow.

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Such that one is immersed in the activity.

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Such that you could forget yourself.

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And find meaning in it.

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The notion of flow – many thanks to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

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It’s about looking, constantly looking.

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Thanks for reading!

Camera: Leica M6

Lens: Voigtlander 35 Nokton 1.4 SC

Film: Venus 800

 

The Street Makes Sense

The thing with Shamshuipo is that one could walk slowly amongst pockets of crowds.

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You could flow along comfortably.

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Even if you stop, there’s space enough for you to do so.

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So many people and things to look at.

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Hope and dreams of finding a space.

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The street belongs.

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The street can disintegrate.

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The street makes sense, if you keep looking.

Camera: Leica M6

Lens: Voigtlander 35 Nokton 1.4 SC

Film: Venus 800

 

 

Behold the Fuji X70

Yes, I usually succeed in not buying another camera. But this time it’s different. Of course.

It was either the Fuji X70 or Ricoh GR II.

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It was Eric Kim’s review that made me go for the Fuji X70. It’s “a Ricoh GR with Fujifilm colors”. Fantastic!

This time I have my wife’s blessing, as I’ve convinced her that I need a digital camera for street photography at night, as I have 3-4 hours to kill while waiting for my son (as his designated chauffeur) on various evenings.

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Here’s the obligatory “me and my shadow” shot.

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There’s a whole genre of cat photography to be found on the web.

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I’m trying my best to resist taking another shot.

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I’m still not instinctively comfortable with the 28mm focal length – I’m too close this time.

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Here, I’m slightly further away than I realized – the 2 men should have filled out the whole image. I’m still thinking in terms of 35mm.

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The articulated screen allows me to be more stealthy – I can’t imagine doing this even with my Leica M6. Raising it to the eye would make me feel too conspicuous. Not to mention that fact that my usual ISO 400 film would not be fast enough given the lighting conditions.

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The Daido-inspired (poetic?) blurry shot. I think I can get away with it because of the wonderful film simulation colours from Fuji.

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The touchscreen framing via LCD approach does allow for various angles.

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I could do the “spray and pray approach” as well…

I sense a new book project in the horizon … maybe I can convince my wife … one book project, one camera …

Buy my book!

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Streets Are Busy

When streets are busy, they look like this:

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No one notices the guy with the camera:

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People are too preoccupied:

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Work work work.

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Sell sell sell.

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Buy buy buy.

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Go go go.

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Thanks for reading!

Camera: Contax TVS II

Film: Agfa Vista 400

 

Art-making

Street photography is about found action.

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It’s when you realize the environment is a material you could draw from.

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It’s arrested action.

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There’re inadvertent art displays.

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Someone positioned these just so.

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The goods are guiding our eyes.

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The entire environment is for consumption.

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Colours are for sale.

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Shoes are waiting.

Thanks for reading!

Camera: Contax TVS II

Film: Agfa Vista 400