While I preferred the in-camera B&W JPG of my M9, there’s something special about its RAW files captured during twilight moments, the white balance of which set to “Daylight” in Lightroom afterward. There’s a magical and natural purple gradient that comes out EVERY SINGLE TIME.
The distinct pattern of the brick wall, accentuated by the patterned iron front gate, provides the background for my photo above. As can be seen though the focus was on the two young persons in the foreground lit by morning sunlight, the actual subject of this photo in the eyes of the viewers is the slightly out-of-focus architecture in the shadow.
Cold winter weathers also bring some of the best quality of light to this otherwise listless cityscape under random scattering of light due to humidity. This coupled with the sweet psychology of the period usually bring out the best of my Leica M9 and Noctilux. I even find happiness (幸せ), an otherwise foreign concept to my brain, in some of these works.
Contrast in luminosity, however, is easy to recognize. In a normal lighting street scene, there will always be dark backgrounds and highlighted subjects. Recognizing these and you have a potential winner in B&W as the pictures give a “pop” by default.
One way to breathe life into otherwise boring symmetrical composition is to also have living subjects flanking the main subject symmetrically. I took the photo above at Palais Royal on a cloudy spring afternoon in 2019. As the parents jostled joyfully for the attention of their toddler, who’s screaming and running around out-of-control, I knew there would be chances for me to effect a lively symmetrical composition.
Photography is all about the quality of light. With Leica M9 it’s especially so.
Due to the limited dynamic range of its CCD sensor, M9 does not give you a lot of room for manoeuvring in post-processing. You either hit or you miss.
On the other hand, if you are ballpark with your exposure and the quality of light is great, you get exquisite colors out of M9 like no others.
This past trip to Tokyo, we chose Seijo (成城), a suburb area that’s 30min~40min from the center of Tokyo. This is one of those high-end suburbs in Tokyo where rich families escape the crowd of the city center and surround their mansions with gardens. The famous high-end supermarket chain Seijo Ishii (成城石井) was originally from this area.
For years we Leica M fans have been asking for a version of Leica digital M cameras sans LCD screen. We finally got it. Hooray!
I could understand the fuss about it though: despite a smaller f-stop, the ground-breaking 75mm Noctilux will have the shallowest DoF thanks to its longer focal length and shorter focus distance than 50mm Noctilux.
What captured my eyes initially was actually the mother and her grandiose faux fur. I was wondering whether I should get closer and take a more animated shot of her. However, as she followed her son (supposedly) from the left to the right, inspecting the statutes one by one, I decided to frame the shot in an abstract way, from a certain distance.