Quality of Light :: Côte d'Azur

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.


La Quessine, Spring 2019


In Côte d'Azur you encounter all sorts of light with good qualities. This shot above was taken earlier this month at my company’s team offsite. La Quessine is close to St Tropez. We stayed at a villa whose garden and pool open up to the Mediterranean Sea toward the east. During the 4 mornings we were there, only the first morning was really good weather. Sun rose and penetrated the leaves. I only needed to get the white balance to where I want in Lightroom and opened up the shadow a bit. The rest was all done by M9’s CCD.

While I did not have much luck this past trip, the previous visit to Côte d’Azur in September 2014 graced me with consecutive days of good weathers and awesome quality of light. Here are some of those shots, all with only minimal adjustments in Lightroom.

Sunset in St Tropez, Late Summer 2014

Twilight moment, Late Summer 2014

The Promenade, Nice, Late Summer 2014

Many friends have asked me why I didn’t go for M9 Monochrom as I prioritize B&W works. Well, this is the reason. When the quality of light is top, M9’s CCD produce dreamy and addictive color photos. Also I never much care about the extra actual pixels or pixel-peeping sharpness. M9 Monochrom therefore only offered me better high ISO.

But then again with B&W I never hesitate to go to ISO 1250 even on M9, as the noise manifests itself in random grains that actually render the photos more realistic. Hence even the high ISO merit of M9 Monochrom isn’t of much use to me.

Jerry Yang#lightComment