Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Macro Mode

Today I thought I would share a few shots I took this morning using the macro focus mode with the Leica D-Lux 4. The photos were all processed in Adobe Lightroom 3 beta 2 and Adobe CS4.
As you may know I recently started shooting with a Leica M-9 and have added my impressions of it along with the Leica D-Lux 4 to this blog. For your use in the future I have begun labeling my posts to reflect the camera and software I'm using for any particular post. You will be able to find any individual posting featuring either camera by clicking on the appropriate Label in the label field to your right. Now back to today's blog.

Photo one is Raw straight from the camera and post processed in Lightroom 3 beta 2
Photo two is a 100 percent crop showing the detail captured with a small amount of sharpening.
Photo three is processed the same as photo one.
Photo four is processed the same as photo number two with addition of Topaz Filter Detail 2 to enhance the contrast.
I have been very happy with the results I have obtained with the Macro Focus mode while shooting using the RAW setting. The Leica D Lux-4 has proved to be a versatile performer and just a good all around camera. I continue to carry it with me every day, even when I have my Leica M-9 with me, you never know when you might need it for a specialty shot.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


I was out taking some sunset shots when I came upon these interesting vehicles. They were all processed in Lightroom 2, Adobe CS4 and Topaz Adjust 4 and taken with the Leica M-9.
 Old Alfa Romero that has seen better days, what a shames.
Well used but apparently still running Chevy Van.
This accident scene highlighted in filtered light.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Girl Next Door

Yes I have a seductive girl next door pic, she is lovely with those enchanting eyes. Her coquettish manner and wow that very slinky body. She just drives my two German Shepherds nuts. She entices them at least once a day and seems to know exactly how close she can come to get the reaction she is looking for and still be safe.
This picture was taken with my M-9 last evening as she lounged on the fence just out of reach of Nika who was doing her nightly check of the area. Our lovely friend just sat there tossing longingly looks and that here I 'am come get me if you can stare at the dog. Then she decided she had enough and slowly made her way home, without even a glance back over her shoulder. The arrogance of it all.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I just concluded a trip downtown for a little shopping and took a few more practice shots with the M-9. The first shot is inside a coffee store looking out towards the street through a large back lit window. This type of lighting gives the picture some color and vibrancy contrast due to the soft light in the foreground and the strong bright light in the background. [as usual you can click on the pics to enlarge]

I took this next shot outside of the coffee store and the sharpness of photo is readily apparent and the colors are faithfully reproduced.

 In post processing I used the Topaz Simplify Filter to get this painting effect which works really well as my desk wallpaper.
I have just downloaded the newly released (3/23/2010) Adobe Lightroom 3.0 Beta 2 and will comment on this version as soon as I have the opportunity to process some more pictures.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

M-9 Impressions

I thought I might share a few of my early impressions of the Leica M-9. The reason I purchased the camera was for its size, ability to capture full frame images and the quality of its build and lenses. The size and weight of the camera fit what I was looking for. The camera is easily carried around ones neck with the provided camera strap. Even after several hours of walking the camera strap does not cut into your neck and the weight of the camera seems to hold it in place while walking.
The quality of the build is excellent and the controls are simple and easily accessible. The view finder is bright and the focusing screen is readily visible. I must admit that I'm still trying to get the manual focusing down. I do think that with more practice I will become more proficient and comfortable in focusing manually.
The raw images are what I expected excellent and very adjustable in Lightroom, Aperture and Photopshop. I wanted a camera that was simpler, lighter and smaller than a DSLR and one that would force me to think more before taking a picture. I want to improve my process of selecting and shooting pictures and to this end the M-9 is delivering. I will continue to update you on my progress and here are some pictures from the first partial day of spring.
Entrance to a nice little house.
Battle Scarred Cactus
I was on the move and so was the horse - a different effect.
A old abandoned pump house.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring Just Around the Corner

Spring is in the air, the days are getting longer, the days are warmer and the sun feels good on ones skin. All of these things tend to put one in a good mood. It is a time for some long walks in the open space around the house and I'm sharing a few pictures from those walks today.
Here are some pictures I took with my Leica D-Lux 4 a great camera to carry on my walks especially while controlling two large dogs and shooting pictures.
The first shot is of a trail leading to the Windy Hill Open Space and was processed in Adobe Photoshop cs4 and Topaz Adjust 4.
This shot was taken on a trail with lots of over hanging trees and through filtered light and was processed in Adobe Lightroom and Color Efex Pro.
This shot is of Ricki my male German Shepherd on a now dry trail but with evidence of recent damp conditions exhibited by the moss on the rocks. Processed in Adobe Lightroom and Viveza 2 to bring out the texture and vibrancy of the moss.
Shot in macro focus mode of the bee and the newly blooming flowers. Processed in Adobe Lightroom.
Yes I did get a chance to take some pictures with my Leica M-9 when we had visitors the other day. I decided to try the vintage black and white mode and here is what I came up with.
This picture has had no processing and was only cropped for use on the web. To say the least I'm extremely pleased with results. The picture has the warmth which I find very pleasing. I will be trying more black and white in the future.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Thought I might say something about mirror images. I just upgraded from Adobe Photoshop Elements to Adobe Photoshop CS4 and was playing around with some of the manipulations of photographs that are possible in the program. I saw a video by Tony Sweet a Nikon pro photographer on easily applying mirroring in CS4.
I decided to follow along with the video to see how difficult it would be. As it turns out it is fairly simple and if you are interested in trying it for yourself just click on the link above. Here is what I came up with from a picture I took with my Leica D-Lux 4.

"G" enjoying a cupcake and water. 

I'm also posting these street photos that I took at the shopping center with my Leica M-9 fitted with a 35mm f/2.5 Summarit lens.

This lady looks a little bored while shopping for produce.

Young man eating a sandwich and texting at the same time.

Looking down the breezeway.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Leica M-9

After months of waiting I received my Leica M-9 this week and have been busy acclimating myself to shooting with a range finder camera. The question you may have is why did you buy a range finder when there are so many wonderful full frame DSLR cameras available?
Good question and the answer for me was that I have two primary cameras that I have been using a Nikon D300 and Leica D-Lux 4. The D300 is a 3/4 sensor camera and takes wonderful pictures but I have found that as versatile as it is, it is larger than I want to carry with me everyday. The Leica D-Lux 4 on the other hand is small and easy to carry takes beautiful pictures but does not have a changeable lens.
The Leica M-9 on the other hand is smaller than the D300 and is way smaller than the full frame Nikon D-3. The range finder thing on the M-9 brings me back to my old Nikon FM both in size and need to manually focus the camera. Simpler menu systems a solid build quality and very comfortable to carry. No pocket camera like the D-Lux 4 but can be carried very comfortably with the supplied camera strap around ones neck.
The M-9 is not a camera that is versatile as the full frame DSLR's as far as the ability to attach telephoto lenses or high ISO's. There is no perfect camera you need to choose one that meets your needs, what your shooting style and expectations are. Having this in mind I will still be shooting with my Nikon D300 a great camera for low light and telephoto shots. The D-Lux 4 for the ability to put it in your pocket and take it anywhere. The M-9 will be my camera of choice for the style of shooting I like to do.
For those of you interested in the D-Lux 4 I will continue to share my thoughts and suggestions on this great little camera along with my thoughts on the M-9. Today's pictures were taken with the M-9.
 Black and White Horse
Boarded up Cottage
 HDR Orchids