Photography by Tom Lane
Sunday, 5 March 2023: last week I printed this image of a Spitfire over London. I needed a Monochrome Print for the Leica Society’s Exhibition which is coming up in April. I have printed a similar image before; Patrolling The Capital, but this is a difference image of the aircraft and a difference frame of London. The image is a composite as I understand a single engined aircraft isn’t allowed to fly over the capital. The background was taken with a Leica T whilst waiting to land at Heathrow and the Spitfire was with a Leica SL2 and 24-90mm Vario-Elmarit lens, from a ‘chaser’ aircraft from Biggin Hill.
Wednesday, 1 March 2023: decided to re-process and print this image of the Merced River in Yosemite National Park, which was taken during our last visit there in late November 2019, with the Leica SL2 and 24-90mm Vario-Elmarit lens.
Thursday, 23 February 2023: Another composite image. The horse & hounds were taken with a Leica M camera whilst on a motorcycle trip to Devon in 2015 and the background, which is Thetford Forest, was taken in January of this year with the Leica SL2.
Wednesday,15 February 2023: I attended a photo presentation last night on Creative Photography and decided to have a go; this being my first attempt. The horse was taken back in 2017 at Burghley House during a Proms Evening and the background last Thursday afternoon during a walk in The Great Fen. Horse – SL (601), Background – SL2 both with the 24-90mm Vario-Elmarit.
Thursday, 9 February 2023: had a walk in the Great Fen (Cambridgeshire) with a couple of photographer friends and this image of some Silver Birch trees pleased me, although people would have thought me mad, lying on my back on a cold winter’s day to get the composition right. (Leica SL2 with 24-90mm Vario-Elmarit)
Saturday, 28 January 2023: Been playing around in Photoshop with the cloud rendering tools and tried the process out on this image of The Grand Tetons, taken with the original Leica SL and 24-90mm Vario-Elmarit lens. There are more advanced tools in this section of Photoshop and so I’ll have to learn them and see if they can further improve an image.
Sunday, 22 January 2023: A Winter Image taken within a quarter of a mile from home. Very cold and misty morning but fortunately the sun just broke through as I had decided to return home. This image is possibly for a project which involves taking the same photograph, from the same place, during winter, spring, summer and autumn. (Leica SL2 with the 24-90mm Vario-Elmarit SL lens)
Wednesday, 11 January 2023: evening visit to Didcot Railway Centre to take photographs of a Great Western ‘King’ class locomotive. Very dark, very dramatic and a great evening. (Leica SL2 with 24-90mm Vario-Elmarit lens.)
Wednesday, 4 January 2023: Decided to produce a print from the trip to Thetford Forest and of course this had to be monochrome.
Tuesday, 3 January 2023: I watched a YouTube video last night of Forest Photographs taken by Joe Cornish a well respected landscape photographer. I’ve never really thought of taking forest photo’s before, but today had a ride to Thetford Forest to try my hand. Miserable day weather wise, but I think the subdued lighting helped. All taken with the Leica SL2 and 24-90mm Vario lens.
Sunday, 4 December 2022 (Leica Q2)
We’d been at a wedding in Sedgefield and rather than drive straight home on the Sunday we decided to have night in Whitby. We drove east to the Northumberland Coast and then south, stopping off at various towns for me to take pictures. As can be seen, the weather was awful which made for some great dramatic skies.
Harbour Entrance – Whitby
Sunday, 27 November 2022 (Leica Q2)
Visited the Model Railway Exhibition at the NEC, as I thought some of the exhibitors may make interesting subjects
Saturday, 26 November 2022 (Leica Q2)
I’ve been using a Leica Q since its introduction in 2015 and have always found it great as an everyday walk-around camera. Leica brought out the Q2 in 2019 which has many upgraded features, the main one being the jump from 24 to 47 megapixels. Despite reading rave reviews about the new model I’ve always resisted the temptation to upgrade. However, recently I’ve been watching some YouTube videos and listening to all the hype about it and started to wonder if I should ‘bite the bullet’. I didn’t want to folk-out for a new camera and so was on the lookout for a secondhand one, which are rare. David Stephens in Manchester (a dealer I’ve been using since the sixties) finally got one, we did the deal and the Q2 arrived yesterday.
I was very happy with the condition of the camera and as my wife was going shopping in Cambridge, decided to take it with me and have a walk round.
Sunday, 11 September 2022
Haddenham Steam Rally: which is held in a village approximately 4 miles away from us, provided the ideal opportunity to try out the Sigma lens. I was very impressed with the resulting image quality and think the lens will be a great asset for the future.
Friday, 2 September 2022
After much thought, over a couple of months, I finally decided to buy the Sigma 85mm f1.4 Art lens for my Leica SL series cameras. The 85mm focal length is already covered by the Leica 24-90mm Vario-Elmarit lens, but at the telephoto end of the range this is fairly slow at f4.0.
Whilst the Leica lens is great in good light, it wasn’t so good when used indoors and I have recently been taking photographs for the Meridian Choir concerts which are usually held in poorly lit churches.
I did consider either a 75, or 90mm Leica Summicron lens but at three times the cost of the Sigma couldn’t justify the expense.
I’ve read reviews which say there is very little difference in image quality between the two lens; only time will tell.
Saturday, 20 August 2022 (Leica SL2 with 24-90mm Vario-Elmarit lens)
‘Officer’ – taken at the Ramsey 1940’s Weekend
Friday, 8 July 2022
I’ve been using a Leica 50mm f1.4 SL Summilux lens with my SL System for a good number of years. The lens produces amazing results with its extremely narrow depth of field but it is big and heavy; and having many internal elements makes the autofocusing somewhat slow. This was the only prime lens available when Leica introduced the system in October, 2015.
The lens has served me well over the years but I decided some time ago that it had to be replaced with the 50mm APO Summicron f2.0, as because of the weight I just wasn’t using it.
This replacement arrived today and so in the evening I had a walk around Ely to take some random Images, all with the lens fully open at f2.0. Below are a couple of those photo’s which convince me I’ve done the right thing.
Thursday, 7 July 2022
We were lucky enough to draw two tickets on the Wimbledon/LTA ballot, the first time in a number of years. Unfortunately, from a photographic perspective we didn’t get good seats and so I just took a couple of images and then concentrated on the excellent tennis.
Leica SL2 with the 90-290mm Vario-Elmarit lens
Sunday, 3 July 202
Wednesday, 15 June 2022
Nice day so decided to have a ride to Wells Next Sea, a lovely fishing village in Norfolk about 75 miles from home. Three reasons for the ride; I just wanted to ride after doing the NC500 last month, I fancied some seafood (the cray fish tails were superb) and thirdly I wanted to try this 28mm TTArtians f5.6 lens I bought a couple of months ago.
All the following images were taken with this lens coupled to a Leica M10-r body. The lens is a copy of a classic Leica lens, the difference being that the Leica lens is priced at £2,175.00 and the TTArtians one is approximately £220.00; or about a tenth of the price. The copy is also of a later design and is reported as being sharper.
I was well satisfied with the results, although the files needed little more processing, mainly adding contrast.
Tuesday, 14 June 2022
Bramford (near Ipswich) Poppy Fields. Met up with a couple of other photographers and took this image around sunset. Used a Leica SL2 camera with a 16-35mm Vario-Elmarit lens at 16mm.
Sunday, 10 April 2022
Was delighted to be presented with this award by Sir David Suchet at the Leica Society AGM held in Buxton. The award was for the best black & white print depicting the British Way of Life. The Plate was originally presented to the Leica LPP of Great Britain by the Leica LPP of New England in the USA and looking at the inscriptions was first awarded in 1959.
The only slight disappointment was the presentation photo which looks as though I have a front tooth missing, which isn’t the case.
Monday, 4th April 2022 (Leica SL with 24-90mm Vario-Elmarit lens)
“Yosemite Valley in the Depths of Winter” – taken on our last trip there in November 2019. Was pleased with how the printed version of this image turned out.
Thursday, 31st March 2022
Was delighted to receive the Spring edition of the Leica Society magazine to find that my article on monochrome photography had been published.
Wednesday, 9th March 2022 (Nikon D810 with 50mm f1.4 Nikkor lens)
Went to the Tichwell Marsh RSB site to try and photograph birds in flight using my 600mm f4.0 Nikkor lens, which didn’t prove to be successful. We abandoned the birds and went to visit a couple of coastal estuaries and this was taken at Home-next-the-Sea.
Thursday, 10th February 2022 (Leica M10 with 50mm f0.95 Noctilux lens)
Taken during a visit to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford where they had assembled the largest number of Spitfires ever shown at the same time in UK.
In order to get this ‘wide-angle’ shot with a 50mm lens I took six images and then blended them together in Photoshop.
Wednesday, 12th January 2022 (Leica SL2 with the 16-35mm Vario-Elmar lens)
A beautiful day and so I decided on the spare of the moment to go to Hunstanton, as I understand that is the only place on the Norfolk Coast where one can see a sunset. It certainly was worth the effort as it was one of the best sunsets I’ve seen anywhere in the world.
Tuesday, 11th January 2022
Playing around in Photoshop I added a picture of an Iguana I’d taken with a Nikon D2x in Galapagos some years ago, to an image I took last year with a Leica Q whilst walking from our village to the next. (Earith to Bluntisham)
I posted the picture on the village Facebook page and could hardly believe it when a lady asked if it was real.
Sunday, 9th January 2022 (Nikon D800 with 600mm f4.0 Nikkor lens)
Looking through my Lightroom library I came across this image of a Hyena, taken a couple of years ago whilst on Safari at Simbambili in South Africa. I hadn’t previously processed the file and decided to give it a go. Initially I adjusted the colour version in Lightroom and not being happy with the monochrome conversion in Lightroom, I used Silver Efex Pro 2.
Thursday, 24th December 2021 Graffiti Artist
Just been playing around with one of the images I took in London a couple of weeks ago, during the Leica Meet there. It was taken under the railway arches near Leake Street; there was very little light and so I had to brighten things up in Lightroom, then had to use Photoshop to put a ‘catch-light’ in the artist’s right eye.
Taken with the M10-R and 50mm Summicron f2.0 ASPH lens wide open at f2.
Tuesday, 21st December 2021
Felt pleased and honoured that Mike Evans chose my photographs to illustrate an article he wrote about the Leica M9 camera for the Winter edition of the Leica Society Magazine.
Monday, 13th December 2021
Messing around in Photoshop; the background was taken with the Leica M10-R and 50mm Summicron lens, a couple of weeks ago in London whilst attending a Leica Meet function. The Cheetah was taken years ago in South Africa with a Nikon D810 and 600mm f4.0 Nikkor lens.
Friday, 10th December 2021
TT Artisan announced their Lightweight, 28mm f5.6 prime lens for the Leica M mount rangefinder cameras. This is similar in looks to the Leica Summaron 28mm f5.6 lens which was first introduced around 1954, and the updated Leica lens of 2016. However, the internal optics of the TT Artisan lens have been updated and, some say, it is sharper than the Leica original.
I have always liked the Leica lens but haven’t been prepared to pay £2,175 for what is basically a street photographer’s lens. The price of this ‘copy’ is roughly £220 and so I decided to put myself on the waiting list. I understand that since the announced there has been a lot of positive comments and would guess I’m not going to receive it until maybe February, or March.
Be interesting to see how it performs when I eventually get it.
Wednesday, 1st December 2021 (Leica M10-R with 35mm and 50mm Summicron ASPH lenses)
Brilliant day; a photographer friend and myself went to London to see an exhibition of David Yarrow’s wonderful Black & White fine art prints of wildlife. David Yarrow is a photographer whose work I greatly admire and looking at these images it’s easy to see why some of them sell for upwards of $100,000.
Saturday, 27th November 2021
My wife is a member of the Meridian Singers who were giving a concert at a local church and I was asked to ‘pop along’ and take some pictures of them rehearsing on Saturday afternoon and again, in the evening, at the concert. The church was so dark it was like trying to take a picture of a black cat in a coal-hole but thankfully they were happy with the results.
Leica M10-R with 35mm f2.0 Summicron ASPH lens wide open.
Leica SL2 with the 16-35mm Vario-Elmar-Elmarit ASPH lens
Saturday, 20th November 2021 (Leica M10-R with the 50mm f2.0 Summicron lens at f2.0)
Attended the ‘Leica Meet’ meeting in London and thoroughly enjoyed the day. This was the first such meeting I’d taken part in and whilst a number of photographers dropped out at the last minute there were still twelve of us. The day was grey but I still got some half decent images using the lens wide open.
This is the first time I’d used the Leica M10-R which I bought last week when visiting Leica Mayfair. I must say I was absolutely delighted with the results especially in view of the miserable day and having to use a high ISO value and have the lens wide open at f2.0.
Street Artist – taken in Leake Street near Waterloo Station. Not the best of areas but certainly worth the risk.
The Protestor – taken outside the Brazilian Embassy. Always good to find a protest as there is often some interesting characters around.
Thursday, 11 November 2021 (Leica M10 with the 50mm Noctilux f0.95 ASPH lens)
Visit to the Leica Store in Mayfair, London, arranged by the Leica Society. This is an annual event, although we missed last year because of the Covid Pandemic, to meet the people who work there, get to see the various cameras and lens and to be told what developments have been made since our last visit. We also try to get information on new products to be launched but very few hints were forthcoming. I had another propose for visiting, as earlier in the week I had seen they had a three month old M10-R available, which I ended up buying. This is basically a 40mp version of the M10, which is 24mp.
After the meeting I had a walk around Carnaby Street and China Town before catching the train home.
Thursday, 7th October to Thursday, 21st October 2021
Having been denied travel for so long because of the Corvid Pandemic, and a severe bout of ‘cabin fever’ we decided, on the spare of the moment, to go on holiday. We booked a Jet2 package to Kos, one of the Greek Islands and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Kos Town (Leica SL2 with the 16-35mm Vario-Elmar ASPH lens)
Nice Car, Not So Nice Building – Kos Town (Leica SL2 with 45mm Sigma DG DN f2.8 Contemporary Lens)
Sponges & Olives – Kalymnos Island (Leica SL2 with the 24-90mm Vario-Elmarit ASPH lens)
Kos Harbour (Leica SL2 with 45mm Sigma DG DN f2.8 Contemporary Lens)
Sunday, 3rd October 2021 (Leica SL with 24-90mm Vario-Elmarit lens)
I haven’t printed anything since the Lockdown began about 18 months ago, but as St Ives Photographic Club have started actual meetings and competitions again, I thought I’d better start. This image was taken at a Battle Proms Event we went to back in 2017.
Saturday, 25th September 2021 (Leica SL with 24-90mm Vario-Elmarit lens)
Enjoyed a long weekend at Kelling with a couple of photographer friends and on the Saturday we went into Cromer, which is a popular holiday destination on the North Norfolk Coast.
Saturday, 18th September 2021 (Leica M9 Monochrom with 35mm, 50mm and 75mm Summicron lenses)
A pleasant afternoon in Cambridge doing some “Street Photography”.
Never To Old To Look
Sunday, 22nd August 2021 (Leica M9 Monochrom with 35 and 50mm Summicron f2 lenses)
Wednesday, 18th August 2021 (Leica Q)
Having read a positive article by Mike Evans, who runs the Macfilos Blog, we decided to visit the Caffeine and Machine Cafe which is near Stratford-Upon-Avon. Certainly was a change from our usual meeting place, the Super Sausage Cafe near Towcester. Very up market compared with our usual cafe, both in terms of food, price and facility. There was an okay selection of cars and bikes but it is understood the best attend during the weekends. All in all a great day covering just under two hundred miles.
Thursday, 12th August 2021 (Leica M10 with 50mm Zeiss Planar F2.0 lens)
Ramsey Rural Museum, Cambridgeshire – a couple of photographer friends and myself usually get together on a Thursday evening and have a walk and a beer. This evening a Car Show was to be held at the museum and we thought it may be good to go along and take some pictures. The weather was showery but it was a pleasant evening and the beer afterwards was good.
Saturday, 7th August 2021
Of course I couldn’t resist using one of the Spitfire images to convert to Black & White and change the background to the city of London. The aerial view of London was taken with a Leica T and 18-56mm lens; whilst aboard an Air India, Boeing 787 flight from Bombay, circling above the city, early one morning, waiting for a landing slot at Heathrow.
Wednesday, 4th August 2021 (Leica SL2 with 24-90mm Vario-Elmarit lens)
Terrific day at Biggin Hill when John and I chartered a spotter/chaser aircraft for me to get some air to air shots of Bill’s Spitfire flight. More images are included in the Spitfire Flight section of the website.
Sunday, 1st August 2021
As it’s been raining today I’ve been playing around with Photoshop and thought I’d find a new location for the elephant I’ve used a couple of times before. The background, taken with a Leica Q was an image of the floods which occurred in our village (Earith, in Cambridgeshire) during December last year. The elephant was taken whilst on safari in Africa using a Nikon D810 with 600mm f4.0 lens.
Saturday, 31st July 2021 (Leica M10 with 50mm Summicron f2.0 lens)
We live in the village of Earith in Cambridge and within two miles are two other villages, Colne and Bluntisham. The three villages have just started a photographic group and tonight was the first meeting and walk-about. The image below is probably my favourite from the evening; as can be seen the weather wasn’t kind and by the time we got back to the pub everyone was soaked.
Saturday, 31st July 2021 (Leica M10 with 35 and 50mm Summicron lenses)
The city of Ely, which is only approximately 8 miles from where we live held a Car Show and Green Fair in the Cathedral grounds. It was a busy time as we spent a lot of the day there (that’s why I got a Parking Ticket) and then I went to the Three Village Photographers event in the evening.
Saturday, 24th July 2021 (Leica M10 with 50mm Summicron f2.0 lens)
“Proms In A Manor Garden” – an excellent evening with the St Ives Choral Society giving a brilliant performance.
Wednesday, 14th July 2021
Gourmet meal at the Super Sausage Cafe, a biker’s cafe on the A5 (?) near Towcester. Met two biker friends there to discuss plans for doing the NC500, the 500 mile north coastal road around Scotland, starting and finishing in Inverness; in May of 2022.
(All taken with the Leica M10 and 50mm Summicron f2.0 lens)
Saturday, 19th June to Monday, 28th June
We went to Cornwall and spent four nights in Bude, followed by a further five near Lands End and Penzance. Following are various images from the places we visited; all taken with the Leica SL2 and 24-90 Vario-Elmarit lens.
St Michael’s Mont
1st to the 3rd June 2021
Biker trip to the Cotswolds, the image of Burford was taken with the M10 and 50mm Summicron. Being petrol-heads we managed to find a motor and bike museum, which with free entry was great.
Saturday, 22nd May 2021
Took a slightly damp evening walk around Cambridge with the Leica M10 and 50mm Summicron lens.
Thursday, 29th April 2021
Evening walk with three other photographer friends to Ladywood to see the Bluebells which in my opinion were magnificent.
Saturday, 3 April 2021
Dug this old image out of Del Potro at Queen’s Club, to use in the Sports section of a photo Quartet competition to be held later this month at St Ives Photographic Club.
The image was taken with a Nikon D800 and 300mm f4 Nikkor lens.
Wednesday, 31 March 2021
Had a walk around the city of Ely and took this with the Leica M9 based Monochrom and 35mm f2.0 Summicron lens.
Just used Zone Focusing and shot the image without raising the camera. (from the hip)
Wednesday, 10 March 2021
“Coron on the Island of Palawan in the Philippines” – this is an image I took back in 2012 with a Leica M9 and 28-35-50mm Tri-Elmar lens. Back in those days I used to visit the Philippines often because we had an Aviation Training School at Subic Bay Airport. I used to go for two weeks and on one of the weekends took a flight to Palawan; great place to reflex and some amazing scenery.
I’ve never done anything with the image until today, as it had a very prominent tree trunk running from top to bottom, at the right hand side of the picture which spoilt the composition. I removed this in Photoshop and was pleased with the result.
Friday, 26 February 2021
“Sunset in St Ives”
Actually taken mid-afternoon and then the sky was changed in Photoshop to give an impression of a sunset.
(Leica M10 with 50mm f2.0 Zeiss lens)
Thursday, 25 February 2021
“Many Hands Make Light Work”
An idea I dreamed up last night. I do like messing around in Photoshop with these composite images.
Sunday, 21 February 2021
“Three Beauties from Vilnius”
Taken back in May 2012, with the Leica M9 and 50mm Summicron, during a trip to Lithuania. I’ve wanted to process this for some time and have made one or two unsuccessful attempts from time to time. The trouble was there was the roof of a building which covered most of the righthand side of the picture and I just couldn’t get it to look right. I decided the building had to go and so I spent a couple of hours cloning it out and then introducing sky where it had been. I could have changed the sky completely but decided to work from the original which is on the left.
Saturday, 13 February 2021
“The Station Master”
Messing around with Photoshop again. The background was taken in Devon using the Leica M9 and 35mm Summicron lens and the “Station Master” was taken in Tasmania using the Leica SL and 24-90mm SL Vario. He was actually a teacher in a school re-enactment performance.
Friday, 12 February, 2021
“There’s nothing to smile about”
Playing around with Photoshop again. Original image was taken with a Nikon D2X and a 10.5mm Fisheye Nikkor lens when I flew over Yosemite in Mike’s Cessna. The Airbus was taken with the Sony RX1 at one of the Aviation Expo’s. It was the model Airbus used to promote the A380.
Tuesday, 12 January 2021
Submitted this image of St Ives to the St Ives Photographic Club and was surprised when it won the George Deller Cup, an award for images taken within 10 miles of St Ives’s town centre.
Saturday, 20 November 2020
Bored today because of lockdown and the rotten weather and so have been “playing” around with Photoshop.
The elephant has moved again, this time to Auckland in New Zealand.
(Elephant taken in Simbambili with Nikon D810 and 600mm f4 Nikkor lens, with the Auckland background by the Leica SL and 24-90mm Vario lens)
Sunday, 1st November 2020
Went to a Ploughing Match in a village called Somersham, which is only about three or four miles from where we live. The area around us is very agricultural and so they have quite a few of these events so that the farmers can bring their “old toys” out and play. Some take it extremely seriously and I saw some of the contestants measuring the distance between the ploughed furrows with a tape measure.
Taken with a Leica SL2 and the 90-280mm Vario SL lens.
Thursday, 29th October 2020
Had all sorts of plans for today, but the bad weather forced me to put those on hold. Instead I had a lazy day which included playing around with Photoshop. I had this image of a Cheetah which I had taken at Simbambili in South Africa and wanted to use it. The first image I opened was what was to become the background, taken in Saville in Spain. I thought the title, “I was only looking what’s on – honest” to be appropriate as though someone had questioned what the Cheetah was doing.
The Cheetah was taken with a Nikon D810 and 600mm f4.0 Nikkor lens and the background with the Leica M10 and 35mm f2.0 Summicron.
Saturday, 24th October, 2020
Attended the Battle of Britain photographic nightshoot organised at Duxford by the Imperial War Museum. The wind and rain was so bad that they were unable to get the aircraft out on the runway and perform engine runs, as advertised. However, despite getting wet-through it was still a good evening and I managed to get some half decent images. Good thing that the Leica SL2 and lenses are weatherproof otherwise I’ve no doubt it could have been an expensive evening.
15th – 19th September, 2020
Spent a few days in Wales, the first three nights in Caernarfon, in the North and the last two in Langruig which is Mid-Wales. I took the Leica SL2 and the three SL zooms lenses and the following is my favourite image of the trip so far. (I haven’t yet looked seriously at processing all the photo’s I took>)
Sunday, 23 August 2020
Went to Wells-Next-Sea on the motorbike, the weather forecast had predicted possible storms in the late afternoon/early evening and so I thought there may be some interesting skies. Fortunately I was right and managed to get a couple of good images, but unfortunately the storm came earlier than I’d thought and so I had an interesting ride home. Leica Q with fixed 28mm Summilux f1.7 lens
Saturday, 8 August 2020
Went to meet a photographer friend on the North Norfolk Coast and grabbed this shot on the “Poppy Line” which runs between Sherringham and Holt.
Leica SL with 24-90mm Vario-Elmarit lens
Friday, 7 August, 2020
Inspired by a photograph which David Yarrow had recently published showing a Wild Horse on this beach in Iceland, I decide to see how an elephant would enjoy the same environment.
The Beach (background) was taken with the Leica SL and the Elephant (taken in South Africa) with a Nikon D810 and 600mm F4 lens.
Tuesday, 14 July 2020
The BBC came to Morrison’s Supermarket in St Ives, our nearest town, to film a tribute to a local resident who had provided extraordinary support to the community during the Coronavirus lockdown. St Ives Community Choir, of whom my wife is a member were chosen to provide a background melody and I snapped these shots using a Leica SL with the 24-90 and 90-280 Vario-Elmarit lenses. The event is scheduled to be screened on the BBC’s “One Show” on Thursday the 16 July.
Friday, 10 July 2020
After a day of rain yesterday, I managed to get to Huntingdon and have a walk along the River Ouse in order to try the new 50mm lens. The weather still wasn’t good but I managed to get a clear 15 minutes, or so between showers.
I was certainly impressed by the sharpness of the lens and the nice “bokeh” it produces when used wide open at f2.0. (Bokeh is defined as “the effect of a soft, out-of-focus background that you get when shooting a subject, using a fast lens, at the widest aperture, such as f/2.8 or wider.” Simply put, bokeh is the pleasing or aesthetic quality of out-of-focus blur in a photograph.)
The only lens I can compare this with, from personal experience, is the Leica 50mm f2 Summicron. The Zeiss appears to compare well for sharpness and is, to my eyes, no better or worse than the Summicron. The colours produced by the Zeiss appear to be more saturated than the Leica 50mm, but I found the Zeiss needed more contrast during processing. Both lenses are excellent (as indeed they should be) and I have no doubt that comparable images can be achieved during processing.
Difficult to appreciate with the small images below, but the one on the left was taken at f5.6 and on the right at f2.0, to show the out-of-focus background.
Wednesday, 8 July 2020
Well, I went ahead and did it; bought the 50mm Zeiss f2.0 lens. I’ve been so impressed with the performance of the 35mm f1.4 that I decided to add this lens. I debated as to whether to go for the f2 Planar, or the f1.5 Sonnar.
The Sonnar is an old design dating back to the 1930’s, but with modern coatings, giving it excellent resistance to flare and as such produces classical looking images. It’s a great lens for portraits because of its softness when used wide open, but it does suffer from “focus shift”, up to around f4, especially on a rangefinder camera like the Leica M series.
As I tend to prefer sharp images, even when using the maximum aperture, I decided to go for the Planar f2.
Unfortunately the lens arrived from Germany late in the day and so I was only able to test it indoors. Being manual focus one of the concerns with any new lens is that is “in calibration” with the camera’s rangefinder and to my relief found it to be perfectly mated to the M10.
Certainly looks very promising even at the maximum aperture of f2.0 and I look forward to getting outdoors with it to give it a thorough testing.
Thursday, 2 July 2020
An evening walk around the village of Earith (where we live) with a couple of photographer friends. Nice sky and was pleased to capture the following two images. Taken with the M10 and Zeiss 35mm f1.4 lens; am really impressed with this lens and now thinking of buying a Zeiss 50mm.
Wednesday, 24 June 2020
Went to the North Norfolk Coast and as I intended to take colour images I took the Leica M10. Just before we left I thought, “I’ll also take the M9 Monochrom, just in case”. Fortunately for me I did, as when we got there I took the camera out and when I tried to take the first shot, the warning “sd” appeared in the viewfinder; yep, no memory card in the camera. I’d heard of photographers forgetting to load film but this was the first time anything like this happened to me. Put down to having a senior moment.
I did however get a couple of nice images with the M9M, two of which appear below, .
Friday, 12 June 2020
Finally, got chance to test the Zeiss 35mm f1.4 lens during a walk around Ely, which is a City about 8 miles from where we live. I was worried that it may not be as ‘sharp’ as the Leica lenses I’ve been using, but looking at the results (see below) there is certainly no need for any concern on that front. I think it’s comparable with the Leica 35mm Summilux and is less than half its price. It’s early days yet, but I would not have a problem in recommending this Zeiss lens.
Very heavily cropped section from the original image on the left
Saturday, 6 June 2020
For quite a while I’ve been thinking about buying a fast 35mm lens. For more years than I care to remember I’ve been using the Leica M Summicron 35mm f2.0, but there have been a number of occasions when in low light I’ve needed something faster.
The options were to part exchange my existing lens and buy a Leica Summilux f1.4 but that would have cost a good couple of ‘grand’, plus I didn’t really want to lose the Summicron as it’s such a good general purpose lens; and there was no way I was going to buy the Summilux outright as that was just too much money.
I’ve been reading a lot of positive things about Zeiss lenses and was always happy with the results when using them on my Hasselblad’s and so decided to look for a good secondhand one. I found one on eBay at a reasonable price and it arrived this morning. I have read that the build quality is good, but it wasn’t until I actually handled it that I realised just how good it is.
I did try a few indoor test shots and was delighted with the results and so I now look forward to testing it outdoor sometime next week.
Thursday, 28 May 2020
Along with three other photographers I went for an evening walk in the Great Fen in Cambridgeshire. The weather was perfect with not a cloud in the sky which was perfect for walking, but not good for photography. I hate plain skies in photographs and therefore added my own, thanks to Photoshop. Below are my favourite images from the evening; I was particularly impressed with the way the f0.95 Noctilux handled light when shooting direct into the sun.
Thursday, 14 May 2020
“Taking a stroll in The English Lake District”
Been playing around in Photoshop again and amusing myself by blending images.
Monday, 11 May 2020
The Coronavirus “Lockdown” is giving me time to brush up on my knowledge of Photoshop and this is an image I’ve produced today which pleased me.
(I don’t know why I keep thinking I have more time during “Lockdown” because I’m now retired ….. I guess I’m still finding it difficult to adjust.)
It’s of Moeraki Boulders Beach in the South Island of New Zealand.
Sunday, 3 May 2020
Feeling creative, I decided to process more of the images I had taken on Friday. I used Photo Blending in Photoshop to produce these images, showing that even in times of Lock Down people can get together as long as you’re very selective of people you invite: –
Lock Down could turn me to drink
At least I get to win this one for a change
Friday, 1 May 2020
A bunch of photographers I know decided that we should record our day today, during ‘Lock Down’ due to the Coronavirus. I produced a couple of images which I was really pleased with, trying to portray how much I was missing motorcycling: –
The Lawnmower was no real substitution but at least it burned petrol and there was the noise of the exhaust
Being two wheels the bicycle was more realistic but I feared an heart attack
Thursday, 23 April 2020
Today I received a lens I bought on eBay. It’s a Tri-Elmar 28-35-50mm for the Leica rangefinder. This lens has the advantage of having three focal lengths built into one lens. (There is no way to use a zoom lens on a rangefinder body.) The lens was extremely expensive and complicated to manufacture and so Leica ceased production of them in around 2006. I’ve had an earlier version of this lens before but it wasn’t mechanically reliable. I’m told this Version 2 is much improved and so hopefully I will get years of use from it.
Thursday, 17 April 2020
This creating a website is driving me nuts. After watching a couple of instructional youtube videos I decided to use a hosting site; Fasthosts in the UK. That was last Sunday and I’ve spent a couple of hours every day since, trying to make head or tail of it.
A last I’ve managed to put together a Home Page and this one, so at least I am progressing, be it at a snails pace.
Friday, 10 April 2020
For almost the last three weeks we’ve been in this state of what the government are calling “Lockdown”, due to the Coronavirus. Whilst it’s been a bind having to stay indoors I’ve been making the best use of my time by trying to improve my knowledge of both Lightroom and Photoshop, the two software programmes I use most to process my digital images.
I have also taken the opportunity to start this website but am struggling at the moment to make any sense of the software I’m using to put it together. I like a challenge and maybe, with perseverance and all this free time, I’ll get there in the end.