Monthly Archives: September 2011

Making a choice.

(please click on the image to view)

↑Leica M9 and Voigtländer Nokton 40mm @ f/1.4.

The look.

I know it too well.  She’s wondering if she’s ever going to get her coffee.

The lighting was tricky here… mixed natural and incandescent.   On the other hand, the blinds shielded against the harshest of the outside light and things balanced nicely.

(please click on the image to view)

↑Leica M9 and Konica Hexanon 60mm @ f/1.2.

I love how the girl furthest back, by adjusting her hair the moment the shutter was released, has filled out the composition:  her posture creates an inverted triangle that fits like a puzzle piece between the triangles formed by the postures of the two figures closest to us.  It is difficult to explain so here is a visual of what I mean:

She did get her coffee, eventually.

Levels.

This shot is unsuccessful.

The scene is from the lobby of the Royal York Hotel in Toronto where an interesting vantage point is afforded by the arrangement of the floors and spiral staircases – it sets up an almost Escher-like effect on the brain.

(please click on the image to view)

↑Leica M9 and Leica 50mm Summicron @ f/2.

My goal was to capture the bustling movement of people, on each level, including the connecting staircase.  The first strike against success was the lens  – I had a 50mm, and I needed a 35mm.  Consequently, the frame is tilted in order to try to “fit” more of the scene into the field of view (this somewhat contributes to the general visual disorientation so it’s not such a bad thing).  The second – and more fatal – strike was that, despite the constant flow of human traffic, there was never any satisfactory simultaneous distribution of people amongst the levels.  Despite waiting for it to happen, it never materialized.

Still, I kept this shot as a token for my efforts.  I do like the fact that the man in mid-step (bottom right) has spotted me, despite being two levels beneath me.

Me, in grade 6.

I found this photo button this morning after taking the kids to school.  It was a gift from my grade 6 school teacher, one fine spring day, a long time ago.

I remember the occasion vividly, for no good reason.  Surprisingly, it has survived in the bottom of drawers, in bags, during moves, in times of illness and in times of death.

I can’t tell you what camera or lens was used.  It really doesn’t matter.

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Father and son.

A scene from their lives during a Sunday outing.  Conveniently – though somewhat unfortunately – framed by the top of a trash bin.

Whether either of them – many years from now – will remember this particular moment, is unknown.

(please click on the image to view)

↑Leica M9 and Voigtländer Nokton 40mm @ f/1.4.

The assistant coach.

He takes his job very seriously.

(please click on the image to view)

↑Leica M9 and Leica 75mm Summarit @ f/2.5.

A – A portrait.

He’s been through more heartache than you can imagine.

(please click on the image to view)

↑Leica M9 and Leica 75mm Summarit @ f2.5.

One rung at a time.

I captured a few frames during this sequential climb, but this one – with the searching foot – ultimately prevailed.

(please click on the image to view)

↑Leica M9 and Voigtländer Nokton 40mm @ f/1.4.

After studying this for a while, I realized why I preferred this image to the others.

The floating foot, adds a dynamic quality to the image.  We know he’s climbing, but with the foot between rungs, his movement is emphasized and there is a (tiny) sense of drama: will he find his footing?

More than this, the same lower foot, though not connected to the rung, completes a rung-to-limb schematic echoed in the two rungs above, that ultimately converges and directs our attention to his face (see red arrows below):

(please click on the image to view)

It’s interesting to tease these little visual cues out, though I’d much rather enjoy the images for what they are: precious, personal moments… frozen in time.

Torn film.

This was an accident.  It happened when I was developing the film and now it’s flawed, wouldn’t you say?

This was literally the 37th frame of a “36″ roll that I messed up as I was loading the film strip into the developing spool.  It was consequently unevenly exposed to the solutions; the film tore as I was removing it from the tank.

But the scene, the mood – the intent – of this image is still conveyed… at least for me.  I look at it and I’m taken there, to that quiet afternoon, even if I can’t remember all the details.

The image, like my memory, is incomplete.

(please click on the image to view)

↑Leica M2 and Voigtländer Nokton 40mm @ f/1.4.

Her sister’s party.

Her expression reveals her feelings on that day.

I processed two versions of this image.  I know I definitely prefer one, but I’m curious as to which one you prefer.

(please click on the image to view)

↑Leica M9 and Voigtländer Nokton 40mm @ f/1.4.

The glance.

A look behind.

A random encounter and a single frame stolen from the stream of a stranger’s life.

This photo was chosen as a Leica Fotografie International (LFI) Master Shot.

(please click on the image to view)

↑Leica M9 and Voigtländer Nokton 40mm @ f/1.4.

R – A portrait.

A candid shot.

This photo was chosen as a Leica Fotografie International (LFI) Master Shot.

(please click on the image to view)

↑Leica M9 and Konica Hexanon 60mm 1.2 @ f/1.4.

Her laugh.

Immortalizing this moment, in the click of a shutter.

(please click on the image to view)

↑Leica M9 and Konica Hexanon 60mm @ f/1.2.

Pastel beach.

Amidst the muted colour and through the fog, two figures in the distance walk along the shore (look carefully, right side of image).

(please click on the image to view)

↑Leica M9 and Zeiss ZM 21mm 2.8 @ f/4.

2nd day of school.

What a difference a day makes.

(please click on the image to view)

↑Leica M9 and Konica Hexanon 60mm 1.2 @ f/1.2.

↑Leica M9 and Konica Hexanon 60mm 1.2 @ f/1.4.

First day of school.

Ever.  Junior kindergarten can be scary, on the first day.

This photo was chosen as a Leica Fotografie International (LFI) Master Shot.

(please click on the image to view)

↑Leica M9 and Voigtländer Nokton 40mm @ f/1.4.

94 years: anatomy of an image.

People often ask how the image 94 Years came to be.  Simply put, it was an unplanned image that evolved quite naturally.

I was trying to photograph my 94-year-old grandmother, whom I’d been visiting and who was sitting on a couch near the window.

This was the scene:

I had always been interested in her hands, and the story they tell.  I realized that in my “mind’s eye” it was the hands I was interested in here too, and their positioning as they cradled her head.

So, I decided to shift my position – the beautiful constraint of using fixed focal length lenses is that they force you to compose in different ways – and take the photo from above.

The “inspired” composition was arrived at accidentally when she shifted the way she was holding her head.  In the interim, I had increased the shutter speed to avoid blowing out the highlights in the hair and on the hand nearest to the window.  This created a surrounding darkness – a natural vignette – as the details in the dark clothing were masked:

I then cropped the image to, once again, emphasize her hands:

At this point, I had the composition I wanted and I knew that any subsequent post-processing was an opportunity to either enhance or ruin the image.

Following some selective contrast, levels, and progressive vignetting adjustments, I arrived at the final image:

94 Yrs

In looking at this a few years later, I realize that I may have been a little heavy-handed with the post-processing.  But, the image stands as the image was: 94 Years.

I hope this was of interest.

- Peter

94 years.

Her hands tell the whole story.

Tomorrow, a step-by-step explanation of how this image was created.

(please click on the image to view)

↑Leica M8 and Leica 28mm Elmarit @ f/2.8.

This photo was chosen as a Leica Fotografie International (LFI) Master Shot.

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