Category Archives: Leica 35mm Summarit f/2.5

Alex, cinematic.

Alex, by the glow of the afternoon window light.

(please click on the image to view)

↑Leica M9 and Leica 35mm Summarit @ f/2.5.

You.

(please click on the image to view)

↑Leica M9 and Leica 35mm Summarit @ f/2.5.

Contemplating the next step.

He hangs on the verge of movement, contemplating the next step.

Photo taken at Union Station, Toronto.

(please click on the image to view)

↑Leica M9 and Leica 35 Summarit @ f/2.5.

Toronto skyline.

As it appeared at 17:43, August 25, 2011.

(please click on the image to view)

Leica M9 and Leica 35mm Summarit @ f/2.5.

Ruler of the beach.

Despite wielding a threatening plastic shovel, she is a benign ruler.

(please click on the image to view)

Leica M9 and Leica 35mm Summarit @ f/2.5.

Something happening.

Posting photos with commentary – like I do on this blog – is new to me.  I used to just post photos, free of my interpretation, because I believed the images should stand on their own merit.  Interpretation would be left to the viewer.

I still believe that, but I’ve obviously softened my stance – hence this blog.

However, I’m posting this image, which I will leave hanging, unadorned by words (other than the title, “Something happening”).

I took it yesterday.  Today I’ll leave the details up to you.

I’m curious as to what you dream up.

(please click on the image to view)

Leica M9 and Leica 35mm Summarit @ f/2.5.

“Love is better than anger…”

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.

- Jack Layton (July 18, 1950 – August 22, 2011).

Chalk messages adorn the walls and pavement of Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto City Hall – an impromptu memorial in honour of Jack Layton.

If you wish to read more about Mr. Layton, see here.

RIP, dear Jack.

Both images taken with the Leica M9 and Leica 35mm Summarit.

The beach.

(please click on the images to view)

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

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

↑Leica M9 and Leica 35mm Summarit @ f/2.5.

Shadows and light.

A sort of self-portrait.

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

(please click on the image to view)

Leica M9 and 35mm Summarit @ f/2.5.

Mother and daughter.

Bathed in light.

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

(please click on the image to view)

Leica M9 and Leica 35mm Summarit @ f/2.5.

Vanishing point.

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

(please click on the image to view)

Leica M9 and 35mm Summarit @ f/2.5.

The youngest caffeine addict.

Sneaking a peak.

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

(please click on the image to view)

Leica M9 and Leica 35mm Summarit @ f/2.5.

The officer.

A brief pause on a busy street.

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

(please click on the image to view)

Leica M9 and Leica 35mm Summarit @ f/2.5.

The clown.

And his smiling accomplice.

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

(please click on the image to view)

Leica M9 and Leica 35mm Summarit @ f/2.5.

Perturbed.

He always knows how to have fun.

(please click on the image to view)

Leica M9 and Leica 35mm Summarit @ f/2.5.

Sammy’s Service Centre.

This is Sam Koundouros, the owner of Sammy’s Service Centre, an independent automotive repair facility located in Toronto.

(please click on the image below)

(Photo above taken with the Leica M9 and Leica 35mm Summarit @ f/2.5.)

Sam is one of those rare business owners who knows how to communicate with his customers – with respect and honesty.

And this photo isn’t part of a paid project.  I’m actually posting this as a “thank you” to all the wonderful people at Sammy’s who work hard every day making sure the vehicles are running properly.

I first learned about Sammy’s through a recommendation from a neighbour.  So strong was the recommendation that I chose to have my new vehicle, which is still under warranty, serviced by them instead of my dealer.  I haven’t been disappointed.

I have been to Sammy’s several times since then and have dealt with many of the service personnel and, without exception, they have all been professional, competent, and extremely courteous.  All of them.

I have never received this kind of service at any of the auto dealer service centres I’ve dealt with in the past, including Honda, Toyota, and even BMW.

I really can’t believe how good this place is, but it is.

If you want to learn more about Sammy’s, have a look at their website here.

Strong diagonals.

If you examine my photos, you’ll notice a dominant diagonal line running through many of them.  I’ve sort of learned to make images this way automatically, after years of photographing.

Why is a strong diagonal important? 

I don’t know the academic answer but I know the simple one:  in many cases, photos look better with it than without it.

A strong diagonal connects a photo from the top to the bottom and, in doing so, serves to visually point (much like an arrow) the viewer’s eye from one end to the other and, at the same time, ties the image together.  It also serves to “fill” the frame.  Finally, it acts as a balance or scale where you can divide the remaining visual elements equally between the two halves on either side of the line.  These last two points are, in actuality, addressing and solving problems related to composition.

But enough talk –  let’s look at some images.

The 3 images below feature simple structures that form an easily identifiable strong diagonal element:

(please click on any of the images below)

↑Leica M9 and Leica 75mm Summilux @ f/1.4.

↑Leica M9 and Voigtländer Nokton 35mm @ f/1.2.

↑Leica M9 and Leica 28mm Summicron @ f/2.

In this next image the subject is the beach and the strong diagonal is its shoreline:

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↑Leica M9 and Zeiss ZM 21mm @ f/2.8.

In each of the above photos, I could have composed differently, but the result would be less pleasing to the eye.  How strong is the effect?

Well, take a look at this shot:

(please click on the image below)

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

I had originally taken this photo as a portrait with the subject placed a little off to the side (one of the “rules” of taking portraits is to not centre the person, but that’s another discussion).  However, the strong diagonal of the field line kept interfering with my original composition and crop, and the eye kept falling short of the corner of the frame – the look was simply inharmonious.  When I cropped the photo so that the white line was allowed to span the image from one corner to the other, the composition became more pleasing, even though I was now violating one of the rules of portraiture.

Such is the strength of the dominant diagonal that our brains are actually willing to give up reality in favour of a more pleasing composition .  Here’s an example:

(please click on the image below)

↑Leica MP and Leica 35mm Summicron @ f/4.

We all know that a tower doesn’t jut out of the earth sideways like the CN Tower appears to be doing above, but the photo is made more pleasing to the eye because of it.  On a side note, the chosen composition also emphasizes the sheer height of this structure because it somewhat disorients us, and gives us a sense of what it must feel like to stand at the base of the tower.

Here is another example:

(please click on the image below)

↑Leica M9 and Leica 35mm Summarit @ f/2.5.

Once again, the image elements (the buildings) have been tilted so that the window washer platform forms a strong diagonal.  The tilting here is also successful because of the sense of vertigo it adds to the image which, by the way, is named Vertigo.

Finally, here is what I would consider a very successful use of a diagonal:

(please click on the image below)

↑Nikon D3 and Nikon 24mm AF-D @ f/2.8.

In the image above, the diagonal is the barrier separating the (Niagara) Falls from the girl.  What’s more, this division has resulted in a harmonious composition in that the Falls and the face are equally prominent on either side, and the image is therefore “balanced”.  Finally, on an artistic note, the strands of the girl’s hair over her face mirror the linear strands of water behind her, which is immensely pleasing to the eye.  I cannot pretend to have planned it this way, but my choice of composition resulted in a happy accident.

I hope the above discussion on strong diagonals was helpful.

Alex and Jeff.

Alex and Jeff will be married this June!  We took these at the Toronto Beach during a glorious sunrise.

The air was crisp, the sky crystal clear, and the light was beautiful.

(please click on any photo to see it larger)

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