This is the ongoing journal of my travels, photography, experience with people, places and equipment.
Hand in Hand in Copenhagen
COPENHAGEN, November 3, 2012:
We spent an evening in Copenhagen with friends, rapper Chill EB and finally had dinner with war photographer Jan Grarup.
I had a pleasant dinner and talk about everything else than cameras with war photographer Jan Grarup, but did do a few photos after all. It's interesting to realize how different we do things behind camera, yet how similar we see life. One of the evenings' interesting details was that Jan travels with Louis Vuitton suitcases to war zones. Just for the hell of it.
Another juicy detail was that we left the restaurant hand in hand. Whilst nobody know who I am in Denmark, Jan and his wife are well-known faces. Fortunately no paparazzis were around ... we think.
Joy and the waitress ... and the one and only 21st Century Pirate, Jan Grarup enhancing the bokeh. Leica M Monochrom with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0
When Jan talks, his hair does the exclamation marks ... Leica M Monochrom with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0
Rapper Chill EB and his manager was supposed to have joined us, but after two days traveling on delayed and canceled Air France airpains, he arrived 35 minutes before the first stage performance. He had to spend the dinner time till the next performance rehearsing wth the choir.
I didn't do any pictures of Chill EB performing in Copenhagen ... so here is a video my son Oliver did some months ago, doing "seawalk" as a dedication to the Chill EB's song Define Better.
I wrote a Story Behind That Picture back in June 2012, "Photographing Kids" about this subject. When I edit these family pictures of a family I did one and a half years ago, I feel like doing more Danish Children. There is a lot of references to my own childhood in the light, the architecture, the Scandinavian designed furniture and floating around amongst it all with LEGO and dolls. I could do a theme on Danish Children ...
For this particular family I got to see their home again and how they had made use of the pictures we took one and a half years ago. Photographing and documenting kids is such a valuable thing to do.
I was actually supposed to shoot two other kids early this morning, but one of them went sick, so that gave me time to finish the editing of these images.
This series consist of 80 images shot with Leica M9 and Leica M Monochrom alongside. Interesting it was to work with both cameras side by side, one (M Monochrom at 3200 ISO) with a 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0, the other (M9 at 800 ISO) with a 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0. I shall return with my experience and analysis of using them side by side.
Leica M9 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0, 800 ISO.
Vikings come in all sizes. Leica M9 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0, 800 ISO.
We did makeup on the girl. Just because she would probably like it. Leica M Monochrom with Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0, 3200 ISO.
The son of the house frozen in motion, beating his war-drum. Leica M9 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0, 800 ISO.
Sunday in Ginza in Tokyo. Leica M Monochrom with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0.
I have also written a Story Behind That Picture about the Tokyo workshop, so have read.
An evening and five days in Tokyo
TOKYO, Japan, November 9-12, 2012:
The fist stop on the Asian tour was Tokyo. We flew with the probably best airline for the time being, Emirates why we had a three hour stopover in Dubai with time to hang out in the Dubai Airport International Hotel smoking lounge on first floor above the shopping area (take a note: anyone can go there, only few people are in there, there is free WiFi and there is a bar next to with coffee and food).
In the Blue Note jazz club in Tokyo after hours with Pieter Franken, Stig Bjorge, Shiyo Takahashisan, Joy Villa and Collin Steel.
I should be resting after a long flight, but instead we drummed up a couple of my former students from Tokyo, Stig and Pieter (who have both been living in Tokyo for 20+ years) and Colin Steel who would do his first workshop the next day. The store manager from the Leica Ginza Store, Takahashisan also kindly joined in.
The purpose was to get dinner, meet up with people I would else not have time to meet with, and of course see the Blue Note in Tokyo which I hadn't visited before despite the fact that my usual hotel is a 10 minute walk from Blue Note.
McCoy Tyner Trio and Gary Bartz playing at Blue Note Tokyofor a very enthusiastic audience.
Between the six of us we had four brand new Leica M Monochrom cameras ... and were told not to photograph. But the food and the coffee was good.
Inside the bar
We had made it from the airport to the hotel and was by our table within three hours after the flight had set on the gound of Tokyo. And somehow, when we got really tired and Stig, Pieter and Shiyo followed us on our way to the hotel, we stumbled over a tiny bar with 30-40 designer students and a xerox machine spray-painted gold serving as a table. Everybody seemed to be busy taking each others information for Facebook, Instragram and all, and so we made a handful of new friends before bedtime. Quite many of them seemed to know a 1.0 lens when they saw one. So if you see my lens on Instragram ... that's why.
A new friend in a trendy small bar under a beidge with Mona Lisa on all the walls. Leica M Monochrom with leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0, 3200 ISO at 1/25 second (very dark place it was).
Leica M Monochrom with leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0, 3200 ISO at 1/25 second.
After midnight in Tokyo: The every-ongoing roadwork in one of the busiest Tokyo crossings to keep it running smoothly. Leica M Monochrom with leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0, 3200 ISO.
High ISO and noise
TOKYO, Japan, November 13, 2012:
I was answering some mails today to students om my extension course, and one question was "I have the feeling that one of the factors influencing the 'ISO-damage' is the available light. When there is more light, the picture doesn't seem to be affected as much as when there is hardly any light. Is that possible? Also, larger spaces of the same color seem to be more affected by higher ISO's. Is this correct?"
Yes, that is correct and a good observation. The ISO is basically always 160 on the M9, so 'pulling' is damaging the image very much as you loose 2-3 stops of definition. So I never do (but did in the beginning till I found out what it did).
So I use 160 for daylight.
"Pulling" is a film expression. It means that film is rated slower than its actual ISO speed. What it does is slowing exposure by 1 stop and overexposing the film.
Going higher than 160 ISO is basically depending on the Lightroom/Camera Raw profile and the ability of the software on the computer to use algorithms to calculate the correct color when you pretend the sensor can see better than 160 ISO. So I go as high as 800 ISO. Above that I find the colors get off. Not always, but often the skin tones will turn magenta in the shadows and that makes the images unusable for professional use.
And yes, when there is more light, the high ISO affects the image less. Because the sensor can simply see. In dark where one usually needs the high ISO, the sensor can't see, so the sensor/software has to guess. And the ability to guess is solely depending on the software algorithms. Those get better and better, hence we get higher and higher ISO capabilities. I saw some 3200 ISO samples from the new Leica M and those look right.
Test photo: One of the attendees at the One Day Leica Workshop in Perth, Australia. Leica M9 with Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 (II)
One Day Leica Workshop in Perth
PERTH, Australia, November 19, 2012:
Some months ago I got an e-mail from two brothers in Perth, Australia who claimed they had a really good 2nd genration photo family store with a large Leica following. Camera Electronic.
When I checked their website I was amazed how much Leica they had in stock, and so it became reality that I did a one-day workshop today in an else unknown city called Perth.
Camera Electronics' workshop house next to the camera store. Here one of the brothers, Saul Frank is giving a short intro to the workshop. Leica M Monochrom with Leica 21mm Super-Elmar-M ASPH f/3.4.
(The city actually have 1,2 million people living here, so it's not as small and unknown as I first assumed).
The Leica One Day Workshop is a new concept so as to give a flavor of it all in just one day, for less money, for a slightly larger group than usually. Next ones coming up will be Singapore, Bangkok and Kaula Lumpur.
Another attendee after the late evening pizza. Leica M Monochrom with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0, 3200 ISO
One of the attendees had his Leica M9 Hermes camera with him. The funny story is that he bought it as an investment, but then got interested in using it. Hence he actually walks about with his complete Hermes kit with M9, 50mm Noctilux, 50mm Summilux and 28mm Summicron and special Hermes bag. I love to see people using a camera, also one that only 100 exist of.
– Thorsten Overgaard
Above: Girl with Barbie bed and Barbie girl. Leica M9 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0, 800 ISO.
Thorsten von Overgaard is a Danish writer and photographer, specializing in portrait photography and documentary photography, known for writings about photography and as an educator.
Some photos are available as signed editions via galleries or online. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via e-mail.