In June 2018 I was in New York and I decided to shoot some film at the panoramic desk of the Empire State Building. It’s a great place to get some amazing 360 views of New York. This day it was raining which adds some charm and mystery to the pictures. I shot a roll of Cinestill 800T because New York is a very cinematic city and I thought it would fit perfectly with this film which comes from the motion picture film Kodak Vision 3 5219. The major landmarks of the Big Apple are there on the pictures : Flatiron, New York Life (golden top pyramid), Chrysler, 432 Park Avenue (the new and tallest building of the hemisphere), and the Hudson river!
I used my trusted Leica M6 TTL and the lens Noctilux. I had a lot of light despite the rain, and it’s a 800 iso film, so I was most of the time at maximum shutter speed, and the aperture was between F8 and F16.
You can see below the video and the pictures
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I was in Lisbon in June 2018 and it was a good opportunity to do a “Bokeh Challenge f/0.95” ; it’s about shooting an entire roll of film wide open at the aperture of f/0.95. I used my Leica M6, the lens Leica Noctilux, and Ilford HP5 Plus 400. As it was a bright day, I was afraid of overexposing the film even at the highest shutter speed of 1/1000s. So I used a yellow filter to block a little bit of light, and at the same time it could give me more contrast with the black&white film ;
Heliopan 60mm #8 Medium Yellow Filter made in Germany, bought in B&H New York 3 weeks earlier for $65. It blocks one stop of light. But I didn’t have to worry about this because my M6 is TTL so it measures the light through the lens. I just had to follow the internal meter.
I started shooting avenuda de la Libertad, Restauradores , then I went to Praça Rossio. I walked to Baixa-Chiado via rua do Carmo. This is a very lively neighborhood with locals and tourists. Fernando Pessoa used to come here regularly for a coffee in the famous Café A Brasileira. Then I walked down to the Praca do Commercio on the banks of the Tejo river. Not far from there, there is San Antonio’s church, build above the crypt where Saint Anthony of Padua was born in 1195. I finished my roll by walking around and shooting the legendary Tram 28.
You can see below the video and the pictures.
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June is a great time to shoot Street Photography in Paris. The weather is beautiful, many tourists are visiting and there is a lot of action in the city. I choose Montmartre and le Sacré Coeur to try for the first time the TechArt Pro adapter for shooting street photography. I had the Sony A7R2 and the Leica Noctilux. In order to add some fun to that I shot all the pictures wide open at the aperture of f/0.95. It’s rare to see this kind of pictures at this aperture. Usually people use the zone focusing technique with an aperture around f/8. As I don’t like to do like everyone else, I did the contrary, I shot wide open! At this aperture you need to nail the focus perfectly. That’s where the autofocus function of the Techart Pro is essential. The depth of field at 0.95 is so shallow that too much time would be necessary to manual focus and I would miss the shot. Obviously people won’t pose for you. The concept is to catch a slice of life, to capture a special moment, to document street life. To do that you need to focus quickly otherwise the scene will change and you miss the picture.
The adaptor worked perfectly! Sometimes the face detection was working, but not always. When the face couldn’t be detected it was not a problem because the focus points could detect my subject and I just had to shoot. I was really glad to have it and try this experience because street photography makes more sense at this aperture. As only your subject is sharp, it draws easily the attention on it and immerses instantly the viewer into the story.
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The concept of the Bokeh Challenge 0.95 is to shoot an entire roll at the aperture of f/0.95. I was in Singapore and I went to Chinatown with my Leica M6, Noctilux and a roll of Portra 400. I started by the Sri Mariamman indian temple and I was very lucky because there was a special ceremony, a Puja. It was very lively, colourful, musicians played a typical indian music and the priests were performing the ceremony. Then I went to a taoist temple, Thian Hock Keng, build for the worship of Mazu, a Chinese sea goddess. I was a quiet atmosphere , very inspiring, with beautiful details of decoration to capture.
Doing these challenges is very interesting because you need to take pictures which fit the special aperture of f/0.95 with a very shallow depth of field. The photographe is then encouraged to find a special inspiration, to look for original angles, and to shot subjects that you might not think to shot usually.
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I was in Paris in January and I went to Montmarte and the Sacre Coeur to shoot some street photography. It’s a very lively neighbourhood with many cafés, restaurants, musicians, painters, street sellers. In January there are not so much tourists compared to the spring and summer , but it’s still busy and entertaining.
I shot with the Leica M6 TTL, the lens Noctilux, and a roll of Kodak TX 400. I choose to push the film 1 stop at 800 because it was not very sunny and I wanted to have a descent depth of field for street photography.
You can see below the video and the pictures.
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Great celebrations are taking place in Chinatown Bangkok for the Chinese New Year : dragon dance, parade, shows, food etc… This year, in 2018, it’s the year of the Dog. I went to Yaowarat (Chinatown) with my Leica M6, the lens Noctilux f/0.95 and a roll of film Kodak Portra 400. The vintage look of this film is perfectly suitable to shoot a traditional event and the rendering of the colours is perfect! New Year is very colourful and it had to be seen in colour and not on black and white.
It was a sunny day and Iso 400 was enough to shoot at a high speed (between 1/250 and 1/500) and to have a comfortable depth of field (between f/5.6 and f/8) . And for the sake of it, I shot 2 pictures at f/0.95 ; will you be able to spot them ?
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I was in Hong Kong in December 2017 and I wanted to shoot something that was unique to the city : the neon signs. They create a part of the atmosphere of the city at night.
Continue reading “Hong Kong neon signs and street photography : Cinestill 800T, Leica M6 & Noctilux”
Cinestill 800T is a special film which comes from the motion film Kodak Vision 3. Consequently it has a cinematic look and it’s amazing for night pictures. We often see this film used in Asia or chinatowns in western countries because there are a lot of neons and it looks great. We rarely see Cinestill 800 pictures of classical monuments from western countries, that’s why I wanted to try it in Paris to shoot the Eiffel Tower, Place de la Concorde, le Louvre and its pyramid. For this shooting I used my Leica M6, the lens Noctilux f/0.95 and a tripod. As it’s a fast film, I didn’t need very long exposures, however for 5 seconds I still needed a tripod to have sharp pictures. I had a cable release as well to be sure that the camera would not move.
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I went out for a photo walk with my Leica M6 and the lens Noctiulux 0.95. It was the first time I used this camera. The first pictures were a little bit difficult, having to set everything manually : the aperture, the shutter speed, and the focusing. Hopefully, the M6 has a lightmeter and it was pretty accurate. I tried to document the life and the atmosphere of Chinatown (Yaowarat) Bangkok, a vibrant and lively neighbourhood, which continue the tradition of an ancient way of life.
I used the film Kodak Tri-X 400 which has a great contrast and a sharp look.
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I shot with my Polaroid 250 and Fujifilm FP-100c the first time this September 2017. The weather was nice most of the time, with clouds and a little rain sometimes. It is difficult to control the exposure with the 250. It is automatic, you have to rely on the internal lightmeter ; there is an optical sensor close to the lens. As my model tends to underexpose the pictures, I placed a piece of paper on the sensor and made a small hole in the middle. This way, the camera think that it’s darker than it really is, and make a longer exposure. There is as well a dial around the lens “darken-lighten” that you can adjust. I used this dial usually to darken when my pictures were overexposed.
It was a really fun to shoot with this camera and the peel apart film. Every time you pull out the picture from the camera, there is a surprise, you never know how the picture is gonna look like. and when you start to peel the negative apart from the positive , when the picture is sharp, well exposed and well framed, it is a delight to see the result showing slowly. When you succeed, the result is usually beautiful, the FP-100c is one of the best instant film ever made. Unfortunately, they are not produced anymore and they are difficult to find and expensive.
you can see below the videos that I shot during the photowalk, the scan of the pictures, and the scan of the negatives that I reclaimed.
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