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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The “Bokeh Challenge f/0.95” series consist of shooting an entire roll of film at the aperture of f/0.95 , which is the widest aperture possible with a lens as of now. This is a difficult task :
1- first you need a find an interesting subject that you can shoot closely ; the closer you are the better the effect.
2- then you need to find a background that will melt properly to form a nice bokeh
3- finally, you need to nail the focus precisely because at 0.95 the depth of field is very shallow and with film you don’t see the result immediately. and consequently you can’t start again if you fail.
The point of these challenges is to take advantage of the capacities of one of the most legendary lens ever made, the Leica Noctilux. Wide open, this lens produce unique and outstanding images. Being able to separate the background from the subject makes your picture more “understandable” to the public. They will understand immediately the concept of your photograph and won’t be distracted by another element in the frame. Beside, in a pure artistic and aesthetic point of view, it makes the picture more beautiful and eye catching.
I was in Paris in January for this photo walk. I had my Leica M6 TTL loaded with a roll of Kodak Portra 400. As it was a cloudy day, the shutter speed didn’t need to be so fast to compensate the huge amount of light coming through the lens. It was 1/500s in the morning then 1/250s and 1/125s in the evening. Anyway, overexposing of one stop or two a color film doesn’t hurt.
I started the day in Le Marais, then I walked to Saint Michel and I finished at Place de la Concorde with the illuminated giant wheel which makes a great blurry background.
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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 for a week in December and a friend told me that a movie that I love, Accident by Soi Cheang (Milky Way production) with Louis Koo, was shot near the wet market of North Point. For those who know the movie that’s the famous scene when they kill the pawn shop owner at the tramway station. Last year I went to this market, without knowing this anecdote, and I shot pictures with my Sony A7R2.
So I decided this year to go there again to check if I would recognise the scene from the movie. And this time I was shooting with the Leica M6, Noctilux f/0.95, and Kodak Tri-X 400. I was not disappointed. The atmosphere is really special in this neibourhood and I understand why they shot a scene there. For example, he famous tramway “ding ding”, is passing through the market and people have to step aside every time they hear it…
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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.
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I’m a fan of Cinestill, I shot many rolls of 800T and 50. I love the cinematic look which comes from the motion picture film Kodak Vision 3. The absence of the remjet filter makes it even more special with the halo coming from the lights and neons at night. When they announced that they would sell again the bwXX in November, I went everyday to their website to be the first to order. This film comes from the motion picture Eastman Double-X 5222/7222 Neg. Film. Which means the same concept as the 800T , but in black and white. That was very promising!The movies Raging Bull and Schindler’s List were shot with this film.
I received my rolls in December before going to Hong Kong… perfect timing.
In Hong Kong I had the chance to go on a photo walk with 2 friends who are film enthusiasts as well, Victor and Carmen from Annie Barton 1972 (high quality leather straps). We loaded our bwXX in our camera ; Carmen with the Leica MP, Victor with the X-Pan TX2 , and I had the Leica M6 and the Noctilux. We went to the harbour front of Wan Chai. This is a great location, with tourists and locals fishing or having a walk. We had a great time shooting, and when I got the film developed and scan, I was so happy with the result! The cinematic look is even deeper than the color films, it’s a little bit grainy, and sharp enough.The contrast is not too high, well balanced, and some pictures look as if they were coming straight out of a movie. This film has a strong character and the look is very special!
You can see below the video of the walk (soundtracks composed by the great Mijonju!) , and the pictures coming from the M6.
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I was in Paris in November and I wanted to shoot a special film, to change from the usual brands that we often shoot. So I went to Nation Photo at Chatelet and I purchased a roll of Washi Film D “Sputnik” , made by a french company. This film was originally made for aerial surveillance and cartography, I thought it would be interested to try it.
I went to Montmartre and le Sacre Coeur, the basilic of Paris, and I shot street photography, monuments, cafés, and the painters of la Place tu Tertre.
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For the first day of shooting with the Leica M6 and the Noctilux, I went to Chinatown Bangkok for street photography. The second day, I decided to test the lens wide opened, at 0.95, because that’s what makes it so special. I wanted a color film because a blurry background is often nicer in color. I needed a slow speed film because at F 0.95 there is so much light coming on the film, and the fastest shutter speed on the M6 is 1/1000. Kodak Ektar 100 seems to be a good choice.
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