I caught this image when I was traveling in India earlier this year. One of the places I visited was Fatehpur Sikre, 1 hour out of Agra which is the home of the famous Taj Mahal. I can’t wait to travel again as I think I have made some progress in the last 9 months with my photography. Certainly if I were to visit India again (and to the same places) I htink my images will be very different now. Definately the equipment will also be different.
It’s been nearly a week now since I got my Leica M6. I have shot a total of about 15 rolls of film in my efforts to master the type of photography that rangefinders can give. My initial impressions still remain the same. When I cannot depend on technology to make my decisions for me, I have to be more aware of what’s going on and have to think. What aperture? What’s the distance? What’s the shutter speed? Am I metering correctly? All this has to happen in about 3 seconds before I lose the moment. In essence, I have to do what a camera does (with all its processing power) in about as short a time. Pretty tough but that’s what photography is all about.
My first few pictures were so bad that I had a nasty feeling that I add the wrong decision. Focussing was off. Metering was off. Too little dof or too wide. But I made some images the other day which absolutely convince me that it was the right decision and I experience first hand the might of the Leica lens.
I love this image. Its a little grainy and attribute that to the consumer grade film which I am using. There’s a steep learning curve for me and the Fuji X-TRA 400 is cheap enough to finance my learnings. I’m now going to try professional film such as the velvia and see how it compares.
This image was taken from a moving car. I saw the birds coming my way. I had about 20 seconds to decide what to do. I decided to focus at the hyperfocal distance at f/8. I metered for the sky (which was getting dark) and focussed at the hyperfocal distance for f8 with a shutter speed of 1/500. I knew I had only 1 attempt at making the shot. I put the camera to me eye and as soon as the birds came into view the top branches of the tree came peeping out. I included the top branches and took the shot. All this happened in about 5 seconds. 1 shot was all that I could do.
This is one of the most useful learnings I got from using the Leica and its only been about 5 days. I find that I am actually faster using the all manual Leica than I am when using my dSLRs.
I am experimenting a lot these days in an effort to discover new way of expressions through photography. One of the projects I’m doing is a study of bokeh or background blur. Its a simple project to conceptualise but very difficult to execute in my opinion. Here’s how…
Canon EOS 1D Mark III
EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L at 46mm
1/300 f/4 ISO 100
Learning to utilise off camera flash has given my portrait work a new dimension. The easiest and quickest setup for me is to use 2 speedlites, 1 master mounted on camera as fill and the other as a slave acting as the main light. The master defaults to group A and set the slave as group B, set the speedlites on eTTL-II and control the ratio between the groups, make sure the main is placed to give a nice shadow effect relative to the fill on camera flash and there you have it.
This one was a tough one to get right. It was in the middle of the day and the sun was high up and harsh. I set the shutter at 1/200 and aperture at f/10 so that the light from the sun was controlled. I then placed a speedlite 580 EXII directly to the boys left (camera right) at a power output of 1/8. Triggering was done with the China triggers.
You can see the shadows made by his arm. This is the first time I am using off camera flash outside in these conditions and I am quite happy with the results.
Note: This image has some manipulation done to it ( brought down the brightness of the sky and combined it with the same image). The magnifying glass is totally as is.
Canon EOS 1D Mark III
EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L II at 16mm
Speedlite 580 EX II at 1/8 power
After a longgggg break from taking portraits (about 2 months which is a lifetime to me. The images I posted in this period were all re-processed from older shoots) I picked up my camera and decided to go for broke. This image was taken as a result of that. One light (580 EX II) with a reflective umbrella was placed on camera left about 1 meter above subject head pointing directly to models right shoulder.
I was standing on a chair pointing downwards and model was looking up. The flash was trigerred by an ST-E2 and the camera was the 1D Mark III with the glorious EF 85mm f/1.2 L II. Flash was set on manual at 1/8 power and camera settings at 1/300th f/5.6 ISO 200.
I should have taken at f/8 as there were some blown highlights though I like the shadows overall. If I were to do it again I would add a second light to add just a little hint of fill for the eyes (notice the lack of a catchlight on the eyes here).
Post processing was done on ACR 4.1 and there a lot of manipulation done in Photoshop to bring out details and colours.
EOS 1D Mark III
EF 85mm f/1.2 L
Speedlite 580 EX II
1/300 f/5.6 ISO 200 flash fired manual 1/8th power reflective umbrella
I took this image during my 2008 Tour of India’s ‘Triangle’ of New Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. This one was taken at Jama Masjid in New Delhi. It was mid-afternoon and the sunlight was very nicely diffused making it perfect for these kind of images. The challenge in getting these kind of images is to establish a rapport as soon as possible. I looked this man right in the eye, pointed at my camera (asking for permission to take the photo), he nodded and I clicked. Be polite, be quick and be thankful….