So Good They Named It Twice

...Or so Gerard Kenny sings. Ok, a slightly misleading title. For those expecting photos of "New York, New York" you're going to be disappointed, here's some to keep you going I suggest you move on as what follows may not be of any interest whatsoever...

As a reminder all images on my blog can be opened to full size by simply clicking on them. You may notice that 5 out of the 6 photos contain people, more of that in a moment. Anyway, returning from Devon with the children last week I noticed a scene that might make a good photograph. It was late and not a good time to stop, so this week I made a return to the Somerset Levels on the BMW 1200GSA. The place I'd spotted was "Burrow Mump", both words mean hill so "Hill, Hill"...

I knew that this was going to be hard work for me. I rarely take photographs that don't include people and this reminded me why. I can't maintain any level of concentration, perhaps landscapes and architecture simply don't do it for me. I need a person in a photograph to give it value. That's not to say I don't enjoy seeing landscapes and buildings nor the images that others capture, far from it in fact. No, this type of photography Involves working the scene, exploring angles, heaven forbid - the use of a tripod! I don't have the patience for all that nor the will to actually take a tripod, I own a really nice one that's covered in dust by the way. Even so I circled the hill quite a few times before walking up to the church. On the plus side landscapes and buildings rarely refuse or complain at having their photo taken! Here's a selection -

The alternative title for this blogpost was "One Trick Pony", not a description of me (although...), but of the Noctilux 50mm f/0.95 lens. I've said before that I much prefer the little Summicron 35mm f/2. The Nocti really only has one setting; Wide Open. As such it renders an ordinary scene into something rather more surreal, as though hours have been spent in post processing. Generally the ones I present have very little work other than the occasional crop (generally I'm cropping 5% just to tidy things up, there have been times that they need cropping to within an inch of their life) and some small tweaks. I don't have any problem with cropping or post processing, the result is what counts, I just prefer to do as little as possible because of time constraints and time as we all know costs money. If you've shot a wedding and have 80 photos picked for your client then it's no good spending half an hour on each one. As a demonstration of the Noctilux's ability to change a scene wide open then here's an example. The first shot at f/0.95 and the second at f/11 -

I know the bike isn't quite in focus on the first one, that was my fault not the lens, but you can easily see what I'm saying. Even the colours appear different, look at the saddle for example. A little bit of fringing, but these shots haven't been processed. I'm still not convinced that it's worth all that hard earned cash, other 50mm lenses in the Leica range would do the same job, they're just not quite so fast. My Summicron 35mm is only f/2, plenty fast enough though in my opinion and in any case if shooting street I'm at f/8 or f/11 so pointless having anything more. I've shot whole weddings with just the 35mm, I can only reiterate that it's my favourite lens. The other argument is that you're either a 50mm shooter or 35mm shooter, I'm definitely the later. All those New York shots were taken with the 35mm and I see nothing wrong with the rendering in the colour photo which I called "Uptown Girl" at the time.

I must make a choice of my favourite from this trip to the Somerset Levels (not that level, considering the hill I climbed and in the distance Glastonbury Tor, a big climb to the top). I took quite a few, so here it is -

and again in Black and White -

As usual I would be delighted to read any comments and my sincere thanks go to anyone taking the time to read my blog.

All images can be opened by clicking on the thumbnails and are taken using a Leica M with a Summicron 35mm or Noctilux 50mm lens fitted.