Leica Watch

 Photo Gear

Photo Gear

Leica is getting into the watch business. Today Leica announced that they are entering the watch business. My first reaction was shock and skepticism. I’m an Apple fan and have been following what they have been doing to the watch business with great interest. Apple is just steam rolling the industry with the Apple Watch. I have a long fascination with high-end Swiss watches. Specifically the Rolex. I own a Submariner and I just love it. Something about fine European craftsmanship that I’m attracted too. At the same time I appreciate why the Apple Watch has become so popular. It’s usefullness when combined with an iPhone is impressive. So much so that I recently purchased one for my wife. She loves it and wears it all of the time. 

I can see why Leica is moving in this direction. The company is doing well and selling their products as fast as they can make them but there are only so many people that will by a Leica camera. With watches Leica can enter a market where they can exploit their strengths namely small items made with the utmost in mechanical precision. Looking at the big picture it is a sensible gamble. Most people that buy their cameras would be a logical customer for a Leica Watch. 

The photos of their new watch so a blend of traditional and current design trends. This Watch is obliviously not a product that is being rushed to the market to capture some recent fad. Leica has been around for more than 100 years and is obviously planning for 100 more. I wish them luck.  

Stand for photography printer - Epson P800

I recently replaced my Epson 3880 with the newer Epson P800. Before the printer arrived I started a search for a proper stand. The P800 weighs 43 pounds is a large printer measuring 26.9 x 14.8 x 9.9 inches. An old card table is just not going to be sufficient to support such a large printer. I also wanted drawers for storing paper, ink, and extra supplies. 

 Epson P800 with Seville Classics Cart

Epson P800 with Seville Classics Cart

A google search provided no satisfying results so I next tried Amazon. After a lot of false starts and dead ends I gave up. I wanted a sturdy stand that seemed durable and and was just a bit bigger than the printer. I have gone through lots of printers at home and where I used to work and the thing that always bothered me was when the stand would shake when the printer was doing its business. Also I wanted a stand with wheels so that I could move the printer between workstations when needed. while walking through Wal-Mart I noticed tool chests in the hardware department. Back to Amazon to look at tool chest. No lunch again, so I decided to try Wal-Mart.com. I was just about to give up when I came across what looked like the perfect stand. 

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The stand I settled on is made by a company called Seville Classics. It is a tool chest in their Ultra HD series. The chest measures 28" W x 25" D x 34.5" H and weighs 109 pounds. It is a solid well built piece of hardware. As they some assemble is required. It took about 2 1/2 hours to assemble the cabinet. The model I purchased is the UHD20225B. There are 2 other models that are similar, they just have different door configurations. 

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As you can see the Epson P800 fits perfectly on the top of the stand with plenty of room on the front and the back for extending the printers doors. The sides are metal and I have been using them as a note boards by attaching post-it notes. I have also stuck a magnetic digital thermometer on the side that also shows the humidity for the room. The wheels are large and roof smoothly even on carpet. The bottom corners have rubber bumpers to protect the surroundings when moving the cart. A large grab bar extends across the front of the unit. 

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My Seville Classics printer cart is one nice printer stand that is a great addition to my post processing workflow. It’s not cheap, around $250, but I am very happy that I have it in my studio.  

Leica WLAN Function - Leica M10 WiFi Transfer

When Leica introduced the M10 in January of 2017 most of the updates to the camera were refinements of existing features. One of the new features was designed to address the needs of the Instagram age. With the ability to create or connect to a WiFi network Leica has added the ability to the M10 to transfer and upload images to an iPhone or Android phone so the images can be transferred to a social media platform or sent to a recipient while still on location without the need of a computer. The M-APP is a native iPad program and works great.

There is no external WiFi button on the camera to turn on wireless networking. But since the M10 has the ability to make a “Favorites” menu there is no need to dive through all of the menu options. To activate the WiFi press the “Menu” button and scroll through the options to select the “WLAN” function. In the sub-menu switch function to on, in the same sub-menu select connect, and there either “Create WLAN” or “Join WLAN”. The “Create WLAN” is the easiest as this creates a WiFi network for a direct connection to the M10.

Network Set-up

The connection has to be set-up prior to actually creating the network. In the WLAN sub-menu, enter the camera name in SSID/Network Name (if desired). This is done in a keyboard sub-menu, exactly as described on p. 190 of the manual. Enter a network password at Password (if desired). This is also done in a keyboard sub-menu, as described.

Once the Leica M10 is ready to transfer images go to your smart device and select the cameras WiFi network that you have created. Launch the M-APP that can be downloaded from the Apple APP store or from the Google store. In the screen that is presented you will be asked if you wish to connect with the cameras network. Click yes and after a short time the app will connect. As a reminder the password for connecting to the camera WiFi network is easily retrieved, it is stored in the WLAN sub menu under the network name so that you can’t forget the password. 

Once connected to the camera you have 3 options for operating the camera. There is a Live View that enables you to take photos from a tablet or phone. You can browse the images on the camera and transfer them to your device.  And there is a wide range of settings that can be adjusted on the camera. 

Being able to transfer images from the M10 to a smart device is one of the useful features that Leica has added. The app is stable and very responsive. As expected using the WiFi feature does drain the battery faster, so you might want to keep a spare battery handy. 

 The WLAN menu on the Leica M10

The WLAN menu on the Leica M10

 use “Function” to turn the WLAN feature on

use “Function” to turn the WLAN feature on

 creating a network

creating a network

 joining a network  next go to your smart device and select the Leica camera network

joining a network

next go to your smart device and select the Leica camera network

 launching the M-APP

launching the M-APP

 tap to search for the camera

tap to search for the camera

 tap to connect to camera

tap to connect to camera

 live view from the Leica M10 

live view from the Leica M10 

 displaying images on the camera

displaying images on the camera

 customizing the camera and transfer settings

customizing the camera and transfer settings

 tap to disconnect

tap to disconnect

Photography - An Image with Purpose

 Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve

Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve

The image above is not supposed to work. There is no strong point of interest. The gray scale only extends to about a middle grey. The blacks lack detail. No highlights. No specular highlights. 

 

Photography has has changed so much since I started in the 70’s. Strong vibrant colors were expected. Black and white images were expected to have a tonal range from deep black to whites that showed detail. I attended a photography program and a well exposed negative was the most important part of the image making process. From there a final print with a wide tonal range was exhibited. Composition was rigidly taught. But somewhere clinical photography started to fade away in my personal work.

 

My image above has lots of mood. Leading lines are there for composition but they don’t lead to a defined subject. The light gap at the end of the walkway is a compositional element that is indifferent. The side rails are void of detail but you look for detail anyway. The wet planks that are walked on are not well defined, almost having an ethereal presence to them. Notice the faint grey band where the horizon should be giving depth to the image. The two dark circles at the right edge of the shoreline. What are they? Notice the “V” that extends into the shoreline and how it mirrors the walkway. No ripples in the water enhance the feeling of solitude. Without ever being there you know that there was complete silence when the image was made. The shutter being activated was the only sound. 

 

Look at some of your recent images. How do they “feel”. Did you have a purpose for the image. What are you trying to say. So much imagery in the world that has nothing to say. Look deeper into yourself. Express what is inside.  

Photography Book of the Year 2017

This was a great year for photography books. I purchased more photography books this year than any year since I started in photography. The quality of books from the smaller presses is unbelievable. These are my favorite books that have a bias toward street photography but some are not strictly street photography books. At the end is my book of the year. It is a reprint from the 1980's and just might be my favorite photography book of all time.

 Susan Bernstine Absence of Being

Susan Bernstine Absence of Being

Susan Bernstine

This book was published in 2016 but was not widely available until this year. Fantastic Art photography. She makes her own cameras. 

 Henri Cartier-Bresson Interviews

Henri Cartier-Bresson Interviews

Henri Cartier-Bresson

Thoughts on photography by the master of street photography.

 Teju Cole Blind Spot

Teju Cole Blind Spot

Teju Cole

Possibly the most popular writing about photography this year.

 Alec Soth Sleeping by the Mississippi

Alec Soth Sleeping by the Mississippi

Alec Soth

A reprint but one the best books of the last 20 years.

 Nancy Rexroth Iowa

Nancy Rexroth Iowa

Nancy Rexroth

Holga photos taken in Iowa and throughout the midwest. It's great that this work is back in print.

 Ernst Haas Color Correction

Ernst Haas Color Correction

Ernst Haas

Fantastic color work from the golden age of Leica photography.

 Provoke Between Performance and Photography

Provoke Between Performance and Photography

Provoke

Japanese street photography from the 1960's.

 Jack Spencer This Land

Jack Spencer This Land

Jack Spencer

Street and scenic views of America.

 FAN HO Hong Kong Yesterday

FAN HO Hong Kong Yesterday

Fan Ho

Incredible Photography. If you are a street photographer this is the kind of work to aspire to.

 Gene Smith's Sink

Gene Smith's Sink

Sam Stephenson

The story of a photographers photographer.

 Masahisa Fukase Ravens

Masahisa Fukase Ravens

Masahisa Fukase

This is my vote for the best photography book of 2017. First printed in the late 1980's it has been reprinted but always sells out quickly. Grab this while it is available. It is a book of mostly bird photos but that description is misleading. There is so much emotion in this book. Sadness, Solitude, Loneliness. Your images should strive to connect with the viewer, this book does it masterly. A classic collection of images, maybe the best of the last 50 years.

Large Format Photography

How’s this for an example of the evolution of photography. On the left is an image taken with a Sinar 8 X 10 studio view camera and on the right is an iPhone 8.  

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I used to love shooting with my Sinar. I had an 8 X 10 model that also had a 4 X 5 back that I could switch to when shooting “small” format. With the 8 X 10 the standard lens was a 300mm and for the 4 X 5 I used 3 lenses, a 210mm short telephoto, 150mm normal, and a 90mm wide angle. The controls on a Sinar are so precise it is like using a medical device. Photographing with a view camera makes you use different switches and gears in your head. The image is upside down and reversed and you hold a dark cloth over your head to see the image and focus. A small lupe is held up to the ground glass for focusing. Quite different to the autofocus cameras of today. The sheets of film were loaded in complete darkness into the film holders. The film had notches that had to go into the correct corner to ensure the film was loaded properly. When I started in the studio we had hot lights so I had to deal with long exposures and I had to use gels to correct the lights to the film color balance. Later I switched to Broncolor studio lights which made life a lot easier. Shooting large format cameras in the studio is a lot of work. High end product work is difficult but can be creatively and financially rewarding. I do miss the old days of photography. I have so much knowledge from this era that has little use today. I would love to shoot or teach how to use Sinar cameras but there seems to be little demand for this kind of work. Not every aspect of film photography was the best especially when considering the cost, quality and time when compared with the digital workflow but I still miss those days.