Archive for the ‘David English’ Category

David English: The Enigmatic 18

Manhattan Buildings #16 © David English

You could argue that every focal length has its own personality. A 50 mm lens likes to go with the crowd by focusing on what seems natural and appropriate. A 135 mm lens, on the other hand, can be overly curious, often poking around into other people’s business. So where does that leave the 18 [...]

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David English: Quality of Light

Manhattan Buildings #1 © David English

We like to talk about the specs for cameras and lenses — this camera has a burst mode of 10 frames per second, and this lens has a maximum aperture of f/1.4 — it’s almost second nature for anyone interested in photography. But how do you talk about those aspects of photography that can’t be [...]

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David English: Wide Elmar Monochrom

Vegas Gehry © David English

Why choose one focal length over another? There are no hard and fast rules, especially when comparing focal lengths that are relatively close together. It’s easy to talk about the differences between broad categories of lenses, such as wide-angle versus telephoto. It’s not so easy to pin down the differences between a 24 mm and [...]

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David English: Luminescent Lobby

Cosmopolitan Lobby # 4 © David English

It’s always a challenge to find unusual subjects to photograph. Either we’ve seen variations of that same image thousands of times before, or what seemed unique in real life doesn’t translate well into a flattened photograph. I travel frequently to Las Vegas for tradeshows, and I’m always on the lookout there for something new and [...]

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David English: The Leica M Monochrom and the 50 mm Leica APO-Summicron-M lens

Halloween Decoration, © David English

I like to think of myself as a wide-angle guy. Give me an 18 mm, 21 mm, or 28 mm lens, and I’m a happy camper. That was before I tried the 50 mm Leica APO-Summicron-M lens. Now I don’t want to take it off my M Monochrom. It’s not that I’m suddenly in love [...]

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David English: X Vario Black-and-White

© David English

I love my Leica M Monochrom. I think it’s the best full-frame camera for black-and-white digital photography. I also have a Leica X Vario, which I purchased for color photography as a supplement to my M Monochrom. Turns out, the X Vario is also a great little camera for black-and-white photography. Surprisingly, I use it [...]

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David English: Reverberations

Manhattan Store Window #4 (Leica M Monochrom, 28 mm Summicron), © David English

What do music and photography have in common? Quite a lot, it turns out. You might think of one as moving and the other as static. However, photography — even within its fixed frame — can flow from one extreme to another. Or it can set up a pattern that repeats and evolves within the [...]

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David English: Shadow Boxing

Parallel Worlds © David English

I love classic black-and-white films. They can provide both creative inspiration and practical techniques for using an M Monochrom camera. Case in point are the Hollywood film noirs from roughly 1946 to 1958. Some of the more visually interesting ones use hard-edged shadows and large areas of darkness to emphasize the film’s characters or to [...]

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David English: Wide Lux Monochrom

Store Mannequins #1 (Leica M Monochrom, 24 mm Summilux) © David English

If you have an M Monochrom camera, should you use a Summilux lens? The Monochrom performs quite well at high ISO settings, so why spend the extra money when you could buy a Summicron or Super-Elmar at the same focal length? The answer is versatility. Once the sun sets, or you go inside, you can [...]

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David English: Sweet 16

Fashion Show Mall (Leica M Monochrom, 16mm Tri-Elmar) © David English

Did you know that Leica makes a 16 mm lens for the M-series camera? It’s hidden inside the Wide-Angle Tri-Elmar. The Wide-Angle Tri-Elmar can be set for 16, 18, or 21 mm, but it’s the 16 mm setting that’s most interesting, because Leica doesn’t manufacture a 16 mm M-mount prime lens. So how does the [...]

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David English: Classic Wide Monochrom

Sidewalk Shadows #2 (Leica M Monochrom, 28 mm Summicron)  © David English

Lenses can be like old friends. You love them dearly, but — for some reason or another — you may lose contact with them. On renewing the relationship, everything often falls back into place, as though the intervening years had never happened. The Leica 28 mm Summicron-M has been that sort of lens for me. [...]

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David English: Through a Glass Darkly

Display Window #2 (Leica M Monochrom, 28 mm Summicron) © David English

Walk along the streets of midtown Manhattan, and you’ll notice a parallel universe. It’s the glass-enclosed world of mannequins and storefront windows, where random reflections can sometimes blur the lines between fantasy and reality. Look closely, giving equal weight to what you see on the glass with what you see through the glass, and you [...]

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David English: Ethereal Shadows

Melaten Monument #2 (Leica M9, 50mm Summilux)

Sometimes you spend an entire day shooting photos and end up with just one or two images worth keeping. Other times, you spend only a few hours shooting and end up with so many outstanding images, it takes months to fully process them. So why the difference? It may need to be in an environment [...]

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David English: Infrared Monochrom

© David English, Harrah's Sign (Leica M Monochrom, 24 mm Summilux)

The M Monochrom would seem to be a poor choice for infrared (IR) photography. Leica’s spectral sensitivity charts show that very little of the infrared would actually reach the sensor. So why bother? It turns out there’s another side to the story. The camera’s high-ISO capabilities could help maximize the infrared that does get through. [...]

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David English: Ultra-Wide Monochrom

© David English Cosmopolitan Lobby (Leica M Monochrom, 16 mm Tri-Elmar)

I’ve been eager to try ultra-wide-angle lenses on my M Monochrom. Because lenses with these extreme focal lengths tend to have smaller apertures, they can especially benefit from the Monochrom’s high-ISO capabilities. If the room is too dark, you could bump up the ISO setting with minimal degradation to the image. Recently I tried two [...]

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