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Leica M9 digital rangefinder camera - Page 5 - "Shooting style of a Leica M9 Photographer"
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Leica M9 Digital Rangefinder Camera - Page 5
Birgit Krippner - Shooting Stye of a Leica M9 photographer

Leica M9 Digital Rangefinder Camera - Page 5

Index of pages covering Leica M9, Leica M9-P, Leica M-E, Leica M Monochrom and Leica M Type 240:

Leica M9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18   M9-P   Links
Leica Monochrom 20 21 22 23                             29  
Leica M 240
30 31 32 33 34       38 39 40                 What if?  
Leica Video           35 36 37                         Books

This article is about the Leica M digital rangefinder cameras that are related, but different.
Pages 1-19 is the Leica M9, Leica M9-P and Leica M-E. Page 20 is the Leica M Monochrom.
From page 30 is the Leica M 240 and Leica M-P 240.


"Shooting style of a Leica M9 Photographer"

By: Thorsten Overgaard


It's always intersting to listen to how professionals do something. No matter if I speak to fashion designers, sales persons, hairdressers or photographers they always feel that what they do is very ordinary and they don't really apply any special knowledge or tricks. But to listen to them and learn their most basic rules is usually the key to understanding what makes them better. For example I saw the movie about Mike Tyson in which he reveals "I always aim [all the way from the front to] the backhead when I hit." He says it as an everyday fact, and it's probably in the movie because they thought is sounded cool. But in fact, just there he gave a piece of professional philosophy that can be used in other areas than producing knock-outs (of which Mike Tyson was the best ever). I can think of l other applications such as solving problems, but even in doing portraits (where I personally go for the soul rather than the face). In any case, after this dramatic introduction, here is the first in a series of interviews with Leica M9 photographers.


1: Birgit Krippner of New Zealand/New York

Birgit Krippner used to be a Nikon D700 user but then on September 12, 2009 decided to give the M9 a chance with a 28mm Elmarit-M ASPH f/2.8 and a 50mm Summilux-M f/1.4 ASPH. A week later the Nikon was sold.

Since then (this article was originally puslished in 2009) her career has taken off with several exhibitons around the world and with the book "Private View" in the making. Here is a video from April 2013 where I met with her at the opening of her expo "Private View" in Napier, New Zealand. A project where Birgit Krippner has visited the top of the art scene in New Zealand and portrayed them. You can help foundthe book "Private View" via


Birgit Krippner interviewed in Napier, New Zealand, April 2013 by Joy Villa. Filmed by Neville Porter and Thorsten Overgaard with Leica M Type 240. Edited by Joy Villa. Signed limited edition prints are available from the Black Barn Gallery.


Birgit Krippner - Leica M9 sample photos - Style of a Leica M9 photographer


“A new chapter has started with the Leica M9. I'm not a technical photographer. At this point I feel quite comfortable using my new friend but I am still learning. But I really love the experience of learning about my Leica M9 and how to work with it more effectively.

“Sometimes I have a theme and I use the same shutter speed, ISO, focus and aperture settings for a series of shots: Just the other day I walked through an enclosed area which had a white wall. I stopped and waited, with my camera ready for the ‘right’ people to walk by. I avoided making eye contact with the subject. When I saw a person approaching at the right distance (which my camera was preset for) I took the picture. For about an hour I stood there having fun and got some good shots. People either starred at me or just looked through me, only one person turned around."


Birgit Krippner - Leica M9 sample photos - Style of a Leica M9 photographer


“At other times I don't have a theme but play it by ear, quite literally. My ears have an important role in my photography. I listen. Especially if I feel that looking is inappropriate.

“I shoot with both eyes open – I can’t close just one eye and I think that has worked in my favor. I'm always aware what’s around me and if there’s somebody stepping into my photograph (which can add good things!).
“Shooting with maximum aperture is always a favorite. I like the dramatic effect of the narrow depth of field.
“On other occasions I might favor a fast aperture image with no point in focus, so as to create uncertainty and atmosphere which requires the viewer to use their imagination.

“I prefer a ‘mood’ image rather than a crisp pixel-shot, thought the two things don’t need be inconsistent. In my opinion there is no clear right or wrong. At least not for me, in every case that decision is left up to photographer and the observer.”



What's your settings and workflow?
“I shoot with the exposure at -1/3 (to protect highlights which might otherwise get blown out) and the shutter dial set to A.  I'm experimenting with manual setting of shutter speed, but so far I've been pretty happy with the M9's metering, so I don’t use external lightmeter either.  
“White balance and lens detection are both set to auto in general.“



Do you use Auto ISO or a preferred ISO or other ways of setting the camera?
“Since I have a steady hand, I favor shooting at 160 ISO, also when day becomes night time. When it's obviously too dark I have no problem changing 1250 ISO. I haven’t gone higher though.

“Where I have the time to focus accurately I naturally tend to gravitate to fast apertures and a narrow depth of field. Where I don't have that luxury I tend to use a more forgiving aperture, say 5.6, present focusing and an ISO which will give me an acceptable shutter speed. I never use flash.



Do you customize your camera profile in Lightroom or is there any special workflow you apply?
“I shoot DNG and then convert to black and white (if that’s what I’m going for) in Lightroom or Nik Silver Efex Pro. I import DNG files to Lightroom using the M9 profile and can adjust the exposure if desired. I have a tendency to bring down Vibrance and Saturations in Presence. When shooting people, I generally take out most of the red. I never use the sharpening tool. Sometimes I bring up the contrast. But I try to be sensitive to the photograph and not change its identity.

“I recently got hold of Nik Silver Efex Pro and like it. But I use it in a sensitive way. I think that a lot of damage can be done if this software is abused or overused.  I use Lightroom to work on my images. I feel good about the combination of Lightroom and Nik Silver Efex Pro. I have an Epson Stylus Pro 3800 printer at home which is a nice printer for "normal" printing. For my upcoming exhibitions I'd like to print my images larger. I'm thinking of Lambda prints.“



How do you approach a shot - what do you look for?
“It can be anything normal or unusual situation. Sometimes a situation seems to be normal. And I know that on the photograph it will be something different, unusual or even funny. That's what I like best! I don't necessarily like sensational situations involving people – but more making the "ordinary" interesting.

“The times I like most are when the light is doing something unusual. When the shadows become dominant. Before a thunderstorm for example. Dramatic light. Or warm light in my house in the evenings. Capturing light is what makes photography wonderful.

“I never shoot from the hip. I shoot from my chest or from other places that might put the image in a good perspective. I like to stay anonymous. Ideally people look THROUGH me, not AT me. Sometimes I walk, other times I place myself somewhere and wait. And when the "right" person or situation appears then I shoot. When I walk (or stalk) I'm always looking around and ready for that special moment.“



How do you use your 50/1.4 and 28/2.8 ASPH lenses?
“It depends. I treat images as individuals. Saying so, I focus (or OOF) individually. More and more I discover the joys of the 28/2.8 ASPH but still, my favorite lens is the 50/1.4 ASPH. It works great for shooting people. And it's comparable with how I see things. I also think that shooting with my 50/1.4 ASPH is more difficult at times than shooting with my 28/2.8: It’s easy to crop an image in Lightroom but impossible to add to an image!”



Do you consider other lenses for the Leica M9?
“My husband has ‘lent’ me his Noctilux f/1.0 … and I like it a lot.”

Any experience with film cameras or other digitals?
“I used to shoot film years ago. My first camera was a Niskon F2, and I loved it. And still have it. But now I'm fully converted to digital. It feels very natural to me. My previous digitals include Leica Digilux 1, Leiac Digilux 3 and the Nikon D700."



What's the most common thing people ask you about your Leica M9?
“I’ve had people asking me if they could ‘touch my camera.’ Since I don't like being asked about my camera, and largely want to be anonymous, I taped over the red dot and the white M9 inscription with black tape. Since that moment, I haven't been asked any more questions about my camera."


Birgit Krippner - Leica M9 sample photos - Style of a Leica M9 photographer
Birgit Krippner, Leica M9 with 50mm Summilux-M f/1.4, 160 ISO.

To be continued ...



Index of pages covering Leica M9, Leica M9-P, Leica M-E, Leica M Monochrom and Leica M Type 240:

Leica M9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18   M9-P   Links
Leica Monochrom 20 21 22 23                             29  
Leica M 240
30 31 32 33 34       38 39 40                 What if?  
Leica Video           35 36 37                         Books

This article is about the Leica M digital rangefinder cameras that are related, but different.
Pages 1-19 is the Leica M9, Leica M9-P and Leica M-E. Page 20 is the Leica M Monochrom.
From page 30 is the Leica M 240 and Leica M-P 240.
Leica Article Index
Leica M cameras:   Leica S:
Leica M Type 240 and M-P Typ240 (M10)   Leica S1 digital scan camera
Leica M Monochrom digital rangefinder   Leica S2 digital medium format
Leica M9 and Leica M-E digital rangefinder   Leica S digital medium format
Leica M9-Professional digital rangefinder    
    Leica Cine Lenses:
Leica M4 35mm film rangefinder   Leica Cine lenses
Leica M lenses:   Leica R cameras:
Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4   Leica R8/R9/DMR film & digital 35mm dSLR cameras
Leica 21mm Leica Super-Elmar-M ASPH f/3.4   Leica R10 [cancelled]
Leica 21mm Super-Angulon-M f/3.4   Leica R4 35mm film SLR
Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH FLE f/1.4   Leica R3 electronic 35mm film SLR
Leica 35mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leicaflex SL/SL mot 35mm film SLR
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95    
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0 and f/1.2   Leica R lenses:
Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f//1.4   Leica 19mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 35mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leitz 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 "rigid" Series II   Leica 50mm Summicron-R f/2.0
Leica 75mm Summilux-M f/1.4   Leica 60mm Macro-Elmarit f/2.8
Leica 75mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 80mm Summilux-F f/1.4
Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 90mm Summicron-R f/2.0
Leica 90mm Summarit-M f/2.5   Leica 180mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leica 90mm Elmarit f/2.8   Leica 400mm Telyt-R f/6.8
Leitz 90mm Thambar f/2.2   Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/2.8
    Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/4.0
History and overview:   Small Leica cameras:
Leica History   Leica Digilux 2 vintage digital rangefinder
Leica Definitions   Leica Digilux 1
Leica Lens Compendium   Leica X
Camera Compendium   Leica D-Lux
The Solms factory and Leica Wetzlar Campus    
Ernst Leitz II and the freedom pledge   Leica Minilux 35mm film camera
The Dream of Oskar Barnack   Leica CM 35mm film camera
Photography Knowledge   Thorsten Overgaard books and education:
Quality of Light   Thorsten Overgaard Workshops
Lightmeters   Overgaard Lightroom Survival Kit
White Balance & WhiBal   "Finding the Magic of Light" eBook (English)
Film in Digital Age   "Die Magie des Lichts Finden" eBook (German)
Dodge and Burn   "Composition in Photography" eBook
All You Need is Love   The Overgaard New Inspiration Extension Course I
How to shoot Rock'n'Roll   The Overgaard New Inspiration Extension Course II
X-Rite   The Overgaard New Inspiration Extension Course III
The Origin of Photo   The Overgaard Photography Extension Course
Case in Point   Free e-Books
The Good Stuff   I-Shot-It photo competition
Hasselblad/Imacon Flextight 35mm and 6x6 scanner    
Leica folder icons   Leica Photographers
    Jan Grarup
    Henri Cartier-Bresson
    Birgit Krippner
    Riccis Valladares
    Christopher Tribble
The Story Behind That Picture:   Martin Munkácsi
More than 100 articles by Thorsten Overgaard   Vivian Maier
Leica Forums and Blogs:  
The Leica User Forum   Leica Camera AG
Steve Huff
Shoot Tokyo   The Leica Pool on Flickr
Erwin Puts   Adam Marelli
Eric Kim   Magnum Photos
Ming Thein  
John Thawley    
Luminous Landscape    
Reid Reviews   Leica M240 User Forum on Facebook


As always, feel free to e-mail me at with suggestions, ideas and questions.













Birgit Krippner


"Private View" in Black Barn Gallery, Hawkes Bay, Napier, New Zealand (April 10, 2013)

"Diverse" by Birgit Krippner at
Photographers' Gallery
Hawke's Bay, New Zealand.
Opening reception w/Birgit Krippner May 14 - 2011

"Diverse" by Birgit Krippner Monochrom-Berlin, Ackerstr. 23
February 25 - April 27, 2011

Leica Store Paris
Opens September 1, 2010

Street Romance
New Zealand July 10-31, 2010


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LEItz CAmera = LEICA
Founded 1849 in Wetzlar, Germany.

Also visit:

Overgaard Photo Workshop
Leica Definitions
Leica History
"Photographer For Sale"
Leica Lens Compendium
Leica Camera Compendium
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95
Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M f/2.0
Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0
Leica 75mm Summilux-M f/1.4
Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leica Digilux 2
Leica M9 and Leica ME
Leica M Monochrom
Leica M 240
Leica M 240 Video
Leica X

Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
Leica 21mm Super-Elmar-M ASPH f/3.4
Leica S medium format dSLR
"On The Road With von Overgaard"
Light metering
White Balance for More Beauty




Thorsten Overgaard
Thorsten von Overgaard is a Danish writer and photographer, specializing in portrait photography and documentary photography, known for writings about photography and as an educator. Some photos are available as signed editions via galleries or onlline. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via e-mail.

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