Leica M9 Digital Rangefinder Camera - Page 6 Index of pages covering Leica M9, Leica M9-P, Leica M-E, Leica M Monochrom, M 246 and Leica M Type 240:
"Shooting style of a Leica M9 Photographer"
By: Thorsten Overgaard
Welcome to the second interview in the series about Leica M9 shooters. Apart from the introduction of the Leica M9, this part of the Leica M9 articles is the most read part. I guess others feel like I that reading about a fellow photographers lens choice is like for a bodybuilder reading about a fellow body builders diet: "Oh, that's how he does it!"
Fine Art Wedding Photographer Riccis Valladares of Miami, Florida
Wedding photographer Ricci Valladares is not carrying loads of superzoom lenses strapped all over his belt as if he was about to go into a war zone. His weapon of choice is mainly the 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 and the Leica M9, Leica MP and Leica M3.
What are your settings and workflow?
"Since I shoot a lot with the Leica M3 and Leica MP alongside the Leica M9, I always shoot in Manual mode. I start by taking a few meter readings and go from there. I don't consider myself a technical shooter as things like blown highlights, motion blur and grain don't bother me at all – and depending on the mood of the wedding I'm covering, I try to make those elements part of my image."
When shooting with the Leica M9 I barely look at the LCD since I know the shot is in the bag after pressing the shutter and rather look for the next scene to record instead of missing it by looking at the back of the camera.
The film workflow is my favorite as once the wedding is done all I do is ship everything to my lab for processing and high resolution scans but even when shooting with the Leica M9 I don't spend days post-processing my images as I am a very tight shooter and also very tough on myself when editing my work."
Do you shoot straight black and white JPG out of the Leica M9?
"No, I only shoot DNG since I rather do all the conversions myself (either it is color or B&W)."
Do you use auto ISO or a preferred ISO?
"I never bother to use AUTO ISO or similar features. Changing the ISO on the Leica M9 is plenty fast for my needs. I guess I am a control freak since I like to have control of what I'm doing."
Do you use plugins for your b&w work?
"Though there are a lot of sophisticated and very nice plugins available on the market, I only use simple actions that I have written for all my B&W conversions and localized dodging, burning and print density adjustments."
Do you have customized your Leica M9 profile in Lightroom?
"I'm currently only using the Leica M9 profile that comes with the new Adobe Lightroom 2.6CR [see page 1]. I bring my files to Lightroom for culling, RAW conversion and then I do the rest of the post-processing in PhotoShop.
As I mentioned before, the majority of my work will be converted to B&W and then dodged/burned to taste. I still print a lot of my film work in the darkroom and like to keep my digital post-processing as simple as when printing in the darkroom."
Leica M9 with 35mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0, 800 ISO, 1/710 second.
Which lenses do you use, and how do you use them?
"I am a fan of the 50 mm focal length which is what I use for approximately 80% of my work. While the nature and location of a given wedding will dictate the lenses I bring along, my kit will usually consist of a couple of Leica M bodies and no more than three lenses. When working in dark places like New York City in the winter I need the fastest lenses why I will have a 21mm SummiluxM ASPH f/1.4, a 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95 and 90mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0. If I work in sunny California, Florida or Mexico where we have plenty of light year round the kit changes to a 28mm Summicron-M ASPH or 35mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0, a 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 and a 135mm APO-Telyt-M f/3.4. Speaking of the 135mm APO, I've found this lens to shine on the M9, even wide open, and I highly encourage anybody to give it a try for those times where the extra reach is needed.
But the one lens that I feel can never live without is the 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. Every time I look at images from it –film or digital – I have to catch my breath!"
Any experience shooting Leica M9 along with Leica M3 or Leica MP film worth telling?
"Being a film shooter has benefitted me when using the Leica M9 as I have learned to not machinegun overshoot just because it's digital. I disagree with the common misconception that shooting hundreds or thousands of images with a digital camera is 'free'."
What's the mot common thing people ask you about the M?
"I get a lot of "That's a really old camera, right?" or "That's digital, wow!" when using the Leica M9... The best comments I have received to date came from guests of weddings I documented that have had no idea I was the photographer commissioned by the bride and groom – because I don't look like one, as I'm not carrying loads of superzoom lenses strapped all over my belt ad if I was about to go into a war zone."
Ricci Valladares' blog: www.riccisblog.com
Ricci Valladares will be doing a seminar on photographing weddings and Leica cameras in Oslo, Norway, on February 8, 2010. The seminar is hosted by Leica Norway and Interphoto whom you can contach if you are interested.
Riccis Valladares photographed by Michele Eve Sandberg
Index of pages covering Leica M9, Leica M9-P, Leica M-E, Leica M Monochrom, M 246 and Leica M Type 240: