The magic of black-and-white (Part 2)

I have been playing high-stakes poker over the last months and now it all comes down to whether I am going all-in or not. It is not easy to make life-changing decisions. Making up my mind is taking quite a toll on me and so I decided to walk it off. I went downtown Nürnberg again and continued yesterday’s project of shooting black-and-white again. In order to get a clearer idea of what it would be like to own a potential black-and-white only Leica without LCD, I set the rule to not review any of the pictures on the screen. This would also be a test how good the focus peaking of the Sony Nex-5n really works – without reviewing I could not retake out-of-focus shots. I was surprised how much it changes the photographic experience to not review. One is much more careful with composition, exposure, focus, etc. because there is no second chance. So here are today’s shots

The first one was taken while walking. Manual focus can work also for moving objects. However what I did is to let the subject “walk” into focus. If I remember correct it was taken at f/2.0 where the depth of field is already quite shallow.

The next three were shot from the hip. Set the aperture to f/5.6 and focussed at 3m. At f/5.6 you have enough depth-of-field to get sharp shots while having still a high shutter speed to avoid blurry images.

All of the shots are at an angle – I guess I have to get used to leveling the camera correctly when shooting from the hip.

And one more from the hip. I actually made two passes because I wanted to get a shot of the guy with glasses in the back.

The next ones were shot close to Nürnberg’s castle. The weather was so nice that many people were outside and enjoyed the sun.

I guess I took this shot several times already – I just love this silhouette.

A nice restaurant close to the castle.

More people close to the castle. I love the contrast of a bright sunny day. While this is a killer for color shots it works quite well for black-and-white.

 This is one of my favorite spots in Nürnberg: the cafés close to the Albrecht Dürer house. Of course I had to have a coffee here as you will see further below.

My coffee 😉


The snake charmer – stranger #4 (Langkawi, Malaysia)

This is my 4th stranger. The guy is a snake charmer working in Langkawi close to the eagle square. There are actually quite a few snakes out here and I thought that he is quite representative for the island. The shot is slightly out of focus because the guy was moving too fast, playing with the snake for the camera and against the setting sun which blew out the sky 😦 But I guess, one cannot always choose.

While I said yesterday that the sunset was amazing today it was even more spectacular. Here are two more cheesy shots:

More impressions from Langkawi, Malaysia

So I finally arrived in my hotel room with a lot of impressions from the first day. When I got up this morning the sky was a bit cloudy and overcast. From a photographic point this is more interesting of course because you get nice cloud formations on the one hand and on the other hand you do not always have to fight with “blown out” highlights – these are the white patches in pictures where the sky is supposed to be 😉

So we decided to go for the cable car to go up to the sky bridge and the viewing platform. While this was risky in the sense that it was very well possible that the clouds will block the view, we still thought it would be a nice idea.

In fact, the clouds did block the view as we had to realize pretty soon while getting up with the cable car.

I have been to several cable cars in my life but what is most impressive about this one is the last stretch when it goes up really steep. It feels almost like you are running into the mountain.

Once up on the platform it was really like being in the middle of a cloud. So how “thick” is a cloud? To give you guys an impression check this out:

While I was a bit sad that we could not really see anything of the beaches, the ocean, and the villages of the island, I have to admit that I really loved this cloudy atmosphere. It made all the difference.

At some point we had to leave because the clouds got so intense that you could not see anything anymore.

It was still early, so we decided to continue with something more cheesy and less risky: a duck tour trip. I knew this idea back from Boston and it can be quite nice if well organized. The main “thing” about the duck tour is that you are in an amphibian vehicle which can drive on roads and swim in water (these are old landing vehicles, typically from the US army). The tour itself was a bit unspectacular. Here are two shots of things that I liked on the trip. The first one is of these small fisher boats. They are very colorful and authentic – not flashy and fake as some other things here.

The next one is the complete opposite of the one above. Only fancy yachts.

To finish you off, let me close for today with some sunset shots – yes they are mandatory on such a trip. The sunset here is really amazing. I haven’t seen something that colorful and intense in a long time.

For the gear heads – including myself : All the pictures from the viewing platform, cable car, and the boat trip were shot with the Fujifilm X100 and the remaining one with my Leica Summicron 35mm on the Sony Nex-5n.

Walking Little India in Kuala Lumpur

Today I went out to Little India in Kuala Lumpur to do some street shooting. I had the Nex-5n with me with the Leica Summicron 35mm and the EVF. Nothing fancy, just a few street shots to capture what’s going on in Little India. What probably impressed me the most were the many food and clothing places in the alley ways.

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The challenge – stranger #3

Today I did not even plan for shooting the next stranger. I just wanted to pick up the electronic viewfinder for my Nex-5n. I was so amazed with the one of the Nex-7 so that I was clear when I returned it that I had to get the EVF for the Nex-5n. While it looks rather bad on the Nex-5n it works extremely well. Will review it soon.

So on the way back we passed these security guards and my wife told me that this would have been a great shot for my strangers project and challenged me. So I went back for a shot. One of the two felt a bit uncomfortable so that I really kept it brief. The other one was quite comfortable and actually moved the mic to the shoulder pad.

The challenge - stranger #3

Taken with Leica Summicron 35mm @ f2.0 on Sony Nex-5n. Processed with the Lightroom 4 Beta.