Mojo Falling – A Street Photographer’s Crisis of Faith . . .

. . . “Hello, is there (still) anybody out there?”

Truth is (and now over 3 months since my last post), it makes no real difference if there isn’t. Photography doesn’t mean anything to me anymore. There, I’ve said it.

Even presented with the opportunity to take photographs, I find my mind drifting towards other more attractive propositions, like playing guitar, or riding my motorcycle, or Lamb Balti Vindaloo.

A case in point would be last weekend and I find myself at my favourite campsite in Delamere, near Chester. This rather convenient ‘stop over’ is a particular first-choice of mine, specifically because it features a railway station not 50 yards from its entrance gates. Step aboard this incredibly swift and cost effective public service and the wonderous realms of not only Manchester and Chester, but also Liverpool are between 15 minutes and one hour away.

Having always fallen into the comfortably familiar routine of Chester on the first day (because it’s a Saturday and hence more people) and Manchester on the Sunday (it’s a huge city, so still busy), I’d considered it a refreshing change to try Liverpool.

old woman liverpool cuddles dog love street photography leica m9 m-e

Continue reading “Mojo Falling – A Street Photographer’s Crisis of Faith . . .”

A Late Street Photography Postcard from London . . .

It’s that ‘quiet time’ on the blog again. The London trip came and went, a good time was had and many favourite photographs were captured, using both the Leica M2 and M-E.

Truth is however that before I knew it, my number-one pastime was becoming more of a ‘job’ (again and unpaid at that), with ‘appointments’ being made, promises promised and items for review provided.

So I decided to take a break from the whole photography scene, with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram ‘holidays’ booked. 🙂

And what an absolute joy it’s been without the constant thought of ‘this has to be done’ and ‘must sort that out’ etc. Instead I’ve been able to completely forget about all of ‘that stuff’ and concentrate on other things instead, such as music and my first motorbike in 3 years – nice.

So what about the pictures from London? Well for now I’d like to present what is for me, probably the finest photograph I’ve taken to date (in my opinion). Taken with the Leica M2, Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4 Classic lens, Ilford HP5+ and processed in a new (for me) developer, Tetenal Paranol S (review to come).

Chow for now and enjoy.

Naked Bike Ride London 2015 Leica M2 CV 35 1.4 Paranol S Kevin Shelley Street Photography Blog UK

Leica M Edition 60 – The Street Photography Review . . .

(Please be sure to see the end of this review for an important update).

. . . During the previous installment of this review, I got to know the M Edition 60 a little better and gained a clearer understanding of what it can offer photography today. Now in this, the final chapter, I took the Leica M Edition 60 out and onto the streets of Chester and Manchester, where I could properly put the camera through its paces . . .

. . . The brief was simple. Evaluate whether a digital camera can function as an everyday ‘shooter’, without a screen – just myself and the Leica M60 enjoying a relaxing stroll through the sights, sounds, smells and inhabitants of two popular, sprawling and rugged cities in the North West of England.

Man Waves in Chester UK Leica M Edition 60

How in fact is it possible to spend an entire two days shooting street photographs and using only a camera that provides just the bare minimum of options necessary to capture a picture – those being shutter speed, aperture, focusing and ISO sensitivity?

Continue reading “Leica M Edition 60 – The Street Photography Review . . .”

Leica M Edition 60 – Past Future . . .

. . . Previously in the article Leica M Edition 60 – A Design Concept (and deliberately avoiding the term ‘Part One’ if only in the interest of originality), I looked at the M60 from the point of view of Leica and in particular their designers and marketers, what ‘it is’ and what it means to Leica themselves. Now I’ll examine the camera, what it’s like to use (with the resultant photographs) and what it can offer the photographer of today . . .

. . . Writing camera reviews (or any written work for that matter), is rather like designing a camera itself. Typically and when beginning such a creative endeavor, it’s common practice for the Design Team (or writer) to draw inspiration and ideas from areas seemingly unconnected to the task at hand. This is often achieved by the creation of a ‘Mood Room’ – an area whereby objects or photographs are collected together and that in some way instill a particular feeling, or an emotion, or place the individual ‘inside’ the mind of the prospective customer. For example, someone wishing to create a vehicle that evokes a sense of the 1950’s may watch a movie from that period, such as ‘Rebel Without A Cause’.

Another approach is to seek enlightenment from one’s own memories and experiences, and which is a technique I frequently use when piecing together the basic premise of an article, such as this one.

Front Top View Leica M Edition 60

In my case and through the course of the 3 or 4 days spent so far with the Leica M60, I was beginning to form a sense of what the camera ‘says’ to me as a photographer. During this period, two distinct and completely unrelated memories began to surface – my favourite old Television Set and Eric Clapton.

Continue reading “Leica M Edition 60 – Past Future . . .”

Leica M Edition 60 – A Design Concept . . .

. . . There is a saying in the world of product design and marketing that is as old as those professions themselves – “There’s no such thing as bad advertising”.

Take for example the case of Leica, for I believe that with the release several months ago of the M Edition 60 (simply called the M60 from now on), there must be at least one or two Designers and Marketers sat in front of their computers at Leica HQ, rubbing their hands with glee?

On the surface however and judging solely by the multitude of impassioned comments this camera has garnered on forums and social media, this would appear to be a peculiar assumption to make.

With words such as irrelevant, unnecessary, snobbish, pointless, expensive, elitist, bourgeois and outdated appearing with almost nauseating regularity, how could one deduce that this would in any way work favourably towards building a successful and sought after product?

Front View of the Leica M Edition 60

Well, from the wisdom of Oscar Wilde, “There’s only one thing worse than being talked about, and that’s not being talked about”.

Continue reading “Leica M Edition 60 – A Design Concept . . .”

My Latest eBook “Not Of The Street – Men With Beards” . . .

. . . Following the many encouraging comments I received for my first eBook “Street Photography – A Personal Point of View“, I was keen to set to work on my next ‘magnum opus’. 😉

Here then and for your viewing pleasure, is my latest offering “Not Of The Street – Men With Beards“, in PDF format and available for FREE download in the eBooks section.

This time the subject is both a series of 15 Portraits, taken with the Leica X (Type 113) that I recently reviewed, as well as many sentences regarding my views on the meaning and (perceived) limitations of the word ‘Street’ in Street Photography.

Enjoy,

eBook Not of the Street Men with Beards by Kevin Shelley Street Photography Blog UK

Leica X (Type 113) Review – Out Of My Comfort Zone . . .

. . . With this review I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try something completely different, both for the Street Photography Blog and (possibly) for camera reviews in general. So in documenting my experiences with the Leica X, I’ve split it into two distinct parts.

Leica X Front View Review Street Photography Blog UK

Part One consists of this review, which is a hands-on look at how the camera performed when recently taking it round the UK Photography Show.

Part Two is an accompanying (and FREE) eBook in PDF format. The eBook “Not Of The Street” features (as well as writing) the main ‘body’ of photographs taken during the time spent shooting with the Leica X and which are themselves a first for my photography, a series of 15 portraits. Enjoy . . .

Continue reading “Leica X (Type 113) Review – Out Of My Comfort Zone . . .”

The Photography Show 2015 N.E.C. Birmingham (Part Three) . . .

. . . There’s an old saying ‘The Best-Laid Plans of Mice and Men Often Go Awry.’

In my case, at the Photography Show, that’s so very true. But on this occasion, it’s all for the better – much better.

I’d originally made a mental-plan of things to do, places to go and people to see. That was until today . . .

Continue reading “The Photography Show 2015 N.E.C. Birmingham (Part Three) . . .”

Leica X (Type 113) First Impressions . . .

The Gods of Photography must be smiling down, as not only have I secured a Press Pass for the upcoming Photography Show at the N.E.C. Birmingham on 21st – 24th March, Leica have very kindly provided me with one of their latest cameras for review, a Leica X. Thank you Leica UK . . .

. . . I’m quickly discovering that in the world of camera reviewing, it’s easy to fall into a ‘standard’ frame of mind. Take one camera, compare it to similar models from other manufacturers, ‘peep’ at the images on a pixel level, examine the spec’s and from that, offer an opinion as to whether it’s better or worse than the others. Simple really?

There’s of course a problem with this much favored style of appraising a cameras’ strengths and weaknesses – it tells the reader nothing about what it’s actually like to use in the real world.

Therefore you won’t find any of that ‘stuff’ in my reviews. Yes I may make passing comparisons to another model or two, but this is always from a usability point of view – which leads me to this rather smart offering from Leica, the ‘X’.

Leica X Type 113 Front View Street Photography Blog

Continue reading “Leica X (Type 113) First Impressions . . .”

Leica M-E (M9) – A Street Photography Review . . .

. . . In this review I mention the Fuji X-E1, but all the images presented here are taken with the Leica M-E . . .

. . . Question: What do a Fuji X-E1 and XF35 1.4 lens, a Leica M6, an electric guitar and effects pedal, an iPad and a Cello all have in common?

Answer: That is what was sold in order to finance what is for me, the ultimate street photography camera – the Leica M-E, or to give it its full model designation, the “Leica M-E, Which Is Actually An M9 But Without The USB Port Or Frameline Preview Lever And In A Different Colour. Apart From That It’s Identical In Every Way To An M9.”

Of course that can be a bit of a mouthful at times, so for the purpose of this article I shall refer to it solely as the Leica M-E.

I also won’t bore you to death with the industry-standard approach when reviewing a Leica ‘M’ camera, that being a ‘mini-tutorial’ of how a rangefinder works in practice, endless comparisons to DSLR’s or Micro Four-Thirds and especially how manual focusing with a rangefinder is better or worse than auto-focus etc.

So without further ado, let’s start at the beginning with a good-old photograph of the ‘beast’ in question – albeit a beast costing a four-figure sum . . . Gulp !!!

leica m-e m9 street photography test review uk photographs

Naturally with ‘M’ camera bodies, the price didn’t include a lens, though luckily and considering my manic desire to ‘sell sell sell’, I had the presence of mind to keep hold of the wonderful Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 lens previously mounted to the M6 and M2 (the latter of which I still have – hey I’m not that mad 🙂 )

Continue reading “Leica M-E (M9) – A Street Photography Review . . .”

Street Photography Is Like A Box Of Chocolates . . .

. . . Yes you’ve guessed it, “you never know what you’re gonna get” (especially where 35mm is concerned). I could also quote a favourite saying of one-time TV football pundit, Jimmy Greeves – “It’s a funny old game.”

At least that’s how it felt as I took my place amongst the crazed swathes of early Christmas shoppers on the streets of Chester recently, one dark and cold Saturday morning.

Mercifully though and despite the ominous blanket of moody black cloud that appeared to hover inches above our heads, the day remained dry. Add to the equation that there was barely a square foot of pavement available to each pedestrian and you have the perfect environment (?) for the Street Photographer, be it one who’s still in recovery from a good-old-fashioned nervous breakdown.

Which brings me nicely to the reason I was now standing approximately centre-left of a shopping thoroughfare, the Leica M2 loaded with HP5 and a Voigtlander 50 f/1.5 lens mounted.

It had been at least 10 weeks since I’d even dared to pickup a camera, partly through fear that doing so might trigger another ‘episode’. What if I started panicking again, or worse still, began sobbing and wailing uncontrollably like some great grizzly bear and in full view of every bewildered passerby?

“Pull yourself together Kevin”, I told myself “you’re made of stronger stuff than this”!?

So whilst utilising some simple meditative techniques I’d learnt just days before, and with an extra large deep breath, I aquired a subject and clicked the shutter.

asian lady talks on phone rummages in handbag and stands on one leg chester street photography uk photographer kevin shelley prints for sale leica m2 voigtlander 50 1.5

Continue reading “Street Photography Is Like A Box Of Chocolates . . .”

Facing My Demons . . .

. . . Thank you to all who have written with kind and helpful words of support, both about my ‘problem’ and their own. Also, to hear that my Bipolar Article has been of help for others in coming-to-terms with various issues, has brought a tear to my eye. Thank you.

I’m especially indebted to a reader of the Street Photography Blog (you know who you are 🙂 ) who sent me a selection of Meditative literature. As a result of this, I was able to summon the courage to once again grab a camera and hit the streets. Cheers mate.

To that end, I am now writing this post whilst enjoying a coffee outside a Starbucks in Chester. So far it’s been a very enjoyable experience, despite feeling a little detached from reality – floating on a cloud so to speak.

street photography uk photographer kevin shelley prints for sale leica m2 voigtlander 50 1.5

All being well, there should be some cool shots ‘in the can’ and on the blog, soon.

Street Photography – Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Part Two) – Leica M6 . . .

. . . Of my two days shooting Street Photography at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, I spent half of the first day with the Fuji X-E1 (article here) and the remainder of that day and all of the next shooting with the Leica M6 & Voigtlander 50 1.5 LTM Classic lens (review here). Here then are the photographs taken . . .

What is this ‘thing’ with film that you just don’t get with digital? It can’t be superior image quality as digital technology has more than surpassed 35mm in that respect. Nor for that matter can it be grain, as software such as Silver Efex can easily add as much or as little to your digital files as you like.

very tall scotsman in kilt walks his very small dog edinburgh fringe festival 2014 street photography uk photographer kevin shelley prints for sale leica m6 voigtlander 50 1.5

Continue reading “Street Photography – Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Part Two) – Leica M6 . . .”

Leica M6 & Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 LTM Review – A Tale of Two Classics . . .

. . . Ah, you see what I did with the title there, “Two Classics”? That’s because (aside from the Fuji X-E1), I also took along to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014 a new film camera and lens – the Leica M6 ‘Classic’ and Voigtlander (CV) 50mm f/1.5 LTM ‘Classic’. Yes, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “I LOVE LEICA M’s.”

leica m6 front view with voigtlander 50 1.5

Now it’s only a little over 2 months since I bought the Leica M2 (review here), which has proven revelatory when it comes to no frills 35mm Street Photography. However, the Leica M6 and CV 50mm f/1.5 have taken what was already a superb package and quashed the last remaining issue I had with the M2 – that being no built-in light metering.

Continue reading “Leica M6 & Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 LTM Review – A Tale of Two Classics . . .”

What’s In My Camera Bag . . ?

. . . A little over 3 years ago I did a short video for Youtube of what was in my camera bag at that time (video at the bottom of this post and somewhat embarrasingly shot in portrait and don’t get me started on the hairstyle. 😀 ).

Back then, my ‘weapon’ of choice was a silver-chromed Leica M8 with a 50mm f/1.8 Canon Serenar and a Voigtlander 35mm f/2.5 Color Skopar. My bag of choice was the ‘M-Classics’ messenger style bag.

Today, the bag remains but the kit has changed beyond all recognition.

kevin shelley street photography kit bag leica m2 voigtlander 50 1.5 fuji x-e1 xf 35 1.4 sekonic l308s light meter 35mm film m classics bag

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Manchester (UK) – The Grit, Glamour & Tattoos . . .

GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING – This is going to be a long post. 🙂

. . . If the truth be known, I’ve never felt as mentally and physically exhausted after a day’s Street Photography as I did just last weekend in Manchester. Mind you, I probably didn’t do myself any favours by spending the previous day shooting on the streets of Chester and on both occasions wearing what are without doubt the most uncomfortable pair of boots I’ve ever owned. 🙂

old man rave dancing in manchester whilst young lad cheers him on street photography uk photographer kevin shelley prints for sale leica m2 jupiter 8 50 f2

Continue reading “Manchester (UK) – The Grit, Glamour & Tattoos . . .”

Leica M2 and 50mm Jupiter 8 Lens, Review and Street Photographs . . .

. . . Yes I have a soft spot for Leica cameras, especially film M’s.

Just a cursory glance through past articles here on the Street Photography Blog will reveal a recurrent theme. Two M8’s, three CL’s (yes they are real Leica’s) and an M5. Now despite selling these and giving up film around 11 months ago for a Fuji X-E1, the siren call of 35mm simply refused to go away. So now a new ‘M’ joins the fray, the Leica M2.

Leica M2 with Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f/1.4 Classic Lens. Street Photography.

Continue reading “Leica M2 and 50mm Jupiter 8 Lens, Review and Street Photographs . . .”