Slowing down the ocean

As we move into autumn and the colors start to change I wanted to test out my ND filters which I don’t use that much. I hope to make it up to New Hampshire in October for some water falls and colored leaves. I’ll be scouting locations for workshops next year. So I headed over to my favorite place for water Halibut Point State Park. My filter system is not that varied. I use B+W three stop and 10 stop filters for my Leica lenses. For my Canon lenses I use a variable Tiffen ND filter. So off I went at zero dark thirty for the rocky shoreline at Halibut Pt. The tide was almost all the way in and coming up the flat rocks and I wanted to try out the 10 stop filter on the Leica 21mm Super Elmar.


This image was made at the Leica M-P 240’s exposure limit of one minute. Besides the huge wait time of about 45 sec. after the exposure for noise reduction processing, I found using the Leica very easy. Using the EVF was a huge benefit. I love the foggy look of the water but if I had brought my three stop filter I would have used it instead. If the ocean had been a bit more wild I think the water would have been more interesting.


The exposure here was much shorter at 20sec. and the water is still very misty looking but at 40 sec. less time the water does not show as much. Then I switched over to my Canon 5Dmk3 with the 24-70 f4 L. As much as I like this lens the bowing of the horizon is horrible. I used my Tiffen variable ND filter which I had set at the third to highest density level. At the highest and second to highest density level there is some x-ing going on. I converted the Canon shots to B&W as they looked better. The B&W images below were made using the Alpine Labs Pulse. This is a nifty little unit that is small and pretty easy to use. I need to use it more so I get used to it. At one point it stopped working and I needed to shut the camera off and then on again and also restart the unit. It controls the camera in many ways. I am disappointed that you can’t make the shot and control the camera on the same screen in the smart phone app. You have to swipe back and forth to do this. It’s a pain. The other issues had to do with it stopping to work. Not a big deal when shooting waves but imagine if it was important.




Matching Colors

Exploring with your camera can be a fun thing to do when you are on vacation or just taking a few days of rest. The other day I was out and about in Rockport and drove by one of my favorite doors along Main St. A nice yellow wreath and fishing balls were hanging on the storm door. The colors are what drew me in. The complimentary red and yellow color gave me the image. Three main elements gave me the composition I was looking for. My tour clients often ask about colors and composition. I like to think of it this way; I look for one main color with other complimentary colors that add to the scene.

Leica M-P 240  90mm Leitz Summicron  ISO 400  1/250s  f5.6

Gearing up for travel photography

Fisherman's Memorial Gloucester

People often ask, what gear do I bring when traveling? My response usually is, well it depends on what kind of photography you want to do and what kind of traveling you are doing. If you hiking a lot and planning on shooting landscapes then a small mirrorless camera is a good bet. I have a friend who is a working photojournalist who often hikes in the White Mountains. He swears by his Fuji X100f. This little camera looks a lot like a Leica M3. It has a 23mm f2 lens and 24 mp sensor which is a moderate wide angle at 35 mm since the sensor is an aps-c sensor. It’s light and easy to use and the lens is fast and sharp. No wonder he likes it.

Quarry Halibut Pt. State Park

Most people who concentrate on landscapes like to shoot at low ISO’s. They shoot at slow shutter speeds and use high f stops for greater depth of field. This brings in the use of a tripod. The one I use and swear by is the Feisol CT-3401 with the Feisol CB-40D ballhead. This is a great carbon fiber lightweight small package that will hold up to all mirrorless gear and DSLR gear up to a 70-200. The ballhead has a quick release system on it that works quite well. It is very similar to the arca swiss type or Really Right Stuff plate systems but I don’t think they are compatible. This tripod folds down to under 2ft. and fits in my luggage which I carry on with me. Pretty amazing.

Autumn Halibut Pt.
Autumn Halibut Point quarry. Canon 5DMk lll 24-70 f4L 

All that being said, if you are just walking around and don’t mind a little weight than a DSLR with a good zoom say 28-200 range will serve you very well. It may be all you need. More people are now feeling the pinch in their neck from the weight and are switching to the new mirrorless systems from Sony and Fuji which are outstanding. You will not be sacrificing anything by using one of these systems. For instance I have a little Canon G15 point and shoot that is fabulous. It has a 28-143 f1.8-2.8 fast lens and it does everything I need for just walking around. Does it have it few issues, sure but I have learned how to deal with them. The image below was taken with this camera.

Lobster Buoy's
Lobster trap buoy’s sit on top of their traps at Lanes Cove. Taken with the Canon G15

When I travel I bring small and light gear. I am lucky enough to have a Leica M-P 240 and several lenses. I bring with me a 35mm f2, 50 f1.4, 90 f2.8 and a 135 f4. All this fits very easily in a small bag. Also in that bag is a Sony Nex-7 and the 10-15 zoom (15mm-28mm). I use the Leica 90 and 135 on this camera as well with an adapter which gives me a range of 15mm-200mm with the two cameras. I normally just carry the Sony with the zoom and the Leica with the 35 or 50 on it. Or just one or the other camera bodies depending on what I am doing. For me this small modular system works really great instead of the giant L glass for my Canon system. That being said I may just pick up another lens like the Sony 16-70 (24mm-105mm) and not carry the Leica gear at all except for the Leica 135 f4. I fit it all in the Tenba Cooper 13 bag with my iPad. Which brings me to the big question. Do you bring a computer with you? I used to, but not anymore. My new iPad negates having to bring my 13″ Macbook Pro with me. It does fit in the back of the bag I just mentioned but that’s more weight. The iPad fits in that pocket as well and it’s lighter. I can upload raw files to it and just process the ones I want in Lightroom mobile. I can then send the unprocessed raws from my library to DropBox for safe keeping. So as you can see I am for traveling light with as many options as you can without adding weight and bulk.

Early morning Annisquam
Early morning light Lobster Cove Annisquam. Leica M9 21mm SE