Dec 30, 2010

Leica R5 + Leitz Elmarit 135mm - First Photographs, October 2010


Three decades ago, when I started getting involved with photography, the 135mm focal length was very popular among photographers. Following that trend, I also bought one such lens for my Minolta equipment, the fine Minolta Rokkor 2.8/135mm. If you visit this blog every now and then, you most likely saw some images shot with that lens.

As some of you also might recall, I later on traded my Minoltas for Leicas, so the Rokkor made place for the canadian built Leitz Elmarit 2.8/135mm in my bag (the model with view and rangefinder attachment, the so called goggles, that improves focusing and framing. Primarily made for the M Leica, I read that the most "recent" version - mine is from 1979! - serial no. 2 600 000 and up, is optically identical to the Leica R lens. While I can't claim that for sure, you should please take note of the missing M in its nomenclature...).

I already posted some images of that lens with goggles directly mounted on a Leica M, as well as with the lens head removed and attached to the focusing mount 16462, to allow the use with the Visoflex reflex housing. In case that you should be interested on this subject, please check my former post about it.

What I want to show today, are some photographs made with this same lens, but this time still done on a different way: I did them with a Leica Single Lens Reflex camera, and Leitz adapter 14167, to allow the use of Visoflex lenses on the Leica R. The combination keeps on needing, of course, the aforementioned focusing mount 16462 (the goggles can thankfully be left at home!).

Yes I know, lots of (very well made) Leitz adapters and focusing mounts, no automatic aperture, darkening viewfinder...
But believe me, if you already own such a lens, it is well worth the hassle.
I just love the combination!

But please, take a look for yourself...

Above photographs made in Faro, October 2010

Trends come and go, like anything else, and this kind of focal length seems to be out of fashion. The evolution and the public's widespread preference for the Zoom lens, have condemned the 135mm prime lens to a certain obscurity...
Lamentably so, as I believe that most photographic systems have produced outstanding 135mm lenses along the years. Just think about Carl Zeiss Sonnar, Carl Zeiss Tele-Tessar, Schneider Tele-Xenar, Pentax Takumar, Nikkor, Jupiter...
Moreover, the 135mm can be a true bargain these days...

For me, such a lens is a very fine balance between portability (all images were shot handheld) and pronounced telephoto effect. Besides, I don't need to be close to the nose of my model if I wish to do a head and shoulders portrait, as I don't need to go to the other side of the street yelling...

I enjoy the shallow depth of field, without too much loss of plasticity, what enables me to achieve a pleasant perspective without sacrificing the three-dimensional sensation!
I also find the 135mm lens to be a very interesting choice for close up photography, by just adding some extension tubes to it, between the lens and the body of the camera.

I suppose that I can honestly say: the 135mm is a true winner for my taste!

Photographs shot in Montemor-o-Novo, October 2010

This post should have its emphasis on the Leica R5...
I actually made this pictures while testing the camera, principally its exposure meter (fantastic!).

Now it is six in the morning and I am getting very tired, the rain is pouring outside, my legs are cold, my eyes are shutting, my brain is coming to a standstill...

Will you please excuse me, but I must be on my way... to bed...
Don't worry, I will come back to the subject... I promise!

Technical data:

Camera - Leica R5
Lens - Leitz Elmarit 135mm (Leica M/Visoflex type) + Leitz 14167
Film - Agfa APX 100
Developer - Rodinal, diluted 1+50
Location - Faro and Montemor-o-Novo, Portugal
Date - October 2010
Scanner - Epson 4990 Photo



Dec 20, 2010

Hasselblad 500 C/M - Heidelberg Altklinikum, November 1988


Camera: Hasselblad 500 C/M
Lenses: Carl Zeiss Distagon C 4/50mm, Carl Zeiss Planar C 2.8/80mm
Yellow or Red filter
Film: Kodak T-Max 400
Developer: Kodak D-76, diluted 1+1
Location: Heidelberg, Germany
Date: 1st of November, 1988

Scanner: Epson 4990 Photo

No words today!


Dec 18, 2010

Sketches of Spain - Guillena, Andalucía, España (May 15, 2010)


At first I was possibly attracted by the quality of the light and the vividity of the women dresses, but I soon got hooked by the whole mood of this spanish marriage in the small town of Guillena, not far from Seville, in Andalucía.

By comparison, our marriages in Portugal look almost like funerals...

In Andalucía, the celebration is much more colorful and looks less formal, what I consider to be the heritage from gypsy blood and flamenco. Please correct me, if I am wrong...

In this small land of mine, we maybe don't have many reasons to dress joyful and feel glad, do we?

We are getting such a sad and dark land...

I was not invited and didn't know nobody around. In fact, I don't even remember to speak a word.

Strolling, I came upon this small church by chance. I got curious and slowly made my way towards the people, a smile here and a smile there, walking that strange line between public domain and privacy...

When I felt kind of accepted, I started mixing with the group and began to shoot a little closer and closer.

By my dirty blue jeans and casual clothing, it is hard to imagine that somebody would take me for a guest either...

I was a perfect watching stranger among a festive crowd!

That's what Leicas are good for...

All photographs:

Leica M4-2 + Summicron-M 2/35mm

Fomapan 200, developed in Kodak D-76 1+1

Scanned with Epson 4990 Photo

P.S.: I would like to remember Miles Davis and his great record "Sketches of Spain", arranged and conducted by Gil Evans, recorded in 1959 & 1960. The record opens with the magnificent piece by spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo, "Concierto de Aranjuez", composed in 1939.

If you have the chance, don't miss to listen to it!