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...Mitch, what I like about these is you didn't try to neutralize the white balance much, if at all. Adam mentioned a cinematic feel to them, which for me is more personal reminiscence of shooting medium speed E6 unfiltered under fluorescent lighting. The yellows and greens in the skin tones work for me here, whereas I am usually quite bothered by such a color shift (ingrained in me by client work, as Adam mentioned, where the most flattering effect is desired). I think your approach here effectively underscores the feeling of walking through an Asian night market, the sights, sounds,...Show more →
Ron, thanks for looking so closely and widely, and for taking the time to write your comments, which I find interesting and useful. On the white balance, you're right: going over my Lightroom 5 files, I see that I adjusted the white balance only in no. 6 (beauty parlor) — and that was a minor tweak. Generally, for daylight shots, I adjust the white balance to various degrees; but in these night shots the M9-P gave me essentially the color rendition that I wanted. Human perception of color is a complex matter in terms of what image is formed on the retina and what adjustments are made by the brain that gives us the actual perception. And even more complicated is our memory, say, of the colors of a face we see in candlelight or fluorescent light and what we may remember from seeing that face in the daylight from a window facing north. I think you get what I mean: to get the feeling of nighttime and the actual ambient light it's necessary to retain some of the "color shifts" that occur. A lot of ink has been spilled on this ever since the Impressionists started thinking about the actual colors that can be seen in shadows and on subjects lit by various types of light. Also, after reading your posting I search the internet for paintings that used these type of color shifts, and the best examples I found were Rembrand's famous self portrait and his Night Watch, but also some portraits by Lucien Freud are interesting to look at in this respect.
Your reference to the fact that Kodachrome was the model for for the color rendition of the M9 warms the cockles of my heart, for I think that Kodak and Leica did a great job in this respect. The issue of the color rendition of the M9 vs the M240 is a hornets' nest, because many people who have the new camera feel strongly that it's only a matter of appropriate profiles and processing. Perhaps after there is a firmware upgrade from Leica and some better raw processing profiles they may be proven right and the color output of the M9 and the M240 may become very similar. Although I don't want to fuel any fires, I am still skeptical and am glad that I have the M9-P because, having looked at a lot of people's output from the M240 and having processed some DNGs as well, my feeling is that there is a difference in color rendition that may remain. I realize that this may not be entirely a CCD vs a CMOS issue, and that the color filter may be involved as well. In any case, my mind is not closed on the subject.
Browsing through your Flickr stream again, and I was really drawn (again) to the photo of the girl in the bus window, which has a very similar color mood. Then I reacquainted myself with your earlier B&W market images and was really torn. I felt a number of those were more dynamic and pulled me into them more successfully than these, either due to composition or the ability to explore the layers of details in them... The images in this series are 'quieter' and underscore a feeling I often had in large cities in Taiwan, that while there are always people...Show more →
Of course B&W and color are very difference in the nature of the expression, which is why the idea of the M-Monochrom — as well it's implementation — is so good: so that one can think and feel differently when shooting with a B&W and a color camera. I'll take the liberty of posting here the picture of the girl in the bus window because it may be the best picture that I've taken with the M9-P. It was taken in Paris in mid-February on a cold, gray day with the light overall being somewhat blueish. Again, on checking the file in Lightroom 5, I see that i didn't adjust the white balance. I was sitting on a bus and shooting through my bus window at the bus that was passing us in the other direction less than two feet away. You can just make out the lettering on my bus window that says, "ISSUE DE SECOURS".
The images that pull me back for more study are 2, 3, 6 and 7. I like the apparent interaction between the two men in #2 and how the arm positioning/gesture is repeated somewhat in the poster in the background. I'd probably have to see the image in print to say whether or not the grain bothers me. Maybe some chroma noise reduction, but still, I think it works for me as is. #3 has a feeling of serenity and a certain elegance among chaos that I like. The WB really works well, I think, and ties in the surroundings with...Show more →
Basically, I like #5 but have the same mixed feelings as you do about the missed focus. On the other hand, I am not sure it would work for me if the woman was in sharp focus. Perhaps if there were some other pictures in the series that were intentionally in soft focus…Come to think of it, I'm vacillating about this picture because I have much more trouble in color than in B&W in trying to get away from an "exquisite" look that I don't want in order to achieve something more expressive.
You didn't say anything about #1, which I bring up here because I was much taken when I processed it by the chiaroscuro and the colors in the umbrellas. Essentially, this picture was correctly exposed, but I brought up the exposure by 0.7 stops and burned in the light coming from the left edge of the frame to bring the viewers eye more to the right side of the frame. Do you have any thoughts on this picture?
I think I can sympathize with you about hitting focus in such situations. It can be tricky and the extra depth of field can be beneficial. But I think I agree with Adam that for some a wider aperture and less need to push in post would probably have resulted in richer/purer colors that would in turn have complemented the scenes. This is what I like about the color in #4 of the chickens, and #3.
From a technical consideration, we discussed here a while ago whether there is any real benefit to shooting the M9 at higher ISOs vs. ISO 160...Show more →
Yes, interesting: I saw some posts by "douglas3f" on the idea of shooting the M9 at ISO 640 and then pushing one or two stops when developing. As mentioned, I intend to go back to the location of these pictures at night and try shooting at ISO 640. However, I didn't understand from douglas3f's posts how to expose at the ISO 640 speed. I suppose he means exposing to the right as much as possible without hitting the right side of the histogram; but, if so, what is the best way of exposing in the dynamic situation of street photography when you don't have the time for a test shot? In any case, the image on the LCD will not help since it will show underexposure by one or two stops.
Bangkok Obvious [WIP]
Eggleston said that he was "at war with the obvious"...