Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Leica, One Year Later

Orange Line, Wabash and Adams No.2
About 18 months ago I bought a Leica M8 with a Voigtlander 35 f/1.4 lens. I should say I've spent the last ten years shooting Canon 1d's of various versions. As my street gear, I'd mount a 28mm to my 1D2 for an effective focal length of 35mm. So, unlike most SLR shooters, I was already used to shooting with prime lenses. Still, this was a huge change.  Rangefinders, like the Leica, are just different animals, wholly unlike SLRs.

The viewfinder on the M8 is large and beautiful, but you don't really see the exact image you're shooting because, unlike an SLR, you don't actually see through the lens.  The viewfinder is off to the side and a bit above the lens.  Essentially, you look off at an angle from the lens itself and, of course, you don't see any of the blurring or even see the image snap into focus as you would with an SLR.  Also, framing is done with frame lines which will change depending size and position depending on focal length and focus distance and even then, they're not terribly accurate.  You focus manually with a projection of an image on the viewfinder that essentially triangulates between the rangefinder and your view.  Because of my long history with DSLRs, this was a bit disconcerting, to the point that I'd subconsciously use the entire VF, just like a dslr, just force of habit. [more after the break]

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Photo of a Brigade Member
View from the crowd

At just past midnight on the morning of April 17, 1961, an expeditionary force of approximately 1,500 men, assisted by naval and air forces, attempted an invasion of Cuba in order to overthrow the government headed by Fidel Castro. Known as Brigade 2506, they landed on the beach known as Playa Giròn, at the mouth of a bay called the Bahia de Cochinos. In Spanish-speaking countries, this event is remembered as La Bataya de Giròn. In the United States it is remembered by the English name, the Bay of Pigs.

The invasion lasted three days and resulted in a loss for the American-backed expeditionary force. There are numbers, of course: 118 killed and 1,202 captured. On the defenders' side 176 were killed and 4,000 wounded. The invaders put up a strong fight. Many would languish in prison and face execution in the days that followed the invasion. Eventually, most would make it back to the United States, many to Miami. More than a loss of the battle, though, the Bay of Pigs marked the end of any further significant attempts to over-throw the Castro Government and to reverse its Marxist revolution. La Revoluciòn consolidated its grip power. Those caught on the other side of this Caribbean Iron Curtain settled into a life as Revolucionarios, whether by choice or circumstance; those caught on this side became exiles, without any real choice.  The temporary became permanent. 
[more after the break]

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Miami Vinyl

Miami Vinyl

Found on the intersection of South Miami Avenue and Thirteenth Street.  Googled it.  Apparently, it's an exhibit / lecture series on local, Miami music offered through the Miami Art Museum.  It's also pretty good guerrilla marketing.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

After the Rain

After the Rain
We had a torrential rain on night last week, odd since we're still in the dry season.  The summer monsoons don't usually start till around Memorial Day, and then not in earnest till about mid June.  Still, it really seemed like a minor hurricane that night.

Afterward, Jackie and I went for a walk, me with my Leica, of course.  I just recently saw some photos from a friend of mine in New York, posted on his Tumblr account.  They're all very dark and brooding nighttime images, also shot with a Leica, btw.  The photos have stayed with me since and, well, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I guess.  Another way to put it is that "good artists copy, great artists steal", as Picasso is supposed to have said.  Well, I'll let others judge whether I merely copied from Dennis or if I stole.  I'll post those images some other time.

For now, I just ran into this umbrella, an obvious casualty of the storm, lying next to a puddle, a remnant of the storm, and thought the juxtaposition made for a good image. 

Click here to purchase.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Brooklyn Heights in the Rain

Brooklyn Heights in the Rain
Across the East River from Manhattan lies the neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights, bordered on the river side by the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.  I first encountered it on a rainy June afternoon in 2006, coming back from the annual Mermaid Parade in Coney Island. 

We had been walking in the rain for most of the afternoon, including during all of the Mermaid Parade and were now pretty soaked when finally made it to the Promenade.

The scene shows the Brooklyn Bridge in the background through haze and fog.  The only thing that mars perfection is the trashcan in the foreground, but there really was no other view that would have framed the bridge exactly the same way.  Even with the trashcan, it's still one of my favorite shots.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Meaning of Life

One Life
In my day-gig, I encounter many people who are, as they say, goal oriented.  These types of people are generally not weighed down by questions or even doubt.  The know what they want and the go and get it.  To them, life is simple: if you have a goal, plan the work, work the plan and achieve your goal.

Many people, however, aren't like this.  They seek a greater truth, an understanding of what lies beneath, or perhaps above. These people are seekers.  They question, they doubt, they seek the truth and are skeptical when they find it.  Ultimately, they seek the meaning of life. [continued after the break]