Skip to content
Advertisements

#17 Pavel Kosenko’s Gear

Pavel K 1

We are pleased to have Pavel Kosenko, Moscow (Russia) Street Photographer as our #17 featured street photographer.

Pavel

You can check out the interview under “Inspiration” here in this blog.

I love Pavel’s equipment! Talk about the adventure photographer. He shot these photos in March in Yakutia, Russia at -53C. The fact that he got shots off and is still shooting with his cameras is a testament to their ruggedness. Below is Pavel’s description of his equipment:

“Last 2 years I didn’t use photo bag and usually use minimum equipment. For every trip I choose1-2 cameras and 1-2 lenses. In the aircraft I take the cameras in hand luggage. On places of shooting use my neck and special strap for shoulders. Here is the equipment I choose from:”

Pavel Cam 2

Canon EOS 1D X
Pavel Cam 1
Fujifilm FinePix X-Pro1
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1
iPhone 5
Canon EOS 3 (sometimes I use film camera)
Pavel Cam 4
Pavel Cam 3
Lenses:
Canon EF 35 mm f/1.4L USM
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.2L USM
Fujifilm XF 18 mm f/2 R X-Mount
Fujifilm XF 35 mm f/1.4 R X-Mount
Fujifilm XF 60 mm f/2.4 R Macro X-Mount
Fujifilm XF 18-55 mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS
Sonnar Carl Zeiss T* 35 mm f/2
“I don’t use tripod, filters etc. But I use many additional batteries.”
Other Devices:
MacBook Pro, iPhone, iPad, external HDD etc.
Software:
For developing of Raw-files I use Raw Photo Processor (RPP) and sometimes Adobe Photoshop.

LEICA M MONOCHROM – Reality Check

L1000769-2-Edit

ISO 320, 1/125 sec, 35mm Summilux – by O

Since my “first impression” post back in September last year, O and I sold a few lenses and an old Nikon, just so proceeds could go towards a Leica M Monochrom and we haven’t looked back.

When the camera was first announced in May 2012, O was immediately sold on the idea. Me? I needed a lot of convincing because the price point was high, and it was limited to black and white. But then we were able to test the pre-production model and both of us fell in love with it.

In my previous post, I talked about the most important value any camera can give, whether it be a $1.00 toy camera or a Leica, is the ability to inspire you to grab the camera and shoot amazing or near amazing photographs. Well, it hasn’t changed at all. Actually, I lie. The desire to shoot beautiful photographs is stronger than before.

Leica Liker Martin Cello

ISO 5000, 1/1000 sec, 50mm Noctilux – by O

O sums it up the best. He says there is no excuse to not shoot good photographs anymore. Unlike color, where you can be lazy and decide if the shot could be presented in black and white or not, or slack off on the framing or composition (don’t tell me you don’t do this sometime), the Monochrom only works well when you understand the demands it has of you, the user/photographer. You have to rethink how you ‘see’. You are forced to think in black and white in order to capture the images you want.

This is because the image is recorded in shades of grey and tones and not the colors which our eye is accustomed to seeing in real life. Understanding this is the first step towards a creative process. You have to think about how you want the sensor to record the image. You have to consider many aspects of the photograph in order to capture what you want. This creative process is essential to the Monochrom, otherwise, it would be a waste of money. However little or strong it may be, you can’t run away from it.

M Tillmann 1.A Ewanglee

ISO 400, 1/45, 35mm Summilux

So if you think you are not creative, you actually are because of all the different aspects you must consider and answer before you press the shutter. For instance, the choice of more or less contrast will either harshen or soften the image, therefore changing the way you present the subject. The tones help define whether the image is more realistic or impressionistic. You can emphasize forms and shapes, thereby focussing the eye towards the subject with less distractions.

O believes that black and white has an inherently more impressionistic quality whereas color requires a great deal of thought and planning in order to give off the same level of impressionism.

So without further ado, let’s dive straight into the photographs and details of the performance of the Monochrom.

M Tillmann 12 Ewanglee

ISO 1250, 1/45sec, 35mm Summilux

DISCLAIMER!!!: My review is only based on the images I take and how user friendly the camera is. Some images have been post processed with slight crops (to straighten the shot) and pushing or pulling on the contrast, darks, and brightness in Lightroom 4. A few have been processed with Nik Silver Efex 2. That is about the only post work I do. And, my bias is based on if the camera helps me capture the image I envisioned. I am not knowledgeable about equipment from any technical point of view. So if any one expects to read detailed specifications or any tech reviews, there are other sites that have the expertise. You can go to L-Camera Forum here to find out a list of all the reviews of the Monochrom. You can check out all the specifications at the Leica site here.

L1022072-Edit

ISO 800, 1/2000 sec, 35mm Summilux

THE BASIC PHYSICAL

I love, love, love the stealth look of the Monochrom. No Leica red dot, no Leica name logo on top, just matte black metal with a fine textured leather finish. Simple and understated. In my mind, it’s the most elegant Leica in the M series. The clean lines are classic.

FRAME BUFFER

In Japan, there is an aesthetic called Wabi-Sabi, that is sometimes described as beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”. It is a concept derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence (三法印 sanbōin), specifically impermanence (無常 mujō), the other two being suffering (苦 ku) and emptiness or absence of self-nature (空 kū?).” (Taken from Wikipedia)

You’re probably wondering, “what in the world is she talking about?”… I’m just coming to it, so please indulge me a little more.

Leica Liker Hitchcock church

ISO 640, 1/500, 35mm Summilux – by O

From an engineering or design point of view, wabi may be interpreted as the imperfect quality of any object, due to inevitable limitations in design and construction/manufacture especially with respect to unpredictable or changing usage conditions; then sabi could be interpreted as the aspect of imperfect reliability, or limited mortality of any object, hence the phonological and etymological connection with the Japanese word sabi, to rust.(Also taken from Wikipedia)

Now to the point. On the pre-production model, we noted the Frame Buffer was slow. Well….it hasn’t changed. When you shoot over 4-5 single frames continuously, the frame buffer fills up and you’re forced to wait between 15- 30 seconds before it frees up. It’s a flaw that happens to me very often. That’s why I have had to reach into my Zen drawer and find a way to explain to myself why I must remain patient as little grasshopper should. 🙂

I hope Leica fixes this soon!

L1002492

ISO 320, 1/180 sec, 35mm Summilux – by O

ISO BUMP

The increase in ISO to 10000 make this camera low light friendly. It’s my go-to camera in the evenings. Stripped of the RGB filters, Kodak’s Truesense presents as pure an image as you can possibly get. To the best of my knowledge, there is nothing out there that comes close to purity than this one.

THE BEAUTY OF GRAIN

As I said in my last post, the most unique thing about this camera is the noise grain. It is just simply exquisite. The grain is not the digital hard edged type you get with the M9. It’s a soft film-like grain.

However, at 10,000 ISO, the Truesense sensor is pushed to its limit. The noise is extremely noticeable with a slight muddy nature (for my taste), although professional photographers like Jacob Aue Sobol has been able to turn it into an aesthetic. The highest I use is 6400, where the noise is acceptable and part of the aesthetic of the shot. But at 5000 you can get a near noiseless shot. My ideal range for night shots is 3200 -6400. During the day, I play between 640 and 3200.

TONES

I love the complex and refined tonal range of this camera. When you look at the images, the details are part of the lure. Hence, the grey nature of the RAW files. But that’s what is so great about the camera. You capture more detail than some negative films. Your RAW files let you make ‘informed’ choices on how to process the shot. You have more options to post the image than ever before.

L1002487

ISO 320, 1/125 sec, 35mm Summilux – by O

EXPOSURE
As mentioned in my last post, you need to underexpose the shot so don’t blow out your highlights. Unless you want to of course.

LCD SCREEN

I really hope Leica will replace the 2.5″ TFT LCD sapphire-crystal display screen with something comparable to any SLR camera out there. What they have on there is just subpar.

THE MENU

I was able to play with the new histogram that shows the raw data combined with a clipping display. I try to practice with it to see how my estimate of exposure is compared to the actual. It’s still a work in progress for me. A wonderful tool for those who are still learning.

Leica Liker Back

ISO 320, 1/4000, 50mm Summicron – by O

LENSES

The Monochrom makes every lens shine because the image is as pure as the lens. But O and I are of the opinion that the Monochrom is really made for sharp lenses like the APOs. The sensor captures every nuance of the image.

THE PRICE TAG

What can I say? I hate it because it hurts the pocket for those of us who have to count our pennies. But I understand it and am in support of the decision. It’s the only camera that is hand made. Regardless of the technology (good or bad), I love the fact that I am paying for some one’s livelihood. Someone who has pride in their work. Some one who gets excited when they can invent, to preserve and expand a legend, or bridge a gap between old and new, paint the logo on, put on the screw… well you get the idea.

In our society, we don’t seem to value individual input anymore. The bottom-line rules everything at the expense of people. You can’t compare products that are made from robotic assembly lines with ones put together by humans.

L1000947-Edit

ISO 2000, 1/60 sec, 21mm Super Elmar

CONCLUSION

The Leica M Monochrom is a milestone in camera inventions, just like when the ‘Barnack’ was invented to make cameras portable, or the first M(3) Leica was invented with bayonet interchangeable lenses, or when the M9 was born with its full frame sensor. This camera is a game changer in the world of full frame digital cameras. It is also the perfect evolution from negative film to digital without leaving the achievements of film in the trash. It tries to emulate the beautiful quality of film, yet still have its own unique quality. That’s a good thing.

You can read:

First Impressions of Leica M Monochrom (Pre-production model) Part 1 here.

First Impressions of Leica M Monochrom (Pre-production model) Part 2 here.

#16 ANIA VOULOUDI, Thessaloniki (Greece) Street Photographer

IMG_3202
Leica Liker is honored to have Ania Vouloudi, a Thessaloniki (Greece) Street Photographer as our #16 guest.

When I was on the search for photographers that have a unique point of view, several fellow street photographers suggested I look at Ania’s work. You’ll have to agree, when you look at her work, there is a quirkiness that stands out from the crowd.

Ania’s photographs exposes that a flip of a dress or the whisp of hair all have an aesthetic worth looking at. For instance,  the photo below: We’ve all done this.  Swimming, blowing bubbles, and hanging off the edge of the pool.  But the juxtaposition against the other feet and the point of view, makes this very mundane moment a special moment in the memory of a life.

IMG_0230

What attracts me to Ania’s images is that they evoke my own memories. Bringing a warm feeling. So it was serendipitous that Ania speaks of shooting to remember. To remember what she saw. But funny enough, she talks of what she saw is often not what comes across in the photo. We humans walk around with filtered glasses, with our own stories to tell. Hence, we see the world as we want to see it. But the beauty of  life is that it has its own reality. You experience it as one of many. So perhaps more importantly, Ania shoots to remember what she lived.

Back to evoking memories. I love that Ania’s photos spark the collective sharing of insignificant moments in our lives. Moments that we will undoubtedly forget when we become older. For instance, lying on the grass in the sun, a girl climbing up a door frame, a ball bouncing in front of a window, dogs walking by and growling at each other. The creation of human history – cell by cell, second by second, frame by frame . It is what makes us human.

IMG_6358

Here is my interview with ANIA VOULOUDI:

Nick Name: none
Currently living in: moving between Thessaloniki, Greece and Rethymnon, Crete
Motto: Bukowski’s “Don’t  try
Street Photographer since: 2009

IMG_9032

Profession/Job: Construction Engineer
Websites: www.aniavouloudi.com and http://www.flickr.com/photos/vouloudi/
Organizations  or  Group:  None

IMG_4005

Favorite Street Camera & Lens: Canon 550D with a canon 24mm f/2.8 lens
Back-up Street Camera & Lens: Canon 400D with a cosinon 28mm f/2.0 lens
Favorite photography gadget: Built-in flash

IMG_3971

Favorite street food: Kinder Bueno
Do you listen to music while shooting? No. I want to be able to hear what I shoot.
Favorite music when shooting and/or editing Photos: Rebetika when I edit.
Favorite photo software: Lightroom 2.7, Photoshop CS6

IMG_4890

3 Favorite Master Photographers: I don’t have any. I haven’t searched, so I don’t remember who is who. But I have seen an exhibition of Sally Mann. I once took a quick look at a Diane Arbus’ book and as a kid I had a poster of Doisneau’s kiss. I remember something from them and they are three. But not my favorite, yet.
3 Favorite Contemporary Photographers: Todd Fisher, Kate Kirkwood, Charalampos Kydonakis, Laura Rodari. I can exclude none.
Which 3 photographers’ prints do you own? I own many of my father’s. He used to shoot the family. His photos are wonderfully raw as anyone’s who does it effortlessly.

IMG_2185

Color or Black and White?  Color. I see color, I shoot color.
Shoot Film or Digital ? I have seen nothing digital being as beautiful as anything analogue. But I can’t wait and have no money to spend on film.
Is there a special time of the day you like to shoot or is any time good? Anytime.

IMG_7414

How did you get into photography? When I was a kid, my father used to share with me his Zenit and afterwards his cheap little snap shot camera. I think many people start this way.

IMG_7517

When I was in college, I never really enjoyed the field of my studies and realized I needed a hobby. Then I saw a pamphlet of photography lessons and convinced myself it was fate. I guess that if I would have seen a pamphlet of cooking lessons I would now be an amateur chef. So, I followed this random fate and found myself amongst housewives who needed better photos of their grandchildren, policemen who needed better photos of the corpses and co-students who were bored, too. We had a great time, we didn’t do much photography, I didn’t go there often but all that made me buy a Nikon f65 in 2007. I went to these lessons for 2 years. In the second year I got a loan from the bank and bought a Canon 400D with a 50mm lens but that lens was a bad choice as I always had to stand far away.

IMG_7925

I actually got into photography much later around 2009-2010, I learnt what even my camera can do after I had quit those lessons and I recently ended up with a 24mm which allows me to be myself and get closer.

IMG_7736

Why did you choose Street Photography and not another form of photography or stamp collecting? I don’t feel that I have chosen any form of photography and I collect stamps, too.

IMG_9887

How do you define street photography? All I know is that it has no literal meaning. Street can be the park in front of your house, the morning route to your job, your grandmother’s backyard, the underground parking of a building or the shopping mall. It can be your home, your kitchen, your dog, the sea, museums and airplanes, massage rooms and carpet stores.

The truth is that I don’t really like labeling photos. I don’t care if a photo is called street or posed or unposed or who is in the photo etc. If I like it, it has a reason to exist, it’s part of the photographer and it can take no label on it. What is street and what is unposed? Is “street” shooting strangers? My photos do not include only strangers. Does “posed”mean that you put everything in the order you want? I never know what order will come up in a photo. I care for the feelings that a photo can cause, I care for the visual result not for the description of it in words.

IMG_7432

What motivates you to photograph the streets? I shoot to remember things. To remember how I used to see. Memory makes you what you are.  About the streets, I like the fact that I don’t decide what goes where and almost nothing is under my control.

Is Street Photography an obsession? Photography yes. Street no. I don’t shoot regularly and I rarely shoot “street”. Friends tell me to shoot more. I guess I should. The more you search the more possibilities of finding what you are searching for.

IMG_4124-5

Are you a lone shooter or do you like shooting with friends or a group? I can’t concentrate when I’m with others.

Are you an invisible photographer or visible? I feel invisible. But it can’t be.
Favorite street photography city: Rethymnon. It’s a small town on the island of Crete that changes every day.

IMG_9815

What inspires your photography? I’m often inspired by boredom. When I’m trapped in traffic, or in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, when I am at a wedding of an unknown cousin or when I have to mop, I shoot.

IMG_9709

Is there a philosophy, concept or aesthetic behind your compositions that you apply to your photos? The true answer is no. But if I were a 3rd person looking at it from a bird’s eye point of view, maybe I could come up with a philosophy or a concept behind it.

Ania IMG_0246

Do you think working on buildings and engineering might have influenced your view of the world?  I have never thought about it. I shoot what I like. I don’t know what influences my photography or when it might be. I suppose everything:  my dog, friends, parents, what I eat. Everything.

IMG_6344

Can you describe your style? Do I have a style? I don’t know if I have a specific style. You can probably answer the question better than I can.

How has it changed over time? It constantly changes? Nothing can stay same. When I am happy my images are happy. When I am pessimistic they are also pessimistic. I grow up, they grow up, too.

IMG_8335

What do you look for in a good photograph by you and others? To feel like I haven’t seen it before; to be something that I am or can be.

How do you go about shooting a street photograph? Sometimes I run and strive and sometimes it happens unconsciously like breathing.

IMG_0174-2

Could you please describe the process – what was going on in your mind when you first started to think to take the following image all the way until you pressed the shutter release? I had to take photos for the exhibition we had with Charalampos Kydonakis and Lukas Vasilikos last year. It was difficult to exhibit with great photographers who already had a bunch of photos for the subject of the exhibition while I didn’t. So, I had to search almost every day for them.

Ania IMG_0014[1]

One day, I came across with an upside down chair. I thought it could be something but not by itself. After I spent time shooting distant, boring humans passing by, a white dog came to me. I started petting it and then a black dog appeared. They were growling at each other but when I see this photo I tend to forget it. Reality differs from what I see or want to see. It is what I like about photography.

IMG_0507

How do you use flash and not feel like you are intruding? You use flash even in the day – is it to give more luminance?  When I use the flash during the day, people don’t understand what is going on. When the flash goes off, they look behind them at the direction that I pretend to look, too. At night, I do the same and hope they will act the same. If not, I use the smile. And if not, I use the “ I-am-a-tourist smile”.  And if not, I’m gone.

IMG_9094[1]

As for luminance, I like light. I like everything to be bright and in the same light value. I guess the aim is to have everything visible. Another reason is the settings. I don’t enjoy spending time on finding the right ones at night or indoors, so with my same, lazy, favorite settings and my flash on I get what I want.

IMG_0353

How do you choose your shots when you edit? What tells you that the shot is good? Instinct. But I can’t always l trust it. People are emotionally attached with what they create, so sometimes I ask the opinion of people and photographers I trust. It’s another talent to be able to choose.

Ania IMG_0340

Best 3 tips for shooting the streets:  Tips are useless. People can do whatever they want. They should and they will.
Best single advice on how to improve your work: Take as less photos as you can.
Best single advice on how to edit your work. Delete as many photos as you can.
Best single advice for someone who wants to get into street photography: If you have made the decision and you are aware that you are getting into street photography, do not.

IMG_3981

What’s the best moment in your street photography career? Every time I see a good photo in my camera.

What’s the worst moment in your street photography career? The worst moments come when I don’t shoot for a while.

IMG_1435m

What projects are you working on? I’m working on my little cousin. I haven’t seen her for a long time and now we spend time together. I also realized that I have an ongoing project with a lost toenail of mine, but I still have time before the new one will come out. The surgeon had to take it out and granted me a three months project.

Ania IMG_0276

Where do you want to be in 5 years with regard to street photography? Still shooting is a fine goal.

Are there exhibitions planned in the future? No.

IMG_8199

Leica Liker thanks Ania for sharing her experience and inspirational advice with us. We look forward to checking in with her in the future.

You can check out Ania’s gear in “Liker Bags’n Gear” here.

This is Ania’s self portrait.

ania

%d bloggers like this: