Leo Laksi’s Bangkok And Back

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

Posts Tagged ‘Leica

Part 2.Photographic gear to take on upcoming trip to Cambodia and Laos

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Cambodian farmer

Cambodian farmer

As noted last weekend, I have a trip planned for next week to visit some areas of Cambodia and Laos that receive very few visitors.  Rather than visiting Angkor Wat and Luang Prabang with its high volume tourists, I have developed an alternate trip.   I will travel overland up the Mekong River from Phnom Penh, Cambodia to Don Khong, Laos.  Between the two points are some of the most spectacular scenery in Southeast Asia.  From the flooded forests of Steng Trung to the waterfalls south of Don Khong, one will be at a loss for words when faced with nature’s beauty.

I have spent the last two weeks, using, testing and evaluating my equipment for this journey.  Space is not an issue, however I wanted to downsize my kit for this trip.  So far, I have decided to bring:

Nikon D700

Nikon D300s

Nikkor AF-D fisheye 16mm lens

Nikkor AF-S 14-24 f/2.8 zoom lens

Nikkor AF-S 24-70 f/2.8 zoom lens

Nikkor AF-S 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 zoom lens

Nikkor AF-D 85mm f/1.4 lens or Sigma 50 EX DG HSM  f/1.4 lens

Hammock time.

Hammock time.

Obviously the three zoom lenses were selected so that the focal range from 14mm -450mm (DX 1.5 crop) is covered. I was not so concerned with the 70-300 lens’ lack of wider aperture as much as the weight of my 80-200mm f/2.8 or the 70-200 f/2.8.  I expect the lighting to be sufficient so as not to cause the 70-300 any issues.  The 85mm or the 50mm will come along for their lower light capabilities as a hedge against darker conditions along the water.  And the fisheye solely because I enjoy the results of that lens.

Beyond the cameras and lenses are a whole host of other gear which I will discuss in my next posting.

Photographs were taken with a Nikon D700 and Nikkor AF-D 80-200mm f/2.8 zoom lens and Leica M8 and Summicron 35mm f/2 lens.

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Written by leolaksi

January 24, 2010 at 9:34 pm

Put a little motion in your photos – prefocus and slow speed.

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Slow shutter speed gaurantees visible motion in street photos.

Slow shutter speed guarantees visible motion in street photos.

In the digital age, it’s much easier to experiment and develop your own style.  You take the shot and then you instantly review the results.  Nothing could be easier than that, right?  With super accurate autofocus and precise metering DSLRs, one is in a position to take that perfect shot.  And stopping motion.  Try your hand at something just a bit different.  Try taking a shot where motion is an element of the picture.  In other words, you want to see motion.  It seems unnatural in some ways but you may find yourself taking flawed but still interesting photographs.  And motion-oriented photos do convey a feeling.

These photos were taken a couple of months ago with a Leica M8 and Carl Zeiss Biogon 21mm f/2.8 lens.  I prefocused the camera and set the aperture speed at 1/45 and 1/60 sec.  I shot from the hip, through the viewfinder and then over head.  I can’t guarantee your results but you may find yourself taking photos that will be out of the ordinary.

The "hand-twirled" ice cream maker in motion.

The "hand-twirled" ice cream maker in motion.

Camera high overhead and prefocused.

Camera high overhead and prefocused.

Food on face.

Food on face.

Old school look.

Old school look.

Written by leolaksi

January 4, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Small Cambodian hamlet near Kampong Kleang on the Tonle Sap

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Main Street

Main Street

In May, my friends and I made a trip from Siem Reap, the location of Angkor Wat, to the village of Kampong Kleang on the Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia.  The Tonle Sap with its reversing water flow, depending on the season, is one of the great wonders of the world.  Any visit to Angkor Wat should include travel to this lake.  On the way there we passed this hamlet that this time of year was high and dry.  By mid-June the situation changed as the lake waters rose to a level just below the top rung of the stairs.  The 18 foot rise in the water level signaled the beginning of the wet season.

Thatch house

Thatch house

We stopped at this village to take a quick walk through town and found that it was difficult to leave as the people were very friendly, walking with us.  Mainly it was the children who shadowed our every move, yelling “good-bye” nonstop.  On those days when you are tired of visiting temples, you might consider a trip to the Tonle Sap.  With a stop or two in a village like this one.

Photos taken with a Leica M8 and Summicron 35mm f/2 lens.

Behind Main Street

Behind Main Street

Can't miss it.

Can't miss it.

Followed us around town

Followed us around town

Curious

Curious

Written by leolaksi

September 22, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Shooting city birds with a Nikon D700 and Leica M8. Good practice.

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Pigeons are waiting for you

Pigeons are waiting for you

Birdwatching and photography go hand in hand although sometimes the photography can be somewhat exotic, requiring longer lenses and well-developed skills to capture that perfect shot.  But you don’t have to travel to the country (or even to a park in the city) to try your hand at bird photography.  Most cities are home to flocks of pigeons, to the extent that they are considered pests.  But pigeons are easy to find and because they have become accustomed to people, one can move in and shoot away without spooking them.

But it doesn’t have to pigeons.  It can be seagulls, sparrows, really any birds that are common in your neighborhood.  For more photos, check out these photos of a child with pigeons in Vancouver, Canada.

The pigeon photos were taken with a Nikon D700 in and Sigma 150mm f/2.8 lens in Bangkok; the seagull with a Leica M8 with a Summilux 75mm f/1.4 in San Francisco.

Lined up

Looking at me

Lined up 2

Really looking at me

Slight difference

Slight difference

Another city bird

Another city bird

Written by leolaksi

September 10, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Worldwide Photo Walk in Bangkok Chinatown Revisited

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Dried squidman

Dried squidman

Some of these photos were taken during the photo walk while others were taken later after a bite of food and a great foot massage.  I hadn’t had this amount of fun in a long time and I think others in my group felt the same way.  If I had my way, I would spend even more time but even the best events have to end some time.

Walking through Chinatown it was easy to find subjects to shoot.  The difficulty was figuring out how best to capture that image.  I spotted the dried squid vendor above joking around with a friend of his that was out of the frame.  Trying to figure out the best way to frame and then take the photograph, he suddenly turned his head with that grin on the face.  I couldn’t have planned that.  I gave him a big smile and a thank you and I was on my way.

During the late night walk, we decided to detour off the main street.   We suddenly found ourselves watching this older man using a hand cart in the alley.  Although he wasn’t the biggest of men, he was muscular and glistening with sweat. Then I saw the other man further along in the alley and then I took the photo.  Although the photo shows camera movement, it’s my belief it’s better to capture that moment in time then miss it forever.  [Note:  this photo was taken at 1/13 second at f/2.8.]

Hard working

Hard working

The following two photos were captured during the walk and show skewered pigs before they were roasted and then one being roasted.  These photos were a fluke.  We were walking to the rendezvous point and I happened to glance over and in the thinnest sliver of an alley I spotted the pigs.  Of course, I made a beeline and then spotted another pig being charcoal roasted.

Dinner

Dinner

Roasting pig

Roasting pig

All the above photos were taken with a Nikon D700 and Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 lens.  The following was taken with a Leica M8 and Summicron 35mm f/2.8 lens and shot from the hip prefocused at 1.5 meters.


Group of four

Group of four

Written by leolaksi

July 21, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Think Tank Photo “Streetwalker” photo backpack

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Streetwalker with Leica M8

Streetwalker with Leica M8

[Check out my posting re: the “Think Tank “Streetwalker Pro”.  For photos showing the size difference between the two, check this out.]

Over the years I’ve worked my way through enough photo backpacks to supply an army of photographers.  From practically every brand.  Lowe Pro, Kata, Crumpler, and Tenba to name a few.  I’ve even pressed some smaller non-photo backpacks into duty that rivaled some of the aforementioned.

Padded back and straps

Padded back and straps

Some of the photo packs were too small, some didn’t have enough padding and some were just plain uncomfortable.

Last year I purchased a Think Tank Streetwalker Pro.  This was my first Think Tank product and I was very impressed with its design, comfort and detailing.  In fact I had never seen a better looking photo backpack.  (The Pro is slightly larger than the standard Streetwalker that is the subject of this posting.)  The only downside of the Pro for me was its size.  Although the design is very compact, for my purposes, it was slightly too large.  Talking about inches in each direction.

The Streetwalker series comes in three sizes with the largest capable of holding a laptop but I decided against the largest simply because I wasn’t looking for a larger pack.

For me the smallest Streetwalker is perfect.  Although smallish in size and relatively narrow in width it is capable of swallowing practically most photographer’s kit.  For example, as shown in the photo below, the pack holds:

Nikon D700

Nikkor AFS 14-24mm f/2.8G IF ED zoom lens

Nikkor AFS 24-70mm f/2.8G IF ED zoom lens

Nikkor AF 80-200mm f/2.8D  ED zoom lens

Nikkor AF DC 135mm f/2 D lens

Nikkor AF 85mm f/1.8D lens

Pack with D700 and five lenses

Pack with D700 and five lenses

Now normally I don’t carry five Nikkor lenses.  Either the 85mm or 135mm is left at the office.  And in it’s place is… another camera, the Leica M8 with Summicron 35mm f/2 lens.  So in total, I usually carry two cameras and five lenses in the bag.  Not bad huh?

But there’s more. The exterior of the pack has four zippered compartments capable of holding other accessories and odd and ends such as your wallet, mobile phone and keys.  In addition, the interior side of the main zippered flap also has two large zippered compartments capable of holding even more gear.  Further, the pack comes with straps that allow you to fasten a tripod vertically.  However,  note one significant difference between the Pro and this version.  The Pro has a “pocket” that unfolds from the bottom of the pack that holds the tripod feet; the Streetwalker does not.  To me this difference does not bother me in the least.

Zippered interior compartments

Zippered interior compartments

But you should look at the Think Tank backpack as part of a system.  You can buy optional bags and accessories that attach to the pack.  Note that another difference between the Pro and the Streetwalker is your ability to attach a fully padded Pro Speedbelt or accessory bags to the Pro while you can not with the Streetwalker.

Photos taken with Nikon D700 and 24-70mm f/2.8 lens and Leica M8 and Summicron 35mm f/2 lens.

Written by leolaksi

July 8, 2009 at 6:50 am

Photos of people around Angkor Wat in Cambodia

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Dancers at Angkor Wat

Dancers at Angkor Wat

One of the highlights of my latest trip to Angkor Wat is the opportunity to capture people going about their daily routines.  This could include dancers working at night at Angkor Wat or monks in a tourist mode visiting during the day.  Irrespective of their activities, they were all at ease before a camera, making it much easier to slip into a photographer and start shooting.

Photos taken with a Leica M8 and Summicron 35mm f/2 lens and Leica C-Lux 2.

Guard at Bayon. With carved female "Apsara" figure below.

Guard at Bayon. With carved female "Apsara" figure below.

Three monks sightseeing

Three monks sightseeing

Along the river near Siem Reap

Along the river near Siem Reap

Boys wondering who we are

Boys wondering who we are

Written by leolaksi

June 25, 2009 at 7:00 am