Leo Laksi’s Bangkok And Back

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco

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

Sunrise at Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39

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On a recent trip to San Francisco, I woke up early every morning to catch the sunrise over the Oakland Hills.  The sun rising high enough to illuminate the tops of the buildings.   And as I was in the Fisherman’s Wharf area, I walked towards Pier 39 and then back to the hotel.  Other than the typical jogger, there were very few people in the vicinity.  This makes for a very peaceful and introspective walk.  Nothing to distract you except for the beauty of the bay.  Lost in thought about composition, lighting and camera settings. And hot dogs.

Photos taken with a Leica M8 and Carl Zeiss Biogon 21mm f/2.8 lens and Summilux 75mm f/1.4 lenses.





Written by leolaksi

May 6, 2009 at 7:04 am

Glimpse of resolution – Leica M8 and Carl Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 lens

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There’s always so much chatter about sensor size with everything between the standard point & shoot cameras to state of the art DSLR advertising sensors ranging from 12+megapixels to 24.4 megapixels.  And of course there are sensors of all sizes that differentiates the p&s’s from the DSLRs.  And more megapixels, as least in theory, make for higher resolution.

Well, the Leica M8 uses a 10.3 megapixel sensor and on paper you make think that its been left behind by the DSLRs.  In some ways, its has, from it’s lackluster performance at high ISO to its spotty firmware.  But is it still capable of great images and when paired with a well-performing lens,  can hold its own against the state of the art DSLR’s that it competes with in terms of pricing.

I believe that the available lenses play a big part for the M8’s performance.  In this posting, the photos are all taken with a Carl Zeiss Biogon 21mm f/2.8 lens.  This lens sells for 1/4 the price of the Leica Elmarit 21mm f/2.8.  And although it doesn’t bear the Leica brand and isn’t made in Germany, its resolution is exceptional.

For example the above photo is cropped from the photo below. Take a look at the three other photos and their cropped versions.  Not bad huh?  Take a look at the entire photo and see if you can find the cropped example.

All photos taken handheld with Leica M8 and a Carl Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 lens.  Photos as downloaded from the M8.  Minimal  post-processing. Noise reduction turned off, slight sharpening.  No change in saturation, contrast or other variables.








Written by leolaksi

April 28, 2009 at 7:04 am

More scenes from the Powell Hyde cable car line in San Francisco

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Many  visitors to San Francisco (and Fisherman’s Wharf) place a cable car ride on the  “must-d0″ list.  And of course it’s a lot of fun to catch the Powell – Hyde cable car at the Beach – Hyde turnaround near Fisherman’s Wharf and then cross Russian Hill and Nob Hill to end up at the other turnaround at Powell and Market.

In addition to photos of San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, one can also focus on glimpses of people as well as the neighborhoods that the cablecar passes through.

Except for the photo above, which was captured at the Beach-Hyde turnaround, the photos were taken while riding a cable car.

Photos taken with a Leica M8 and a Carl Zeiss Biogon 21mm f/2.8 lens.






Written by leolaksi

April 25, 2009 at 8:19 am

San Francisco’s Aquarium Of The Bay

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One of the highlights of San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf is a visit to the Aquarium Of The Bay located at Pier 39.  Although its not a large aquarium, visitors do have an opportunity to walk on the sea floor and observe native San Francisco sea life in its natural environment.  There are also a number of other exhibits that make the visit worthwhile.  In particular I was fascinated by the jellyfish tank.   The jellyfish floated in the water, as if in suspended animation, with   their tentacles draped below and moving with the currents in the tank.  The jellyfish had a natural luminescence that gave them an eerie, almost supernatural, appearance.

Photos taken with Leica M8 with Carl Zeiss Biogon 21mm f/2.8 lens.





Written by leolaksi

April 23, 2009 at 6:45 am

Random scenes from San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf

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Night or day, with or without people, the area around Fisherman’s Wharf is photo rich.  It all depends on you and your camera.  The secret to satifying photography is taking photos.  Under all conditions.   And with a bit of experimentation thrown in for an interesting perspective.  The more you shoot, the better you will become (with a bit of hardwork, experience and luck).

Photos taken with a Leica M8 and a Noctilux 50mm f/1 or a Summilux 75mm f/1.4 or a Summicron 35mm f/2 lens.





Written by leolaksi

April 22, 2009 at 6:33 am

Walking Pier 39 in San Francisco one sunny morning

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Ok so Pier 39 is wall to wall tourists who wander about along the Embarcadero waterfront north towards the San Francisco Maritime Aquatic Park.  Besides the myriad of shops and restaurants at Pier 39, the Aquarium Of The Bay is also located there.


Over the years, the flavor of Pier 39 has not changed.  It’s a great location for families to spend time in a tourist environment that is both predictable and beautiful.  This area is a tourist magnet, no doubt about it.  But so what?   Tourists visiting this area enjoy themselves and usually come back with a favorable impression of San Francisco (although they may be a little cold).

I used to live in San Francisco years ago and didn’t spend much time in this area except to have dinner at Scoma’s at Fisherman’s Wharf.  On this trip we stayed near the wharf and found this location to be central to visiting other parts of San Francisco as well as other destinations in the Bay Area.

Photos taken with a Leica M8 and Carl Zeiss Biogon 21mm f/2.8 and Summilux 75mm f/1.4 lenses.






Written by leolaksi

April 18, 2009 at 12:16 pm