Tuesday, July 12, 2011

LX5 Kodachrome 64, 2011

Heart of the Twilight

This is a short story about twilight and a camera that loves to shoot in twilight. Im talking about the winter twilight in Africa, my house after sunset and my new camera - the wonderful Lumix LX5 ..

But it all started years ago with the precious and unmatched LC1 ! One night she came out with me at -1 degrees, one winter night that was, and i shot few frames at 4-8 seconds exposures around the garden.. I'll never forget how she rendered the skylight, the clouds and shades .. And the gentle gradation between light and dark, it was a true Wow moment, when i saw the raws developed ..  Here is a small crop of this night - a shot i found somewhere, which does not do justice - the best few others were lost in a robbery.

OK .. Nothing special and very ordinary one could say, and still .. The real kick-ass few images from this night got lost ..

Few other cameras came close to this. Notably the L1 with the 14-50 Leica D-Summicron, and the capable of wonders G11 which left me in a recent robbery .. I have this rather special image taken few weeks back with the L1 and the Leica 14-50 on it - one evening when i was meant to take wonderful full moon eclipse shots, and of course - they  all turned out a total disaster, except .. few images like this one below - a good example of what i call a keeper in my attempts to capture the absence of light and the absences themselves ..

Let me stop overcooking this post - i can go forever on this subject .. Before i move over to LX5 and its images, i need to share for an insurance ;-) that my teachers and continuous inspiration are photographers such as Bill Henson, Gregory Crewdson, Troy Paiva, Ricardo Baez Duarte - to mention but a few - a rather controversial bunch, some hugely underrated or misunderstood IMHO, so try to view my photographic attempts in this context. On top of it all - i do not have a formal photography schooling and many years of film .. 

The LX5 Discovery 

LX5 is a wonderful small thing, responsive and understanding of my desires at / for twilight and nightlight, and like every pretty girl - bringing challenges and doubts about the future - in this case the unacceptably flimsy on/off switch as well as the pathetic battery/SD card door's latch !

These issues aside and having used this camera some 5 times in 10 days, i consider the results as good - if not better than the best my departed G11 could produce !

Fantastic results (in my style of shooting which is not professional, but rather experimental!) can be had if one shoots this camera wide open at f2.0 - let only zoom change aperture, Auto WB, and negative EV. Raw only of course - in-camera processing starts destroying the beautiful Leica detail even at ISO80

Talking about f2.0 aperture and my LX5's resolution at different apertures - here is what i sent few days ago to a friend : 

I did not expect to see this and the news is rather good than bad :
Lens is pin sharp all way .. until F4 ! F2, f2,2, f2,5 etc -
beautifully recovering detail at ISO400. At F4.0 detail suddenly
breaks up, gets lost - letters on a book some 4 m away from me become
unreadable and smudged .. It stays like this all the way up to f8 (max
A) with maybe some slight improvement around F5 - F5.6 .. I shot at
24mm form my bed - rock solid while shooting.

OK .. This is it .. my first blog post with carefully put words ;-) On to few dark images of absences .. I hope you cane take something with you from these below ..

The only "problem" technically speaking is that the B&W conversions are so good and "honest" that im constantly torn between Kodachrome and TMax .. But more on B&W - in the next post - LX5 part II : LX5 shooting modern TMax 400

Always have a LX5 with you !

Until next time

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