A brief diversion

It being Valentine’s day I took Mrs. Ha for a slap up burger lunch in TST today. I am sooo romantic. She tried on some clothes whilst I tried on the new Sony A7. Neither of us bought. I thought the A7’s high iso performance was dismal. I shot it at 3200 and was underwhelmed.

I shot a few frames with the Leica M9 and some of you might catch a couple of these on FB or Flickr. However for those of you who have not seen them, here are my 3 Valentine’s Day massacres. What might (very) loosely be called street photography, in which I dabble occasionally.



L1003594-EditThe first two of these were shot from the hip and the final one a walk past, ‘over the head of the folks in front’ shot. Click and walk rather than hit and run.


Guest post by Lulu

Well he seems pretty burned out by all this Antarctic stuff. I mean how many different shots of penguins do people really want to see? So true to form, as soon as he finds his creative juices drying up he asks me if I want to stand in for him.

Creative juices? Load of old flannel if you ask me. This is me during the contract negotiations this morning. Bored almost to distraction. Mogadon doesn’t have a patch on him.


He just droned on about how this was a great opportunity for me to raise my profile. How many dogs get to have their own blog, he asked? The question I would ask is how many dogs want their own blog and anyway I’m only guesting. And so I said what about a camera? Can I go out with the Leica? I mean the first dog in space was Laika so it stands to reason I should get to have a go. He’d have to put the film in for me but otherwise that would be it. Well of course he huffed and puffed and said, maybe, just maybe I could have a go with the X100. But that’s Japanese. I’m Pomeranian. I want something German. Built to last.

He said, and can you believe this, well why don’t you just post a few more of the Antarctic shots. I mean, does he never learn? Antarctica is so passé. Last month’s Pedigree Chum. In the end I agreed on the condition I could add my own uncensored comments. It’s that or nothing, I barked. Make your mind up. And I want an extra chewy. A deal was struck. And here therefore are today’s offerings, with insightful canine commentary from yours truly.


Well its a couple of seals. One is doing some sort of gymnastics. The background is out of focus. I’m not sure whether he meant it to be. Not much colour really. I prefer the other Seal myself – the one that sings at people. He shoots with a Leica. Now I bet neither of these two has a Leica. Haha.


Very grey, isn’t it. Not much colour. And I don’t see any biscuits. I like biscuits in a picture. The fish ones are good. You’d think with all those penguins and seals around he’d have found something vaguely seafood-ish to bring back for me but not a chance. I guess I’m supposed to be impressed by the hills in the background with all that icing stuff on them. Not really. You see one mountain you’ve seen them all. Plenty of nice mountains in Germany and if you are desperate you can go down to Switzerland. This isn’t a patch on the Eiger Nordwand.


This is a bird. Quite big. Its flying away from him. I don’t blame it. We’ve got loads of birds in the garden. I have no idea why he needs to go all that way just for birds. He said it was called Albert Ross. I think. Stupid name for a bird. And while we’re on the subject of stupid names. Lulu.  OK, I was born in Taiwan but I’m a Pomeranian. Why not Anna Magdalena or something like that?

And so we come sadly and inevitably to a penguin. What is it about penguins?


I guess its ok. Cute. But hey, if anybody is supposed to be cute around here its me. I don’t need competition. Its got lipstick on. And pink feet. Yuck! This is what cute really looks like.


Oh look! Its me! Of course I was a little younger then. My fur was a tad fluffier. But no lipstick. Absolutely no lipstick. Just natural beauty. The dog next door look. And if I get roped into writing again I promise you I will have a ‘no penguins’ clause in the contract. Just me. And I shall demand a name change. To Leica…….. or maybe Hasselblad. After all I get enough hassle. So that’s your lot. I’m off to collect payment and I don’t take cheques. Hard biscuits only. Good night folks.

Cambodia – light, camera, action

I rose early today. I had promised myself a second shot at the dawn light. This was day one’s effort:

I wanted something more dramatic. As I left my room I saw the sun was already ahead of me. Before I could even leave the hotel through the main gate I just had to take a frame or two. This was my chosen keeper.

Maybe my mind played tricks on me but I am sure the golden light was gone much more quickly today. Barely 20 minutes after I was at the ferry terminal the chance to sprinkle a little magic dust on the images had gone.

Each of us on the course uses a different sort of camera but the key is familiarity. After two and a half days of virtually non-stop work with the M9 it is becoming what it should always be, an extension of myself. I still curse the relatively poor high ISO sensor performance in sub-optimal light but in return it rewards me with superb files in any other conditions. In 5 sessions all 4 of my lenses have been in use, the 24 ‘Lux, the 35 ‘Lux, the Nocti’ and the 90mm ‘Cron.

This is another fabulous file from the Nocti’.

Another conversion, this frame from the latest 35mm Summilux.

And finally, 2 brothers in playful and reflective mood:

Kids move fast and old knees don’t. Getting up and down to eye level or to shoot from a low perspective is challenging the body in my case. I need WD40 not mosquito repellent. This is not action in the sense of movies or sports   but just a constant need to be alert to what is going on around you.  Changing light, subjects coming and going, wonderful expressions lost……… and regained momentarily. Jostling for position, anticipating the next opportunity and assessing colour, background, harmony of composition, generally trying to visualize what the final frame is to look like. I struggled today – not as productive in quality but still learning all the time. Even new tricks in post-processing to take me forward.

This workshop is run by F8 Photography from Hong Kong and I have added a link to Gary Tyson’s website below. We enter the final straight tomorrow and then I fly on to Singapore to work for a day or so. Then I can start the serious editing when I get back to HK. The alarm is set for another early start and this is what I am determined not to miss………..As John Fogerty and Creedence Clearwater Revival sang, Long as I can see the light…..