Budapest Models + Leica: Dec17

Budapest Models + Leica: Dec17

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

May 2018

Written on the flight home, here were my thoughts after my model photography photoshoots in Budapest at the end of December 2017..  (and sorry I am so far behind with the blog!)

Leica Summilux 50mm ASPH Portrait

Intro

I spent the last two Christmas holidays (2015+2016) visiting Poland for model photography shoots so I thought this year I would go to Budapest for a change.  It became apparent that many of my regular Budapest models were out of town during my stay so I took the opportunity to work with some new faces. I’m glad I did as now I have three more great models to add to my Budapest model list for next time.

I booked a city centre Airbnb apartment again for a few days. Although it was quite spacious and very central it didn’t really have any photogenic features and was very dark inside.

Happy New Year!

Camera Gear

  • Hasselblad 500CM film camera
  • Hasselblad A12 6×6 film back
  • Zeiss Planar 100mm f3.5 CF lens
  • Leica M4-P camera body (film)
  • Leica M240 camera body (digital)
  • Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 lens
  • Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 lens
  • Leica Macro-Elmar 90mm f4 lens
  • Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH lens
  • Leica D-Lux Typ 109 (Lumix LX100)
  • Manfrotto PIXI EVO Tripod
  • Siri Carbon Monopod
  • 120 Film – Fomapan 100/ Kodak T-Max 400
  • 35mm Film – Kodak T-Max 400/ Kodak Eastman Double-X 5222
  • Speedlight

Available Light Photography

Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4 ASPH

The AirB&B apartment was so dark inside with little window light and little useful/ useable continuous lighting (room lights).  I almost didn’t take a speedlight to Budapest so I could shoot with available light but I’m so thankful I did.  I shot almost every digital photo at ISO 800-1600 with the Leica M240 and I metered the few film photos I took at ISO 800 and will push the Kodak T-Max 400 film one stop during developing. (400@800). 98% of the photos were taken inside as the clothes the models were wearing were not suitable for the daytime temperatures as low as -3 degrees celsius.  (I much prefer to shoot outside especially in a beautiful city such as Budapest but it isn’t always possible).  I tried to use what little window light we had in the apartment but that meant using camera settings such as f1.2-f1.4, 1/45-1/60, ISO 800-1600.

Voigtlander 35mm f1.2 ASPH II Film

For available light photography I shared the Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4 lens and the Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f1.2 ASPH lens between the Leica M4-P film camera and digital Leica M240 camera bodies.  I also wanted to use the Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4 lens so for that I used flash.  (Being an f4 lens it needed more light than was available to use, even with a high ISO).  My new flash trigger was being temperamental so I had to use a mix of off camera flash and on camera flash (direct flash and bounced flash) with my mini speedlight.  I also used one of my bike LED lights as a video light if I needed a little extra lighting. The lack of  interior lights meant I had to create my own lighting for almost all photos with the gear I brought with me from the UK.  I probably overused a few of the spaces in the apartment but I didn’t want to shoot up against a white wall where possible (I did that far too much for a previous Poland photoshoot trips).

Leica M4-P Portrait

One advantage of the small speedlight/ light source is it was highly likely that every set of images would look a little different even shot in the same part of the apartment. Just a small change to the light position had quite a big effect to how the light illuminated the model. I realize that most decent modern digital cameras from the likes of Sony, Fuji, Nikon and Canon now have a useable high ISO far in excess of 6400 but it reality if you are shooting indoors after daylight hours then standard ceiling lights are unlikely to give you ‘exciting’/ flattering lighting for people photography (or any photography where you want to illuminate the subject). My top tip to myself after this visit is always carry a small speedlight even if I plan to shoot only by available light!

Kodak T-Max 400@800

If there was too little light for fast (“fast” = small f stop like f1.4) 35mm camera lenses then there was certainly too little light for a medium format camera. I had packed a table top tripod (the Manfrotto PIXI EVO tripod) in case I did any landscape photography in Budapest so I took a couple of Hasselblad Portrait images with the camera setup on the tripod on a table facing the model. I fired the camera with a cable release but I’m worried the models moved to much to get any sharp images.

Hasselblad Girl

UK Models (and Overseas)

I worked with three new models and my model friend Nikoletta (ex-Miss Universe Hungary).  I’m not sure what they put in the local water but Budapest homes some of the most beautiful girls I’ve met in any country I’ve visited.  I had to ask on two occasions “Are you all natural or artificially enhanced as it all seemed a bit too perfect”!  They both replied 100% natural to which I think I answered “Amazing high 5”!.  As I’ve written in other blog posts working with amazing models is not all good.  My expectation bar is now so high I am shooting less and less in the UK.  I just can’t find girls with the look I appreciate easily (seemingly near impossible!) I did maybe two months of almost no model photography in the build up to Christmas 2017 in the UK.  That contrasts to when I was shooting 3 times a week in the UK when I started out with my people photography/ portraiture and when I shoot 5-6 girls A DAY on some overseas trips!  There are some pretty girls in the UK but they are in such high demand due to the novelty factor that I often rather wait til I travel abroad to get a similar look but where the experience and resulting images are appreciated 100x more by the model.  Maybe I am just too needy ha!

Hasselblad High Key

As a note, UK model agencies such as some of those in London can have fantastic models (and I have worked with a few) (models from all different countries including the UK) but I just really struggle to build a lasting working relationship with them.  Overseas I just find it easier, to find great models and also model agencies wanting to collaborate.

Hasselblad 500CM film camera

Off Topic – Models and Wedding Photography

With me shooting less and less models in the UK at the end of 2017 my plans are changing.  For 2018 I now aim to shoot more wedding photography than model photography so that I still get to use my cameras and shoot between my overseas model photography trips.  I do enjoy wedding photography, especially engagement shoots and the wedding day itself but I’ve always struggled a bit with wedding photo editing. (It takes me too long so I limited the number of wedding bookings I took a year).  Hopefully I have now streamlined my wedding post processing a little it won’t deter me from taking additional wedding bookings for 2018-2019.

I continue to use the Leica M240 as my main digital wedding camera but also use a digital Hasselblad which is very rewarding to use and of course wedding film photography with both Leica M film cameras and Hasselblad 500 series cameras.  I realize wedding photography images are often deemed dull and repetitive when it’s not your own family or friends weddings. I want to challenge myself with the task of making wedding photos that are as well received on platforms such as Flickr, Facebook and Instagram as my often scantily clad beautiful models.  I realize this may prove difficult but if I rely solely on Flickr likes the last wedding themed shoot I shot was my most popular to date (Harriett & Ash).  I just need to carry this new enthusiasm forward into 2018!

Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH II

Budapest Trip Thoughts (On Flight Home)

The lighting conditions were far from ideal and I wish we had braved the cold weather for more interesting outdoor photos.  There were not many models available being the holiday period but I was very happy to discover the three new models and I look forward to working with them again on future trips.  I am also disappointed I didn’t get to use the Hasselblad camera more but equally I am interested to see how the higher ISO digital Leica M240 images look.  Previously I have usually tried to keep the Leica M240 ISO low  and maybe ISO 800 maximum in most situations.

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm

New Favourite Lens

If you have followed my model  photography for a while you will know I have nearly always favoured either a 35mm or 50mm lens focal length on my Leica cameras.  I have used wider lenses (which I often chose for my Leica wedding photography) and also longer telephoto lenses but not repeatedly.  35mm – 50mm lenses tend to be compact so perfect travel companions for photoshoots shoots whereas my Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO and Leica Summicron 90mm f2 Pre-ASPH are both big lenses so are often left behind when I travel.

The new Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4 lens has become somewhat of a game changer as it is super compact when collapsed and lightweight too.  I really appreciated the Macro-Elmar 90f4 for this Budapest trip and I think it was my most used lens.  In addition to this the Macro Elmar 90mm lens was the lens that captured the images receiving the most wow comments from the models. It is extremely rare that I have a Leica lens that focuses on a model closer than I need. (0.8 meters close focus distance when using the Macro-Elmar lens without the Leica macro adapter, (sold separately).

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm Headshot

Models

A big thank you models Edina, Anett, Nikoletta and Boglarka and I look forward to visiting again soon!

Leica M4-P Portrait

Matt

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Budapest Girls

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Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH II Leica Wedding

UK Leica Wedding Photography

www.flickr.com/photos/32681588@N03/9641309853

Yesterday I was at Kenilworth Castle covering Lord Kenilworth’s wedding. I thought there would be some low light photography involved so that gave me the poor excuse of researching fast leica M mount primes. I do not yet own a Leica lens and see them as a good investment so was looking at the Leica 35mm f1.4 ASPH FLE (Crazy good poppy images – seen on Google Images!) and the cheaper older Leica 35mm f1.4 ASPH PRE-FLE. During my research I spotted the Voigtlander 35mm f1.2 ASPH II (Thanks Steve Huff and others!). I already have 3 VC lenses so know they are well made with great optics. I liked the idea of the new Leica FLE but I just couldn’t justify the money so settled with the Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH II lens.

As I already own the VC 40mm f1.4 I was not sure if i’d just been caught up in the hype. There is not a huge difference on paper between 35mm and 40mm and f1.2 and f1.4. There is however a big difference in price, size and weight with the VC 35mm f1.2 ASPH II coming in higher with all 3. It is a weighty chunky lens by Leica standards with a 52mm thread!

vc 35 1.2 asph ii

Yesterday was the day of Lord Kenilworth’s wedding at Kenilworth Castle so thank you for www.RobertWhite.co.uk who sent me the lens with next day delivery. I was freelancing as a second shooter wedding photographer and had the VC 35mm f1.2 on my Leica M9 when I arrived. The lens was still on the camera when I left despite having a VC 28mm f2 Ultron, VC 21mm f4 Color Skopar, VC Nokton 40mm f1.4 and Zeiss ZM Planar 50mm f2 T in my bag.  The VC 35mm f1.2 can do it all and do it very well!  Sharp (though not as bitingly sharp as the VC 28mm f2 Ultron) shot at the widest aperture (f1.2) and easy enough to focus wide open for documentary style wedding photography. Everything from 3D looking images in good light to letting you shoot after the sun has gone down.

This photo above was taken when I had some down time and was walking back to fetch something. It was almost completely dark yet at f1.2 I was able to capture this silhouette shot of Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire.

95% of the day was Leica wedding photography with the Voigtlander 35mm f1.2 ASPH II. Leica wedding photography at it’s very best!!! 🙂 The remaining shots were taken with my Nikon D800 DSLR for telephoto shots of speaches and some 14mm wide angle shots.

Leica Flash Photography

I enjoy flash photography and provide 1-2-1 Photography Tuition and Lighting Workshops (link below) from my Coventry UK studio. I realise Leica and flash photography do not often come together in the same sentence but that didn’t deter me. I love shooting by directional available light when I can for both digital photography and film photography BUT.. when there is only low even light in a room it doesn’t really excite me. My eBay Yongnuo RF603s flash triggers do not work on the Leica M9 however my old Yongnuo RF602s do. I decided to combine my basic knowledge of hyperfocal distance photography (as would be used for street photography) together with what I know about off camera flash and hit the dance floor with my Leica M9 in one hand flash in the other. Shooting from the hip (and eye away from viewfinder) I was able to see everything and not have to focus in next to no light yet get myself some nice crisp low light dancing shots. This was a new idea for me but it worked well so I will certainly do again.

Leica M9 vs DSLR

I’ve had to change some of my photography techniques moving from a DSLR (Nikon D800) to a Leica M9 over the last 3 weeks or so but each change has been to me for the better and more enjoyable to execute. I realise I am very bias as a new Leica photographer/ owner but the photos it produces win me over everytime.

The organic looking images rendered from the Voigtlander Nokton 35m f1.2 ASPH II on the Leica M9’s Kodak CCD sensor just can’t be replicated by a DSLR. It is SO good in fact I now worry about all my film cameras! :S

In conclusion, very impressed with Voigtlander’s offering..watch out Leica!

Full Leica M9 wedding photography blog and samples from Kenilworth Castle to follow once I have permission!

UPDATE* Here are a few Leica M9 Wedding postable shots without people:
Leica Wedding Photography - M9 & VC 35/1.2
Leica Wedding Cake
Coventry Wedding Photographer

And here the first sample with Lord and Lady Kenilworth at Kenilworth Castle
Lord & Lady Kenilworth - Wedding

MatthewOsbornePhotography – UK Leica Wedding Photographer

Related Links

UK Leica M9 Wedding Photographer – Book Here

1-2-1 Photography Tuition and Lighting Workshops – Book Here

More Leica M9 Wedding Photography – Deb & Paul

More Leica M9 Wedding Photography – Craig & Joise Colour

More Leica M9 Wedding Photography – Craig & Joise B&W

Leica M9 Model Photography