Road Trip with the M9 and other stuff.

Discussion in 'Scenic, Architecture, and Travel' started by flash, Jun 1, 2013.

  1. flash

    flash Leica Place Regular

    Mar 30, 2013
    Last week I arrived back from a two week “photo safari” from Sydney to Cooktown in North Queensland. My shooting partner booked a wedding for us to shoot near Mossman, Qld and as is usual for us, we saw a perfect opportunity to leave the kids at home and go forth and shoot something. The main trip was the 10 day journey north. I did the 2500 kms return trip in 36 hours. Add a day and a half for the actual wedding. Seriously. Who'd take a 2.5 hour flight when you can drive the same thing in 10 days! Round trip was between 6500 and 7000kms.

    My gear list was pretty big, as we had everything loaded in a vehicle. I took my M9 (the other is in for a CLA) with 12mm, 21mm, 50mm, 90mm and 135mm lenses plus a pair of Olympus E-M5’s with the 12-35, 75-300, 15mm bodycap, 45mm, 60mm macro and 75mm lenses. There was also 5 flashes (for the wedding) and filters etc plus a tripod. 90% of the shots were taken using the tripod. Hikong pack weight, including tripod, was 10 kg (22lbs). Significant, but nothing compared to my old DSLR pack.

    The M9’s did just fine on the trip. The only issues were the usual regular sensor cleaning the M9 needs and the rough conditions knocked the rangefinder out. A 2mm allen key fixed this pretty easily, but I’d left them at home and it took two days to find a set in the outback. Fortunately I shot almost exclusively at f8 and with wide lenses and zone focusing, so it didn’t get in the way much. But I’ll definitely not forget the allen keys again.

    We spent a few days photographing waterfalls and in rainforrest. The M9’s didn’t miss a beat, except for a constant wiping of the front elements to keep the spray off. I really made use of the frame lever when composing shots, to keep the lens changes down. And I always had my wide viewfinders at hand as well. I need to get something to store them in (small neck pouch, perhaps) as they’re a pain in your pocket.

    The most used lenses were the 12mm 5.6 (coded as a 21mm) and the brand new CV 21mm f1.8 Ultron (coded as a 28mm). Wow! What a lens. Big and heavy but the image quality is absolutely awesome. I thought the old f4 Skopar was good but this is much, much better. The 135 APO telyt got a bit of use but the 50 and 90 got hardly used until the wedding. I’m in the market for a 28mm lens. It’s a lens I think really would have come in handy. I missed out on a couple of 2.8 ASPH’s before I left. My dealers now have me in line for a decent used one if one turns up in the short term. I swapped my 35mm 1.2 (which needed calibration) for the 21mm. I’m really glad I did. I may not buy another 35mm lens if I can find a good 28. But I’ll probably need something stupidly fast at some stage and may pick up another one just for weddings.

    The ND filters got a real workout, especially the 6 stop one I have. I need a few more step rings as I had to use polarisers on some lenses and the two stops they offer isn’t enough. Getting an ND on the 21mm 1.8 in the middle of a stream in a rainforest is a bit of fun. I really wish the M had a better pull ISO. ISO 160 is way too high for landscapes. I’d love an ISO 25 that doesn’t crush the DR of the camera. Speaking of DR the M9 did very well. There are a few shots with huge DR that the M9 handled far better than I thought. Sure the E-M5 is better here, but very rarely did I wish for more on the M9. The LCD on the M9 does make it hard to evaluate files in the field though. Often shots I thought were blown to all heck in the field were perfect on a computer monitor. Shooting uncompressed DNG’s really does make a difference here.

    While the E-M5 has all the bells and whistles and a great LCD, at the low ISO’s we used the M9 files are vaslty better. Less noise at base ISO, more sharpness and a more of a “3D” feel to them. When they open up in LR they just leap out at you. Eintsy tensy jpegs don’t do them justice. Everything was shot as an uncompressed DNG file and processed in Lightroom 5 beta with Colin’s Hughlight profiles. No photoshop, so far. I’ll wait till I print a few before I give them the full treatment.

    I’ll get around to showing a few shots from the E-M5’s on mu-43 later. For now here’s a few from the M9.


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    L1006490.jpg by Flash Gordon Photography, on Flickr

    12mm. Someone's driveway. NSW
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    L1006505.jpg by Flash Gordon Photography, on Flickr

    12mm Movie Set Church Lightning Ridge NSW
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    L1006530.jpg by Flash Gordon Photography, on Flickr

    50mm Nokton 1.5 NSW Pub
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    L1006569.jpg by Flash Gordon Photography, on Flickr

    21mm Appropriately named hotel NSW
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    L1006586.jpg by Flash Gordon Photography, on Flickr

    90mm Summarit. Art Gallery Carnarvon Gorge Qld
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    L1006629.jpg by Flash Gordon Photography, on Flickr

    12mm. Entrance to The Cathedral - Carnarvon Gorge Qld.
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    L1006656.jpg by Flash Gordon Photography, on Flickr

    12mm. Virgin Rock, Springsure Qld
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    L1006741.jpg by Flash Gordon Photography, on Flickr

    21mm. Bottle Tree. Qld
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    L1006777.jpg by Flash Gordon Photography, on Flickr

    21mm. Useless Gate. Bradensburg NP. Qld
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    L1006830.jpg by Flash Gordon Photography, on Flickr

    21mm Useless Gate 2. Bradensburg NP. Qld
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    L1006836.jpg by Flash Gordon Photography, on Flickr

    12mm. Cattle yard. Bradensburg NP. Qld
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    L1006848.jpg by Flash Gordon Photography, on Flickr

    Ghost Gum. Bradensburg NP. Qld
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    L1006864.jpg by Flash Gordon Photography, on Flickr
    50mm. Millaa Millaa Falls. Millaa Millaa, Qld
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    L1006904.jpg by Flash Gordon Photography, on Flickr

    12mm. Waterfall.
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    L1006916.jpg by Flash Gordon Photography, on Flickr

    21mm. Termite Mound. North of Cairns Qld
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    L1006958.jpg by Flash Gordon Photography, on Flickr

    12mm. Lions Den Hotel. South of Cooktown, Qld
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    L1007031.jpg by Flash Gordon Photography, on Flickr

    12mm. Cooktown Lightouse, Qld
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    L1007041.jpg by Flash Gordon Photography, on Flickr

    12mm. Prevailing Winds. South of Cooktown, Qld.
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    L1007075.jpg by Flash Gordon Photography, on Flickr

    12mm. Fig Tree. Mossman Gorge, Qld
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    L1007151.jpg by Flash Gordon Photography, on Flickr

  2. serhan

    serhan Leica Place Regular

    Mar 31, 2013
    Excellent shots with very nice color tones.
  3. ajramirez

    ajramirez Leica Place Veteran

    Mar 30, 2013
    Caguas, Puerto Rico
    Absolutely beautiful!
  4. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    Absolutely beautiful!

    What a wonderful road trip.

    The wide-angle shots are well-framed, and have a three-D illusion in many. Was like looking into them.

    I'm going to start using a bubble level in the accessory shoe for landscape shots.
  5. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs New to Leica Place

    Mar 31, 2013
    Very very nice. I love the wide perspective myself, so I'm a sucker for these compositions...

  6. Ranger Rick

    Ranger Rick New to Leica Place

    Mar 31, 2013
    Tempe, AZ
    What a trip, and what shots. Thanks for posting!
  7. NJH

    NJH Leica Place Regular

    Apr 29, 2013
    What a great trip. I can see my card getting another bashing for that CV 12, you put it to great use.
  8. Amin

    Amin Administrator

    Mar 28, 2013
    Such a beautiful series, Gordon. Thanks for putting up the larger versions on Flickr. Look amazing on a large, high-res display.
  9. carlb

    carlb Leica Place Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    May 1, 2013
    Wow. Gorgeous places and views, Gordon.

    Is it my errant memory, or is that hotel the one from "The Sapphires?"
  10. xdayv

    xdayv Leica Place Veteran

    Mar 31, 2013
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    powerful set.
  11. CaptZoom

    CaptZoom Leica Place Regular

    Apr 11, 2013
    Fantastic photos. Thanks for sharing.

    The CV 12mm. I realize the photos have been cropped, but still, I don't see the weird color casts. Did you use Cornerfix? Or does LR5 have a fix for this?
  12. flash

    flash Leica Place Regular

    Mar 30, 2013
    I've downloaded Cornerfix. One day I'll get around to installing it. However I've had almost no issues with either the 12mm 5.6 or 21mm 1.8. (the 21mm f4 had issues regardless of what code I used on the camera). The 12mm is coded as a 21mm and the 21mm is coded as a 28mm. I'm not in the studio today so I couldn't tell you exactly which versions I'm using. I'm pretty sure the 21mm is coded asa a 28mm f2.8 version IV. With the 21mm I just took a bunch of shots of a plain sky and a white wall and selected the code that was the best. Both lenses are coded on the lens flange so they select the required code automatically.

    I do have a preset that I can use in LR for the 12mm but with my current codes I hardly ever use it. None of these images have had any corner colour correction applied and they're all fine, even uncropped, but they're no perfect. The 21mm has no colour shift. The 12mm I have still shows a slight shift on the left hand edge. You can see it in the virgin rock shot although it's not too bad. For print I will correct it properly.

    The current codea and LR5 are working so well I'm now using the 12 and 21mm lenses for real estate photography with no issues 90% of the time.

  13. CaptZoom

    CaptZoom Leica Place Regular

    Apr 11, 2013
    Thanks for expanding, Flash. And once again, great shots.