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On Photography

I thought I would add a few words about my approach to photography in case anyone’s interested. I started out with film… way back in the day. A Nikon shooter. I enjoyed working in the darkroom but technically I wasn’t very good at it, with all those trays and splashing chemicals to contend with. When digital came along I jumped and never looked back.

As cameras became more and more sophisticated over the years I took advantage of the improvements. First, built-in light meters and then, eventually, algorithmic flash-balanced auto exposure and multi-point focus and face tracking. Great stuff. I was all in.

But every once in a while I used an old classic manual focus lens on my fancy automated digital cameras and remembered that it was fun having to work a little bit at taking a photo. Then, about a decade ago, I tried a digital rangefinder, the Leica M9. It was a game changer. Exposure and focus had to be considered for each shot like in the old days. It was less automated. It felt more like a creative process. Over time I invested in more Leica gear and aside from using the (surprising good) iPhone cameras in a pinch, I’m mostly a Leica shooter now, hooked on the optics and build quality.

For travel and landscape I use the very versatile Leica SL or SL2, mostly with the 24-90mm Vario-Elmarit. Sometimes I go long with the 90-280mm and I’m experimenting with the Sigma 150-600mm Sports lens. But those are big and heavy lenses to tote. You can also use classic M-mount lenses on the SL’s with an adaptor—and I often do that.

For everyday and street photography I sometimes use a Leica Q but mostly I use a the M10-P. I prefer the 40mm or 50mm focal length and I usually use very fast lenses wide open. For street photography that presents a challenge. I do miss shots because I didn’t nail focus but I’ve found that if I work hard at anticipating subject distances it can work to produce some unique images.

I take photos to please myself. I don’t aim for technical perfection, just a nice composition of a thing in the world. I process in Lightroom: dodging, burning, cropping, spotting, color and tones, but no content manipulation.

Photography is not a business for me and although I admire anyone who is able to make a living at it, that’s not my goal. Apart from family and friends I haven’t shown off my work very much so I thought this site is would be a good way to get it out there.

So that’s my manifesto. I’m always open to feedback: positive, constructive—or not. I’m jjdaley on the gmail. Also I’m starting to use Glass, so you can chime in there as well. Cheers.