On my YouTube channel, I recently talked about how I want to get as fast with the Leica as I am with my trusty Nikons, having used them for the past 35 years. You do something for 35 years, you get pretty good at it.
So, this weekend, I went out with the Leica M9 and a 50mm Summicron and took to the streets of Denver. I know I can get photos in focus and sharp every time with the Nikon, now to get good at it with the Leica so I can carry a smaller camera, a stealthier and quieter setup. Because really, a Leica body and three lenses will take up the same space as one Nikon DSLR and a single lens.
With the pandemic, and few people out and everyone wearing masks, there never seems to be anything to shoot. Of course, there are always things to shoot, you just have to go out looking and find them. It’s a hunt! This series of photos all were made in two days, this past weekend, Saturday and Sunday. I am a big proponent that things happen, art is created when the muse finds you working, not thinking about getting inspired.
None of these will make it to my online gallery of top street photos—Colorado Faces—but all of them tell some kind of a story, they’re all fun finds, a silly blindfold, a pedicab driver, a moment of connection, a hairy eyeball, a smiley couple or an unfortunate hand placement, they’re all something, not just people walking or standing talking on their phone.
The more you go out, the more you get. That’s just the simple fact. When you don’t go out, you don’t get anything, guaranteed! Nor do you know what you missed. So, you don’t miss anything–what you don’t know about that you missed. But the photographs, the street stories, they played out on the public stage, today, yesterday, the day before, you just didn’t get to the theater.
Whether intrigued by the squiggly lines of a cityscape, a commentary on how people still smoke cigarettes in 2021, a child looking to fly, a dog getting all the attention or just a commentary on how quiet the restaurants are on a balmy sunny Sunday afternoon, there are stories in these photographs.
Then as I was editing, I noticed I had created several pairs. What are the chances of finding more than one of anything, any photographs that are similar, let alone several pairs?
From selfies, to scooter sharing, to helping hands, silly body positions and riding shoulders, all these photos were waiting in front of me, I just had to compose and shoot the Leica, and nobody noticed.
Again, though none of these photographs may be good enough for gallery inclusion, they were still fun to get out and make, and I’m getting the focus down with the manual Summicron lens. And remember, this is a 50mm, not a wide angle lens, so focusing can be a bit tougher.
I photographed all of these at 640 ISO with an f8 aperture set on Aperture Priority. Focused mainly at 12 feet–zone focused–and rode the focus knob a bit in or out depending on the subject.
This last group were made around fashions I saw on the street, from skulls and fur to fringe and holey.
There you have it. A handful of photos made in two visits to Denver, two days of shooting, no more than 90 minutes spent walking each day. The photos are out there, the stories are waiting to be told. Imagine if you went out everyday. For longer walks. There are more photographs to make than just people standing and walking, doing nothing but wearing their masks, staring at their phones. There are better tales to tell.
We just have to show up with our storytelling equipment and make the photographs.