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- David English: A Luminous Presence
David English: A Luminous Presence:
Sometimes you need to narrow your focus in order to be more creative. You have to step outside of your comfort zone so that you’ll be challenged to take a different approach to your work. It may be a step forward into new territory, or it may be a step back to explore a path not taken. That’s how I approached my trip to New Orleans. I knew it could be years before I might return, so I wanted to make the most of my time there.
I was in New Orleans for a tradeshow. Any photography would have to take place during the off-hours or early in the morning before my appointments at the show. So, how best to focus my time and energy? I usually shoot wide-angle lenses with my M9, favoring my 24mm Summilux and 18mm Super-Elmar. I figured that New Orleans would need a closer, more intimate perspective, so I decided to use only a 50mm Summilux for this trip. I also decided to concentrate mostly on the cemeteries. If I was lucky, I might even have overcast skies. Harsh light might work well for some subjects, but I wanted the soft, luminous atmosphere you can see in movies such as Nosferatu (1922), Dracula (1931), Vampyr (1932), The Curse of the Cat People (1944), Beauty and the Beast (1946) and Wings of Desire (1987).
As an amateur photographer, I don’t have the monetary feedback that can help tell you if your latest photos are successful. All I know is that I get a strong sense of satisfaction from these images and feel that the experience has broadened my understanding of what I can do with an M9 and 50 lux. I’m also amazed at how much creative latitude you have when processing M9 images in Lightroom 4 using essentially four controls: Shadows, Whites, Blacks, and Clarity.
– David English
This is a guest post by David English, who has a day job as a technology writer. He has written articles for CNET, Film & Video, PC Magazine, Sky and other publications. David started shooting with a Leica camera in March 2009 using an M8.2 and moved to an M9 in November 2009. You can see his photos at www.protozoid.com. His main website is www.davidenglish.com, and his classic film blog is www.classicfilmpreview.com.