The Littoral Series III : On gear – The gypsy campers

While planning for the course, I had decided to bring along only two lenses for my M9, that is a 35mm and a 60mm. That turned out to be a wise choice since Eric asked students not to use any zooms, so we could learn to move around and preframe mentally. Actually, many of his reportages were done with a 35mm and 50mm combo, and he is a long time Leica user. I never felt the need for a longer lens, and I only once wished I had a super wide angle, so I guess you really can do anything with a 35mm and 50mm lens. I used the 35mm Lux as standard lens for 80% of my shots and mounted the 60mm Hexanon mainly for portraits or when I needed the extra thin depth of field it provides wide open. The shots below were taken in a caravan camp. These two gypsy women gladly accepted to be part of this improvised portraits session. Below are three shots that I found interesting:

Portrait of the gypsy grandmother with the 60mm at 1 meter, notice the very thin depth of field as only her eyes are in focus. (click on pictures to enlarge)


Leica M9 with 60mm Hexanon at F1.4, 1/750, ISO200, ND filter

Portrait of the young gypsy with her grandmother. Taken at 0.7 meters with the 35mm Lux. Here again the depth of field is very thin yet the wider focal allows to include more subjects in the frame. Yet none of these pictures made the final cut, mainly because they were strongly underexposed (no post processing was allowed during the course).


Leica M9 with 35mm Summilux Asph at F1.4, 1/750, ISO200, ND filter

Finally a last portrait with the 60mm lens from further distance. It allowed to include both women, keep a thin depth of field, compress the background, and have an interaction between the girl and her grandmother. Add to that colors in line with the final series and that picture made the cut.


Leica M9 with 60mm Hexanon at F1.4, 1/350, ISO200, ND filter

8 Responses to “The Littoral Series III : On gear – The gypsy campers”

  1. Richard Clark dit :

    I feel as though I am attending the course with you, I love the comment regarding the two lenses, I have both and also the 16/18/21 and the 90, I use these for graphic pleasure, they allow me to play :)

  2. Dimitri dit :

    Hello –

    1st and 2sd one are magnificent!!!

    – Dimitri

  3. Fotoleica dit :

    It’s weird isn’t it – I think the 2nd is by far the best. I also think you do so maybe the course is useful from a new perspective but you need to go with your first instinct

  4. admin dit :

    yes, #2 is probably the best, but remember that it was badly underexposed and it could not be corrected during the course.

  5. Piet Osefius dit :

    The first photograph is very impressive, the DOF of the 60mm Hexanon is great!

  6. konstantin dit :

    I am surprised that you think the first two pictures are underexposed. Or did you post-process them for the website? I really live the portrait of the old gypsy mother with the cigarette and the daughter behind. I think that one is really the best of the three. It has a certain timelessness – one doesn’t know when it was taken and when yiu add the strong expression of the old lady, you really got something there.

  7. Mark dit :

    Love #2. A broader portrait by putting the elderly woman into a context. It keeps the elderly lady as the subject, but the cigarette and young woman watching her put her into her environemnt. Th bleached background enhances the picture by drawing ones eyes to the women. The other two don’t compare.