The Littoral Series VII : On light – The fisherman harbour

(a new post on a reportage course I took in Southern France, post # I provides an introduction to the series)

In August in France, the best hours to take pictures is approximately from 7 to 10h and 17 to 20h. Meaning we had to get up early in a couple of instances and stayed in spots until sunset. Obviously we also shot during the day but the very harsh light made it a permanent challenge due to the high contrast situations it generated. The most common mistake I noted among us was shadows in the faces of our subjects. It was indeed never an easy task to have light hit them from the perfect angle, and the fact that many wore hats added to the complexity.
As for exposure, I was on full manual all week, selecting aperture and speed based on light conditions and sometimes helped by my external light meter. Outside, it was pretty easy since we had sun the whole week : ISO200, F1.4 and 1/4000 was my standard setting, helped by a 0.6 ND filter (two stops light reduction). Going all manual allows you to focus purely on the shots in stable light conditions, no worries about your camera being tricked and picking up the wrong exposure. Obviously, some shots ended up slightly over or under-exposed, but the M9 files can easily handle exposure adjustments of one to two stops. So for those using full automation or aperture priority, give it a try, you’ll blunder quite a few shots at the beginning but over time I feel my exposure has gotten better since I am on all manual.

Below is a series of shot taken in the early morning light in a fishermen harbour as the ships unloaded the catch of the day. Second shot made the final edition, though I have to admit that the subject was not a fisherman but a colleague.  (click on picture to enlarge)


Leica M9 with 35mm Summilux Asph at F1.4, 1/2000, ISO200, ND filter


Leica M9 with 60mm Hexanon at F1.4, 1/4000, ISO200, ND filter


Leica M9 with 60mm Hexanon at F1.4, 1/4000, ISO200, ND filter

5 Responses to “The Littoral Series VII : On light – The fisherman harbour”

  1. Fotoleica dit :

    Very interesting series. I have a couple of questions. Why do you use ISO 200 and nor 160? I too find the light here in Crete a challenge and have tried to get ND filters to fit the 50 Lux and 25 Cron to no avail. What type do you use?

  2. Fotoleica dit :

    Sorry about typo – 35 Cron

  3. Tibor dit :

    Hello Yanidel,

    Effectively the second shot would be your best among those three. The out of focus is awesome as well as the overall composition. However I have to say I like your first shot too with that blue deep color of the jacket and the Obelix boat.

    One question : do you find this ND filter useful in harsh daylight condition? I assume it will mostly allow you to use wide apertures at slower speed to allow less light in and therefore less blown-ups. I’m thinking about getting one too, but I’m unsure actually of it.


  4. admin dit :

    <p>Tibor, the M9 is limited to a max speed of 1/4000. This means that the max aperture in sunnlight is about F2.8. By adding a 0.6 ND filter, it allows me to shoot at F1.4 or even F1.2 which is the max of my lenses.</p>

    Fotoleica, I use ISO200 to make it easier to count … ;) Since I shoot in all manual, it is easier to go by 200, 400, 800 and remember some basing exposure combinations (ie ISO800, F1.4, 1/125 in the metro). It allows synchs better with the scale on my light meter

    As for ND filter, I use B+W brand which I found on Ebay.