I was looking forward to my photography expedition to the Norwegian fjords and Arctic. The excitement was a combination of the sheer beauty I was about to experience and encounter, but I also had three specific goals I wanted to attain with my Leica M:
1. To try the new firmware
2. To shoot black-and-white pictures
3. To use my Leica APO-Telyt-R 180 mm f/3.4 lens, specifically to photograph a polar bear if I was fortunate enough to encounter it
Since love for color in landscape photography has been one of my primary emphases, I was very hesitant to switch from analog to digital photography until I started shooting with the Leica M. The digital cameras in the past did not offer me the color and dynamic range that the analog cameras offered.
The thin unpolluted air in the Arctic region portrayed beautiful skies and vibrant landscapes. The pastels and the vibrant colors blended well with each other because the transition between the two was very smooth. The high dynamic range that the Leica M offers enables me to capture the different hues in each color.
I was very pleased with the highlight and shadow details in my photographs, which are illustrated better in my black-and-white photographs.
Since the Arctic environment lends itself to black-and-white photography I wanted to try the black-and-white JPEG files that the camera processes specially with different filter options. I was able to take some stunning black-and-white photographs using different filters. The superb lens quality of Leica lenses gave me full dynamic range of shades of gray that give black-and-white photographs a very lively appearance.
The new firmware updates were very practical and user-friendly. I especially liked the activation of focus peaking with the rotation of the focusing ring. I also liked the function of being able to change the EV with the front dial.
The 180 R lens gave me some very sharp pictures of the polar bear. I used the new update of the new firmware to fix my shutter speed at 1/2000th of a second with a wide-open 3.4 aperture. The camera adjusted the ISO accordingly. All of my shots were handheld. It is important to shoot handheld shots especially with the long lenses at high shutter speeds and to shoot multiple exposures in a continuous mode to avoid shakes and produce sharp images.
I also used my 21 mm lens for landscapes. The ability to use the horizon feature on my screen helped me to work with the perspective and composition of my landscapes. This feature is very useful, especially when you are shooting with a wide-angle lens.
I have been using Leica lenses for the past 15 years and really liked them for their outstanding quality. Digital cameras including the predecessors of the M did not meet my expectations for color and dynamic range. The Leica M stole my heart and I truly enjoy shooting with it.
– Mohan Bhasker
Connect with Mohan on his website.