Category Archives: Photography

Leica CL – Hands On

Hands On Preview Of The New Leica CL

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Photographer Edmond Terakopian with the newly announced Leica CL. Leica CL Press Launch. The Den, 45 St Martin’s Lane, London. November 21, 2017. Photo: Robin Sinha

I used to really like my Leica X1; superb quality, large sensor compact camera, with a fixed Leica lens, capable of professional results in a small body. It was with me at all times and I used it on assignments as well as my personal work. Alas, it needed to have a proper electronic viewfinder and equally as importantly, interchangeable lenses. The radically conceptual and interesting Leica TL and TL2 addressed the interchangeable lens issue, but to my dismay didn’t have a built in viewfinder. Although I do sometimes shoot using the rear screen, I’m definitely a viewfinder user and a slide on viewfinder (be it optical or digital) whilst useful, isn’t the answer. They’re inelegant, get in the way, add bulk, come off and can easily be lost.

The rumour mills started showing leaked images of the Leica CL. An interchangeable lens, compact mirrorless camera with a built in viewfinder. Of course, one can never trust these rumours, but when I received an invitation by the lovely folks at Leica UK for a press launch, I realised this may just be for real. I’m delighted to say, it is a reality.

It’s a truly beautiful and elegant design, sharing a look very reminiscent of it’s great grandfather, the Leica III. Even without the red dot, it is instantly recognisable as a Leica and carries this heritage forward. The design, craftsmanship and build quality are really top notch. This is definitely a “real Leica”. It feels right in the hand.

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A portrait of Arteh Odjidja at the Leica CL Press Launch. Test shot using the Summilux-TL 35 f/1.4 ASPH. The Den, 45 St Martin’s Lane, London. November 21, 2017. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

The mark of a well thought out design, one crafted by engineers who are passionate photographers and not just very clever folk, is that when you pick it up, you can just start to use it. Without looking at a manual or much fuss at all, I took to its beautifully designed and elegant switchgear; ergonomics which have been thought through just make the camera a very natural and comfortable extension of the photographer. The twin dials with push down control clicks and a small screen between them means that modes and settings can quickly be navigated not only without fuss, but very naturally. My only gripe here is that in manual mode, it would be nice to be able to change the dials’ functions so that shutter speed and aperture can be swapped around if needed. Hopefully a firmware upgrade can take care of that.

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A portrait of Robin Sinha at the Leica CL Press Launch. Test shot using the Summilux-TL 35 f/1.4 ASPH. The Den, 45 St Martin’s Lane, London. November 21, 2017. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

When other camera manufacturers look at the simplicity and elegance of design with a perfect layout of buttons, dials and screens, they’ll hopefully realise that shoving extraneous buttons all over their camera’s isn’t really necessary and is in fact counterproductive to photography. The same can be said of the menu system, which essentially includes a favourite’s page and is very elegantly done. No PhDs needed to operate this menu system!

By now, I’m sure you’ve seen the specifications online, but the main points are:

24.2mp APS-C CMOS sensor with a 14 stop dynamic range

ISO range of 100 to 50000

10 frames a second on continuous drive (with three speed settings for continuous) with a 33 frame buffer (jpeg and raw DNG)

Flash sync speed of 1/180th

EVF has 2.3mp with an eye relief of 20 mm (superb for spectacle wearers)

The autofocus system is contrast based and has 49 points

The files lend themselves beautifully to the monochrome treatment; the lenses and sensor being matched nicely to get a smooth and wide tonal range also produce a phenomenal dynamic range. All the key ingredients for beautiful black and white photography are present.

I had the camera for around 20 minutes, so of course this post isn’t an exhaustive test. Some colleagues whose opinion I value have had more time with the camera, and I will post some links at the end of this article. However, one thing I can usually tell in the first few minutes of picking up a new camera is if it’s going to work for me. The Leica CL gave me the feeling that it definitely will. It’s right in the hand, focuses quickly and accurately, has a decent amount of AF points spread across the frame, has a fast drive when needed, intelligent menu system and of course, has Leica lenses. The main reason for me choosing Leica, by far, is the Leica lens. I made this decision back in early 90s when I bought my first Leica (an M4-2) after having tried an M3 for a few weeks back in 1989. Another wonderful thing about the CL is that with an adapter, Leica M lenses can be fitted and used (with a x1.5 crop factor).

I do wish it had a few things though. I would have really liked to see a joystick on the back for moving the AF point around quickly with he camera to the eye. I feel any serious camera needs to have a joystick. A built in stabiliser would have also been most welcome. Although the video specs are good, I didn’t even bother to shoot video as there are no microphone or headphone sockets, so perhaps having these would have been a nice touch, making the camera more usable, but I assume it would have added bulk.

As with any conversation involving Leica, the price always comes up. I’ve already had several conversations about pricing with friends and colleagues on my social media. Leica have always been more costly. No compromise lens design and low quantity manufacturing has always meant that price wise they will never be on par with the gigantic Japanese manufacturers. However, if the look and feel you get from your images is important to your work, then a Leica will help bring out that much more from that moment when you decide to press the shutter release.

The full frame bigger brother, the Leica SL, was of course Leica’s first mirrorless, interchangeable lensed, built in EVF camera. Some very impressive specs, beautiful image quality and absolutely stellar lenses, alas never convinced me to get one. Simply because the lenses were huge. Smaller lenses are rumoured to be on their way though, so perhaps I may reevaluate my stance in the future. Until that moment, for me, the CL is Leica doing mirrorless correctly. It ticks so many boxes and feels absolutely right in the hand and in use. Dear Santa……

 

My Leica CL Flickr Album

Some atmospheric photographs of the Leica CL from Leica Camera.

Further Reading about the Leica CL:

Sarah M Lee puts the new Leica CL through its paces; TENDER ARE THE NIGHTHAWKS

Testing The Leica CL, by Jono Slack

Leica CL Review by Andy Westlake

 

12TH BLACK AND WHITE SPIDER AWARDS

Five Images Nominated By Judges


Happy to share that five of my images were nominated by the judges of the Black and White Spider Awards, in the professional section, across five different categories.

“Spider Awards 2017 proves once again to be a great challenge for the jury to select the best images of the year. Every year this photographic competition increases its quality of content, reputation and prestige” said juror Andrea de Polo, Cultural Heritage Consultant at Fratelli Alinari Photo Archive in Florence.

Curator and Arts Writer Paola Anselmi added “Congratulations to all the winners. A great deal of humanity and soul in this year’s selection, maybe it is a sign of the times and a promise for future awards and photography in general.”

“This celebrated event shines a spotlight on the best professional and amateur photographers worldwide and honors the finest images with the highest achievements in black and white photography.”

Portrait Category
La finta giardiniera

Ida Ränzlöv, singing the part of Arminda, Anchise’s niece, waits backstage for her cue. Mozart’s La finta giardiniera. Dress rehearsal. Royal College of Music Opera School, Prince Consort Road, London.

Shot on an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II and Voigtlander 17.5mm Nokton f0.95 lens.

People Category
Aromi Ice Cream

A lady serves ice cream at Aromi cafe, Cambridge.

Shot on a Leica M Monochrom (M-246) and vintage 1959 Leitz 50mm Summilux.

Children Of The World Category
Westminster Cathedral Choir School

Chorister (L-R) Lukas Siemens, Connor Carnathan, Elliot Bowes and Freddie Sparke. Westminster Cathedral Choir School. The choir rehearsing in Westminster Cathedral, London.

Shot on a Fujifilm GFX-50S and Fujinon GF63mm lens.

Fine Art Category
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Corridors at the Citizen M hotel, Tower Hill, London.

Shot on an Olympus PEN-F and M.Zuiko 25mm lens.

Advertising Category
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Hanson cement mixer lorry, Tower Hill, London.

Shot on an Olympus PEN-F, using a Nikkor 24mm f2 and a tilt adapter.

The images were all shot in raw and processed in Adobe Lightroom and finished in Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro.

PDN Faces Contest

Kindly Cast Your Vote!

I’ve decided to enter five portraits into the PDN Faces contest. As much as I thoroughly dislike any contests with a public vote, alas, this has exactly that. Contests should be judged by a jury of experience, not by one’s social media standing.

I’d like to share with you the five entries, and to even out the playing field, I’d appreciate your quick vote if you like any of the pictures. As far as I’m aware, you can vote for more than one image (done on the PDN Faces website). If you really like the image, feel free to share it via the share button on the PDN Faces website. Thanks 🙂

Vote here: http://edmondterakopian.facesphotocontest.com/1

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Contemporary Dancer Zunnur Zhafirah (Zee) by the graffiti covered tunnels known as the Waterloo Vaults, Leake Street, London, United Kingdom. Shot on a Leica M10.

Vote here: http://edmondterakopian.facesphotocontest.com/2

Ida Ranzlov-20170509-192

Mezzo Soprano Ida Ränzlöv. Royal College of Music, London, UK. Shot on a Fujifilm GFX 50S.

Vote here: http://edmondterakopian.facesphotocontest.com/3

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Director of Opera and Conductor Michael Rosewell backstage, moments before the opera begins. Mozart’s La finta giardiniera. Opening night. Royal College of Music Opera School, Prince Consort Road, London. Shot on an Olympus OM-D E-M5 MarkII.

Vote here: http://edmondterakopian.facesphotocontest.com/4

Poulenc and Chabrier

Dressing rooms during the intermission; (L-R) Assistant Director of Opera, Christopher Middleton gives feedback to Julieth Lozano, who sings the part of Gontran. Alice Bell and Rosanna Cooper get ready. Dress rehearsal; Poulenc and Chabrier double bill by the Royal College of Music International Opera School. Britten Theatre, Royal College of Music, Prince Consort Road, London, UK. Shot on a Sony A9.

Vote here: http://edmondterakopian.facesphotocontest.com/5

Westminster Cathedral Choir School

Chorister (L-R) Lukas Siemens, Connor Carnathan, Elliot Bowes and Freddie Sparke. Westminster Cathedral Choir School. The choir rehearsing in Westminster Cathedral, Ambrosden Avenue, London. Shot on a Fujifilm GFX 50S.

Vote here: http://edmondterakopian.facesphotocontest.com/6

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After the dress rehearsal, the actors gather for notes. Laurence Fox (as Henry) listens as director Stephen Unwin (foreground) gives back his feedback. Dress Rehearsal of The Real Thing by Tom Stoppard (a co-production by Cambridge Arts Theatre with Theatre Royal Bath and Rose Theatre, Kingston). Cambridge Arts Theatre. Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK.

Vote here: http://edmondterakopian.facesphotocontest.com/7

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Laurence Fox (as Henry). Rehearsals of The Real Thing by Tom Stoppard (a co-production by Cambridge Arts Theatre with Theatre Royal Bath and Rose Theatre, Kingston). Toynbee Studios, 28 Commercial Street, London, UK. August 18, 2017. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

IPA 2017 – The Religion Of Basketball

Honourable Mention in the International Photography Awards

IPA 2017 logo

Thrilled to share that one of my images has received an Honourable Mention, along with the work of six other colleagues from around the world, in the professional Sport category, Court Sports.

The Religion Of Basketball

The Religion Of Basketball. Outdoor basketball. Clapham Common, London. April 06, 2017. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

The photograph was made whilst I was exploring Clapham Common, on my way to an exhibition opening nearby. Regular readers will know of my passion for street photography and documenting daily life. It always pays to explore and have a camera handy whilst doing so.

The image was shot on an Olympus OM-D E-M1 camera and a 25mm lens. The image was processed in Adobe’s Lightroom and the BW conversion finished in Alienskin Exposure X2.

Many congratulations to all the IPA 2017 winners and all whose work received an Honourable Mention. My thanks also to the jury who found my photograph interesting!

IPA 2017 Page

 

Discrimination In Journalism

Seeking Diversity In The Media Industry

Press Card Mosaic

It’s a very sad truth that sexism and racism is rife in the media. As a British photojournalist born in Iran and off Armenian descendants, I have lived in the UK since the age of eight. It’s very much my home and I’m extremely proud to be British and to contribute to society through my work, both professionally and in various volunteer basis, as well as numerous charitable contributions.

Through various publications, competitions and awards over the years, I have proven my ability as a photojournalist, yet sadly have never managed to make it past being a casual freelance photographer (meaning being commissioned daily) for the newspapers and agencies. I have several talented colleagues who are of various ethnic backgrounds who have the same struggles. The same discrimination is shown towards white, English female colleagues when contracts and big projects are filled. It is indeed rare to see someone of ethnicity or female photographers in good contract positions, the recipient of the top commissions or in possession of staff jobs (even when these were more abundant).

It truly is a shame that one’s ability and skill is often overseen, in place of one’s ethnicity or sex. After all, the reader or viewer sees the work, not the author. Its quite bizarre that over the last year, I decided to grow a long beard. Instead of this being seen as a trendy or hipster type thing, because of my slight tanned complexion, I could see a lot of people were judging me as some sort of religious extremist. Since shaving it off a couple of months ago, the reaction of the same people when seeing me is the polar opposite. Its quite sad really. Ignorance is most often not bliss.

Picture editors, editors, publishers and media owners need to look at the quality of work and ability of the photojournalist, not their ethnicity, sex, cultural background or religion. I’m definitely not one to condone positive discrimination either; quotas shouldn’t be filled based purely on one’s ethnicity or sex. I just think that the best person for the job should always get the job regardless of the colour of their skin or their sex.

The NY Times has this excellent article, which is well worth a read: Seeking Action — Not Just Talk — About Diversity in Photojournalism. Even more importantly, at the end of the article is a link to a survey for working photojournalists. Please put aside five minutes and fill in this Reclaim survey. Hopefully it’ll benefit the industry and our readers too.

2017 TZIPAC Zebra Awards

Four Images In The Finals

Martini Porsche 911

Happy to share that four of my images are finalists in the 5th Zebra Awards and a further five managed to reach the second stage of judging. Many thanks to all the judges and congratulations to all the winners and other finalists.

Finalists

Shot on an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II and a Voigtlander 17.5mm Nokton f0.95 lens.

Shot on a Leica M (Type 240) and a Leica 35mm Summilux ASPH FLE lens.

Shot on an Olympus OM-D E-M1 and an Olympus 17mm f1.8 lens.

Shot on an Olympus PEN-F with a tilt adapter and a Nikon 24mm f2.0 lens.

Second Stage Images

Shot on a Leica M Monochrom (Type 246) and a vintage Leica 50mm Summilux lens.

Shot on an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II and a Voigtlander 17.5mm Nokton f0.95 lens.

Shot on an Olympus PEN-F and an Olympus 25mm f1.8 lens.

Shot on a Leica M Monochrom (Type 246) and a vintage Leica 50mm Summilux lens.

Shot on an Olympus PEN-F and an Olympus 25mm f1.8 lens.

10th Annual International Color Awards

Two Images Nominated By Judges

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Delighted to share that two of my images were nominated in the 10th Annual International Color Awards. Alas no wins, but still nice to get a couple of images chosen out of the 6178 entries. In a slight departure from my normal work, one of the images was in the Abstract category and the other in Fine Art.

Nominee in Abstract | Backstage Light

Hänsel und Gretel

A backstage light at the end of the cross over tunnel. Hänsel und Gretel, Royal College of Music, London. June 29, 2016.

 

This was shot on an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II using a Voigtlander Nokton 17.5mm f0.95 lens. The raw image was processed in Adobe Lightroom and finished in Alienskin Exposure X2.

Nominee in Fine Art | Light

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The cold blue of the early morning light is warmed by an artifical lightbulb in a stair way. London. May 23, 2016.

This was shot on a Leica M (Type 240) using a Leica 50mm Noctilux ASPH lens. The raw image was processed in Adobe Lightroom and finished in Alienskin Exposure X2.