“We live in a world that values easy solutions to complex problems. And buying [photographic] gear on specifications is such a solution. Further, instant pop culture has destroyed the ability of most people to appreciate nuance, delicacy and detail, values which require dedication and emotional commitment, and which are only revealed over time.” Continue reading “”
PERSONAL WORK – 2013
One of photography’s purposes is to confirm the sentiment, “I was here.” Dating back 40,000 years to European cave paintings, there’s been a desire to capture an elusive moment and somehow make it stay just a moment longer. That’s happiness for me.
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I LOVE FALL
Testing some lenses today and was surprised by the results. Here’s a snap I took with a 1970 Leica 21mm Super Angulon rangefinder lens on a 2012 Leica M9-P camera body from my back door.
There is something special about this vintage optic and Leica’s older Summilux, Summicron, and Summaron lenses. Compared to modern Leica aspherical lenses, they can create a more three dimensional quality and a natural vignetting without correction right out of the camera. Plenty sharp and less post-production! Continue reading “”
A forum thread got me thinking about mentorship. Much of what I’ve learned in my career has to do with my being lucky enough to have two amazing photographers/teachers as mentors. I am deeply indebted to them for helping to guide me on my journey: Ernst Haas, whom I studied with in Japan in 1984, and Sam Abell, whose Santa Fe Photographic Workshops I attended in 1992 and 1993.
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PHOTOGRAPHY – A LOOK BACK
I posted these tips on a forum recently. Hope they help:
I started shooting with a Kodak Brownie camera as a kid, won an award from Kodak when I was 12, hitchhiked around SF in the summer of ’68 for two weeks as a teenager with a Canonet, then put away the camera for eight years during pre-med and graduate school.
Eventually I bought a Canon AE-1 in 1976. After learning B&W, I graduated to Kodachrome 25 and a Canon F-1, which was used religiously for the next five years. Then moved to Leica and Leicaflex, Hasselblad, and Pentax 6×7 for another fifteen years. Now I primarily use a three Canon digital SLRs and various lenses from 14mm to 500mm for assignments and a Leica M9 rangefinder for personal work. Continue reading “”
DAVID DOUGLAS DUNCAN LEICA MP (M3D-2) GOES FOR 1.2 MILLION
There’s only one David Douglas Duncan, and only four M3D-2 cameras were made by Leica. This record auction price is believed to be highest ever paid for a production model camera (shades of Steve McQueen’s Porsche 911S sold in August last year).
Three Leica MP cameras owned by Magnum photographer Paul Fusco also sold for €858,000. The first Leica owned by Robert Capa was sold for €78,000 at the same Vienna auction. Thanks to my sister Sharon for the link. Continue reading “”
LEICA M10 TO BE ANNOUNCED?
Recent reports that a new Leica digital rangefinder will be revealed at Photokina next month (with autofocus aids, live view, and video capabilities) started me thinking about my life with these German cameras.
The first Leica I purchased was a M4-2 rangefinder in 1979. I was just back from the best King Crab fishing season with my dad and had a little money to spend. A Leica M3 joined it shortly after. I still own and use those cameras. Continue reading “”
PART III. CREATIVITY AND THE DIGITAL CAMERA: A LOOK BACK – Randy’s Photo Tips
For the third installment on creativity and the photographic process I revisit my first professional digital camera in an article I wrote for PC Photo Magazine:
“What inspires us to photograph in a more creative way? For some it might be the realization that we are seeing something anew for the very first time. It might be as simple as connecting with a new country or culture. Maybe this inspiration is a reward for venturing outside of our comfort zone. For others, it might come from trying out a new technique, or viewing a master photographer’s work, or being forced to overcome some challenge that compels us to aspire to heights we haven’t reached for previously. Continue reading “”
SEEING THE WORLD THROUGH A NORMAL LENS
It’s been a long time since I’ve used a fixed focal length normal lens for stills (the first time was when I bought a Canon AE-1 in 1976). I have a 50mm f2 Summicron for my Leica M rangefinder, though I use it more for personal work. As a cineamatographer, I also use several fast fixed focal length lenses on my 5D MK II DSLR for motion filming. Continue reading “”
INSPIRED : HAWAII
For the second part of the “inspired” elements triptych (earth, fire, water/air), I’m going for an aerial photograph made from a helicopter at sunrise over Maui. Another homage to Ernst Haas.
Haas was a genius and the pioneer of color photography when it comes to fine art. Eggleston? Sorry, not the first to have a color exhibit at MOMA in 1962. Porter? Sorry, kinda boring and a bit pedestrian. Shore, Meyerowitz? Ditto. Continue reading “”
CANON’S MASS APPEAL
When Canon abandoned its fifteen year old “breech-lock” FD line of lenses in 1987 to make room for a totally different EF electronic mount, loyal pro photographers like myself were left wondering. Why would Canon, unlike Nikon, eliminate reverse compatability of their 35mm lenses? I soon switched over to the German Leicaflex SL2 cameras that were built like tanks and had even better glass. When Leica decided not to adopt the autofocus capabilities introduced by the Japanese manufacturers, I moved back to Canon whose zoom optics had improved enough for me to use professionally. Continue reading “”
Just returned from a photo shoot/vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico with my wife and a Leica rangefinder. What a great place to relax and escape the cold of winter. Situated on the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula, it’s within easy reach of the Western US and accessible via most major airlines. Sandy beaches, low humidity and sunny skies virtually all year round means this is a dependable Mexican destination. If you are into sport fishing, golf or scuba diving – it’s a best bet tropical location. Continue reading “”
Randy Wells has the good fortune to photograph, write about, and film cars and transportation for the best manufacturers, advertising agencies, collectors, auction houses, and magazines full-time. His work has appeared more than 20,000 times worldwide, including magazines like National Geographic.
THE EARLY 911, FILM AND VINYL – PART 2
My history with cameras is remarkably similar to that for early 911s. I learned to photograph and develop my own black and white film in 1979 with a German made Leica M3. That first rangefinder camera led to the use of numerous film-based Leica cameras and lenses, which have a smoothness and mechanical precision missing from many other models. I still love using the Leicas for their purity, quiet shutter and silky film advance lever. However I’ve made Canon digital SLRs my choice for most subjects since photography has become my profession (and Leica discontinued its SLR line.). Continue reading “”
THE EARLY 911, FILM AND VINYL – PART 1
You’ve probably read enough analogies of sports cars, fine cameras and luxury audio equipment in high-end lifestyle magazines to get the idea that journalists are passionate about these in a big way. I’m not immune and vinyl records, Leica rangefinders and Porsche 911s have been a primary fascination of mine since 1964. That’s when I bought my first LP, was gifted a camera, and was introduced to the early 911. I immediately fell in love with the feel and sound of the long playing record, the shutter advance of the film camera, and the Porsche 911’s hooligan nature with its air-cooled flat six barking a nasty exhaust note. School and financial obligations kept me from fulfilling my dreams of ownership for a long time, but I promised myself that someday I would have a top notch analog stereo system, a Leica M series rangefinder, and a pre-‘74 911. Continue reading “”
R.I.P. JIM MARSHALL
A witness to ’60’s rock history and one of the greatest Leica M photojournalists, Jim Marshall passed away in New York City yesterday. He was 74. His photographs of Jimi Hendrix at Monterey, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, and The Beatles’ last concert in San Francisco in 1966 are legendary. He was well known for capturing decisive musical moments and was the chief photographer at the original Woodstock festival. A strong personality with a solid business sense and great stories to tell, his is a dying breed in still photography. He may well be the end of an era. Continue reading “”