Beverly Hills

Street Style 2015: Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills

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Girls on Film

Hey. You. Get Off of My Cloud.

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Oh No! It’s the Streets of Beverly Hills… Again

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Josef Koudelka at The Getty Museum

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The picture above was not taken by Josef Koudelka, of course. It’s just one of mine. Sorry. But it reminds me of something like what I feel when I look at the amazing work of this possibly greatest living 20th century icon of photography. So I thought it appropriate to use it here to note the exhibition at the Getty in Los Angeles of Koudelka’s work that runs till mid-March of next year. I will be there staring with my mouth open I’m sure.

Josef Koudelka: Nationality Doubtful

November 11, 2014–March 22, 2015, GETTY CENTER — An aeronautical engineer by training, Josef Koudelka (Czech, naturalized French, born 1938) became intensely committed to photography by the mid-1960s and quickly emerged as one of the most influential, iconoclastic photographers of his generation. This exhibition—the first U.S. retrospective devoted to Koudelka since 1988—traces his legendary career with more than 140 works produced over five decades. It marks the first time that the work of one contemporary photographer will fill the Center for Photographs at the Getty.

via Josef Koudelka: Nationality Doubtful | The Getty Museum.

Beverly Hills in Black and White

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Pulling more images from the old Nikon days. These are in the range of five to ten years old. Hope they’ve aged as well as some of the subjects.

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T-Max 3200 at Beverly Hills Fashion’s Night Out 2011

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A Rodeo Drive Wedding

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As Seen On Oscars Weekend

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City People

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No great shakes here. More like a feeling. All these images were taken this past Saturday and Sunday. Seems to me that LA has shed the tourists and the holiday spirit and settled into itself once again. It’s a colder place than it was a month ago. Anyway, there’s a lot of shots. I do try to give anyone who visits here their money’s worth.

I left the last image, the stunning blonde sitting at a distance in the cafe , so that the image can be clicked on and examined at a larger resolution. It’s not a great or meaningful photograph. I posted it because I find it amazing sometimes what unlikely things you can do with a Leica pressed flat against your face. Thanks for looking!

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Stalking Beverly Hills

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Christmas Light

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Blonde, Skirt, Building

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Figurines

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Nikon at the Playboy Mansion

Reblogging this one from June of last year.

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To mark the passing of Hugh Hefner I’m reposting this from years gone by. RIP Hef. Lord knows you’d need some rest by now. 😉

So let me tell you the story.

I get a call from a BET producer on a Friday night asking if I can go shoot an event for her at the Playboy Mansion the next night. It might come as a surprise to most people but the Playboy Mansion is the site of innumerable charity functions. I’d been up there before. Swam in the grotto pool. Blah blah blah.

But never, slow my rapidly beating heart, had I ever been there with a camera and a press credential.

So of course, I say yes! The problem, however, is that at that time in my life my health was absolutely miserable. So when the next day dawned blisteringly hot, I was both sick and apprehensive.

To…

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Soft Colors on Rodeo Drive

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Remembering Sheri today with a picture she would have liked.

Sunset Blvd

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Dilapidated mansion on Sunset in Beverly Hills. Just like that one in the movie. Seemingly abandoned. But who knows? Maybe there’s a monkey playing the organ in there.

Pretty Shabby Chic: Fashion’s Night Out 2011 in Beverly Hills

Reposting an old entry from last year for all my new beauty and fashion followers.

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Getting back to some Leica photography. The date has been announced for the annual Fashion’s Night Out 2012 and it is September 6th.

Sooo… this entry today here at 50lux.com has a triple purpose.

First, I would like to give Leica and other lowlight shooters a heads-up to the coming FNO extravaganza, Vogue Magazine’s world-wide phenomena and to let you all know that this very impressive event is probably coming to a city somewhere near you.

It’s an incredible opportunity to get out and photograph great style and beauty and all in the vibrant colors and exact low-light conditions where our super-fast Leica glass really shows its stuff.

Second, of course, I want to showcase my own humble efforts in that regard from last year. All the images you see here were shot on film, with my trusty M7. Mostly with a Zeiss 50mm Sonnar f1.5 mounted, but there’s more…

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Living Color

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”Oh dad, could you please stop bragging about your affair with Liberace?”

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Ha ha ha! That’s from David Letterman’s writers, by the way. Runner up was, “Hey Dad, thanks for teaching me to smoke.”

Just my way of saying, Happy Father’s Day!!!

Why shooting Leica is Orgasmic

20130426-L1012797-2Men can say something is ‘orgasmic’ can’t we? If not then disregard the use of that word by me. 😉

Point is, it’s almost like that. What specifically am I talking about? What’s so special about shooting Leica that is different than other cameras or systems? MANY things, but I’m thinking of one in particular.

The other night we jumped up into Beverly Hills for a couple of margaritas at Chipotle on Beverly Drive. I brought the M-E and the 50mm 1.4 Summilux ASPH. Many great opportunities for low light shots along the street up there but, unfortunately, after two or three of those Chipotle margaritas I’m just lucky to be walking upright.

So I’m shooting some store windows etc. and the young lady I’ve spent my life with points to a window and says something effusively positive. But what’s behind the window is unlit and there’s a large store front awning shading the glass itself from any visible ambient light from the surrounding stores or street. So I go into the photographer’s speech about, well, honey, you don’t understand, there’s NO light here. It’s a nice display but your eyes had to practically adjust to even see it.

We photographers look for LIGHT, silly non-photographer. Etc.

Then I thought, well, of course, we can SEE it. So there must be some light illuminating it. So I have my camera on 800 ISO and I don’t even open the 50 ‘Lux all the way. It’s at f2. I stand very still, press the camera against my cheek. Dial the shutter till I get a solid dot. And then I watch something in my image as the shutter is open to make SURE I don’t move. That is the Leica Death Stare. Master it. Lock on an object and YOU WILL KNOW if you’ve moved and have to retake the picture.

Honestly, this has become one of the most fun things I do with my Leica cameras. I LOVE shooting at disgustingly slow shutter speeds. I’m not happy if I’m not doing it. It’s orgasmic.

The old photographic rule of choosing a shutter speed that’s faster than the focal length of your lens in order to eliminate camera shake? If you shoot Leica, you should know that, OF COURSE, this rule does NOT apply to you.

Not to be a jerk, but you SPENT that whatever thousands of dollars you spent to shoot this gear. And you’ve all too often heard people say… What’s the difference? What’s the point? It’s the photographer, not the camera!

Well this is a difference. A huge difference. And one of just many.  I shot Nikon pro gear for most of the last ten years. A heavy D2Hs and D3 and D700. Massive lenses that jut out 6 inches from the body of the camera, and more. I wasn’t comfortable shooting less than 1/250 of the second! You’d BETTER adhere to photographic rules and guidelines like the one stated above. And then, hold your breath!

But with a Leica M-anything? Just never mind all that. It’s not your concern at all. If it is, you’re doing something wrong. The flatness of the M bodies and the slim center of gravity allow you to hold the camera firm against your cheek and there’s NO long heavy lens to teeter the center of gravity and blur your photograph.

And, as a result, you can practically make your own light. Yes, the light is bad. No, I don’t really care. There IS light, that is the only relevant point to a Leica shooter. We just have to operate in a different universe of expectations about how much is there and what we have to do with our camera to capture the light that is there. And these cameras do that like no other cameras on Earth.

The above shot was taken with a 50mm lens in almost no visible light at all. The shutter speed was 1/8th of a second. And I was drunk.

Color I can live with from the Leica M-E

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After two years of shooting and scanning film, what I wanted in terms of skin tones and the general color look from my new M-E was something much different than what I settled for when I owned an M9 three years earlier. By living with the results of scanning analog film I came to accept that color would rarely if ever match the accuracy attainable with modern professional digital systems by Canon and Nikon.

Maybe if I’d had the processing and scanning done at a professional lab, and paid through the nose for some premium service, I would have seen markedly better results. But I opted for the much less expensive, and more satisfying, route of scanning myself.

So when I decided to go back to shooting Leica digital my desires and expectations for color and tonality had been changed. But also my aesthetic for the end result of the act of photographing something itself had changed.

I now looked at final images that I put online or show to people as the product of a process of ME applying those tastes and desires to all of my shots as opposed to just going with either the look of the RAW file, or, worse, going with the crowd and ending up with an image look that was consistent with what other M9/M-E shooters were choosing for their work.

The color that I go for now, what I’m shooting for in my post processing, comes as a result of dealing with film scans for two years. It may not be the same technology and the end result may look nothing like film scans to me or to anyone else. But what I want now from my images is informed largely from the experience of shooting and scanning film.

Bottom line. There are no rules. The camera produces a RAW image file. We owe no loyalty or fidelity to the look of the RAW file or to what other M9/M-E shooters are doing with their images. The color in these pictures pleases me. That’s a heck of a statement as far as I’m concerned because that has not always been an easy place for me to get to with this gear. I’m happy to be getting there with some frequency this time around.

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Fashion’s Night Out Beverly Hills 2011: T-MAX P3200

Leica M7, Zeiss 50 Sonnar 1.5, T-MAX P3200 (click for larger version)

Nothing much to say here. Just a slideshow from a couple of rolls of this very fast and grainy film. I liked it. I just didn’t really have the easiest time scanning it. Actually shooting it was also something to get used to as well. Would have to get used to it and think about shooting it much differently than I did.