Shooting Lion Dance with Leica 21mm Elmarit-M

Last week I had the opportunity to shoot a Chinese traditional lion dance event with the Leica 21mm Elmarit-M ASPH mounted on the M240. The very short minimum focusing distance of 0.7 meter allowed me to frame very near to the subject. Along with a 92 degree view angle, the lens enable me to capture dramatical effect of the subject. The lens felt very solidly built when holding on my hands. The focus ring was very smooth and manual focus with the 21mm Elmarit  was very easy and fast.

Click the photo for larger and sharper view:

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Pros – (Good things about the 21mm Elmarit-M)

  • No color cast at the edges of the frame when use with Leica M240.
  • Superb optic that is capable of producing high quality picture even when shooting with wide open aperture.
  • Very solid built quality.

Cons –

  • Some minor flare occur (when the sun is positioned at certain angle).
  • Big lens hood. It blocks small part of the viewfinder.
  • Odd filter size of 55mm. Sharing of filters with my other lens (35mm and 50mm summicron) is not possible.
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Some flares in the photo

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Thanks for viewing.

Street Photography in China

I travel frequently to some coastal cities in People Republic of China (China). I discovered that it was tough to do street photography at these places. People are intimidated of being photographed. The following picture illustrates a common reaction by the subjects.

"Don't Shoot"
“Don’t Shoot”

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"I am Shy"
“I am Shy”

“Face of Discomfort” is another common reaction of the subjects.

I even tried to communicate with the subjects by starting a conversation or asked for permission to take photos so that the subjects would not feel intimidated. On many occasions, the moment the subjects realized that I am a street photographer and would like to snap a photo him, the subjects walked away and “disappeared” from my viewfinder.

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Another common reaction illustrated by the following picture; the fruit seller disappeared from the store upon seeing me pointing the lens on her.

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On a few occasion, I do meet friendly people that allowed me to photograph their activities. There was motive for granting me the permission. The following photo illustrated what I mean :

"The Best Biscuit"
“The Best Biscuit”

The very “business-minded” owner was trying to promote his product, the best biscuit in town. After the friendly photo session, I ended up buying a few packs of biscuit. I supposed there is “no free lunch “.

I once met with a fortune teller when I was roaming  around the old alleys of Quanzhou. I saw him seated at the roadside with an interesting gesture. I hesitated to photograph the subject, I fear for unpleasant reaction.

"Fortune Teller"
“Fortune Teller”

The fortune teller upon seeing me he invited me to snap a few portraits of him. He said out loudly in Chinese, “come take a few photos of me and post the photos on the internet so that I would be famous, it will bring me more business….”

Was it the culture of urban Chinese that caused the intimidation ? A man with a camera that capturing photos at street is perceived as somebody from the “big brother” that is potentially “hazarded”. Or I am a lousy street photographer who had yet to acquire the skill of street photography.

Thanks for reading. Your comments are welcome.

Leica M Voigtlander 21mm F4
Leica M Voigtlander 21mm F4

I saw this petty trader at a morning wet market at Georgetown Penang. She was busy dealing with customers that stopped by to buy fruits and vegetable. I made a few clicks with my camera. Upon my second attempt to trigger my shutter after re-composing my frame she saw me and waved at me and asked me not to photograph. I finished the shot and waved back as a gesture of “Thank You”.

Portraits of Charcoal Factory Workers

Recently I shot a series of portraits of workers at a charcoal factory. The photos were shot using the Leica M with the 35mm Summicron ASPH. I had the intention to use also the a 50mm focal length lens but due to the dusty environment inside the factory I decided not to change lens. (Click the image for sharper resolution)

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Thanks for reading, your comments are welcome.