Tuesday, January 6, 2015

My Little Leica

My Leica V-Lux 40 – the ever-faithful travel companion.

For the longest time, I was travelling without a camera, believing that  all my experiences were of the moment, to be tucked away in my memory and savoured. But as I grew older, I realised that it would be great to record some of these images to be re-visited one day when I am no longer so mobile.

I figured all I needed was a tiny point-and-shoot, something I could just put into my bag or pocket, which I could whip out quickly and discreetly capture some images. While landscapes and scenery are great, my favourite pictures are of people. I don’t mean posed group shots of people I’m travelling with in front of some landmark. Thank goodness my fellow travellers are mostly averse to having their picture taken, and yes, shoot me if you ever see me take a selfie!

I just like taking pictures of normal housewives going about their lives, commuters rushing to work and back home, children in school and at play. Soon enough, I found out that my little cameras didn’t quite have long enough lenses to zoom in on people, especially in candid shots. Did I want the accuracy of DSLRs? No, I already have problems with my TV remote, so I didn’t see myself fiddling with knobs and buttons.

After talking to some friends who are photography buffs and doing a little bit of research on my own, I settled for the Leica V-Lux 40. Admittedly it was pricey when compared to the Lumix that had basically the same features, but I figured the Germans have the edge in technology since they were the inventors of this mirrorless lens.

I’m speaking purely as a layman. I can zoom in pretty close to my subject matter, and because the resolution is so high, I can go even closer when I’m processing the pictures. My pictures don’t have the mood and depth that DSLRs can capture, but they are crisp and in brilliant colour. There are still features on the camera that I haven’t yet explored – my brain can only take tiny, baby steps when it comes to all these gadgets. But I love that the camera is small enough to hang around my neck wherever I go and I can lift it and discreetly capture pictures on the run, like when I ran into Alec Baldwin and his then pregnant wife in downtown New York. It’s powerful enough so that I can capture close-up images, like Del Potro changing shirts on Wimbledon’s centre court from where I was sitting high up in the stands.

It’s great that now I can look through the pictures I’ve taken on my travels. They jog my memory and have me reminiscing about adventures, mishaps and serendipitous finds. I’ve been told that I do have an eye for interesting shots and that I should seriously consider upgrading to a DSLR. But nah, I’m more than happy with my little Leica. It’s become my most faithful companion on my travels.

I snuck a shot of Djokovic's coach, Marian Vajda, at a pub.
Every time Del Potro took off his shirt, the crowd cheered!
Colourful characters in Greenwich Village.
Alec Baldwin gives me a dirty look!

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