Paris in the fall

Last month, I made a return trip to Paris. I am not sure there is a more beautiful place than Paris in the fall. The air was crisp, the leaves were turning and seemingly everyone was outside.

This trip was brief like my summer visit and also work related. More on that subject in a future post. But I did manage to get out a few hours each day to make some photographs.

One highlight was randomly bumping into my friend Joe and Andre Wagner in the Marais. palace .jpgchess.jpgwalkers.jpgRiver.jpgsmoker.jpgseat.jpgBread.jpgboyz.jpgDiag.jpgrest.jpgTower.jpgEvening.jpg

(All color photographs made with a Mamiya 7ii and Kodak Portra 400. Black & white photographs were made with a Leica MA and Kodak Tri-X 400 film. Developed and scanned at Richard Photo Lab)

New Orleans

We made a brief weekend trip to New Orleans last month. I don’t know the city well but between recommendations from Twitter friends and Foursquare we found some amazing places to eat and listen to music.

It’s a very cool city with incredible architecture, art, food and of course music. Even though our visit was short, I am glad we had the opportunity to explore outside of the French Quarter (especially during the day). The Garden District and the six mile walk down Magazine Street was wonderful.

I’m not sure when we will get back to New Orleans but I hope the next visit is longer.

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(Cameras: Hasselblad 503cw, Leica M3; Film: Kodak Portra 400, Kodak Tri-X 400; Developed and Scanned: Richard Photo Lab)

Uruguay, Part II

December 2017
Part One is here.

(Cameras: Leica MP, Leica M3 // Film: Kodak Portra 400 & Tri-X 400 // Lab: Richard Photo Lab in California).

Uruguay, Part I


December 2017
Last month we made our first family trip to South America. We spent most of our vacation in Uruguay.

Getting to Uruguay from the United States requires a long flight but it’s only a two hour time difference which makes jet lag a non issue. After a 10 hour overnight flight from Miami, we arrived well rested.

The drive from the airport to our hotel in Jose Ignacio was about a 2 hours. A rental car is a must. The Jose Ignacio region of Uruguay is along the east coast of the country. While nearby Punta del Este is bustling and tends to get more attention and fanfare, we personally were happy to stay in the Jose Ignacio region. It’s hardly a secret area but it is laid back with a chill vibe, and a place that offers beach, some shops, a gorgeous countryside and some wonderful restaurants.

It is summertime and the weather was quite hot during our week. We spent a few hours each day at the beach. The Arctic currents make the ocean really quite cold but after a few moments we got used to it and it’s quite refreshing. Getting on bikes and exploring all the little streets of Jose Ignacio was a nice way to see more and escape the heat as well. My wife and daughters love horseback riding and its a gorgeous place to ride. Sunset in Uruguay is mighty fine.

One week in a new place is not enough time to do it justice. But I can tell you that we want to make a return trip one day.

Part two with additional photographs here.

(Camera: Leica MP // Film: Kodak Portra 400 // Lab: Richard Photo Lab in California).


I have been taking photographs of strangers. Mostly men in their later years, living their life. I don’t know if it will turn into a personal project. Maybe it is merely my way of coping with life in my 40′s.

Sometimes I get into a conversation and hear their story. For example the gentleman in the second photograph is a retired public defender in Nashville. The stories about his work would just about break your heart.

Sometimes I just watch and observe, like the fellow in his 80′s on a long hike. Head down and determined to make it to the top — which he easily did that day.

I try to imagine what they looked like in their twenties. I can just see it.

What kind of camera should I buy?

I get this question frequently since I wrote this post.

It’s nice to see fellow enthusiasts wanting to push their photography skills farther along their journey.

Right now, there are so many fine cameras it is hard to go wrong. But since I’ve written this down for a number of friends lately, I thought I would just share it on my Tumblr.

(note: this post isn’t meant to cover point and shoot style cameras. It’s likely true the best point and shoot is the iPhone 5s).


I think there are less and less reasons to buy a DSLR these days thanks to high quality, compact mirrorless cameras. But there are a few reasons to still buy one, namely:

-If you are a professional photographer
-if you want to make large prints
-if you seek highest quality images and don’t mind carrying around a big camera and big lenses
-if you want (very) fast autofocus
-if you want telephoto lenses

If you want something that is more compact and still high quality, here are my recommendations at this time.

1. Olympus OMD EM-5. This camera came out last year. The image stablization is sick. I’ve been able to handhold photos at 1/15th of a second. Some of the lenses for this camera are simply stunning like the Olympus 17mm f/2, Olympus 45mm f/1.8 and the Panasonic/Leica 25mm f/1.4. Autofocus is very fast with any of these lenses. The camera is small, lightweight and responsive. It’s a great system. Olympus is shipping a new model next month called the EM-1. It’s bigger and more expensive than the EM-5 and the image quality is significantly better.

2. Fuji X-E2. The X-E2 is coming out next month. It replaces the Fuji X-E1 which has amazing image quality. The image quality is better than the Olympus but the autofocus is slower. The X-E2 promises faster autofocus speed than it’s predecessor but still a slower camera than the OMD EM-5. Fuji makes a gorgeous 35mm lens for their X systems.

3. Sony RX1R. This is a full frame, autofocus compact camera. The image quality is the best of this bunch and rivals full frame pro DSLRs. The build quality is extraordinary. The UI isn’t my favorite but that’s a personal preference. There are two drawbacks with this camera in my mind. First, it doesn’t come with a built in viewfinder. So you need to either attach a clunky external one or just shoot using the LCD on the back. The other drawback is the lens is fixed and attached. You can’t switch it. But that built in lens is a beauty. Absolutely gorgeous.

* * *

4. Leica M. This is my favorite of the group but it really is a different type of experience all together. It’s a full frame rangefinder system and requires manual focusing. Leica lenses are the best in the world. It’s not for everyone but I had to mention it. It also costs significantly more than the other camera systems mentioned above. A Leica M body is about $7,000 and lenses range from $2k-$10k. I am in love with this quirky, camera that feels like nothing else I’ve ever held.

I hope this helps some of you.

Dear friends, I know, my (old) Leicatime site is quite confusing, not so easy to surf.

Luigi Crescenzi

I have been hearing about Mr. Crescenzi’s craftsmanship for years on various Leica and photography blogs. He makes handmade cases in Italy. One at time. I finally decided to buy one for my own Leica camera.

I find it touching that his site is not only ancient but comes with an apology from the man himself. 

When the old version beats the new version

As users of technology we are accustomed to the new version being substantially better than the previous version.

The TV that hangs the wall in our family room runs laps around the first HDTV we purchased. The latest Google Nexus phone is substantially better than the previous one. The same is true for the iPhone 5s. The same is true for latest Macbook Air. The price tends to hold and the capability of the device goes up. 

Technical innovation is a thing of beauty. We’ve all seen it first hand. 

Except when it goes wrong, or not as intended. 

I remember how smooth and elegant Microsoft Word used to be on the Mac. These days I can’t tell you the last time I fired up MS Word. It has become so bloated and cumbersome. It’s been years since I’ve installed it on my computers. 

Digital cameras have been following their personal computer counterparts. Each year a new model comes out giving us more. Higher resolution, better sensors, better low light performance, hd video, wifi, gps, the list goes on. 

A few years back I picked up my first rangefinder and haven’t looked back. It is a style of photography I have grown to love. 

My first Leica was the Leica M9. I can still remember the day I opened up the box and mounted my first Leica glass. Everything about that camera was extraordinary. It is a small, discrete, full frame, Leica rangefinder compatible with legendary Leica M lenses. 

The Leica M9 craftsmanship is something to behold. It’s fit and finish is not found in any other digital camera. It feels so good. 

But as technology enthusiasts we always seek more. So about four years later, Leica *finally* introduced a successor to the M9-P. It’s called the Leica M. They are sold out most places as Leica enthusiasts flocked to the new model. I’m included in that bunch and picked up one of the earliest models. I was beyond eager to see what Leica could give us that would beat out the M9. 

The new Leica M delivers a wide array of new features. Longer battery life, ability to record hd video, focus peaking, live view, ability to attach telephoto lenses, higher ISO capability for low light shooting, faster processor, more megapixels, better LCD, better dynamic range, optional electronic view finder and more.

I’ve been using the new M since the end of August and blissfully enjoyed and explored all of the new features. 

But then this weekend, I saw the old M9 on my shelf. I picked up it, slapped by Leica 35mm Summilux f/1.4 and slung it over my shoulder and headed out. 

The M9 can be noisy in low light conditions. The low res LCD is a joke. The shutter is noisy. Sometimes it even freezes up and I have to pull the battery to get it going again. It can’t take video. Mine is beat up a bit and you can see the brass under the black paint. 

But I love that M9. I love it in many ways more than the brand new shiny M. The controls are plain and simple. The UI is plain and direct. It’s lighter and more compact. Photographs with the old sensor have a special, unique quality that is simply lost on the higher resolution new M. 

It’s not every day the old wins out over the new. And at some point, there will be a new camera that will take my breath away again. But for now I’m back to shooting with the M9 while the new M rests on my shelf. 

A first

Over the years I have been interviewed about Spark or one of our portfolio companies. And I’m often happy to do that.

But this week I had a different kind of interview. I was invited to share my photographs and thoughts on Prosophos. That’s a first. 

I’ve been following Peter and his website Prosophos for some time now. When I became introduced to rangefinder photography, I was led to his site because of his beautiful photographs (which he typically makes with his Leica).

He shares a thoughtful, wonderful photograph every day along with great insight about photography and equipment. 

When he asked if I would be a featured photographer on his website I was honored. 

If you are interested in photography or just like being inspired by beautiful images, I would encourage you to add Prosophos to your daily reading list.

(Thanks Peter!)