When browsing books from famous photographers, sometimes you meet photos that you don’t even dream about to make yourself. You quickly conclude that they are professionals and that they shoot with Leica M.. You also got the idea that such photo moments are only to be found in other parts of the world, or at least in other cities. These photo’s however are taken just on an afternoon (I choose a particular time of the day, which was easy because on a free day I can bicycle any time I want to the city center) and just in a city that cannot be compared with big cities like Rome, Budapest or Paris.
What’s the secret? Well, although it is a combination of factors, the bookeh of the lens that you use is like a finishing touch. The lens I used her (See heading of this topic) is not build according to the formula’s of the regular lens manufacturers. In fact, the type of bookeh from this lens is very different from lenses build by for example Canon. The bookeh gives the photo it’s own personality, which many semi professional photographers tend to forget. If you see a photo as a peace of art, then you have to develop your taste in bookeh! The contradicting fact why this Helios lens gives such distinct photo’s is that the swirl effect this lens gives is a result of uncontrolled light that enters the lens, while lens designers normally try to minimize this effect, wanting to control all the light beams entering the lens.
Next to bookeh, of course, it is also the micro contrast, color contrast, softness.. that makes a lens having it’s own character. But!! Although you should always try to get sharp lenses, to me it is not of first importance anymore. An incredibly sharp lens with ugly bookeh (or with just a very boring bookeh) is to me deadening for creating art. Understandingly, photography for shop magazines or so don’t require artistic photo’s. But Street Photography, Portrait, Weddings… Yes, they do require to be art!!