Not having had much meaningful shooting opportunities recently, I decided to revisit my archives from a trip to Jaipur, dating back some ten years to late 2007. Normally, I would reserve my archive reviews to the excruciatingly hot Qatar summer months, but not having new stock to tamper with, I had to tamper with something!
I quickly realized that this very Jaipur trip was kind of my Street- and Travel Photography genesis, ground zero where it all started. Apart from a disturbing, unhealthy fascination with the "dutch angle" at the time, and shooting most images in a cinematic 16:9 ratio (even in portrait!) this set of images is the first one that showed some kind of promise. As a set, there is a distinct common thread binding it together. In fact, there are a few images that I still downright love! Either it shows that I haven't grown much since, or this was where everything seems to have "clicked" for the first time. I'd love to think that it was the latter. The images that stand out are not much different than most of my work up to now, which tells me that this is where I started "finding" my street feet.
As all of these images were captured with my brand new Leica D-LUX3 10MP compact, which (if I remember correctly) was my upgrade from a rather ghastly Sony "prosumer" camera (cannot recall the exact description). The images were all shot in Jpeg format only, and edited to some extent (I think it was in Photoshop Elements at the time). Some of these edits were really bad, but thankfully I did safe most of the out-of-camera Jpeg files to return too.
Having been working with RAW files for many years now, I was a little worried that these old Jpeg files will not withstand too much further processing, but I was amazed to realize just how far photo editing software technology has come. Using Lightroom 6.latest, I was able to make some really significant, non-destructive improvements that I'm certain would not have been possible as recent as a few years back.
As for my first Leica, the D-LUX3 was also my first clear idea that I wanted to travel light with the most competent, discreet travel companion available to me. Despite having delved into the larger DSLR's after the D-LUX3 - firstly a Canon 400D, then a Canon 7D - I've since always returned back to competent compact or compact systems cameras. The D-LUX3 also accompanied me on a later trip to Vietnam, but I distinctly remember that it was a really disappointing camera to use. Auto-focus was really slow and I could never really frame my shots in the rear screen in any light, let alone bright daylight. It always left me feeling that Leica could've done better, as it just wasn't good enough compared to similar available compacts at the time. There was also always that nagging feeling that it was just a Panasonic Lumix LX2 in a Leica jacket to justify more than double the price, which was absolutely true, despite all the Leica misinformation from the time. Regardless, I still have the D-LUX3 in perfect working condition - it was my first Leica after all.
Another thing that the D-LUX3 taught me, was to never own a camera again without a viewfinder. This has always been one of my main criteria when seeking for new replacements, and probably also one of the reasons why I never really got hooked on "iPhonography". Apart from taking the occasional shot with my mobile when nothing else is available to me, I still struggle with shooting with a screen, an experience that's now made even worse since I recently got my first multifocal glasses for everyday, all-day use.
Thank god that viewfinders still haven't been assigned to the garbage heap of history ...