You Say Kolkata, I Say Calcutta: Leica M9 in India

So, I did something I had never really considered doing, I bought a Leica. A lightly used M9. After snickering at the Leica-heads for years, I now am one. I did however avoid acquiring the subsequent Leica Lens Fever that can kill savings accounts.
Instead I bought a few very reasonably priced Voigtlander lenses. This glass comes in at around 20% of what similar Leica lenses would cost. Sure, Leica lenses are the best, but these Japanese lenses are just fine for my needs. Voila, my new travel kit.
To kick the tires on my modest little rangefinder package, I went off to India for a few weeks. For the first couple of weeks I wandered aimlessly around Calcutta, shooting portraits and drinking tea. Then I headed to Jodhpur, Rajasthan to take part in conducting a workshop on travel photography. This gave me plenty of time to find out what would and would not work with the rangefinder.
Obviously I love this camera. It's amazing to use, it makes me slow down, and best of all, the files are beautiful. Warm and more 'filmy' than the Canon files I am used to. (It's the CCD sensor I'm told.)
Here are a few samples of images I made with the Leica, and my cheapo Voigtlander lenses.
You can check out a larger gallery of these recent images on my FB page and my website.

Voigtlander 75 Heliar
Leica M9, Voigtlander 75 Heliar

Voigtlander 35 Color Skopar
Leica M9, 35 Color Skopar

Voigtlander 35 Color Skopar
Leica M9, 35 Color Skopar

Voigtlander 21mm Color Skopar
Kolkata, Leica M9, 21 Color Skopar

Voigtlander 35 Color Skopar
Kolkata Rickshaw, Leica M9

35 Color Skopar
Saraswati Puja, Kolkata, Leica M9, 35 Color Skopar

Jodhpur, Leica M9, 50 Nokton

Voigtlander 35 Color Skopar
Kolkata Rickshaw, Leica M9, 35 Color Skopar
Kolkata, 21 Color Skopar
Kolkata Rickshaw, Leica M9

Think Tank Urban Disguise

I'm not really into talking about camera bodies and lenses. It's pretty obvious what you need based on your style. I haven't bought a big ticket camera item for years.
But, I can talk about camera bags! Since my work takes me to a lot of different places with a variety or camera and lens selections, I have around 10 bags for different purposes.
One of the most useful is Think Tank Urban Disguise. This is an incredibly well designed and constructed bag. I use it for day to day shooting when I need two bodies and four or more lenses. It is also useful for big trips, as it holds an insane amount of stuff. Check out the video I did showing what I safely packed for a big road trip job last year.

Think Tank Urban Disguise 70

Battambang (ក្រុងបាត់ដំបង)

I have been hanging out in Battambang since the late 1990s when I first went up there on the train. It has always been a very old school Khmer province, with lots of rice fields and a cool main town.
In the past few years it has been overrun with the typical channeled backpackers, in town for one or two nights, clutching their Lonely Planets and going where they are told to go. I know that 99.999% of them are going thisaway, so I just go thataway. You can still see the 'real Cambodia' only a few miles from town.
I just spent a bit of time there, wandering around the countryside. Here are a few images I took. You can see a lot more here.

Fisherman - going out to catch food for his family. (Battambang)

Man & his cow, or cow & his man. (Battambang)

Cool old monk.

Replanting rice. (Battambang)

Duck herding.

Off to the fields.

Transplanting rice.

Battambang - "The Rice Bowl of Cambodia"

4 Deserts - Namibian Ultramarathon (Racing the Planet)

I have just returned from shooting a 7-day ultramarathon in southern Namibia staged by Racing the Planet. Competitors are required to carry all their stuff, including food, for a grueling 250 km run/jog/walk/crawl. The race began at the Fish River Canyon, the world's second largest, and ended with a run over the massive dunes of the Namib Desert. At one point we were on land that had been sealed off for 100+ years, wagon tracks of the original settlers still visible in the sand.
While most competitors were normal folks just aiming to finish, there were a small number of elite athletes in the field including Marco Olmo and Ryan Sandes.
It was cold. And hot. There were stinging plants, scorpions and poisonous snakes. I have some nasty chewed-up feet shots you don't want to see.
See more images, VDO and results here.
More images here.

Namibia dunes
Racing the Planet
Marco Olmo
Marco Olmo

Luderitz, Namibia
Racing the Planet

Namibian Dunes

Puffed Adder