Two months with the Leica Q2
I read Craig’s wonderful essay at least three times before I finally concluded that I was going to have to own a Leica Q. Luckily for me, that indecision finally expired as the Q2 was just around the corner, and so I decided that would be my first Leica (notwithstanding my Minolta CLE which is close, but not quite a Leica).
I have enjoyed taking photographs a lot in the past twelve months - having a new baby meant taking almost daily, hours-long walks with him. Initially, so that his mum could get some precious sleep, and laterly because he is excellent and we have a lovely time out walking together. Taking parental leave also meant that for the first time since moving to IJburg a couple of years ago, I have had ample time to explore this odd little end of Amsterdam, and I have come to love its architectural idiosyncrasies and it’s sheer audacity as an experiment in city expansion.
Originally, these morning trips were a threesome - Me, Ellis & my iPhone. The camera on the iPhone X and the XS Max I recently replaced it with are really excellent, and for someone like me who has basically zero technical knowledge when it comes to photography, the ease of use and reliability of the camera meant I was able to capture some really nice shots. Soon though, I found myself wanting something a little more powerful, and something which I could learn with and grow in confidence as an amateur photographer.
What I love about the Q2 is that you can pick it up and start shooting right away. If you let the camera do all the hard work and leave everything on auto - you are pretty much guaranteed a good shot. The first morning I took it out I was lucky enough to be greeted by a thick blanket of fog, and I captured these two photographs
I was so happy with the results when I got back home and looked at them on a big screen that I couldn’t wait for Victoria to wake up so I could show her what I’d managed to shoot.
Since that first morning, I’ve experimented with different subjects and different styles of composition and editing, but I always seem to come back to taking photographs of buildings. I never managed to get around to becoming an architect, so I guess this is the next best thing. Being here on the Eastern extremities of Amsterdam gives me easy access to some really interesting buildings, and I’ve been collecting as many of them as I can:
I suppose that this kind of photograph appeals to me because it doesn’t require much in the way of complex framing or worrying about light. I mostly just look for an interesting angle which gives a good sense of a building and snap away.
As my confidence with Lightroom has grown, I’ve also started to experiment with a bit more intense editing, trying to bring to the fore some of the incredible detail which the Q2 is able to capture. The photograph below was a quick shot I took looking across the bus terminal at the side of Amstel Station. It’s only recently that the station has been returned to its former glory, and this was the first time I think I’d been able to enjoy it from this angle in at least five years. When I got home and looked at this on my monitor I was amazed to see how crisp the image was, and how intense the light and shadow were on that early morning in May.
I had a similar aha moment when I mindlessly snapped this photograph of a jetty pointing towards Diemerpark from Steigereiland. It’s fun to realise time and again that the best shots are never the ones I feel confident about as I take them.
I think my favourite shot of all of the many thousands I’ve taken in the past couple of months is this one of the elevated entrance to the Barbican Centre from the Barbican Estate. I have been to London a bunch in the past few months, and always try and find a spare hour or so to wander around here. As two icons of design, it feels right and proper to be shooting a Leica at The Barbican. I can’t wait for my next trip to explore it some more.
I know that there is much to learn about both my new camera, and taking good photographs, but for now I feel like I am developing a style, and an eye for a good shot. That I can do that without needing to learn the ins-and-outs of this remarkable camera is a testament to how good it is. Knowing that there are years worth of things to learn, but that I can do it whilst enjoying myself makes for a fun new hobby.