The Unfair Advantage of Using David Farkas' (Free) Lightroom presets for the Leica SL2. Not much text here; just two example images...

this image is a straight out of camera and loaded into 
Lightroom Classic using Adobe's "Color" preset. 

this image was imported into Lightroom Classic using
David Farkas' SL2 preset. It is available at 
no cost on The Red Dot Forum. 

Here is a great explainer about using the presets to get your Leica camera images into the ballpark. David has presets for most current and recent Leica digital cameras. They are a nice starting point...

Added later for clarification: I should have written more. I sometimes fret that I write too much. But there it is. What I should have said is that David's presets are a good starting point for me. Several commenters have suggested that his preset for the SL2 is "turned up to 11" and I'll grant you that it's a bit over saturated, and a bit crunchy but the whole point of presets is to create a good starting point for one's own vision. 

I would use the preset that David provided (mostly, I think, as an example...) to modify to suit my own vision of what I'd like to see in all the similar files from the camera, but as a starting point. 

I do appreciate the comments as I took too much for granted on this one. I am modifying several of the presets to better reflect my vision but am thankful to have both a starting point and also a really good tutorial on how to create and use presets within Lightroom. 

Thanks, Kirk

Walking around the lake at twilight on a rainy day. March 31, 2020.

Photographers are fond of saying, "It's all about the light!" but I disagree. It's really all about finding the subject first and then waiting for the light to work. Or providing the light your subject needs. These were taken minutes apart on a rainy Thursday in the early days of our awareness of the pandemic. It was the first time I experienced Austin in the late afternoon with no cars, no trucks, no buses and no foot traffic. Everything felt quiet and still. A bit morose. Lonely. 

I tried to illustrate those feelings with a wide angle lens and a resistance to believing the camera's light meter. The top image is ten feet forward and to the left of the bottom image. They seem so different to me. 

Today: Just as the Pacific Northwest U.S. is about to endure another unwanted bout of oppressive and dangerous heat we seem to be settling into an opposite pattern here. It's been raining off and on for what seems like week and rain is forecast for a number of days ahead. This is usually the time of year when Austin is hot and dry but this year the temperatures are below normal and we're ahead on rain.

I'm in the lull before a portrait subject arrives. If he's punctual we'll photograph at 2 pm. If he's punctual I'll be out photographing for run with the new lens by 3. If he cancels well....at least the bathroom got cleaned and the floors swept. That's something. 


Sometimes, when you are out in a driving rain storm, you get a bit lucky. More so if you had the foresight to bring along a camera...

Once upon a time I wrote a blog post about how to stay engaged in photography. I talked a lot about discipline and felt all smug about my own commitment to getting out and shooting. But today, Sunday July 4th, it started raining just as I was about to leave the house with a camera to go on yet another walk through downtown. I was going to flake and forgo the walk, grab a cup of coffee, and sit down in a comfy chair to read a good book instead. But I felt a bit hypocritical for letting a little gentle rain stand in the way of my practice, and the potential visual treasures, so I went ahead and journeyed out.

A soft rain was floating down when I parked over by Treaty Oak and pulled a rain jacket, and a black baseball cap (made of cotton and not wool!!!) out of the hatch back, stuck a newly washed bandana in the jacket pocket in case I needed to wipe raindrops off my lens or camera, and headed east down 5th Street toward the core of downtown. 

As the walk progressed so did the rain. My feet, in an old pair of running shoes, were soon soaked through. By the time I hit the farthest point from my car there began loud peals of thunder and the rain progressed from soft and gentle to spirited and soak-y. Of course I'd brought along my most expensive camera and one of my newest lenses. Leica markets their SL2 as the only camera with a IP 54 rating for water and dust resistance and I decided to throw caution to the wind (and rain) and use the camera just as I would if I were cavorting about on a bright and dry Spring day. Cue the butterflies and unicorns...

On the way back to the car I stopped for a moment under an overhang to wipe off my glasses and to wipe a bit of standing water off the barrel of my Sigma 85mm f1.4 DG DN Art lens. I was just getting ready to step back out into the rain when I did a quick 360° scan to update my situational awareness. I hate it when people just assume their path is "all clear" and step out in front of me without looking. I like to extend a higher degree of courtesy to the people around me. 

When I looked back over my shoulder I noticed a father and daughter were just about to walk past me. I stood in place and after they passed by I brought up my camera and shot a few frames. I really like the photos and find the whole mood of the black and white photos almost timeless.  I included a range of images because I think it's important, when out photographing, to really explore a scene beyond just getting one quick snap. You never know how things will unfold. Luck corresponds to the patience you bring to the unfolding moments. Here's my lucky few...

 I survived the rain. My shoes were a soggy mess. My camera and lens seemed absolutely indifferent to the atmospherics of the whole episode. By the way, my mission today was to really start diving into the black and white mode of the Leica SL2. I'm messing around with that camera's sparse parameter controls because I really like more "bite" and contrast than the people at Leica who program the color (or monochrome) science into their cameras. I turn up both the contrast and the sharpness and then do some tweaking in Lightroom. I think I'm starting to get things dialed in. 

A usual, click to see the images larger...