I think my favorite skill for portraiture is to slow down and connect with my subject in some way that transcends the process of photographing.


©Kirk Tuck, All Rights Reserved.

Nifty Fifty lens and the Leica SL camera. A good match. Nice color/create black and whites.


My only hesitation with the Leica 24-90mm Vario Elmarit solved.

Love the 24-90mm lens. It's a perfect range of focal lengths and it would be hard to fault the optical performance. I use the lens a lot and over the course of owning it for a year my only complaint has been the issues caused by the weight of the lens when using it on a tripod in a "portrait" orientation. I can screw down the tripod screw like gang-busters and from time to time still get the dreaded droop. The weight of the lens and camera cause the assemblage to twist downward. Gravity is a bitch. 

I was thinking about this recently and thought how great it would be if someone made a product specifically for my Leica lens that gave me a traditional lens/tripod collar. At the end of a fun day of photography I was uploading files to Lightroom and I plugged in a search on B&H Photo's website. And there it was. A Novoflex tripod collar for "selected" Leica SL lenses. Two lenses fit the bill; the 24/90 and the 90/280. I hit the "buy" button with enthusiasm. I hoped it would be a good purchase. Especially since I have portrait shoots booked for both this week and next. 

It arrived this morning at 11:48. The product is spare, minimal and works perfectly with my lens of choice. I've been playing with it for a while and it changes the way I can work with the lens on a tripod. I know a lot of people who like to handhold their lenses when they make portraits but I'm more comfortable letting the tripod to the hard work. And, unlike a lot of my peers, I prefer to use continuous light sources instead of flash so the ability to comfortably use a tripod vectors into my working style. 

From a theoretical angle I like the "idea" that we're taking weight off the lens mount at the camera and also at the lens. Even though I am sure both are designed to handle the weight I'm of the opinion that the further we stay from the edges of an operational envelope the longer the gear will stay in tolerance. I am now officially smitten with the new accessory and the potential it opens up for me with the lens.
It's been a busy Sunday. I delivered the Canon FTb film camera with a 50mm lens to one of my young swim coaches this morning. He asked me what I do for a living one morning at practice and when he found out that I'm a photographer he told me about his desire to work with an actual film camera. He was born in 1999, into the age of "full digital" so it's all new and interesting to him. I needed someone to hand off the camera and lens to and he just happened to speak up at the right time. A welcome reduction of inventory for me and a no cost introduction to film for him. 

I left the pool and headed over to the Clarksville neighborhood to have coffee with my friend and former assistant and video partner, Chris. He sold his house here in Austin for more money than he ever dreamed possible and he and his wife are moving to the Pacific NW. I'll miss Chris. He was an inventive artist and ready to take deep dives into whatever interested him. We worked on still photography projects together and he partnered with me on several successful video projects for restaurants. I even used him as talent once.

He forgot to pack one thing for the move out of town and so he left it in my care. I now have his O'Connor Ultimate 1030D  cinema tripod and fluid head here in my office. Should be fun to play with for a while. It's a beast.