a journal of cycling, adventure, and photography
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To Be Determined Journal

To Be Determined is a journal of cycling, adventure and photography, curated by a NYC-based cycling team known as TBD Racing or Team TBD. From criteriums to cyclocross to bikepacking and gravel it is all part of the TBD Journal.

Saint Louis Wanderings with the Leica M & Noctilux

With a trip to Japan looming in three weeks I am officially approaching crunch time for both actual trip planning as well as decision making on camera choices for this possibly once in a lifetime journey. My recent travels to Paris (“Four Days in Paris”) and Norway (“Work In Progress: Norway) have been very Sony heavy as the A7 series is proficient and easy to shoot in just about any context. But for Japan I am thinking about packing lightweight and slowing down my shooting after a lot of rapid fire biking related photography in recent months (“A Different Type-A, “Intelligentsia Cup 2018: The Introduction”).

To test this theory I borrowed some Leica kit for a quick trip home to Saint Louis for Thanksgiving. For a whole variety of reasons it wasn’t a photography focused weekend in the slightest, but from the actual flight to frying turkeys, and some exploration in and around town, I did manage to sneak in a few images with a Leica M10 paired with the Noctilux 50. Make no mistake, the M10 + Noct is a ridiculous set of kit in nearly every regard including in particular the price point. It is more camera than I needed for a quick trip home (or most circumstances for that matter), especially since I was generally shooting in well lit conditions. And there is a definite downside with weight as the Noctilux manages to turn the lightweight M10 into a hefty beast to hold - I was legitimately surprised by just how much the Noctilux weighs.

But the combination is an absolutely sublime pleasure to shoot. No other camera + lens combo comes close to the joy I have gotten out of this pairing. While the M10 manual focus can be a bit much to handle in high speed (bike racing) circumstances in the slow paced context that was visiting family in Saint Louis - for example wandering around Laumeier Sculpture Park on a beautiful fall day - it was a pretty perfect kit to experiment with. The final images probably wouldn’t go on any of my ‘favorite images’ lists but they do get me excited to head to Japan in a few weeks to see what memories I can capture there.

Leica M, 50mm Noctilux, 1/125 sec, ISO 250

Leica M, 50mm Noctilux, 1/250 sec, ISO 100

Leica M, 50mm Noctilux, 1/125 sec, ISO 500

Leica M, 50mm Noctilux, 1/1000 sec, ISO 100

Leica M, 50mm Noctilux, 1/500 sec, ISO 100

Leica M, 50mm Noctilux, 1/4000 sec, ISO 100

Leica M, 50mm Noctilux, 1/1400 sec, ISO 100

Leica M, 50mm Noctilux, 1/180 sec, ISO 100

Leica M, 50mm Noctilux, 1/1000 sec, ISO 100

Leica M, 50mm Noctilux, 1/125 sec, ISO 250

Leica M, 50mm Noctilux, 1/750 sec, ISO 100

Leica Q, 28mm, 1/50 sec, ISO 1600