• #1734

    The only surviving silk mill in the US is located in Lanaconing, Md. It is currently in a terrible state of disrepair, and indeed may be demolished momentarily. I got permission to enter and photograph. There are no lights in the main and upper floors; the only light is from the windows along the exterior walls of the building. There are a couple of old bulbs in the basement, but again, most light is from the outside. I have been there twice; the most recent trip just last weekend. Unfortunately, it was heavily overcast, and the light entering the building was minimal.

    To test the Leica S2's low light capability, I decided not to do any HDR, nor use any flash. Rather, except for a couple of images (for which I used light painting), I used only available light. I also decided not to use extremely long exposures, but rather try to capture the dark atmosphere of the building, and the play of light through the windows.

    Remarkably, despite exposures typically around 6 – 8 seconds, the noise was essentially non-existent. The Leica did a “noise reduction” equivalent to the length of the exposure each time, and the images were “clean.”

    The shallow depth of field was sometimes a problem, and many of the images are at f/16. Also, I manually focused, which at times was difficult in the dark. But, the Leica's viewfinder was much better than the Nikon D300 I used on my first trip.

    Metering was completely useless. The camera did not meter correctly. (David please
    take note). It either over or under exposed. I finally just followed the histogram and with a couple of shots, could get the exposure I wanted.

    Despite all these adversities, the areas in focus show remarkable definition, detail, texture and contrast. Actually, I have not applied a lot of post processing to these images, besides obviously converting a number to monochrome (with dodging and burning).

    To summarize, I was impressed that the camera could capture the images in such low light, indeed I feel essentially as good as a Nikon D3s. Actually, I could easily “over expose” at 8 seconds if near the windows. The lenses continued to be remarkable. The metering continues to be nearly useless. The ergonomics continue to be superb.

    Here is a link to my web site and these images. Note that there are 4 “pages”. The first page are from my first trip and obtained with a Nikon D300. The other pages are with the Leica (the images obtained with the Leica have a (L) in their title).


    I hope you enjoy the images!

    Thanks for looking.


    craig rudlin

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