The Leica Monochrom is a wonderful night time camera. Featuring sky high ISO, access to some of the worlds fastest lenses and raw files which can be brightened to eternity. Here in the fjord-county of Norway however, sometimes even that is not enough. It can get really dark, usually accompanied by rain and storm. So if you want to go out with a camera, you need to bring your own light. For example in the shape of a flash.
Leica makes a neat little mini flash (SF-24D) which makes the whole rig look like a point-and-shoot from the seventies, and will at the same time fit in a coat pocket. Keeping with Leica traditions, it doesn’t have any many the electronic flash functions invented after the seventies either. And I don’t mind at all. I just love the slightly brutal straight-on light that this little thing makes. A bit like a point-and-shoot, only stronger.
Also, I really enjoy the fact that with a flash it is very hard to imagine how the end result will look: most of the time all you can do is to fire and hope for the best. Being a control freak, I find this an exhilarating (and slightly scary) practise in letting go of control. But with aperture 8 and guesstimate manual focus you can usually get quite far.
As per usual with the Leica Monochrom it is important to, if not avoid, then at last be careful with overexposure. I find that setting the flash to -1 usually solves any quibbles. In addition it adds extra reach to the flash.
It gives me associations of the famous blue-light hunter Weegee, who prowled the streets of New York looking to expose any shady or seedy activity, where not even the smallest grain of dust escaped.
Now there are few shady or seedy activities around where I live, out here in the Norwegian boondocks. However I still find it interesting that the everyday (read: boring) things I like to photograph will be rendered in a different light, literally.
Besides it makes rain or snow into a photo-op. I love the little octagonal dots that form inside rain drops. Do keep in mind we have on average 200-300 days a year with precipitation around here! The Leica unfortunately is not waterproof, but an umbrella and a plastic bag does wonders.