Leica CL | 11-23mm | F9 | 20s | ISO 100
- Leica M10
- Leica CL
- 11-23mm F3.5-4.5
- 21mm Super Elmar
- 35mm F2.5 Skopar
- 50mm F1.4 Summilux ASPH
- 90mm F4 Macro Elmar
- Mini Tripod
This was the holiday that I’d been waiting for. Tiffany and I had been to some awesome places together in the last few years, but we’d not had a warm relaxing holiday for a while so I was really looking forward to this one!
We didn’t plan as meticulously as previous holidays, with ‘just’ a 4 day PADI diving course to complete in the first half of the holiday, but more on this a little later. We wanted to relax and wander at our own place and not overcommit.
Leica CL | 11-23mm | 15s | F9 | ISO 100
Leica CL | 11-23mm | 12s | F9 | ISO 100
Upon arrival in the Uber that we couldn’t work out how to tip, we walked through the hotel doors and were immediately struck by the crazy sea and island views from the hotel windows. I had a great feeling about this place straight away. We got to our room and the views just got better! I see why this place was popular, every room in the hotel faced the water as did the restaurants, pools, bars and gym.
Leica CL | 11-23mm | F9 | 20s | ISO 100
Selfishly, Tiffany was abandoning me soon after our return from Croatia to travel with her friend Emma and Mum to Australia and the great barrier reef, so she desperately wanted to do her diving qualification whilst in Croatia, something her friend Emma had already done. I was not loving the fact that I’d be spending almost half the holiday in a wetsuit, but like most things that I think I won’t like I was proven wrong and Tiffany was right as always. We did our PADI Open Water qualification with Marko, one of the Blue Planet diving instructors over the first four days of the holiday. I was not quite ready for how full on and tiring this would be, with 9 dives in 4 days and a tonne of learning to take in, but it was well worth it.
RX100 V | 24mm | F4 | 1/60 | ISO 125
RX100 V | 24mm | F4 | 1/60| ISO 125
I took an RX100 V with the Sony underwater housing along with me. Shooting underwater when you barely know how to survive under there was, well, tricky! I quickly realised that I had to actually learn to dive before I started being distracted buy a floating camera knocking me in the face constantly. Once I started to feel more comfortable in the water I began to really enjoy it and the last pleasure dive was fantastic. Some of the photos are below from the dive.
RX100 V | 24mm | F4 | 1/60 | ISO 3200
RX100 V | 24mm | F4 | 1/125 | ISO 125
The Old Town and Lokrum.
I won’t hide the overwhelming feeling of satisfaction and relief after passing the course, and I could now start the photographic side of the trip, or just lay in the sun for hours on end if Tiffany had her way!
We spent the next few days wandering around the old town of Dubrovnik and Lokrum (the mysterious or not, green island just South of the city) and shot a tonne of photos. I couldn’t get enough of the natural colours that Croatia offered. Pale stone, with bright orange roofs, crystal clear blue water and green trees. It felt surreal. I’d never been to the glorious Adriatic before but I will sure be going back for the water and scenery alone.
Leica M10 | 50mm Summilux ASPH | F8 | 1/350 | ISO 800
Leica M10 | 90mm Macro Elmar | 1/250 | F5.6 | ISO 100
The old town of Dubrovnik is a beautiful space. It oozes history like few other places I have been to and it’s unbelievably well kept too. It has an authentic, lived in feel with very few grand buildings like most cities. Instead it’s like a castle with its own unique town inside. I suppose the 40 foot castle looking walls help with that feeling. Of course there are some gorgeous feature buildings in the old town, but it’s the look of the place as a whole that does it for me.
Leica CL | 11-23mm | F9 | 1/100 | ISO 100
Leica M10 | 50mm Summilux ASPH | F2 | 1/250 | ISO 250
The main street through the middle of the old town looks immense. But it’s busy. It is without doubt worth coming here early in the morning, say 6am when it is likely to be extremely quiet with no tourists in sight. I know, I’m a tourist too. The main walkway has a plethora of small cobbled back streets connecting to each other that are filled with the usual bars, restaurants and shops. These streets are a super place for street photography though, but admittedly we didn’t spend as much time here as we’d have liked. Partly because it was so busy and party due to the 75% humidity and 35-degree heat most days.
The best views in and around the old town are from the city walls, but don’t make the mistake we did and go up mid-summer, at 1pm! After wandering around the city for most of the morning there was no getting away from the sun up on the walls. I melted. The views though are worth being burned for, I suppose. It’s amazing how many buildings seem almost built on top of each other in this place. You can create some pretty lovely compositions up here too, orange roofs, Lokrum in the distance and the walls outlining it all. Just go up around 5pm instead or an hour before sunset.
Leica M10 | 50mm Summilux ASPH | F8 | 1/350 | ISO 100
Leica M10 | 50mm Summilux ASPH | F8 | 1/500 | ISO 100
We spent half a day on the little island that you can see from the old town, Lokrum. It’s a short (15 or so minutes) boat trip from the harbour and it is a much-needed break from the crowds in the city. Lokrum has no inhabitants of its own unless you count the hundreds of peacocks and rabbits and also has no cars, so is extremely peaceful, especially if you venture off the beaten track and find your own little spot. Years ago Lokrum was said to be cursed, so nobody stayed there after dark. Now I think the reason is less exciting and more to do with preserving the wildlife and preserving the island. I suppose the main attraction is the dead sea which is a picturesque small lake in the middle, this seems to be where 50% of the people were too. It’s a pretty beautiful little place and the clear waters and green trees make it for me, but I wouldn’t spend more than half a day there.
Three Image Stitch | Leica M10 | 90mm Macro Elmar | F5.6 | ISO 100
Leica CL | 11-23mm | F7.1 | 1/640 | ISO 100
I’ll cut it short, if you go to Dubrovnik it would be a crime not to go to The Bay of Kotor. This is without question the most beautiful place that I have ever been to. This is also my kind of traveling; just the two of us, a car and a camera.
Leica CL | 11-23mm | F6.3 | 1/250 | ISO 100
Leica M10 | 50mm Summilux ASPH | F2.8 | 1/1000 | ISO 100
It was a toss up between here and Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina and purely down to the distance we opted for Montenegro instead. Fortunately, we overheard a conversation in the hotel about the lengthy (up to several hours) border wait to get into Montenegro. But, Lastminute car hire dropped the car off to us at 7pm the day before instead of the normal 8am which meant we could leave super early and beat the queues, and it worked like a charm and we were through with no delays at all, so bear that in mind.
Leica M10 | 50mm Summilux ASPH | F2.8 | 1/1500 | ISO 100
Leica M10 | 50mm Summilux ASPH | F8 | 1/180 | ISO 100
Generally, as you get into the country the first place you’ll hit is Herceg Novi, it is a lovely little town right on the water. Park at the top car park and wander down the winding little walkways, past numerous cafes and restaurants and out onto the edge of the water. It is definitely worth a stop here.
Leica CL | 11-23mm | F4.5 | 1/1600 | ISO 100
Next stop, Tivat. Head east along really the only road you can and you’ll get to a short ferry crossing that takes you to the other side of the bay, its a few euros and you cannot miss it. Tivat is a short drive away from here and it is very different now to everything else around the bay. It’s recent modernisation shows. Impeccably tidy, purposefully positioned palm trees, clean lines and some of the biggest superyachts that I’ve seen. Would I go back there though? Probably not. It doesn’t have the feel of the rest of the bay.
Leica M10 | 21mm Super Elmar | F8 | 1/350 | ISO 100
Leica M10 | 21mm Super Elmar | F8 | 1/250 | ISO 250
Kotor is the largest of the towns around the bay and it’s really the centerpiece. We spent about 3-4 hours there, which was really not enough. We saw all and none of Kotor at the same time. Tiffany and I climbed the 1400 large steps up to the top of the fortress, it was super hot and there isn’t much shade en route either. There was a lovely old man selling beer and water on the way up, he walks up these steps carrying a cool box full of drinks every day and he must have been around 75-80 years old. The views from the top were incredible, it is without a doubt worth going up to the top even if it takes you an hour or two, stick with it. By the time we’d got to the top it was time to head back down and get to the last destination of the trip, Perast.
Leica CL | 11-23mm | F6.3 | 1/200 | ISO 100
Leica M10 | 50mm Summilux ASPH | F8 | 1/500 | ISO 100
Perast was the place we wanted to finish, it looked amazing in the photos and was far more relaxed than Kotor. It’s an idyllic place that is right on the water, perfect for a cocktail and a bit of swimming in the bay. It has amazing views of Our Lady of the Rocks, which is a small island in the middle of the bay and it’s probably the best place for the sunset in the entire bay too. The sun sets just over the mountains and the restaurants along the front are a perfect way to see it. We ate about 6 inches from the edge of the water.
Leica CL | 11-23mm | F4.5 | 30 | ISO 400
Elaphiti Islands and Croatian Coast.
We were pretty keen to save a bit of money towards the end of the holiday. Croatia was far more expensive than we’d imagined but we still wanted to see the Elaphiti islands, so we opted for a boat tour for the masses for 60 Euros, instead of 500 for a private tour. We enjoyed it more than we thought we would as normally we like to do this on our own terms and go for something that was quieter. This was quite the opposite though with 100 plus people on a large wooden pirate ship. Subtle it was not but it was well done nonetheless.
Leica M10 | 90mm Macro Elmar | F8 | 1/250 | ISO 100
Leica M10 | 90mm Macro Elmar | F5.6 | 1/180 | ISO 200
The Elaphiti or Elafiti islands are like large versions of Lokrum, but with roads, houses and small villages. They are very peaceful places on the whole and if I were to venture to this part of the Adriatic again I would spend much more time on these islands. I just didn’t get bored of how everything looked and I loved being so close to the water.
Leica CL | 11-23mm | F8 | 1/160 | ISO 100
I do recommend that you spend some time outside the city. Take a car and travel up or down the coast a little and explore the ‘Dubrovnik Riviera’. The tiny villages and bays up and down the coast are stunning and are definitely worth exploring. I wish we had more time to do this, but eleven days was not quite enough to fit it all in. Prices are far lower here than in Dubrovnik, which if I am honest, were a little overpriced. But what major capital isn’t?
Leica CL | 11-23mm | F9 | 1/60 | ISO 100
I’d find it hard to think that anyone could find Croatia anything other than a beautiful place. The colours are vibrant in every sense, from the towns to the nature, the water is warm and crystal clear, the trees are bright green and it’s warm for most of the year. The roads along the coast wind round, up and down giving you an amazing view as you venture further. It is a place that you can get lost in, whether it’s the history and stories that surround this part of the world, the islands and coastline or just the lovely people, food and culture that you get here. I wholeheartedly recommend Croatia as a destination to travel to.
At this point, I realise that I have barely talked about my equipment. There are a few reasons for this.
Firstly I have very little to say about the Leica M10, its the best camera I have ever used and it’s also more enjoyable than any other camera that I have used. The lenses are tiny meaning I can carry 4 or 5 in a small shoulder bag which would be impossible with any other full-frame system or APSC for that matter. Going from a normal shooting setup with the M10 to one for long exposure on a tripod is effortless, hardly any menus are required, in fact none are really.
Leica M10 | 90mm Macro Elmar | F5.6 | 1/250 | ISO 1250
The CL is a slightly different story but a mostly positive one. I actually forgot my M to TL adapter so I was stuck with using the 11-23mm lens on it for the whole trip, but this wasn’t a bad thing really. It’s a stellar lens and looking at the files at home shows me just how good this lens is, and its cheap for a Leica and a zoom. Quite an amazing achievement from Leica here.
Leica CL | 11-23mm | F9 | 1/125 | ISO 100
The CL is a lovely little camera. The design is gorgeous and the way Leica have dreamt up the functionality of the two button dials is excellent. It makes transitioning from one style of shooting to another completely seamless. The file quality is very good and I am a huge fan of the noise pattern and preservation of detail over noise reduction. There’s nothing worse than noiseless files that have smeared detail to cover this up.
Leica M10 | 50mm Summilux ASPH | F4 | 8s | ISO 100
There are some things that I don’t like about the CL though:
- Compared to the M, it’s build quality is sub-par. I think anyone denying that is, in denial. While it’s still very well made, it is clearly in a different world to the M system.
- When shooting into bright light like the sun or artificial light at night, there seems to be a reflection or pattern on the sensor. This can range from unnoticeable to very prominent and I have yet to determine the exact reasons for this or conditions for which its produced. It’s also been mentioned on the L-Camera forum pretty readily.
- The lenses are huge. I guess you cannot have it all. Leica produce amazing optics, but their autofocus lenses are pretty darn large. That said the 11-23 is not too large for the quality it gives.
- Overall the CL is a brilliant camera and it’s design and clever usability has been designed by a company who really care about photography. Considering it is Leica’s first camera of this type, it’s seriously impressive. Is it the best APSC camera available? Not from a value standpoint no, or maybe not from any standpoint. But it’s great fun and produces great images.
Leica CL | 11-23mm | F9 | 1/80 | ISO 100