Jun 122012
 

JUST GO SHOOT! By Aaron Hardin

Steve, I’ve been a Leica shooter for a few years now and have used an M4-P and Voigtlander 35mm exclusively for one of my projects over the past 2 years. It would be nice to have an M9, but you can buy a TON of Tri-X for that kind of money (not to mention a few plane tickets). The following project called “Abyssinia” is a long-term project I’m working on in Ethiopia (primarily in and around Addis Abeba).

Though travelling internationally with film can be a real pain in the neck, I’ve managed to make it through without much hassle. I really wanted to shoot the project with all Tri-X due to the beautiful texture and longevity of its aesthetic. I also like T-Max 100 from time to time.

Now that the gear stuff is out-of-the-way, I wanted to encourage those frequenters of your site to GO SHOOT! I’ve spent countless hours researching gear, looking forward to the next big thing or pining over cameras far out of my price range (read “M9″). But what does it all matter if you aren’t going to take that little machine and produce something with it. We all have a voice and an eye and often times something to say. So don’t be afraid to MAKE A PHOTO.

I had many peers that thought I was crazy to fly halfway across the world with just a camera, lens, light meter and bag of black and white film. No digital camera. No color film. No excuses. We forget that Cartier-Bresson likely used the same body for many years and maybe 2 lenses for his whole career… and he changed photography forever.

Keep clicking,

Aaron Hardin

aaronhardinphoto.com

Jun 082012
 

The M3… for kids’ sports?

Hi Steve,

Last year, I wrote a short article for your site called “The Leica M9… for sports?” .

This year, I’m still photographing my kids’ sports activities with an M9, but two weeks ago I decided to take my M3 instead.

I did it for a couple of reasons: Firstly, I just like the look of film. Secondly, I thought it would be fun.

Well, 3 rolls of Tri-X 400 later, I ended up with some keepers. Actually, I ended up with a whole bunch of keepers, and I’m sharing a few here.

Incidentally, if any of your readers are interested in learning about how I process my B&W film, they can read about it here.

Regards,

Peter | Prosophos

www.prosophos.com

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Jun 052012
 

Istanbul is an amazing city – and for street photography it ranks right up there if not slightly higher than my up-until-now favourites like Mumbai, Cochin, Jodhpur and of course NYC.  Istanbul offers a fabulous mix of culture, amazing people and super food.

Bustling modern thoroughfares and timeless cobbled street neighborhoods are within a twenty-minute tram ride of each other – truly a photographer’s paradise.

I decided to shoot predominantly medium format b&w film on the streets during our 4 day visit. I have grown to love this format that forces me to slow down and think before shooting each frame.  There are only 12 frames per roll and I try to make each one count.

And as it turns out, contrary to what you would expect of large equipment, I was somehow viewed with less suspicion.  And ironically, with a waist level finder on my camera, I found it easier to become invisible when shooting in the streets.  No one would notice when I looked down into my camera finder to frame my shot.  I think most people thought I was just fiddling with this ancient looking contraption.

You can see more of my work at www.kaushalp.com and on my blog at http://kaushalpar.wordpress.com

May 232012
 

Leica Monochrom 1st Look Video and Sample – Review in July

 

 

OK! I have had this PRE-PRODUCTION Leica Monochrom camera for about 18 hours and have only shot a few things around the park and my house but did manage to make a quick 1st look video. 1st thoughts on the Leica Monochrom? It looks like an M9, feels like and M9, works like an M9 and even smells like an M9! Yep, basically, this is an M9 with a modified M9 sensor. No color channels. Pure B&W. Monochrome. My 1st thoughts are…who would pay $7,950 for a B&W only camera? Well, I feel many of you reading this will in fact do so because it is a niche camera..a specialty item that you can not get anywhere else. For those who love and adore B&W film and shooting, this camera is a dream. Sure, you can shoot an M9 and convert to B&W but will you get the same results? I did this test, side by side, same lenses, same subject and there are indeed differences with some subjects, not so much with others.

I will show these results in my upcoming review (Review not until July when I have a production camera) but can say that the IQ from this sensor is beautiful. Sharp, detailed, rich in B&W tones. During my week evaluation with this camera (Thank you Leica & Steffen K.) I am going  to decide if I want to buy my own Monochrom. If I fall madly in love with it, and that is possible, then I will. That means I would then use my OM-D as my color camera and sell my M9-P. We shall see, but my decision will be in my review as well, and that is a huge decision to make.

Also the X2 JUST ARRIVED to me 10 minutes ago so I will be doing a 1st look video and review of that one as well but it seems i have more time with that one so I probably will not start shooting with it for a week or so.

Here is ONE sample I want to show you. I shot this as a test for DR, Sharpness and Tonality with the Monochrom. Click it for the larger view and 100% crop.

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I am taking the Monnochrom with me to Chicago this weekend along with a 35 and 50 Lux ASPH and I may be shooting around Navy Pier Saturday night. My review will be up in about 10-12 days and will be full of samples and even comparisons with the M9 files converted to B&W. Should be fun. Enjoy!

May 222012
 

Summer is almost upon us by Ibraar Hussain

The weather has been pants lately, but there is hope, our weather forecasters are telling us that the extended April Showers are at an end! I absolutely love the summer, school holidays are a time of fun, country loafs, beach trips and generally chilling out and enjoying the British weather (when it’s fine). I tend to take out my smaller cameras, my Contax G2, especially my Contax Tvs III and Contax T2 which are both adorable things.

The Contax Tvs III I have has a lovely Vario-Sonnar T*30-60mm f3.7 to 6.7 lens. The lens is contrasty and sharp, not the fastest, but it sure renders slide film nicely as the Meter is spot on! it’s absolutely beautiful, built like a little sleek black tank with the coolest of lens flap mechanisms. The View Finder is on par with that built into the Contax G2. It has Aperture priority, exposure compensation and a Manual Focus mode – but I use it with Flash off, set to A priority AF and it nails the images every time! If you haven’t handled one, I recommend it, as just by looks, feel and handling alone it’ll put a smile on your face! It’s the type of camera you can use for just about anything, but great for Family days out and snap shots.

The Contax T2 is slightly more rotund, and more geared towards ‘serious’ photography. It is very fast in use, turns on almost instantaneously, and has a BIG Viewfinder, big and bright – much bigger than that on the G2. It also has a pinsharp fast Zeiss Sonnar T* 38mm f2.8 lens, faster and sharper than the Tvs III, AF which is very rapid, built-in flash, exposure compensation, Aperture priority and the usual to be found on a quality compact from this era. The Aperture is changed using the lens barrel and feels right (The TVS III uses buttons on the front of the camera).

Many people prefer the T2 to the much more expensive and sought after T3, I’ve never handled a T3 so cannot comment. The T2 is very special indeed.

I think both cameras are worth having, seeing as they’re to be found for bargain basement prices these days! The T2 is comparable to the Fuji X100, whereas the Tvs III is funky – like an original Contax T or Minox perhaps? The only downsides? Well, no facility to add filters to these! (whereas the T3 and Tvs I and II have!) In summer I tend to go completely nuts with super saturated slide film such as my favourite Kodak Ektachrome e100vs, and Fujichrome Velvia 50 and 100 and Sensia. I used to use print film such as Fuji real – but don’t touch print Film any more, too difficult to scan, and who likes scanning?

I also chuck on the Polariser (on the G2) and have fun with clouds and skies! Love em or hate em, saturated summer pictures sure as hell put a smile on my face, and I hope they do the same thing to you – reminding you of summer, blue skies and inspire you to go out and take some proper summer photo’s – unlike my snaps!

I’ve included some more shots here taken with the peerless Contax G2 as well for you to love or hate or troll! – either way, Summer’s here, go out and shoot some!

 

Durdle Door, Dorset Coast. Contax Tvs III. Fuji Velvia 50.

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Summer chilling, Stourhead. Wiltshire. Contax T2. Fuji Velvia 50
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Cliveden, Berkshire. Contax T2. Fuji Velvia 50
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Kid playing by a lake, West Wycombe park, Buckinghamshire. Contax Tvs III. Fuji Sensia 100
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Poppy field, Wiltshire. Contax Tvs III. Fuji Sensia 100.
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Church Steeple. Pitstone, Buckinghamshire. Contax G2 90mm Sonnar T*, Fuji Velvia 100. Hoya MC Polariser
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Wheatfield, Pitstone, Buckinghamshire. Contax G2 21mm Biogon  T*, Fuji Velvia 100. Hoya MC Polariser.
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Walk, Pitstone, Buckinghamshire. Contax G2 21mm Biogon  T*, Fuji Reala 100., (old print scan) Hoya MC Polariser.
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Triplets. Bales of Hay. Wiltshire. Contax G2 21mm Biogon T*. Kodak e100vs. Hoya MC Polariser.
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From Mount Snowdon, Wales. Contax G2, 21mm Biogon T* Kodakchrome K25 (my last roll of Kodachrome) Hoya MC Polariser.
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Swan lake on Fire. Virginia Waters. Surrey. Contax G2 21mm Biogon T*, Kodak e100vs. Hoya MC Polariser.
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Golden Summer Afternoon. Turville Village. Chiltern Hills. Berkshire. Contax G2 90mm Sonnar T*. Kodak e100vs.
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Polarised Clouds. (old scan from print) Contax G2 28mm Biogon T* (sold the 28 a while back and bought the 21) Fuji Reala 100 Hoya MC Polariser.
May 172012
 

To celebrate the release of the new Olympus OM-D I thought I’d take everyone for a trip down memory lane with a selection of snaps from my precious Olympus OM2n with the Zuiko MC 50mm f1.8 lens For those who haven’t had the pleasure of handling the OM2n, it’s a gem of a camera.

The OM philosophy was (and now is again) (in my own words) to create a high quality, beautifully engineered, precision photographic instrument with sharp quality optics in a compact size. The OM2n is certainly that.

The OM2n runs on a small watch type battery which lasts for years – this powers the (fairly accurate) meter and enables Aperture Priority operation, It’s widely available and isn’t one of the more sought out versions of the single digit OM series,That honour lies with the OM3Ti which is a fully mechanical camera and as rare as hens teeth!

The most advanced version is the OM4 and OM4Ti, these feature a revolutionary multi spot metering system which was and is highly regarded.

What I love about this camera is the fact that it looks superb and feels superb, strolling around the streets of London with it in my hand and around my neck, winding the film crank, and hearing the satisfying trip of the shutter, it attracts a lot of attention, it oozes class and sophistication, something Leicaman thinks is exclusive to him, but us Olympians know better!

The optics are also readily available, check out http://www.ffordes.co.uk who are brilliant when it comes to used camera equipment at bargain prices. I just love the Zuiko lenses, they’re small, compact, beautifully made and are a joy to use and focus smoothly, and most importantly produce crisp, contrasty pin sharp results (if you have decent eye sight as they’re all manual focus).

Well, if you’re used to Auto focussed fast DSLR’s with tunnel like viewfinders, or Micro 4/3rds compacts, or even Range Finders with quirky focussing – you’ll be surprised and pleased with using and playing with the OM series, with the HUGE bright View Finder (the only 35mm sized camera I’ve ever seen or used with a larger brighter Finder than this huge one on the OM is the peerless VF on the Contax Aria) the SLR design, and i’m going to get a LOT of flak for this, is better than a Range Finder design for making photographs and visualising – as you see what the lens see’s! (my personal opinions, so feel free to disagree).

For those purchasing the OM-D who have never used a classic OM – they’re affordable and worth investing in! You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the beauty and bright view finder, and for those complaining that Micro 4/3 cannot get you the shallow depth of field an APS-C or full Frame gives you, well, the 35mm Film is larger than either, so you’ll get as much shallow depth as you like!

Anyway, is the OM series worth getting in this day and age? Yes it is, as for the price of a cheap digital compact you can possess a beautifully made SLR with tack sharp lenses, which will serve you for many decades to come.

Anubis, the British Museum, OM2n 50mm @f1.8. Fuji Neopan 400.

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Kid at the Beach, OM2n 50mm f1.8  Agfa Precisa 100

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Coffee Break. Fuji Neopan 400 50mm Zuiko f1.8

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Kids At the Beach, 50mm f1.8 Agfa Precisa 100

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My Nephew Zuiko 50mm f1.8, Fuji Neopan 400

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Street vendor and Donkey in a Sarai Alamgir slum, Punjab, 2009. (this is either the 28mm or 50mm) Agfa Precisa 100 followed by a village girl 50mm Zuiko f1.8 Agfa Precisa

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Three is Company. Sheep under the full moon at dusk, Brecon Beacons. Kodak tri X 400, hand held. 50mm Zuiko f1.8 (cropped)

Apr 232012
 

Traveling and Film Photography by Ibraar Hussain

When people talk about travel and photography, exotic National Geographic or Lonely Planet type pictures come to mind, blue lagoons, snow-crested mountains, arid deserts and dusty hot Asian streets with notes of markets, food and spices emanating from the image.

One hardly thinks of England and Wales as exotic, and Travel photography and the two are hardly mentioned in the same breath. But England and Wales hold many delights for the adventurous, inquisitive, curious, wonder seeking and creative photographer.

We have The North of England and the Midlands; Cumbria and The Lake District which a well-known American photographer; Tom Mackie, says is his favourite place to photograph in the whole world, The Peak District, Yorkshire Dales and “Wuthering Heights, Bronte country”, The North York Moors, Worcester and the Malvern Hills where Tolkien was brought up and upon which The Shire of Lord of The Rings fame is based among many other places, Nottingham of Robin Hood fame, Oxford and Cambridge and of course the old cities of York, Worcester, Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham complete with their architecture, nightlife, history, people and football clubs!

We have the Cotswolds with their rustic thatch roofed houses, villages and bubbling brooks and water wheels, and we have The Victorian Mill towns which Don McCullin has covered so well, farther East we have Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and East Anglia with their windmills, marshlands and dreamy coastline, we have Kent and the so called garden of England.

On the western most side of the British mainland are Devon and Cornwall with their Jamaica Inn, Bodmin, Dartmoor, Lands End and St Michaels Mount. I’ve never had the chance to visit Cornwall and Devon yet, but hopefully this summer I will!

In this article I will concentrate on the Counties lying west of my home in London and Wales.

London itself is a fantastic city, with everything a photographer could wish for, but if you’re like me and born and brought up in a place you’ll probably know less than the average tourist about it! Any how, I love London but I tend to avoid it (though I do love walking through Epping Forest) , I’m not one for busy streets and zillions of people taking my space – call me an unsociable b’stard and misanthrope who will, but I prefer the Countryside – and besides, London to me is like being married, course you love your wife but she doesn’t half get on your nerves – but it’s better as I can ‘cheat’ on her all I like, dump her for a more attractive lover, then come back when I feel home sick! ;)

Anyway, we have the “Home Counties”, quaint olde world but rather more affluent counties and green belt surrounding London such as Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Surrey and Sussex, I think they’re called the ‘Home Counties’ as they belong to

Travel West out of London, past Heathrow Airport and you’re into Berkshire with Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire slightly North of it. Through Berkshire and its villages, English Country gardens and Stately Homes, , the Chiltern Hills into Wiltshire with Stone henge, Avebury, its White Horses, ancient chalk figures and burial mounds. South of Wiltshire and we’re in to Dorset with its beautiful and rugged Jurassic coastline. Westwards and we’re into Somerset, Arthurian Glastonbury and then eventually over the Severn Estuary and into Wales.

If you’ve never been to England before, you’ll hardly be surprised that the official language is, English! And road signs are in, you guessed it, English. But cross the ‘border’ into Wales and everything isn’t in English, but in Welsh! Welsh is a Gaelic/Celtic language, but differs greatly from Irish or Scots Gaelic – words in Welsh tend to be real tongue twisters and seemingly unpronounceable! I mean how does one go about pronouncing “Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch” ? haha! Look it up! It’s possibly the longest place-name in Europe and one of the longest in the world and probably the most unpronounceable place-name ever!

Wales is a fantastic place, absolutely gorgeous, sparsely populated with perhaps more Sheep than people! Lovely Villages, towns and pubs, great food, stunning landscape, hills and beacons and best of all, magnificent Castles and ruins and the Magical Roman town of Caerleon with its Roman Amphitheatre, Baths and Barracks.

The best thing to do, if you ever visit England and Wales and want to really see and enjoy the sights, is to join The National Trust. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/

Best thing I ever did, as I now have access to historic houses, gardens, mills, coastline, forests, woods, fens, beaches, farmland, moorland, islands, archaeological remains, nature reserves, villages and pubs! The national trust was founded in 1895 to save the Nations Heritage and to protect it, and 116 years later, boy, they’re doing a sterling job of it!

If visiting Wales, I recommend the National Trust and visiting http://cadw.wales.gov.uk/?lang=en CADW is the Welsh historic environment service which plays a similar role to The National Trust. You’ll have access to so many castles ruins and places of interest that it’d take years to visit them all!

Wales is dotted with castles, priories, monasteries and fortresses, as Wales has always been a bit unruly, and rebellious. Wales also has The Brecon Beacons, Pembrokeshire and Snowdonia, and these places are dotted with Castles and Forts and Standing Stones.

If you’re adventurous and want to stay in some stunning remote locations throughout England and Wales for peanuts, I recommend http://www.yha.org.uk the Youth Hostel Association. I’ve stayed in many YHA places, in some stunning locations with my family and love every second of the experience.

Anyway, on to some photography, I have spent many years photographing some of these places and am in love with quiet dreamy places tucked away amongst the hills and valleys – I just wish I had more time, and more talent to really capture the feel and mood of some of these places.

Walking or driving around the countryside, Spring will see the woods awash with Bluebells, which bloom in late April and May, summer will see deep red poppy fields showing off their colour and glory, Autumn will show New Englandesque displays of gold, russet and crimson and Winter has its own beauty.

Below I’ve included a small selection of photographs, I’ve taken far too many to post here and I have no gallery or anything online anymore, but I hope you enjoy the photographs, they’re no masterpieces but I hope they can inspire people to perhaps visit!

They’re mostly Black & White, but I had to include a shot of a bluebell Wood and a Poppy Field.

Stowe Landscape Garden

 A huge classical themed Landscape Park in Buckinghamshire

 Fuji GA645, Ilford Pan F 50, Ilford ID11. Epson 4990, Adox MCP 312.

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Tretower Court and Castle

 Ruins of a 12th Century Fort, Castle and Manor House. Powys, Wales

Fuji GA645, Ilford Pan F 50, Ilford ID11. Epson 4990.

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West Kennett Long Barrow
Neolithic Burial Mound, Near Avebury, Wiltshire, with Silbury Hill – a 5000 year old chalk Monument.
Fuji GA645, Ilford Pan F 50, Ilford ID11. Epson 4990.
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The Brecon Beacons
Wales
Fuji GA645, Ilford Pan F 50, Ilford ID11. Epson 4990.
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Drystone Wall in the Brecon Beacons, and Llansteffan Beach and Castle.

Olympus Pen F . G Zuiko 38mm f1.8. Agfa APX 100, Rodinal. Epson 4990.
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Bluebell Wood, Epping Forest, Essex
Fuji GA645, Expired Agfa RSX II 200, Epson 4990.
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Poppy Field
Wiltshire
Fuji GA645, Fuji Velvia 50, Epson 4990.
Apr 152012
 

User Report: Concert Photography & Portraits with a vintage Mamiya Universal Press and Polaroid Back by Chad Wadsworth

Hello Steve Huff Photo readers! Steve was kind enough to let me share with you some concert photography and artist portraits that I’ve taken over the last few years with Polaroid land cameras and an old Mamiya Universal Press with a Polaroid back. It seems like we are all constantly searching for the next new piece of digital gear, whether it be the M10, X-Pro 1, OMD or NEX-7. I’m guilty of buying a ticket to this carousel and have been through my share of m4/3 and APS-C compacts as they certainly do have their important place in our daily photography. That said, in retrospect, the work that is often most satisfying to me personally has been the “lo-fi” analog photos captured with vintage gear.

As a concert and editorial photographer, my weapon of choice is a DSLR. It offers the perfect combination of rugged build (I recently had to use the body of my 5D to brace myself against the stage as the crowd surged forward), speed of focus, access to excellent optics and a comfortable user interface. But as most my contemporaries use the same equipment, it can be challenging to craft a signature to your work outside of composition and post processing. Vintage gear or larger format cameras can bring new looks to your work and are a ton of fun to use.

I won’t take up much more of your reading time other than to tell you a little more about the gear and techniques used.

In this group of shots I am using my trusty Mamiya Universal Press (a medium format rangefinder) with a broken shutter trigger so I have to manually hit the shutter lever on the lens. This particular concert was well-lit but the film was slow – Fuji FP-100 and my shutter speed was around 1/30 at f/2.8 with a Sekor 100mm lens. I basically zone focused and tried to stay steady during an exciting set by one of my favorite bands – Spoon. I also had some fun with a double exposure shot from the stage – not sure if it works completely but I like it fine.

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The same camera and Polaroid back combination was used here for an album artwork shoot. This one was shot at sunset on a farm in the Texas Hill Country.

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The Mamiya / Sekor 100mm also makes for a great lo-fi portrait lens with nice swirly bokeh and strong vignetting. Here are some artist snapshots taken at the Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, TX. The artists are: Bounce/Hip-Hop musician Big Freedia, John Dwyer from the San Francisco band, Thee Oh Sees and the truly remarkable Merrill Garbus of the music project tUnE-yArDs

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And finally, here are some photos from an ongoing portrait series using an old Polaroid 450 land camera with portrait lens attachment. Some of these were shot on the real deal – Polaroid 669, others with Fuji FP-100. The camera is positioned about 10 inches from the subject’s nose which can result in an intense emotive quality as they stare into the camera at close range. Artists are: the lovely Annie Clark, also known as St. Vincent, Matt Berninger of The National, Matt Shaw of the now defunct band, Hymns and the beautiful and talented Shara Worden, also known as My Brightest Diamond. Thanks for looking and thanks again to Steve!

Apr 032012
 

Three Approaches to Shooting a Classic Screwmount Leica by Khoa Tran

See Khoa’s Flickr HERE

Before the introduction of their famous M-system of cameras and lenses in the 1950s, Leica (then Ernst Leitz DRP) produced a rangefinder system now known as the Leica threadmount, screwmount, or, simply “Barnack” cameras, after their inventor, Oskar Barnack, who developed the original Leica camera in the 20s and was one of the pioneers of 35mm photography.

Henri Cartier-Bresson developed his famous street photography style with one, and the mount was adopted by Canon, the Soviet Union camera makers, and a whole host of others. Though the youngest Leica screwmount cameras are now at least sixty years old, they remain plentiful and are inexpensive, relative to the more sought-after M-series cameras and lenses.

[photo: Leica IIIc with Summitar 5cm f/2, shot with a Nikon Coolpix P6000]

These cameras are steeped in history and romance. My own Leica IIIc was made in 1946, in allied occupied West Germany. It’s quite an understatement that the world was different then: the world powers had been rearranged, and the post-war boom in the first world was just getting into swing. Many lives had been lost, and many more would begin anew. I also have a Leitz 3.5cm Elmar lens, which, according to a serial number lookup, dates to 1939. One can only imagine what this lens has lived through. At the same time, a Barnack camera is cold, and practical, though in no way inelegant and un-beautiful. The top plate of the camera is reminiscent of the funnels and superstructure of an early 20th century dreadnought battleship. Made of nickel, steel, brass, and chrome, the camera is solid.There is no plastic of which to speak. The best description I’ve read is from Stephen Gandy, who says that these cameras are like “mechanical jewels.”

Shooting a Barnack camera isn’t incredibly difficult, but does require quite a few more steps than with modern cameras. First, there’s no film advance lever, but you have to use a comparatively slow knob to advance the film and cock the shutter. Secondly, you can only change the shutter speed once the film has been wound and the shutter cocked. Thirdly, the rangefinder and viewfinder are in separate windows. You have to focus first, then flick your eye over to the viewfinder to compose. Lastly, there is no hinged back to the camera, and the film, which you need to trim to fit beforehand, must be loaded from the bottom. Imagine being a photojournalist being shot at, while you’re trying to load your camera…

So I’ve thought about things, and have come up with a few ways of look at shooting with a screwmount Barnack Leica.

i) As a Point-and-Shoot Camera

I think, really, if Cartier-Bresson were alive today, he’d shoot with a camera phone or some sort of digital compact. He valued composition and rhythm and timing over technical image quality. His oft-underexposed, and ever-so-slightly-out-of-focus shots never killed anyone, and have become regarded as classics. So one way to get around the camera’s slow operation is to preset your focus and pre-expose for a given shooting condition. The adage “f/8 and be there” and the “Sunny 16“ rules work very well if you are willing to give up a tiny bit of pixel-peeping bragging rights, and if you accept that you can, with most negative films today, get two stops over and one stop under of exposure latitude at the expense of some dynamic range.

[photo: la rue du st-sacrement, Leica IIIc and Summitar 5cm f/2 on Ilford FP4+, developed in Caffenol C-M]

 

[photo: pass me by, Leica IIIc and Summitar 5cm f/2 on Fuji Neopan 400, developed in Caffenol C-M + table salt]

 

[photo: jean-talon, Leica IIIc and Summitar 5cm f/2 on Kodak Tri-X, developed in Caffenol C-L semi-stand]

 

ii) As a way to develop one’s “photographic skills”

A Barnack camera has no light meter, like most M-cameras, but is also significantly slower to operate for the reasons mentioned earlier. However, one can also look at it as: “if I can keep up with a moving subject whilst focusing wide-open, or learn to shoot slide film (which has basically no exposure latitude) without a light meter, those might be some worthwhile skills to apply elsewhere to “modern” photographic equipment.” Sure, you can look at it as being able to do arithmetic without a calculator. It’s not essential, but damned useful.

[photo: pour, Summitar 5cm f/2 on Arista Premium (aka Kodak Tri-X), developed in Ilfosol-3]

 

[photo: au coin de mill et riverside, Summitar 5cm f/2 on Fuji Sensia 100]

 

[photo: the droughte of march hath perced to the roote, Elmar 9cm f/4, Fuji Sensia 200]

 

iii) As a portrait and people-shooting camera

With the usual considerations for parallax on a rangefinder camera, a Barnack Leica can be a wonderful portrait camera. The lenses from that era may not be as pin-sharp as modern equivalents, but their signature (in addition to whatever “flaws” may have been picked up over the years) and rendition can be very special, and unlike anything made today. You might also get a positive reaction from your subject, using such an unusual camera, and this can only be a good thing in establishing a rapport and connection with him or her.

[photo: “m”, Summitar 5cm f/2 on Kodak Tri-X, pushed to ISO2500 or so in Caffenol C-L semi-stand]

 

[photo: “tessa,” Jupiter-8 5cm f/2 on Kodak Tri-X, pushed to ISO800-1250 in Caffenol C-L semi-stand]

 

[photo: “safe,” Summitar 5cm f/2 on Kodak Portra 400]

 

Any classic camera, well cared-for is a thing of beauty. In the case of my IIIc (literally, in the EverReady case), I found part of the box of what must have been the last roll of film shot by the previous owner of the camera. It was a Kodak colour film of some sort, ISO64. Was it Kodachrome? Was he or she the original owner? Has this camera lived a relatively uneventful life, or what, really, has it seen in its 66 years of existence? Thinking about all of this makes me feel less like a camera-owner, but more of a steward. This camera might belong in a museum or a collection, but I can still use it to make images that are satisfying and beautiful (to me, at least!). As long as film is still available, it might even outlast me; could anyone make this claim of any modern digital camera?

 

Mar 212012
 

Capturing Morocco with a Contax G2 and some film

by Jens Franke – Website Here

Hi Steve,

I really love the stories on your site! I’m a german based Designer and an avid photographer and I wanted to share my impressions of my last photo-journey to morocco with you!

Morocco – the strangest country which is so close to us. The cold country with hot sun, stone-old culture and probably the most open-hearted people you can imagine. During my preparations i was researching a little bit to get first visual impressions and inspirations for my trip. Everything i found there was suggesting me that the South of morocco must be an austere and dusty country with just a few people living there on the country side. In the main cities you could get the feeling that some people are just pleasant when you intend to buy something for the doubled price … It’s not! Behind the curtain you will be convinced of the contrary! You’ll find benevolence, friendship and real warmth beyond wealth and poverty!

In my pictures I wanted to capture a glimpse of the southern Moroccan spirit close to the western Saharan border. But a lot more I wanted to capture the people in their natural environment – Moroccos inhabitants are the real points of interest of the country!

The following pictures are made with my Contax G2 loaded with Fuji Velvia 50 and Portra 400vc mostly using a 45mm Planar. I’m looking forward to hear what you’re thinking about my photographs!

Thanks and Greets from Stuttgart, Jens

 If you want to share YOUR experiences with gear, travel or just photography in general and have it posted here for tens of thousands to see every day then e-mail me here and let me know what you have in mind! – Steve

Mar 132012
 

User Report: Choosing and Using a Black & White Film by Ibraar Hussain

With the demise of Kodak Ektachrome things seem to be getting from bad to worse for Film and options for film users seem to be dwindling. A shame, as I adore e100vs and nothing in my opinion can replicate it. But with all the doom and gloom, one thing, which in my belief will always be around, is good old Black and White Film. There are more B&W Film manufacturers than Colour these days, and a decade ago this would’ve been unthinkable.

So many choices are available for the photographer; we have Kodak, Ilford, Efke, Rollei and Agfaphoto to name a few. B&W Film has its own beauty, and each emulsion is very distinctive. Digital photography has progressed and has reached new horizons, but I think it still lacks the feel, look and character of Film.

Many digital photographers have been pushed and have striven for grain free images, their quest for the extermination of Grain has led to, in my opinion, more clinically flat images lacking depth and character. Sure, they’re very high-resolution and have a beautiful range of tones and qualify as B&W fine art, with some being far superior to others, but in the transition I think something has been lost. I’m no master photographer, and most may consider my skills and vision has mediocre at the best, but that’s not why I’m writing.

My aim is to try to demonstrate and show some examples of different film, their individual characteristics, and the use of Filters, which can give a different look and feel. Developer used and developing times also have a large influence, but my Negatives are always developed at manufacturers recommended times and temperature.

The beauty of B&W Film is that the choice of film/ filter/ lens/ developer plays a vital collective role in the creative process. A creative decision is made prior to the shots being taken, i.e. The subject and location matter, of course, but the photographer may decide upon a certain look and feel and for that will choose a certain Film and/or Filter to give them what they’re after. The choice will also be constant – i.e. once the camera has been loaded there’s no turning back! (Unless the camera is a MF with interchangeable backs).

Grain is a thing of beauty, it gives character, detail, and mood, and is used to good effect, and to portray a certain atmosphere or feel. I tend to try different fast films for a different look – Kodak TMNZ 3200, Ilford Delta 3200 and Fuji Neopan 1600 all have their own beauty. Pushing film, say Ilford HP5+ from 400 a couple of stops also heightens grain.

Some photographers may require lots of grain, to give the photograph a gritty reportage like feel, or to give stormy skies a more dramatic and moody look, others may require grain to give their nudes or models a certain effect. And this can be achieved to some extent with artificial grain adding filters and plug-ins, but it’s not the same!

Filters add a lot too. Some people shoot all day every day with a Yellow filter permanently attached. One such Great is Don McCullin – B&W photographer par excellence. His photographs are simply spellbinding, stunning, grim, dark but his vision is on another level entirely. Best known for his War photographs and pictures from Cambodia, Lebanon and Vietnam – his landscapes and documentary photographs are brilliant – utterly!

A few books to look out for are; In England, In Africa, Don McCullin and Open Skies.

Red filters add more contrast and darken blue skies and a light blue filter strengthens skin tones. A really good book to read and which explains a lot about B&W photography is The Art of Black and White Photography by John Garrett. I enjoy experimenting with Film, and my Contax G2 has helped me along in the creative process. The G2, being a rangefinder is superb for B&W. The reason why I say superb is because you don’t view ‘through the lens’, but through a Viewfinder, and attaching Filters – even semi opaque deep red filters doesn’t impede your vision.

The G2 is also quick, has a great meter and the lenses are very contrasty – some may dislike this aspect, others love it. As for myself, I enjoy photographing people – friends, family, people on the street, and travel shots and the G2 is great for this – and I love using fast films with plenty of grain (most of the time)

I’ve included various shots here, with a brief description of the film used and Filter/developer – they’ll give some visual information as to the feel of the different Film/Filters.

My negatives have been scanned with an Epson 4990 into 16bit TIFF. Loaded up into Photoshop, and then I use layers – new later – overlay – 30% (or as required) to use the brush tool to dodge and burn. I also use levels to play with contrast. I’ve also started playing with prints in my darkroom, and when I’m free, the weather is dire, I’m at home and the missus isn’t busting my balls I enjoy playing in the darkroom just as much if not more than going out shooting! There’s heaven and Earth difference between pratting around on Photoshop and in the traditional darkroom – if you have never tried it, give it a go!

I hope photographers can try out some B&W Film, and give developing a go. Developing is easy, as is scanning, and I believe there was an article on Steve’s website not long back about basics of developing Film.

Young lad in a suit. London. 45mm Planar T* Ilford HP5+ pushed 1 stop @ 800 asa.

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Guy on a  boat. Istanbul, Turkey 2008. 45mm Planar T*. Kodak TMZ 3200. Ilfotec ID11.

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Galata Tower Istanbul, Turkey 2008. 90mm Sonnar T* Kodak TMZ 3200. ID11.

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Istanbul by the Bosphorus. 45mm Planar T*. Kodak TMZ 3200. ID11.

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Kids on a Boat. On the Golden Horn, Istanbul, Turkey. 45mm Planar T*. Kodak TMZ 3200. ID11

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Turkish Market vendor. Istanbul, Turkey. 45mm Planar T*. Kodak TMZ3200. ID11.

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Amongst the Pillars.  In The Hagia Sofia, Istanbul, Turkey. 21mm Biogon T*.  Fuji Neopan 1600.

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Dad watching TV. 45mm Planar T* Ilford HP5  pushed to 1600 asa

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Mr Ali. London. 45mm Planar T*. Fuji Neopan Acros 100. ID11

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On The South bank of the Thames. London. 21mm Biogon T*. Fuji Neopan Acros 100. Red 25 Filter. ID11

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Elvis with shades on. People watching a street performer. South bank, London. 90mm Sonnar T* Fuji Neopan Acros 100. Yellow Filter.

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Homeless Guy on the Golden Jubilee bridge. Embankment, London. 45mm Planar T*. Fuji Neopan Acros 100. Yellow Filter.

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Heart on her lapel. Cranford, Middlesex. 45mm Planar T* Ilford Delta 100 pro. Red 25 Filter. From my first roll in the G2 2005.

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Storm clouds a Brewing. Twickenham, Middlesex. 90mm Sonnar T*. Ilford HP5+ @ 3200 asa. Red 25 Filter.

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Epping Forest. Essex. 21mm Biogon T*. Ilford SFX 200 with red 25 filter. SFX is a pseudo IR Film.

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Pashtuns. Mingora, Swat Valley, Pakistan. 2007. 45mm Planar T*. Kodak Tri X 400.

Feb 212012
 

The Contax G2, Travel Companion by Ibraar Hussain

Dear Steve, I thought I’d write in again, just to relate some of my experiences with the Contax G2 around Northern Pakistan and the Punjab. I’ve been there a few times over the last five years and have had my trusty Contax G2 with me at all times. I know most people shoot with Digital, and finding an almost full time Film shooter is quite a rarity.

In Pakistan, my Contax was a rarity – people were constantly wishing to view the image on the rear panel, and much to their chagrin they were disappointed. The strange thing is that even in the most remote parts, the most remotest and rustic people expected digital cameras and an LCD screen! I was surprised at first and then realised that it’s been over a decade since digital cameras became popular, and many years since Film has ceased to be in use in places such as Pakistan.

Pakistan, as Flickr will show you, is rife with native photographers, and I’ve yet to see ANY photographer anywhere in Flickr, of Pakistani descent, using Film. In Pakistan and India I think Film IS DEAD, you may find the odd mini-Lab but trying to find a lab of any sort which develops E6 or even sells E6 Film stock is impossible in my experience. In 2007 I had to be driven all around Islamabad and Rawalpindi before I found the Headquarters of Fujifilm Pakistan – the only place I could pick up a few rolls of Fujichrome Sensia 100 – rolls which had been sweltering in the heat for Christ knows how long. in 2009 and 2011 I made sure I was well stocked up BEFORE I left England! :)

So I felt a bit privileged in a way, sure, it’s foolish feeling, but it was a feeling which had much of pride in it. I had to rely on the characteristics of the Film stock and my rudimentary ‘experience’ to try and grab the shots I wanted, with a long wait to see my results. I know digital gives a higher resolution and pixel peepers will probably get annoyed at the fact that I don’t care, I don’t think that’s important, I’m more concerned with contrast, colour and latitude, and trying to be more creative and artistic. (note the word ‘trying! :) )

I also use B&W and the Zeiss G lenses give fantastic results, though they are sometimes a bit too contrasty and sharp for nice gradual BW tone!! :) haha! I prefer the look of Film, and the fact that I’m beholden to the Film stock and have the option of choosing what I’d like to load up to fit the occasion. For example, trips to Pakistan always ensure my G2 is loaded up with either Kodak e100vs or Fuji Velvia, so I know what to expect from my Slides. I’ll get heavy contrast, vibrant colour and will have to be careful with exposure. That’s where I reckon experience comes into it, experience with the Camera in use. I tend to use Exposure lock on the G2 very often, and can judge the correct exposure by looking at and locking the shutter speed after noting the difference between shadow and highlight in a scene, and I never have any focus problems, any blurred shots are the result of camera shake (using slow film is a pain at times).

But ultimately, the Film stock gives me the results I want, the tone and graduation, the gentle granularity, the pop of colour and it’s all so pleasing to the eye. The colours also add to the ‘exotic look’ of the places, the dust, the red earthy tones, the dress – everything.

I use both Film and Digital, I currently own a lovely Olympus XZ-1, and am looking with lust at the OM-D (I like Olympus colour) I’ve been using a mix of cameras over the years; from Canon, Nikon and Konica Minolta DSLR’s to various Compacts, 35mm SLR’s and 35mm Compacts, but one thing has remained constant: when I wanted to capture something important and special I always resort to using my G2.

It’s about as perfect a travel camera as you can get, it’s solid (I’ve knocked it, dropped it many times and it has survived!), well-built and is fairly compact. Battery lasts a good long while – in heat and cold,, focussing is quick and accurate, it has a really good meter, ergonomics are as sound as you can get and the lenses are stellar! With the G2, I find I can lift the camera focus and shoot in a quick movement, and if I wish i’m able to zone/pre focus using the (crappy but effective enough) Manual focus.

I have a couple of manual focus cameras, and a manual focus RF – I’d love to own a Leica and perhaps one day I shall, but to be honest, it’s the AF which gives the G the edge when travelling, as time is usually of the essence.

FLAWS.

Firstly, the smallish VF, it’s not bad, things are clear enough, but one always wishes for a larger brighter VF. It’s a bit silly, as Kyocera put a perfect VF in the Contax T2, why couldn’t they replicate the size and brightness in this? Filters, using Polarizers can be a pain, and the thing about mountain environments, a Graduated Filter is a MUST, but square filters are a pain to use on a Rangefinder. And finally, the G2 is so quick with a nice snick and zippy shutter that it’s easy to blow your way through Film! So have got to slow down a bit!

I hope my, as well as others use of Film, and such tools as the Contax G2 encourages people who use or have been brought up on Digital, taken up photography fairly recently, during this last 10 to 12 years and others who long ago abandoned the medium and ‘went digital’, to use this beautiful medium and utilise fantastic Film cameras which are at bargain prices these days; such the G1 and G2 and T series, Contax SLR’s, Olympus OM, Nikon F’s and others including Yashica/Rollei TLR’s, and MF gear (and Olympus Pen Half frame – I have a splendid Pen F which I have bought recently and am loving using it) , and I hope exposure on your superb site encourages photographers to use Film, enjoy and create using the characteristics of this medium along with their usual Gear.

Keep up the excellent site, the reviews are brilliant, as are the offerings and contributions from Site users! Love it!

Local lad with striking eyes. Minapin, Nagar Valley, Gilgit-Baltistan, Karakoram mountains. 2009. Fuji Velvia 50, 45mm Planar T* @ f2.8
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A local lad trying to sell me some snacks, Malam Jabba, Swat Valley. NWFP Pakistan. 2007.
Fuji Sensia 100. 45mm Planar T* @f2

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The strain and tension of life shows in the eyes of this young lad from Swat Valley. 2007. Fuji Sensia 100. 90mm Sonnar T* @ f2.8

 

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Mulhon, Kalash girl, Grom Village, Rumbour Valley, Hindu Kush. 45mm Planar T* @ f2, Kodak e100vs. 2009

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Man with firewood, Chitral Gol national park, Hindu Raj range is in the background. Hindu Kush mountains. 21mm Biogon T* Kodak e100vs.
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A guy on horseback at sunset. Sarai Alamgir, Punjab, Pakistan. 2009
21mm Biogon T* @ f2.8. Fuji Velvia 50.
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Villager collecting firewood and fodder. Rakaposhi base camp trek, bang-e-das, Nagar Valley, Gilgit-Baltistan. 2009.  21mm Biogon T*@ f2.8 (I think) Fuji Velvia 50.
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Shepherds and their Dog. Swat Valley, NWFP. 2007. Fuji Sensia 100. 21mm Biogon T*
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Mystic/ Fakir at the Shrine of Pir-e-Shah Ghazi, Kharri Shareef, Kashmir. 2009. 45mm Planar T* @ f2.8  Fuji velvia 50.
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Two Kalash Girls, Grom, Rumbour, Hindu Kush. 2011.  45mm Planar T*, Kodak e100vs
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Rabi Gul, young Kalash girl in traditional dress. Grom, Rumbour, Chitral, Hindu Kush. 45mm Planar T* Kodak e100vs
Feb 132012
 

 

From Leica 3A to X1 – a 51 Year Journey by John Shingleton

John’s Blog: http://therollingroad.blogspot.com/

Twelve months ago I purchased a Leica X-1.It was an impulse purchase and the latest step in a 51 year journey.

Way back in 1960 when I was just 14 my high school biology teacher started a school camera club.At the inaugural meeting he handed around his Leica-I believe it was a Leica 2–and prints from his 1930s travels in India and Burma.From the moment I handled that jewel of a camera and saw the pictures it produced I was hooked– I had to have a Leica.

It took me 7 years to achieve my ambition–a 30 year old Leica 3A –with F2.8 Elmar lens, lens hood, accesory brightline viewfinder and Leica neckstrap- purchased for $35 in1967. The thought of purchasing a 30 year old camera today other than as a collectable item seems absurd but progress was much slower then and a 3A was still regarded as a serious working /hobby camera although the Japanese SLRs ,particularly the Asahi Pentax Spotmatic ,were making rapid inroads into the market .

The 3A served me very well for about ten years before I stood it down and purchased one of the fashionable Japanese SLRs–an Olympus OM-2.I kept the 3A and still have it — complete with accesories–although I have not put a film through it for over 30 years.

In the years since I have taken tens of thousand of photos all over the world.I have won competitions and even a few useful prizes. I had a home darkroom, I have done black and white printing and even dabbled in Cibachrome ( reversal color) printing which was both difficult and expensive and even for reasons which I have long forgotten I home processed color slide film. I have owned a few Leicas and Leica lenses but my relationship with Leica was not monogomous. I owned an Olympus OM outfit and later a Canon EOS outfit .But I have never been a “photo gearhead” . In 52 years I have only owned 11 cameras. I used my M6 for 18 years .My interest has primarily been in taking photos not in collecting gear.

I particularly liked Leicas because of their precision almost watchlike feel , the fact that they were rangefinder cameras and above all for their magic lenses which had and I believe still do have a unique quality .

I was an early adopter of digital and acquired a film scanner in 1997 and I won an early Kodak digital camera in a photo competition in 2000 . My first serious digital photos were taken with a Leica Digilux 1 which I acquired in 2003 .This is an odd camera which takes surprisingly good photos even by today’s standards. I have recently revived it and the images have really surprised me .

In 2006 I purchased the then newly launched Canon G7 as a “point and shoot” camera and its capabilities and its compactness convinced me that compact was the way to go . My days of carrying around a big bag of gear were over . Besides anything else I was just getting too old for all that weight and airport security checks were becoming very difficult .

I also had a new passion -old Porsches — and I was restoring a 1971 911. I was “over”analogue photography so I sold most of my gear including my lovely Leica M6 outfit and ploughed the money into the Porsche restoration.

I kept a watching eye on the world of Leica but from a distance. I was not impressed with the M8 and that crop factor and it confirmed for me that I had made the right decision to sell my outfit when I had .

When the X-1 was announced I handled one at a Leica dealer in Sydney and came way seriously underwhelmed . I thought that it was overpriced ,very plasticky and lacked that Leica feel although I was impressed by its simple controls and what I had seen of its image quality in reviews although these same reviews were very luke warm about other aspects of the camera

I decided that I was quite happy with my little Canon but then in July 2010 I visited an old friend and serious Leica enthusiast at his home in Italy. He had an M9. It was gorgeous and I loved the feel of it and the solidity and the simplicity of the controls. It stirred old enthusiasms .

In January of last year I was in Auckland,NZ, when I saw the then newly announced black X-1 in the window of a camera dealer . My Leica M6 had been black. I could not afford an M9 and anyway “compact ” was now my mantra so I decided to set aside my misgivings and buy myself a black X-1 and to rejoin the Leica world . It was a rash, hasty decision.

My longstanding and expert Leica dealer in Adelaide, South Australia , found one for me immediately and it arrived in the post in the first week of February . It did not work out of the box . The silly pop up flash unit would not retract.To say that I was annoyed would be a major understatement. I had spent $2000 on this camera which I had major doubts about and it arrived in this ridiculous over the top packaging with a note signed by the quality control manager and it was defective. Shame on you Leica.

To cut a long story short Leica did not have the parts available to repair a black X-1 and black new cameras were on back order so I ended up with a replacement silver model after a few weeks . Not an auspicious start -particularly as I had already purchased a black Voigtlander optical viewfinder .

The first few weeks with the replacement camera were awful . I found the fixed focal length lens even more limiting than I had feared . The camera took beautiful images but it was slow and I was very nervous using it as I felt that it was fragile . I was beginning to think that maybe I had made a major mistake and then I started reading the Leica X-1 forums which were overwhelmingly negative and I was soon convinced that I had made a major mistake!

I seriously considered selling it on e-bay. In April I went for two weeks travelling in Vietnam and took it with me . I took some great photos on that trip but I was still struggling with it and undecided as to whether to keep it. Gradually I turned around . I took it on a trip to Europe in July and to the US and Canada in September and I came back with more great photos -some arguably as good as I have ever taken. It stayed. Now I love its strengths but still hate its defects. I still worry that it is fragile . But the lens/sensor combination is superb . The IQ is brilliant but it falls down in so many areas you really do have to be a mellow, understanding and committed Leica enthusiast to live with it and I do not believe that is who it was designed for .

Would I recommend the X-1? Not an academic question as I was stopped when I was using it on the street in Chicago in September by a man who said his daughter was graduating from college and wanted an X-1 as a graduation present -would I recommend it? I gave a highly qualified “yes”. I hope that he was not too confused.

So there you have my 51 year Leica journey .From Leica 3A to Leica X-1.

As for my X-1 photos I have always taken what interests me . I now put some of them up on my blog and what you see here is a small selection .The first two very neatly link the 3A and the X-1 . The first was taken in 1974 on the 3A on Kodak Tri-X film and home processed and shows my wife and daughter. The second is that daughter’s daughter taken with the X-1 in 2011. Three generations taken on two Leicas arguably three generations apart. The others are some of the output from the X-1in its first 12 months.

John Shingleton

http://therollingroad.blogspot.com/

From Steve: Want to share an article with the tens of thousands of readers who visit this site every day? Send an e-mail to me HERE and let me know your idea! My goal when I started this site was to hopefully one day have a community of passionate photographers who could share their stories, photos, techniques and inspirations and that goal is finally being accomplished thanks to all of the amazing readers here on this site. 

Feb 132012
 

How cool is this? A 6X4 foot negative from a 35 ft long camera!

Wow, if I owned this I would be traveling the country with it and shoot portraits in every state I traveled through. It seems that is the plan for this amazing device as it will be going on a 20,000 mile journey doing just that. Pretty cool. Below in the video you will see a rendering of this “Eye of America” which is currently being used by a Mr. Dennis Manarchy who shoots still that he exhibits at about two stories tall. Many of you may have already seen this but for those who have not, take a look below!

Jan 122012
 

Nepal Kodachrome Adventure by Andrew Kirkby

It has taken me a year of thinking and reviewing my images before i could get this together for your readers. I think that Kodachrome enabled me to take pictures reminiscent of the National Geographic magazines which inspired me to pick up a camera as a teenager (my father has every single one since 1967). I shot so many rolls of film during my trip to Nepal – it was very difficult to select images which I feel I should show others. So here they are, and a little about them is included where necessary.

Upon arrival in Nepal i went about shooting straight away. What struck me straight away is the amount of dogs everywhere. In every street, alley, alcove or shop. They don’t belong to anyone other than the city.

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A dog scavenging for food near the highly polluted Kopan River (Kathmandu). The smell was terrible.
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This particular scene is something i will never forget. The shop in the picture is that of a butcher, and the dog in the street has run in, grabbed a piece of meat off the counter and run away. The shop keeper’s dog doesn’t bad an eyelid and the woman just carries on as if nothing had happen.
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While driving along in a taxi, a boy came up to the window and demanded money. I had the F5 in my right hand and quickly took the shot. The kid instantly went mental and my friend Tashi needed to get out of the taxi and sort the kid out to avoid further trouble. Tashi later told me that he knew this boy and he told me that he was severely burnt while inhaling glue fumes.

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As I walked further and further away from the tourist district (Thamel) into Chhetrapati and surrounding areas, I found the real Kathmandu. People going about their normal lives and no hustlers trying to sell dope/underage girls/mountain tours!
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By night Kathmandu is an interesting place. A lot of shops are still open well after sunset. They are often lit by candles or rechargeable lamps as there is a scheduled blackout scheme in place. This butcher shop is one of my favorite images of the whole trip. In front of this table there was a stack of cages full of chickens awaiting their end. Sadly there was not enough light for a picture of those.

 

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Walking back in to Thamel at night is an interesting experience. There are countless children on the streets who are often sniffing glue or smoking cigarettes – courtesy of tourist donations. Here they are sniffing glue – which can be purchased for 5 Rupees at almost any store. The kid standing up (on the left side) has just had a huge amount of glue and is about to fall over. I had to leave immediately after taking this photo to avoid a dangerous situation.

 

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Walking back in to Thamel at night is an interesting experience. There are countless children on the streets who are often sniffing glue or smoking cigarettes – courtesy of tourist donations. Here they are sniffing glue – which can be purchased for 5 Rupees at almost any store. The kid standing up (on the left side) has just had a huge amount of glue and is about to fall over. I had to leave immediately after taking this photo to avoid a dangerous situation.

 

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The rubbish which can not be sold is simply burnt in little piles all around the city at night. That would explain the huge amount of thick smog.

 

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After a week in Kathmandu I flew into Lukla; one of the world’s most dangerous airports, and began a 3 week trek to Gokyo Ri and back via the Everest region. The airline that i was flying had a serious accident in August of 2010 – a flight destined for Lukla but forced to turn back in poor weather, and subsequently crashed just outside of Kathmandu. I was scared, to say the least.

 

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It is interesting to note the completely different complexion of the people in the mountains. In the Khumbu region, the people are mostly Sherpa – very similar to Tibetans or Mongolians. Typically very kind, warm and hospitable people.

I guess this is what i came to Nepal to see – the mountains and the people who inhabit them.

One thing that was refreshing for me, is that children are outside playing with sticks and other such objects. There is no Xbox, Playstation, TV or computer. Kids are just kids.

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A young boy playing with firecrackers. Something not seen here in Australia for a long while (before my time!)

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After a few days walking we arrived in Namche, the largest town in the area. Lots of tourists and yaks.
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This picture was taken just above Namche Bazaar late in the afternoon. The Sherpa people are very hard workers.
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I noticed that the altitude had a profound effect on my thinking. I saw the dark side of things, and at times i felt rather belittled by the enormous mountains. These next few images were shot while descending from Gokyo Ri, feeling rather ill from the altitude.
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This is one of my favorite mountain shots. The moon and snow blown off the mountain was really quite spectacular. It was one of those moments that only lasts for a short time.
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Ama Dablam at sunset
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A few days later, a bit further away.
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At the top of the Cho-La Pass. These black birds were everywhere
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Near Everest Base Camp… I had to take a picture of at least one Kodachrome box on the trip.
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Back in Kathmandu for about a week before returning home, I got up every day at the crack of dawn and went out shooting until I couldn’t do anything more. The way the light is recorded with this film is simply beautiful. It has just the right amount of contrast.
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I still don’t know what this woman was pointing at.
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Best Regards,

Andrew

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