It was a busy summer. I spent part of the time-as I mentioned in a previous post-examining my relationship with still photography. I’d become very automated: autofocus, matrix metering, auto-correct software. I was putting very little thought into making pictures and, as a result, I was missing a lot of great opportunities. I spent sometime looking at other people’s pictures, particularly black and white images made on film. Yes, film! I liked what I saw. There is a depth, a three dimensionality, to a film image that cannot be easily achieved with digital. There’s something organic about film.
So I decided to re-learn photography in the final months of the summer. I took out my Nikon FM,which I’ve had since 1984, and made some images. Not bad but I wanted something else out of my images. Last year at this time, I rented a Leica M6 but chose not to buy it. It wasn’t the right time as I was having fun making videos at the time. I still enjoy making videos but also want to explore still photography a bit more, so this summer I acquired an M6 and 35mm Summicron and have been busy re-educating myself about metering and composition. The M6 is a wonderful camera. The camera and lens are smaller than my DSLR lens by itself, so it is pretty inconspicuous and doesn’t give me a sore shoulder. I’ve been taking it everywhere with me.
The pictures are turning out wonderful, too, partly because the optics are superb and partly because I’m working harder to make the image. No autofocus, no matrix metering; there’s only about 3 settings on the camera, but you have to use your brain to work them. Here’s the new pier near my neighborhood, taken on Ilford XP2 with a yellow filter
It does color too,
The bike was actually shot on cheap-ass Rite Aid film and developed at a CVS! Not too shabby. I have pictures from my vacation that are absolutely stunning, the best colors and quality I’ve seen in a long time. Some of it is the film but much of it is the personality of the Leica glass. Here’s the local power plant, which I pass a dozen times a week and don’t give second thought to, but on B&W film it looks ominous
I’m having a lot of fun. Going retro-analog is not without its issues, however. Film costs money each time you shoot it. It costs money to develop it and have it scanned to CD. I’m going to take a shot at developing my own B&W in the kitchen at night. It’s reportedly no more difficult than brewing coffee and I’ll save a few bucks. The Leica also has some issues, as might be expected from a 20 year old camera, but I’ll get them straightened out. All-in-all it has been an interesting journey and has inspired me to work harder at making pictures.