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Tuesday, March 3

The LEICA Diaries: Part Three

Leica M2, 50mm Rigid Summicron, Tmax 400 developed in Firstcall Superfine.

BLOODY LENS CAPS! Yes, I've taken my first pic with a blinkered lens. The solution? The lens caps now live permanently in a drawer in my darkroom. I've put UV filters on the lenses instead. Just need to remember not to leave the camera out in bright sunshine in case the rays burn a hole in the shutter cloth. Mind you, it's less of a threat up here in Scotland than in California.

Here's another near-first for me. With an SLR, I practically never lose a frame through poor focusing. I'd certainly have no excuse if I did as I don't really photograph anything that moves and can take as much time as I want to get the focus spot on. But with the Leica? Everything looks in focus when you look through the viewfinder and I'm guessing that's the reason I forgot to focus on a couple of frames. On the plus side, the Summicron's bokeh is nice! Mental note: Leica lenses don't focus themselves.

Sunday, March 1

More Good Film News

The Rochester Institute of Technology. (Elizabeth Lamark, RIT)

Although digital has quickly risen to become photography's main image-capture technology, film is far from obsolete, according to the Rochester Institute of Technology.
The school still has 30 darkrooms and these are now proving a draw for new students. Although first year students are no longer required to learn how to use film and a darkroom, they can take film photography classes in their second year and the school is actually adding to those offerings.

Friday, February 27

The LEICA Diaries - Part Two

Leica M2, 35mm Summaron, Silvermax developed in Firstcall Superfine.

Leica M: The Unbearable Lightness of Being

First "proper" outing with the M2 and MDA this week after a few days of shooting imaginary subjects around the house and practising handling the rangefinders - a bit like the photography version of air guitar.

Initial reaction is that they make every photograph seem like a snapshot. It's not easy to describe this feeling but it probably has something to do with the rangefinder way of composing a picture as compared to an SLR. With glasses on, I can't really see the framelines using the 35mm Summaron on the M2 so there's not much point in agonising over composition as I would normally do with the OM2n. As long as I can see the main subject in the frame I can always crop later, I suppose. It's an alien concept to me as I like to pay close attention to the edges of the frame as well but there you go.

Tuesday, February 24

LEICA: The Itch That Won't Scratch Itself...

The Leica Diaries - Part One
In case you haven't guessed it already, I'm now officially a Leica-man or, rather, a man with a Leica. Leica-man gives the impression that I'm besotted whereas beguiled is probably nearer the mark. Whether it lasts or not is impossible to say at this stage.

Friday, February 20

How Soon Will It Be Gone?

My home town of Dundee was vandalised by a succession of town planners and dodgy councillors over a two-decade period starting in the 1960s which resulted in many old and historical buildings being bulldozed for profit.

Some of the men behind this wanton destruction of the city's heritage should have gone to jail. As a newspaper reporter for 32 years, I heard plenty of tales of secret "brown envelope" deals, mutual back-scratching and compulsory purchase orders that, somehow, seemed to benefit some councillors more than others. Unfortunately, most of this was over by the time I started the job in 1979.

Wednesday, February 18

Pointing the Way

Just before Christmas I went off on another fruitless search for a Saab 900 (if you don't know already, please see here for why). This pic was the only useful thing I came back with. The car was the all-too-common combination of metal and ferrous oxide that would have cost a fortune to sort out.

Sunday, February 15

Hard Frost

A chilly winter's morning and a low sun finally roused me from my photographic torpor and saw me out and about with the OM2 for the first few "serious" frames of the New Year. Incredible, isn't it? We're well into February and I've shot precisely one roll of film and most of that in the last week.

Sometime over late December/early January I did expose half-a-dozen frames but it was more just to exercise my trigger finger than anything else. I just couldn't get myself going at all and was only exposing film for its own sake.

Friday, February 13

AG Photographic's new Foma deal

The Birmingham-based photo supplies firm has announced that it's completed a new distributor arrangement with Foma that should result in a much improved supply of papers, films and chemicals.

Foma's famous blue packets remain very popular with darkroom
workers across the world.
The first fruits of the deal is the availability of a wide range of fibre-based papers with resin-coated to follow. AG expects that resupply from the Czech Republic company will also be speedier.

Available right now are Fomatone FB 131 and 132 Warmtone, FB 532 Nature, FB 542 Chamois and Fomabrom FB 111, 112 and 113. AG's new range, which starts at £11.94 and goes all the way up to 20x24", can be found here.

Thursday, February 12

New Vivian Maier Resource

A chap over at the Artsy website contacted me having read an old post I'd published about Vivian Maier. Regular readers might remember it was the one where I questioned whether or not Vivian had been promoted too quickly to the top rank of street photographers, possibly based on her interesting back-story rather than on pure photographic talent.

After the Artsy email, I went back and re-read the post. Bloody hell, I must have been feeling brave that day! It was a controversial topic for sure and I took some pelters in the comments for it - and probably justifiably.

Tuesday, February 10

Analogue Archives: Kevin MacDonnell

We haven't had a Kevin MacDonnell column for a wee while so here's one to keep his small but loyal band of followers happy (we know who we are). In this article from the July, 1982 edition of 35mm Photography magazine, Kevin is preoccupied with Kodak Technical Pan, a film that seems to have just been introduced to the UK market.