I'm still pursuing what I think of as my "shapes and tones" style, excising extraneous detail as far as possible to simplify the images and reduce them to interesting shades of light and dark. The ones in this post were taken on the Leica M2 and 50mm Summicron.
At least one reader will be happy to know that I'm going to temporarily retire the Leica pending its repair. I'm losing several frames per roll due to a shutter fault and am getting a bit cheesed off. The camera deserves to be restored to full health so I'll package it up and send it off.
Some of the pics in this post are more successful than others but that's always the case, isn't it, regardless of the style of photography. The hardest part of this style is finding suitable subject matter. A big majority of my photos are taken in sunlight but that immediately reduces my opportunities in misty old Scotland (did you see the weather at The Open golf? I'm about 15 miles from St Andrews as the crow flies). But let's assume for the sake of argument that the sun is shining. What kind of things lend themselves to the shapes and tones treatment?
Sadly, there's no alternative to just looking and looking for shapes and tones. I can't sit down and plan it the way I would an excursion into the countryside for some landscape photography or pay a visit to a nearby place of history like the 17th century stables (here and here) I photographed a while back.
I've experimented a little with underexposing the scene to help achieve the dark tones but, as Ralph Gibson found decades ago, the results seem to be better when the scene is normally exposed and the image printed down.
It occurred to me that it would be entirely possible to get by with just this one compact and cheap camera for almost all of the photography I'm doing in this vein. It made me wonder why I'm weighed down with all the gear I have - albeit not enough to persuade me to sell it all!