TMP

Landscape photography with a difference!

One week with the Leica, Elmar and ACROS.

Since making my monumental decision to abandon digital photography and photograph with my 1957 Leica M2 exclusively for a whole year, I feel more motivated and refreshed. It's like a heavy weight has been lifted. As you know the Leica is essentially a hand made precision instrument sans electronics of any kind. To be free of all electronic control is a truly liberating experience. No batteries and no meter. To use a single prime lens, in my case a 1957 Elmar 5cm f/2.8 is equally refreshing. Quite quickly one begins to "see" in the focal length of the lens, you begin to visualise your composition even before making the exposure. One thing I have also found to be stimulating is using the "Sunny 16" method to evaluate exposure. Upon seeing the developed negatives emerge from the tank is a tense, but ultimately rewarding experience. Even when exposing under mixed lighting conditions not one frame is a bad exposure. I do not have the opportunity to travel far so my photography is confined to a rather local area, one to which I can quickly travel. This means one has to work hard to find interesting subjects to photograph. I would love to hop in the jalopy and spend a weekend in the Lake District, but alas! I have a "normal" life.

See what you think from this series made last weekend and during the week? All photos are Fuji ACROS 100 in Adox FX-39 exposed with the Leica M2 and 5cm Elmar. Fuji ACROS 100 is an excellent film, sharp, low grain, loads of tone. I am expecting Fuji to kill it, just like they did with the excellent and brilliant Neopan 400. FUJI - I DON'T LIKE YOU AT ALL!!!!! DON'T KILL ACROS and BRING BACK NEOPAN 400 - PLEASE!

All clad in scaffolding as a substantial repair is undertaken.

An unashamed selfie from the old Chepstow bridge. A shadow selfie as I call it. Fuji ACROS 100 in Adox FX-39. Note the supermarket trolly.

Wall in Sudbrook. Fuji ACROS 100 in Adox FX-39.

Cut off at the root. A wall in Sudbrook. Fuji ACROS 100 in Adox FX-39.

This tree seems to be growing from out of the very rock. 365 Steps, Fuji ACROS 100 in Adox FX-39.

Ivy and a tree at f/4. Fuji ACROS 100 in Adox FX-39.

A low estimated light level meant that I had to go to f/2.8 at 1/30th of a sec hand held. Fuji ACROS 100 in Adox FX-39.

Old Gnarled Tree on the 365 Steps. Fuji ACROS 100 in Adox FX-39.

Muffy with the Elmar 5cm wide open at f/2.8 a little soft made softer by moving photog. Fuji ACROS 100 in Adox FX-39.

Muffin about to yawn. Exposed f/2.8, Fuji ACROS 100 in Adox FX-39.

I tried creeping upon Muffy for a sneaky photo, but the Damned cat moved. Fuji ACROS 100 in Adox FX-39.

On the 365 Steps, Tintern to Chepstow road. Fuji ACROS 100 in Adox FX-39.

No Batteries Included.

I think I have out ranted myself on this subject over the last few posts and I think you know my feelings.

Just to briefly re-cap, at some point you become totally sick of the whole digital photography ecosystem and mentality. As you well know I have reached that point. I have become totally disillusioned with how software and technology has come to dominate photography. Not to mention my increasing abhorrence at digital manipulations that often take the original exposure into the realms of fantasy. You may be interested in having a read of my previous post HERE.

At some point, the digital gadget-camera delusion and obsession, for some, will burn out. To use a metaphor, the bubble will burst. It’s not the answer to better photography. It is a mistake to continually throw good money on new gear, software and technology when it’s you (and I) which is the greatest obstacle in the pursuit of great photographs. You want to read that again: It is YOU that is the greatest obstacle in the pursuit of great photographs. Your equipment is innocent of all charges.

So what do I do now!

Where will I go in this post-digital era?

You may remember in the latter stages of one of my recent posts my plan of photographing exclusively with the Leica for a whole year.

That began on Saturday the 1st of August.

Why the Leica! As much as I would love to make those amazing landscape previously mentioned I can’t afford it. Also, I don’t have the time, the money, the commitment, the determination or the sacrifice that would be inevitable. Besides, why do what millions of photographers are doing! In a trough of photographic despair three weekends ago I threw all my gear on the bed and started using my iPhone taking pictures in preparation of posting the whole lot on the bay of e.

My frame of mind was that of walking away from photography. I have had enough of many things previously discussed. In a future post I will cover the issues and mental state of my personal voyage in photography, depression, dissatisfaction, obsession and Aspergers.

There I was dejectedly snapping away, being agitated by the faux shutter sound, when I picked up my Leica M2. I paused and held it in my hand. I admired the aesthetic of its classic lines, the reassuring weight, my thumb caressed the texture of the vulcanite. I put down my iPhone and held the Leica in both hands running my fingers over the metal work, enjoying the tactile sensation of the milled metal knobs. Advancing the mechanism and releasing the shutter is silky smooth and is mechanical bliss. I did this several times. I found it calming. I then knew in that instant the Leica had to stay. I could NEVER sell it. From out of the darkness a little flicker of photographic light waxed, a beacon in the black.

It was then I hatched my plot. To be photographically digital free. To go back to basics, not even using a meter. No electronics, no batteries, just a plain mechanical camera. A machine! To photograph exclusively with the Leica for a whole year. So, starting the weekend just gone that is what I have initiated. My only expense - film and developing sundries, and I will keep a tally of the costs involved.

Electronics, computers and software will only enter the picture (Haha! Pun!) when the negatives are developed. There are a few problems to be overcome! The negatives often have drying stains despite the use of a wetting agent. The negatives often have a number of small white specks - dust! Worse still, the negatives often exhibit grainy skies despite the grain being smooth elsewhere. As the sadly late and great Barry Thornton once said “you can’t make a fine print from a course negative”. Technique needs to be improved.

Already from using the Leica for a short period I have found that you quickly learn to pre-visualise the print, you become more aware of the subject, a deeper impression is made on your memory, by using a prime lens you begin to “see” the lens. Further benefits discussed later… The below pictures exposed practising the Sunny 16 method and developed in Adox FX-39 and are Kodak Tmax 100 unless otherwise stated.

Farm Lane 1

Farm Lane 2

Bottle, Elmar 9cm f/4.

Cribyn, Brecon Beacons. 1958 Leica M2, 5cm Elmar f/2.8 Ilford FP4+ in FX-39

Waiting...

Passing by.

Bit of a blur.

The SSC.

I just love my garden.

The best Fell walkers...

When in Wales...

Shadow Selfie (you hear it here first...)