ray larose

Photography Talk: Avoiding Trolls

Living way out in the country, I can sometimes feel alone or cut off from the larger photographic community; that is, until I get online.

Being a geek, I like to know what’s going on in the world of photography; even if I limit my practice just to the 35mm film side of the fence. I enjoy catching articles on the latest camera technology, reviews on lenses, bags and bodies and occasionally jumping into articles on lighting techniques and other technical aspects that I may or may not use. What I like best is to hear discussion on these topics.

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The Leica M-A is Home

A journey that began with a strong lusting this summer has finally become reality.  After a month of delays the Leica M-A camera is in my hands. And now, I am in love.

More to come…

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New York City on Film

Last month I headed off to New York City to attend the PhotoPlus Expo and play with the new Zeiss 35mm as well as the new Leica M-A film and Edition 60 digital cameras. While I wasn’t at the conference, I was out walking the city trying to capture the vibes on film with one of my best friends, Dori.

We ended up doing just one afternoon at the Expo, visiting with Ben, Richard and Nicole from Carl Zeiss Lenses as well as Christopher from Leica.  We spent some time walking to all the booths on the vendor floor, watching some demonstrations and playing with what gear we could play with. Favorites for me were the Zeiss 1.4/35 Distagon and the Leica M-A – though that Leica Edition 60 was awfully nice to shoot.

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Leica M Edition 60 – Hands-On

The new Leica M Edition 60 is a monster of goodness. When it was first announced this fall, I was intrigued by the design, but in no way tempted by it as I have moved to film only. What had me most interested was the wicked lens on the end of it, but again, out of my league so I put it in the back of my head with other epic cameras I’d never own.

Last week I was at PhotoPlus in NYC and met up with Christopher Moore of Leica to chat about the M-A.  While we were chatting, he handed me the M Edition 60 to play with.  Curses!

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Test Roll with the Nikon FM + 1.4/50

Today I got the first roll shot through my (new) 1970’s Nikon FM scanned by Richard Photo Lab, so I figured it’s time to write a little review on this body.

I picked up this camera on eBay with the Nikkor-S-C 1.4/50 lens for a steal – about $100. The lens looks like it had a good useful life, but the body, recently CLA’d, looks like it’s never been used.  Not a ding, nick, scratch or even fade in the paint.  The dials click perfectly and smooth. It was truly a great deal.

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Shutter Curtain Hole / Repair + Avoidance

Huston, we have a problem.

I had a blog post all written to document my trip through northern New England shooting the gorgeous autumn foliage. I sent off my 5 rolls to Richard Photo Lab and eagerly awaited them to insert into my post.  My heart sunk when the above images arrived. All of em, ruined. And I am the only one to blame.

Shutter Pinhole

To the right is an example of what I was dealing with (click to embiggen). This appeared on 178 of 180 images from 5 rolls of film – and I had no idea the cause.  I posted the question to Twitter and the responses came flooding in – pinhole burn. The Twitter film community was also kind enough to point me to a ton of forum discussions about causes and repair of the issue. There was a lot of reading to get to the gist, so I just plan to cut to the chase here.

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Why I Gave Up on Digital

RIP – 2008-2014 – I’ve sent a lot of cameras to their grave over the years. I grew up shooting my father’s Minolta SR-T 102 in the early 80’s and went through a slew of various others trying to find my own groove. Many were junkers that I quickly grew bored of and tossed away. Occasionally, I’d pick up a digital point and shoot for travel but wasn’t really serious about any of the photos I was taking with them. I’d toss them as quickly as I acquired them.

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NH Highland Games on Film

Last weekend was the 40th Annual New Hampshire Highland Games in Lincoln, NH. I went up north with Linda and her amazing father Jim (both of Scottish descent) to explore this wonderful festival. For gear, I packed my Leica M3 paired with the Carl Zeiss C Sonnar T* 1.5/50, my Leica M2 paired with the Carl Zeiss C Biogon T* 2.8/35, my Weston Master V light meter and my Ona bag loaded with Kodak Portra 400 and Tri-X.

In typical Scottish fashion, the weather was a balmy 49º F for most of the day with the on and off spitting of misty rain. It was perfect.  We got to the mountain mid-morning to the sounds of pipes belting out traditional tunes. Though cold, your nose was immediately filled with the scents of great Scottish food – especially my favorite – the meat pie.  I mean really, what’s better than a pie filled up with meat? Jim was brave enough to dig into a plate of Haggis – my stomach isn’t quite iron enough for Haggis though.

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Teaser – Coming Soon

Yes, it’s on order. The Leica M-A.

I’m sure you want some explanation here, so cutting to the chase: out goes the M-E and M2, in comes the M-A (and the M3 stays). Should be in my sweaty grip within a month. Thank you to the fine folks at Green Mountain Camera for working out this deal for me.

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Different Cameras for Different People

Tonight’s rant post is just a little reminder to shoot what makes you happy – and not to presume why others buy what they buy. This stems from a conversation with someone (we’ll call him a forum troll) this week about the Leica M-A (which I covet), he commented that they were “built only for posers and not for real photographers.” That completely set me off at first, but I had to take a deep breath before responding, calmly.

The camera is about the experience. I like the beauty and simplicity of an exquisitely manufactured piece of mechanical hardware.  I take joy in the weight and feel of the body, the tiny lenses, and the soft “fwip” of the quiet shutter. And I love the results of my film M2 & M3 – and this is what has me lusting for the M-A. It’s not about the money or the name – it’s the experience for me.

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