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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Above: quite possibly the last digital image I ever take.
What better way to test out the new Carl Zeiss Lenses C Sonnar T* 1.5/50 than tossing it onto my Leica M-E and heading out to the Cliff House Resort and Spa in Ogunquit, Maine for the week? I was headed up on business, Linda was going solely for the R&R. Her biggest stress of the days were “what book should I read before my massage by the ocean?” and “should I have oysters or steamers with my lobster tonight?” This is how to live!
This won’t be overly technical.
Back in January I picked up a 1958 Leica M2 from the fine folks at Green Mountain Camera in Vermont – let’s just say the deal was too good to pass up. During that time I had been shooting almost exclusively with this camera and a 1957 Summicron 2/50. Then in June, I picked up a 1961 Leica M3 from Youxin Ye of YYe Camera. Until June, the M2 was loaded with either Kodak Tri-X or Portra 160/400 film. Now, the M2 is usually loaded with just the Tri-X and my Carl Zeiss 2.8/35 while the M3 is loaded with Portra 400 and the Leica Summicron 2/50 or Carl Zeiss C Sonnar T* 1.5/50. This has spoiled me rotten and has returned me to a simplicity in look and style that I adore – so much so that the Leica ME sits rarely used on a shelf.
Yesterday, Linda and I popped into this little antique shop a town away – Bittersweet Blessings – that we never knew existed. So happy I had a camera with me as this place was just loaded with treasures. On one shelf I found a great 1930’s Kodak folding camera that will add nice to my collection. Linda found a truckload of antiques that we want to put all about the house – though we don’t have spots picked out yet. But one of the coolest things about this place was the amazing amount of artisan crafts and goods. Jams, jellies, pickled veggies, candles and more. Every square inch of this place was packed with something fun to explore – so we’ll definitely be back soon – especially for the braided rugs.
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