Cannot do without...

...camera.

...Leica.

...Summicron.

...Zeiss.

...glass.

...aperture.

...shutter sound...

...

...FIIIILM!!!

It’s weird how we photographing folks are addicted to surrounding ourselves with gear..cameras...lenses...bags and all other kind of associated toys. 

It’s when we wake up...before we go to bed...while we are out for a walk...

We always have to have a camera around. 

Have you ever been so in thought that you were not really watching the TV but clicking away with your beloved film camera with no film in it? Or even just caressing the body of your new purchase, be it an old ‘clicker’ or a new modern digital ‘beast’?

Believe me...I have been caught by my better half and been told to stop it because otherwise she would have wrapped it around my neck and then chained me to the radiator in the basement!!

I know it is embarrassing...

...but...

Photographers are of a certain kind. We don’t take snap shots but images and we don’t make pictures but create…long lasting memories!

See where I am going with this?

Even though I do shoot a lot of rubbish...I NEVER leave the house without some kind of camera. By that I do not mean to refer to that dinky little lens in my smartphone. I always have a decent camera with me. Nikon, Leica, Rollei or even Sony. I cannot ‘not’ be prepared to record.

I even take a camera to work in my trusty old Billingham Bag, just in case I might need it on my way to or from the office. I want to be prepared in case there might be an opportunity to shoot the sunrise, misty mornings or exciting stormy weather.

Photographers are not just snappers. We need to be ready for something special. These moments do not come often and are not predictable. So we have to be ready.

Photographic creators usually also do not often care about what others may think...they (we) just HAVE to do it!

I admit...its a sickness, an addiction, but boy is it better than being dependant on drugs or alcohol!

Or is it just me? Am I the weird one?

Been for a wander during a cool evening…with a Leica M-E and a Zeiss 50mm /1.4

Been for a wander during a cool evening…with a Leica M-E and a Zeiss 50mm /1.4

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I HATE TICKS...

So…over the weekend I spent a couple of mornings out in the local woods and up a mountain or hill...or whatever you might want to call it. I frequent this area quite a lot so I know every path and every bush and tree very well.

What I didn’t realise was how many ticks are actually out to ‘get me’! They are everywhere!

Even though the area is not known for ticks infecting humans with Lyme Borreliosis or Lyme disease, I am very weary of the risks. 

In the last two days I found two very small ticks on me...little buggers trying to feed on me. One was crawling on my knee after I returned back from my Saturday excursion and the other actually bit me on my triceps...whilst I was at work. I have no idea where I picked this one up...as I work in a warehouse and not outdoors.

Luckily I managed to pick it off with its head...not buried in my skin. I’ll have to watch that bite mark; just in case I get the characteristic inflammation.

I have keenly followed Dan Milnor’s reports on his battle with Lyme disease and am fully aware of the risks. The fact that I live and work in Germany now fills me with some comfort, knowing the health service here is very capable of treating the onset of such bacterial infection. Even though it is very difficult to diagnose the actual condition, the doctors and scientists do have a lot of experience.

Research has shown that there has been a continuous spread of infecting ticks from all over the world and it is mainly due to winters not being cold enough. As the days of winter temperatures of -15 to -20 degrees Celsius are a thing of the past...so is the death of ticks.

I shall continue to be wearing long trousers, long sleeve shirts and a hat/cap when I venture out...along with insect repellant...the strong stuff!

So...whenever you venture out with your cameras...especially in ‘green’ areas...dress up and lube up in repellant!

And of course when you return...check yourself for bites and your clothing, too. Those buggers like to wait for when you wear that jacket next time.

Stay safe, stay low and move fast...and don’t forget to take care of each other.

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What to do on a Sunday morning...

I usually check the weather forecast on Wednesday for the weekend. Then again on a Thursday to enable me to plan. Then I have another peek at it on Friday morning, then again Friday afternoon...I feel like a teenager constantly checking if I am popular enough on WhatsApp. It’s terrible. However, the offered weather Apps kicking around on the Web are all supposed to do the same...but never do...tell what the weather will be during the next few days. It’s annoying, as some forecast rain and fog, when others actually tell me it will be a weekend indoors due to rain.

I have learnt to rely on my gut feeling and the dew on my roof window. 

I am after moisture...a lot of it. It will give me the ‘oh so desired’ misty mornings coupled with beautiful golden sunrises.

This involves getting up very early these days. (…sigh...).

I sometimes get up at 0400 to be on location before the first sun rays. On occasions I have to catch up on some shut-eye during the afternoons as I will not make it to the next day otherwise.

During the summer months I struggle for interesting compositions. Everything is green and without blossoms. Most plants and especially trees are not in bloom anymore and woodlands are dark and...well...boring. Mist only settles on open areas and hardly ever is found in built up areas or where more than a few trees are located. Lone trees are also not much found anymore as they had to give way to effective farming. They have just been chopped down because they were in the way.

So...the big question: what to shoot?

I have found that it is not the shooting, or even hunting for a significant composition, that is important. I find it far more satisfying to just get out and get some exercise. Naturally I would never leave the house without a camera, but it would be to document my day’s activities and just what I get up to. The really good frames will either ‘jump at me’...or not; and that is OK too. As long as I do not miss a chance by not having a decent lens in front of a camera to capture the moment...its fine.

Today I spent time on a local peak with my Leica MP 0.72 and a roll of Kodak Color Gold 200. I got there before sunrise only to find out that there was no mist, no sun and very flat light. Additionally I also have no images to show yet...as I have to finish the roll first and have it processed. So all I have at the moment...is a shot from my smartphone.

So there...recorded, shot, framed...

But: I have the images which will remind me of a very early morning out and about in nature... as it really was. Yet to find out what the roll of film will produce when I finally get it back from the Lab.

How exciting!?!!!

Long live Film!

But on a Sunday morning…I could have had a lie-in, done some ironing, cleaned the car, done some paperwork or even worked on my archive. I could have even worked on my book which I am determined to finish soon. Dan Milnor has inspired me enough now to actually get it done!

Check out Dan on shifter.media. It’s really…really good stuff!

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Hybrid thinking, hybrid Process

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I finally got round to developing some film again. The smell of fixer and developer on my fingers is still prevalent and I cant get rid of it. But it’s a good smell. It is a testament to successful processing and and a reminder of the excitement of what may be on the rolls I shot a few days or even weeks ago.

Two rolls of Ilford Delta 3200 (out of date since 2017), a roll of Ilford Delta 100 and a roll of Kodak TriX 400. The latter being 35mm and the others of the 120 format. Yes, I pulled out the ole’ Rolleicord again. The beauty I had serviced by a former technician of the original Rollei factory.

The final results turned out fine...well, I could have exposed the outdated 3200 for a little longer...but the detail is there, even though it is a little dark.

Now I need to cut, scan and store the negatives. 

I am by no means a specialist in processing B&W film. I have perfected my workflow...call it the sequence of it all...but I am not one to experiment. My images are far too precious to me to potentially ruin the result. I have, once or twice, pushed TriX to ISO 1600 but was not really impressed with the result. There was just not enough detail in the shadows.

Now some of you may call out that I must have messed up the temperature or not developed long enough...well, maybe. I am however much more impressed with the results if I stick with the intended ISO. 

What I am really impressed with is the fine grain of the Delta 100 film. The scan is amazingly sharp, even though I shot the images on an old 1950s Rolleicord, which is not really known for best lens quality. 

At the end of the day I find it important to also decide what my images will be used for. Am I going to print extremely large posters? No! Will my exposures be subjected to pixel peeping? No! So to be honest, I am really happy with the results...and I can edit, too. The digital scan can now be altered to be perfect without having to utilise an expensive dark room.

Make up your own mind.

Little things really big

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I find it amazing, what digital cameras and modern lenses are capable of nowadays. Above all, it doesn’t need to be expensive gear. This was shot on an outdated Sony a6000 camera which came from a discount sale.

All you need is a lens which produces clear images. In the photography world it is spoken of again and again that it is not the camera that makes a good image, but the lens. So what is a good lens?

Well, principally it is a stack of glass optics…but what is classified as ‘good’?

I always consider the output. What am I shooting for? For me its mostly print. So primarily defining is the size. If I need to create a print as large as a billboard…yes, I need supreme quality which will come at a huge cost. But in my case I print no larger than 8 x 10 in. I think I can use a pretty standard lens as the imperfection of a budget tool will not be noticeable.

I am not a pixelpeeper! I need the image to ‘speak’ to the viewer. That is all.

Weekend morning shoot in Northern Germany

It’s the Teutoburger forest…the last frontier of the Romans…just where they were beaten by the Germaniens. Here the Roman Empire ended and never went any further. An entire legion wast lost and it is here where I routinely go for my morning shoot. It’s sunrise and the the golden light is amazing.

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