Saturday, June 9, 2012

Test Rolls

As some of you know, I bought a Leica kit late last year. I've been gradually putting the gear through its paces. Of course the main item I was after was the M6. However, a Leica CL was also included. When I bought it, the former owner told me that the CL was actually his favorite camera to shoot with. At the time, I found this hard to believe with an M6 sitting right there. However, after taking it out and about in downtown Baltimore, I'm starting to see why.

Sutton Place

Patrick Joust was nice enough to give me a couple rolls of (very) expired T-MAX 400 at the Film in Baltimore meetup last March. I thought the CL would be the perfect test case.

I do have to say though, that this film was in bad shape. The lead sticking out of the canister was much lighter than the film inside the canister, and the film was so brittle that I actually snapped off the tip when I was loading it into the camera. It's interesting going out to shoot when you know that none of your shots may be coming out. As you may have noticed though, I like exploring, so even if the shots didn't come out, I could still write it off as "scouting."

In the end, NCPS did a great job developing and scanning the film. It came out a bit grainy, but hey, this was just a test.


Ready MARC


Atlantic RO-RO Carriers

So the CL may not have the amazing build quality or cache of an M6. It's a practical photographic tool that accepts great Leica glass like the 40mm Summicron. And for a price that leaves some room for actual film and travel. Sounds like a deal to me.

Leica CL

Saturday, June 2, 2012

So It's June

Whoa, April and May blew by, and now it's June. Time for some updates.

April included trips to Summit Point and Monongahela National Forest. It was good to break the 1D Mark II out to shoot racing again. I'd lent the camera to my dad to take to Africa, so this was the first time I've really used it since. It didn't miss a beat.

Of course, you don't need a 1D to get shots like the ones below. I was going for a speed/blurring effect on the first shot, which was taken at 1/13 of a second at f/20, ISO 100. It takes several shots to get it right, since no one can track and pan perfectly. When you get it really right though, it's awesome.

Slow is Fast


Monongahela was also fun, though the Smoke Hole motel we stayed in left much to be desired, especially for the cost. In any case, we visited Spruce Knob, the highest point in West Virginia, as well as Dolly Sods, a tundra-like expanse that bears great resemblance to areas way up in Canada.

On the Ridge

Bear Rocks Overlook

Spruce Knob

May included a trip to Shenandoah National Park. It was a chance to try out the Xpan since I got it back from an aborted repair down in DC. I'm still waiting for the film back on that one, but we also hit up Luray Caverns, which I haven't been to since I was a child. For the caverns, I thought it would be a good chance to shoot wide with the 17-40/4. It hasn't gotten much use since I got the 24-105/4. Unfortunately, I don't think my idea panned out. The pictures you see below are thoroughly cropped, so I probably would have done better to bring a fast 35/2 or something instead. I'm sure there are impressive, wide shots to be had, but the tour group was moving along pretty quickly, so there wasn't a ton of time to try every angle of composition. In the end, most of the wide shots I got were too cluttered. Photographer or not, I do recommend Luray Caverns though.

Luray Caverns

Luray Caverns

I also finally took the time to cut all my film from the past couple years with the Xpan. I couldn't let the lab cut them, since the shots are panoramic. I have this recurring vision in my head of a beautiful panoramic shot in E6, sitting on the light table, cut right in half. Painful.

While tedious, cutting film and seeing it on the light table through the loupe is one of the simple joys of photography that I think a lot of people miss out on. I've heard that with a really good loupe, your slides can look so good on the light table that it's enough to make you quit your real job to become a full-time photographer. In other words, the light table and loupe can be dangerously awesome.

Contact Sheet