Looking forward: 2010

January 20th, 2010 by

After looking back, it’s time to look forward. What do I want/expect from the photographic year 2010?

My goals:

  • Shoot at least 3 pictures I consider good enough to enlarge to at least 30×45 cm. One of those should be B&W1.
  • Shoot at least 50 rolls of film2.
  • Set up a place were I can print B&W pictures, and learn to do that.
  1. And of course: Make the prints or have them made. []
  2. Without being wasteful, no shooting just to burn through the rolls []

Looking back: 2009

January 12th, 2010 by

A short summary of my photographic year:

I shot over 50 rolls of film, over half of which were B&W. Of the rest, a bunch were colour negatives (burning up old stock, and just generic cheap shots1.) The rest was slide film.

I also shot a lot of digital images (at least until august), but I’m not going to count the frames there.

Equipment-wise, this year was less horrid than the previous. I only bought 4 lenses (three of them 50mm, how about that2 ), which were all second hand, and I got pretty good deals on them. Total cost was under €1000. I only bought one camera (the Leica)
Last but not least: Early in the year, I invested in a good flash + accessories, and learned how to use it.

Picture-wise, I shot several images I’m happy with, and several I’m very happy with. I also shot a butt-load I’m not happy with. Some of the pictures I’m happy with have been shown here, others might follow. Interestingly, most (but not all!) of the good ones were shot on film. This isn’t really surprising, as I tend to bring film cameras with me, and reserve digital for cases where I know I’ll shoot a lot, but still funny as people are always surprised when they see I’m shooting film.

It was also a year of firsts: I used slide film on a holiday for the first time (which was a success), I got my first TTL flash (which worked great), I shot my first wedding (which was very scary and very tiring, but went quite well), I shot my first B&W film, and shot with a rangefinder for the first time (at the same time, too). I developed my own film for the first time (which was a lot easier than I thought it would be), I guessed my exposure for the first time (which wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, but also not very easy3).

Did I learn? Certainly.

Did I get better? I think so, but I’m still learning a lot, and I need to force myself to practice more.

Next: Looking forward.

  1. I had some problems with my EOS 30 locking up, so I shot some of my unused piles of Fuji Superia to exercise it. It worked, camera hasn’t malfunctioned since. Apparently, cameras need exercise too. []
  2. Also funny: all lenses had different mounts: Pentax K, Canon EF, T2 and Leica M. []
  3. And it needs constant practice. Stop shooting for a week, and you lose the skill immediately. []

Happy New Year!

January 1st, 2010 by

Well, 2009 is rewound and developed, and 2010 is in the camera. Let’s see if it gives us some nice pictures…

Happy New Year to you all!

Bus lane

December 22nd, 2009 by

A more abstract street shot. I’ve had a 8X12 of this on my whiteboard for a few weeks now1 and once I get my darkroom set up, I intend to make a bigger one to frame2.

Technical details

Leica M3, 50mm Summicron, Neopan 400, developed by my lab in Ilford chemistry.

Why I like it

It’s something new for me, but one of the first shots where I really think I got to the gist of B&W photography (at least what I want to do with it).

  1. Whiteboards are great for keeping test prints. Much like a pinboard, but with the ability to add notes. []
  2. Unfortunately, my normal lab prints B&W shots on colour paper, which doesn’t look as good as I want it, you get a kind of pinkish undertone in the midtones. []

Falling apart – Part 2

December 21st, 2009 by

First, my apologies for yet another long radio silence. I’ve been renovating my new home, so I haven’t been taking a lot of pictures, and haven’t been close to a computer either.

Second, the follow-up to the missing-lever-problem I described three weeks ago. Back then, I mailed Leica’s spare parts service1, and within a few days got a reply that if I supplied them with my postal address, they’d send me a replacement lever free of charge2.

The new lever promptly arrived a few days later, so I can now once more preview how a picture would look with a lens I haven’t got…

Tomorrow, I’ll finally post another picture.

  1. I also contacted Will van Manen, the Dutch Leica repair technician who serviced my camera before I bought it, who also replied promptly that he could supply and re-attach the part, even if the inner coupling had gotten dislodged. []
  2. Leicas may be expensive, but the service is great: Free parts on a second-hand, 54-year-old camera. []

SOOKY-M manual

December 2nd, 2009 by

Just a quick note: As I already stated on my lenses page, one thing that bugged me when I was looking into the SOOKY-M (SOMKY) device, was the distinct lack of info available online. I’ve therefore made the manual available as a download.

Falling apart

November 30th, 2009 by

Well, this sucks.

Sometime last saturday, the screw keeping the frameline-preview lever of the M3 in place unscrewed itself. I found the screw again, luckily it fell out indoors, but I’m afraid the lever itself fell off later, outside, and I haven’t been able to find it again.

Luckily, this is the only control on the camera that isn’t needed for actual shooting, but it’s still annoying.

If anyone has suggestions on where to get a replacement, please let me know in the comments! I’ve looked at DAG but he currently only has the (fugly) M4-style levers in stock.


November 13th, 2009 by

As I mentioned back when I explained the lens I’m using for the Leica Lessons project, I was really tempted by the Dual-range Summicron. In the end I decided against it, but mentioned in the footnotes that if I would end up missing the close range too much, I could always get a SOMKY adapter.

Well, I just did.

I love using the Leica, and it does pretty much everything I want from a camera. I’m surprised at how little I miss my Canons, quite frankly1, but one thing keeps bugging me: The lack of close focus. Product shots, and of course flower photography are hard or impossible without excessive cropping, so in the end I caved.

I managed to find one in excellent condition, with manual2 and in the original red box. I’ll be testing it out over the coming period, and keep you posted. I already posted some info on the lenses page.

  1. Which bothers me a bit, as I have quite a bit invested in that system. []
  2. Which was pretty important, as there is frightingly little info on this device available online. []


October 31st, 2009 by

An picture shot earlier this year in Germany when walking down a hillside.

Technical details

Shot handheld on Velvia 100, with Canon 30 and Canon 50mm.

Why I like it

The dappled colours of the trees, which, especially in a big print, gives the picture a watercolor-like texture.

Radio silence

October 21st, 2009 by

Just a quick note that the recent radio-silence isn’t entirely on purpose.

Some reasons:

  • One of my video-cards died1 and the new one required a OS-upgrade, taking my scanner offline for a while2.
  • I haven’t shot a lot in the last weeks, and what I shot often wasn’t very impressive, or useful for publication. Stuff important to me, but not interesting to the rest of the world.
  • Some developments on a personal level3 have kept me very busy, taking me away from the computer, and thus from updating the site. The current stage of these developments isn’t very photogenic either, so it also isn’t helping in that regard.

I hope to have at least one picture up this week, as well as another post on B&W developing. Stay tuned.

  1. I had two, since I have three screens, but thanks to my new Radeon 5850, I now have a spare []
  2. I have a seperate post on scanning in the pipeline []
  3. More on this soon to follow []