Hi I'm Martin Smith, a amateur photographer that likes to shoot solely film. I use black & white with the odd colour image thrown in and mainly use a Leica M4-2 & M3 with Summicron 35mm, 50mm plus I now have a 90mm f/2.8 Tele-Elmarit-M lens. I tend to shoot anything I like, objects, scenes, landscape or street life. My film of choice now is Fomapan 100 Classic.
I do like trawling through previous images I have taken but dismissed at the time. Looking at this picture, lord only knows why I discounted this one, I think flipping through the scans I failed to notice the reason I had taken the picture in the first place. Not only the two girls looking at the phone but up on the balcony above them was an lady doing the same. Did think about cropping the image to portrait, maybe some of you would of done, maybe it should be. Either way I’m happy with the picture final look.
Leica M4-2, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH and taken on Kodak Tri-X, rated at 800.
Another image from my archives, taken back in the summer of 2017 from a short holiday break to the Norfolk broads, England. My wife said to me I had taken some nice pictures in Norfolk, I’d found I had taken a couple of rolls of colour print in Norfolk that summer, had them developed, scanned and forgotten all about them. Having found this shot I now use as a desktop wallpaper on my Linux PC.
I haven’t done very much photography of late as we are in the process of moving house. I say moving, we are having work done to the new house before we move in which is Victorian built around 1850’s so a lot of work to be completed. We expect to be actually moving in to the new house end of April, start of May. Hopefully, once settled and restrictions have gone I can get out and about shooting again.
Taken on a Nikon FE, 28mm f/2.8 Ai Nikkor on Kodak Color Plus 200 film.
Morning after Storm Darcy, aka ‘The Beast from East 2’ a cold front eastern Europe and Russia. I’m going start a new club called the ‘Frozen Leica Society’ because oh boy was I so cold my hands started to hurt in the -7°c wind chill …We English are not use to this sort of thing you know!
Anyway I shot this picture purely because of the pattern of the snow fall along the seawall. Later on, further along the front in the distance you can see the waters edge looks very white and as it turned out the sea was starting to freeze.
Leica M4-2, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH and taken on Fomapan 100 Classic film at an ISO of 800
Last year I shelfed this post because I felt some might be offended by it’s latter content. As I found out, there is still some very strong feelings about this cemetery in Normandy, France.
I have an interest in the history of the second world war and Normandy of course was a battle ground during the months of June and July 1944. On the occasions I have been to France, I have seen and visited few sites where battles took place, museums and Allied cemeteries but I’d never been to the German cemetery in La Cambe. We stumbled across it by chance on our way back to the house we stay at in Vimoutiers.
The Deutscher Soldatenfriedhof at La Cambe,Normandie
I’m always cautious and respectful when taking images around churches, cemeteries or graveyards. In the picture above, there’s a family ahead and when they passed me earlier at the entrance to the cemetery, I could clearly hear they were German speaking and wasn’t to sure how they might react seeing someone with a camera, let alone an Englishmen, but as the saying goes over here …“Keep calm, carry on”
Thankfully a Leica rangefinder is discreet, quiet and small although maybe some would say a bit sneaky! Years ago as I was taking pictures, I did have a woman take offence that I was using a camera in such a place, so I do like to be mindful of where I am and not to disturb others.
Before walking though the entrance a sign tells you, Until 1947, this was an American cemetery. The remains were exhumed and shipped to the United States. It has been German since 1948, and contains over 21,000 graves. With its melancholy rigour, it is a graveyard for soldiers not all of whom had chosen either the cause or the fight. They too have found rest in our soil of France.
I can understand why some in France still have ill feeling about the existence of this place.
As I start walking quietly though the main a gate your meet with a small marble hall with the large letters on the wall ‘HIER RUHEN DEUTSCHE SOLDATEN + ICI REPOSENT DESSOLDATS ALLEMANDS’ translated, Here lie German Soldiers.
Although very uniformed and tidy, unlike Allied cemeteries there are no headstones or white marble crosses, just stone plaques with the names of the fallen with roughly carved black stone crosses in groups of five dotted among the trees. On the overcast but very warm day I visited there where two national wreaths, one French, one German on stands in the middle of the cemetery. A few smaller wreaths lie on some plaques but no flowers or poppies but what stood out to me was among the bare graves, one plaque was covered in flowers and pictures.
Below is the grave plaque of one SS-Hauptsturmführer Michael Wittmann the German tank ace who was killed near Gaumesnil, Normandie.
Michael Wittmann grave in La Cambe cemetery
I was surprised that his plaque was surrounded by coins, some fresh flowers, some not so fresh as well as pictures of him in his wartime uniform. I am well aware of the exploits of this man, his achievements as a panzer commander and his subsequent demise in 1944. Although there is no record of Wittmann being involved with any crimes, he was still a member of the Waffen-Schutzstaffel who themselves carried out war crimes throughout the war and was born out of one of the worst authoritarian regimes mankind has ever known. I think one must forgive that some individuals still have the misguided belief of having a ‘cult’ status is ‘OK’ regardless of the crimes committed by the same organisation that this man belonged to throughout the conflict.
One final point, outside the La Cambe cemetery there are various plinths on which there are famous quotes. One stood out to me;
All pictures taken with my Leica M4-2, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH and taken on Ilford HP5 plus film in August 2020.
No seriously, ‘unshipping’ means to load, unload a ship or the sailors progressed rapidly with the task of unshipping the packages and caged animals. “Unshipping the wheels” meanings Larboard battery, unship your rear wheels from the cannons to raise the angle of fire.
Think in this case it’s not to get an angle of attack, more like to prevent theft of boat and trailer from the sailing club yard.
Taken last March, on my Leica M4-2, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH and taken on Ilford HP5 plus film.
I was rather amused when I saw these two elderly gentlemen sitting at the end of this quay in Honfleur fishing. Not only fishing among the idle fishing trawlers and trawlermen’s equipment along the quayside but in a area they were sitting, I believe is supposed to be off limits to the general public!
…also think they looked a little old to be trawlermen.
Leica M4-2, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH and taken on Kodak Tri-X, rated at 800.
This little fella is a rescue dog from eastern Europe and his previous life was to be tied up outside all day. Now living in the UK, with long walks everyday, everything is curious, fascinating or puzzling for this little dog. He stood staring at us for a good couple of minutes while we chatted to his new owner.
Leica M3, Summicron 50mm f/2 using my Weston Euro Master V meter and taken on Fujifilm C200 film.
“I’m coming around to the idea of shooting a little more colour in my photographic life”
Think my memory is getting a little short as I get older!
I shot colour negative film two years ago and this image below is from France.
I’d forgotten that I had taken this picture in the village of Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei, because it wasn’t a very interesting image to me at the time as a street photography image. Now with the all new 2021 lock down regulations in England, I’m unable to go anywhere other than an hours exercise or for work… shopping, that’s the wife’s department! So photography has gone out the window for the foreseeable and so I have been looking though previous negatives to see anything I’ve missed or discounted before. I found these colour negatives from our trip to Normandy in 2018.
This is the near the middle of Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei, Normandie France and it is said to be one of the most beautiful villages in France, small, not over commercialised with a couple small cafés this village well worth a visit. Located in the south of the Parc naturel régional et Géoparc Normandie-Maine and lies on the River Sarthe 13 km from Alençon.
Leica M4-2, Summicron 50mm f/2 using my Weston Euro Master V meter and taken on Fujifilm Superia 400 film.