Gymnastic decorating

Gymnastic decorating

While visiting Headcorn village yesterday, on the drive in my wife pointed out this young lady painting the front of this old grade two listed building. I believe it was an old Inn but now houses a couple of small businesses, one of which I think is a ladies hair salon. I managed to get an informal portrait of her on what was a very hot day for us all in the south of England. To be honest I’m surprised the paint wasn’t drying out before she could apply it with the brush!

‘Painting by numbers’ – Headcorn, England.

Both images taken with Leica M-P (Typ-240) Summicron 50mm f/2.

September 2021.



Decisions.

Jacks‘ the Doberman Pinscher – Summicron 50mm f/2

Recently I made a decision regarding my Leica lenses which I have mulling over for quite sometime. For the last few years I have been mainly using a 50mm lens for my photography and I like the idea of using just one lens but couldn’t make my mind which focal length I wanted stick too. There’s always that thought in the back of my mind that you’ll need different focal lengths for every occasion.

Two years ago I purchased the Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH partly out of wanting to make it easier to do street photography by using a wider lens and the fact that everyone else seems to use a wide angle lens for street images these days. The other thought was it to be used for any landscape images and could even eventually be my go to lens. On conclusion I think this was silly idea on my part and shooting zone focusing at f/11 or f/16 with a fast ISO all the time just to guarantee getting a street shot is not my style of working. While I’ll done it, I didn’t really enjoy shooting street images this way and as for the odd landscape or seascape I might take, interestingly I found most of the this type of images I’d previously taken where with the 50mm lens.

‘Choppy waters’ Isle of Sheppey, England – Summicron 50mm f/2

Another point was finding my dislike for the finger or focusing tab. I found every time I used the 35mm after using the 50mm Summicron (which on version V has no focus tab) I would find the finger tab annoying and did not use it. I think, you either like using a focusing tab or you don’t and I now find it just getting in the way all the time. Don’t get me wrong it’s a great lens but the focal length is just not necessary for me now some how.

The 90mm f/2.8 Tele-Elmarit, at the end last year before Brexit came into force I bought this lens from the Leica Vienna store online. It’s a lovely little Canadian made lens from the early 1980’s and wasn’t expensive at all. While thinking it was a good idea to have such a focal length available to use I in fact only used this lens twice since purchasing it. Once for testing and the other occasion for my image ‘Shoes’ you can see below.

Conclusions.

…So I have decided I am a 50mm focal length photographer.

Having rambled on, how I have come to the conclusion, I do only really need one lens, a 50mm lens for my photography and going through my images I found nearly 80% of them were shot using a 50mm lens, so why use anything else. I’m glad I had use of the 90mm but I so rarely shoot portraits or have the need to take pictures at this distance that I found they can also be done with a 50mm lens. I got 35mm Summicron for street photography but it’s not a necessity for shooting the subject nor do I need to have it in my bag for a landscape I might take. Yes it wasn’t cheap but I knew that either way if I sold the 50 or 35 I would get my money back.

Not wanting the 35 or 90mm to be collecting dust on the shelf, I’ve decided to sell them both. While looking up current prices of used Leica lenses on the internet I see a review on a 50mm Summilux lens, a version I wasn’t not aware of, the Leica Black-Chrome Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH. Knowing all about the older Summilux’s and yes there’s always that envy factor of the f/1.4 …I know. For sometime I have had half an eye on maybe purchasing an example but the not the new version Summilux ASPH, model: 11 891 with it’s built in hood and focusing tab.

On a side note regarding the Summicron 50mm f/2 version V hood design. I have found the built in hood on the Summicron can get damaged very easily and I read some other photographers having had the same issues with Summilux and it’s built lens hood. Two years ago while in Le Mont-Saint-Michel in France, a woman lost her footing going up some stone steps and fell against me and in turn knocking the lens into a stone wall. While the damage to the lens didn’t seem that great at the time, a small nick on the other edge of the metal lens hood, later I found the hood would not retract properly back into the Summicron lens body …expensive repair!

New acquisition.

So onto the new acquisition, this lens is a modern version of the 1959 Summilux 50mm f/1.4 but with 2014 aspherical optics, made with solid brass, it has no focus tab, comes with a detachable brass hood and should last my lifetime. The extra stop will be a great bonus and the Summilux gives very smooth creamy bokeh which is as far as I know is unrivalled by any other lens.

Image courtesy from Leica AG

I didn’t see the point of owning two Summicron 50mm lenses, so I’m keeping the Summicron 50mm Duel Range lens to use on my M3. By selling three of my Leica lenses, this will cover three quarters of the cost for a used, excellent condition Summilux from Red Dot Cameras, London which hopefully I’m expecting to arrive tomorrow morning.

https://www.reddotcameras.co.uk/

Legs

I came across this Peugeot J7 van converted into a camper among the many that are parked up at the seafront, Minster, England. Apart from the vehicles aged look, I liked the hanging lantern lights and stencilled monkey advertising on the side panel. Lady inside didn’t want her picture taken but did not seem to mind or notice her legs being on show which added to the picture.

Taken with my Leica M-P (Typ-240) Summicron 50mm f/2

Outgoing waters

Isle of Sheppey, England. August 2021

I couldn’t resist taking this shot, the light this particular morning was beautiful.

I’m finding using the M-P built in meter a bit troublesome to use and I’m finding I am going back to using my handheld Weston Euromaster V light meter. Problem is having shot so long without a integral meter, I’m shooting without it and when I do disagreeing with it’s readings. The picture above I ended up taking by guessing the exposure as with the camera’s meter I could not get it right.

I do wonder how many others find the same issue and resort back to using an external lightmeter?

 Leica M-P (Typ-240) Summicron 50mm f/2 plus digital yellow filter.

The Spider

Funny how you take a shot and don’t notice a small element of the image until post processing. I was taking pictures of the grasses lit up by the morning sunlight using my new M-P and having shot a number of images I returned home.

click to enlarge image.


Even while finishing the image I still hadn’t noticed the spider until as always I view my finished pictures large on my 30 inch computer screen. Although the spider is very small, the detail of the web when seen large is just amazing to me and completes the picture in a subtle way. Think this image is going to used a large wall print for our new home.

For those of you struggling to see the creature and think Martin has lost his marbles, below in a close up of the image above.

Taken with my Leica M-P and Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH

Puppy love

Shot before the current curfew, on a dull overcast day, this lady was taking her Pomeranian puppy for his first outing at Minster Leas, Isle of Sheppey, England. Wasn’t happy with first image I uploaded yesterday, so with a little dodging and burning in Gimp the result I’m pleased with. To tell the truth I don’t like messing around with my pictures too much, some might say I’m lazy but if it’s not right, I scrap the image.

Puppy love

Leica M3, Summicron 50mm f/2 Duel range on Ilford HP5 plus expired 2006 from my father’s old stock in his fridge and push one stop.

Seafront Parking

Hope everyone keeping well out there.

While out with the dog before the current curfew, I heard children playing on the beach below the seawall. It was then I noticed the two scooters and a child’s bike resting against the railings.

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Taken on my Leica M4-2, Summicron 50mm f/2 and shot on Fomapan 100 @ 800 ISO using sunny sixteen rule at Minster seafront, Kent England.

Leas winter

Minster Leas beach huts, Minster, Kent England. Shot on a very gloomy, windy and wet Sunday morning in February.  The sun was trying to break though but didn’t quite manage it. I just love the effect this film gives when it’s pushed three stops.

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Taken on my Leica M4-2, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH and shot on Fomapan 100 Classic film @ 800 ISO with a yellow B&W filter.

Posts

Minster Leas, Isle of Sheppey, England.

After shooting my image ‘Only the Bones‘ you can see some old posts in the background which I think maybe part of an old pier or even for a floating pontoon as these old structures are some eight feet in height. Maybe the old barges where part of the pier, who knows?

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Taken using my Leica M4-2, with a Summicron-M 35mm f/2 ASPH on Fomapan 100 Classic film rated at 400 ISO and a B&W yellow filter.

 

Late shadows

As many of you know my work, I very rarely shoot colour film. So when I said to my wife I’m going to shoot some autumn pictures last Sunday, a voice came from the other room ”you are going to use colour?” So frantically looking in my photography fridge upstairs, luckily for me there was one last roll of Agfa Vista 200 colour film left, dated October 2018… Phew.

This shot hasn’t really got much in the way of autumn colour but I liked the late afternoon light and shadows across the cemetery. Only in post processing on the computer did I notice the grave in the foreground, the foot stone is propped up with white bricks!

Late shadows

Taken at Sheppey Cemetery, England on my Leica M4-2, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH with Agfa Vista 200 film.

Wetlands

I have just received my M4-2 back from Cameraworks having had a very annoying light leak repaired and this was image is from a test roll of Fomapan shot yesterday.

This is another view of the ‘Seabreeze’ Caravan Park, Sheerness, England.

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Leica M4-2, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH, B&W yellow filter on Fomapan 100 Classic film.


Fogging marks.

I thought I would share with you what was found to wrong with my Leica. Some of you might remember from a previous post I had to send away my Leica for repair as the camera was showing signs of a light leak.

Leica fogging

One of the worse contact strips with some of the offending patches across the negatives, other films would have little or no fogging marks across the films. So what on earth was causing these marks on my pictures?

For quite sometime this had been going on and I thought to myself it can’t be the camera. If I shot the film straight away, one frame after another then rewind it back into it’s cassette once I had finished, there would be no fogging marks at all. I shined a bright light around the camera body, to fog the film or at lease see some light getting in, nothing. There was some other issue causing this. I wondered if it was user error developing the film, like the film not loading properly on the spool and touching during development, a light leak in one of my Patterson developing tanks, the light trap on some film cassettes had failed or even my changing bag was maybe the problem. It was starting to really drive me mad!

Having tried anything and everything I could think of and then finding that films shot on my Nikon FE had no problems, the Leica was found to be guilty and sent off in disgrace to Cameraworks. Alan Starkie described this leak as a real pain to find, but after a large amount of work and test film strips, find it he did. It turned out to be a tiny gap between the casing and main body.

Alan said ‘using a very powerful light source that is fed down a fibre optic light pipe, I found that if I pressed my eye to the take-up chamber, at a certain spot I could see light. That is bad because the film is just on the take-up spool with no protection

How this came about I don’t think we will ever find out. The camera was serviced by Cameraworks in August this year and some twenty rolls of film had gone though the camera with no problems. Maybe the camera got a knock that I didn’t notice while we were in France either in June this year when this problem first appeared. But there again, there was no new marks or dents on the body. The gap was just big enough to cause a problem intermittently and I think will always remain a mystery.

Suspected light leak
Photograph courtesy of Alan Starkie

Above the point where the light was getting into the film chamber. Alan sealed the gap all the way around with black sealant, which has now solved the problem. I cannot thank Alan and his son James of Cameraworks enough.