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.

Shining through

I’ve shot this sort of image before but this time the clouds where just right covering the whole of the sky giving very soft low light when sunlight wasn’t breaking through the cloud bank.

Picture was taken the following morning after Storm ‘Evert’

I just love the way our Met Office has for the past couple of years have to name these weather fronts we have from time to time here in the UK. Think they’ve got jealous of the United States and other parts of the world with the cyclone, hurricane and typhoon names.

Taken with my Summicron-M 50mm f/2, digital yellow filter preset and shot in Minster on Sea, England.


Colour saturation worries.

Finding my feet with my new Leica M-P, I have been a little concerned about colour images being too rich. I discover there two colour film presets built in to the camera. Not wanting to get too deep into digital manipulation of any kind the original JPG image below was taken without ‘smooth’ film setting. This might look ok to some but me looks wrong, missing detail and doesn’t represent what observed this morning when I shot this image.

On the one hand I wonder if this is cheating but on the other realise it a get way of toning down the colours which would be in my eyes over saturated. Shot with the film Smooth setting, I still had to bring down the levels within Gimp to get the picture below just right though.

Taken with the Summicron-M 35mm f/2 ASPH at Bartons Point Coastal Park.


Reading the Leica M-P operating manual while walking around and using this camera I feel like the German officer played by Gert Frobe in 1956 film Those Magnificent Men
in their Flying Machines

In the film having never flown a flying machine, he said “there is nothing a German officer cannot do” …later you see him reading the aircraft flying instructions while flying the aeroplane!

Image courtesy of forgottenfilmcast.wordpress.com

Fascination

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.

Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei

Greetings, on my post Testing, testing, I said…

“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.

Life is Punk

Bayeux, France. August 2020

Don’t normally taken pictures of other peoples art work but this one was an exception with the kid crying behind the bars.

Leica M4-2, Summicron 50mm f/2 and taken on Kodak Tri-X, rated at 800.

Testing, testing.

As many of you know I don’t often shot colour C41 or even E6 films, which for the life of me I don’t honestly remember when I last shot slide film. Having taken some colour images in Honfleur, France and watching Youtube videos, like by the German photographer Robin Schimko who sometimes uses colour film for street photography, I’m coming around to the idea of shooting a little more colour in my photographic life.

Kodak Pro Image 100 film

So I thought next year on our next trip to Normandy I try and use only colour film, just carrying my Leica M3 and Summicron 50mm. There is a possibility I might have a Leica Elmarit 90mm f2.8 lens as well in my camera bag if I can find a good example. I have both the Summicron 35mm lens plus two 50mm Summicron’s and for a long time now have been thinking about getting a Leica 90mm lens. Don’t not think I’ll be buying a Summicron 90mm non APO or APO versions as although it’s extremely good lens, it is enormous! The Elmarit 90mm f2.8 is far smaller with a E39 filter thread as my other Leica lenses and having seen the specifications on the Summicron 90mm lens I think will be like shooting a rangefinder with a house brick attached to the front of the camera. This lens weights in at 17.1 oz or 484 grams compared to the Tele-Elmarit of 7.957 oz./225.6g

Ken Rockwell review of the Summicron 90mm lens https://www.kenrockwell.com/leica/90mm-f2-m.htm


Onto the results of using Kodak Pro Image film, in a funny way to me this film look reminds me of the old Kodachrome in these pictures below. All pictures have been shot with no filters, shot with different light conditions and where exposed by using +1 stop with my Weston Euro Master lightmeter.

Click to enlarge images.

I used various C41 films over the years, I think mostly either AGFA Vista 200, Fujifilm Superia 200 or Kodak Color Plus 200 but like many I miss the good old days being able to purchase reasonably priced 100 ASA colour print films. There are of course a few options on the market, Kodak Professional Ektar 100 is a great film but the colours look a little rich for my taste, Kodak Portra 160 Film for a pack of five is twice the price of the Pro Image film pack. Another option would be to use a slide film like Kodak Professional Ektachrome E100 but the price at £15 or $19 a roll with the processing cost on top seems somewhat high and to me looks as it would be better used for high end portraits or landscape images as would any of the dwindling offerings from Fuji’s Fujichrome stable. 

Recently I purchase a five pack of Kodak’s Pro Image 100 film and am pretty pleased with the results of this first test roll. I don’t do reviews but this film I found to give a very good render of all the colours I observed when shooting this film. The only issue I found was during scanning with my Nikon Coolscan V scanner was I did find the images appear with a blue cast and never noticed this with either Agfa Vista or Kodak’s Color Plus films. This was corrected easily with Gimp 2.8 and the only other step I had to undertake was a little straightening on some of the pictures.

One simple click of Gimp’s white balance control cured the blue cast.

All images taken on my Leica M3 with the Summicron 50mm f/2 on Kodak Pro Image 100 film in October of this year.

Development of this film was done by https://www.ag-photolab.co.uk/

Robin Schimko website: https://www.fotodesign-rs.de/

Postcard from Honfleur

I took this shot of Honfleur harbour purely for my own use as a desktop wallpaper for the computer, then decided to share with all of you because my wife and I love Honfleur, but not only that to show the harbour town houses which as you see are very tall.

In some case seven stories high townhouses, many of these buildings are very old dating anything from the 16th to 18th century and is a tourist hot spot in the summer. The streets and harbour front are lined with café and restaurants with other street hiding hidden gems like Saint-Catherine’s Church which dated from the 15th century.

If you are find yourself visiting Normandy, Honfleur is a must for a photographers for harbour views, scenes and street photography.

There’s even a very large ferris wheel which my Mrs just had to have a ride on and no you wouldn’t get me on it …I cannot stand heights!

All images taken with my Leica M3, Summicron 50mm f/2 and Summicron 35mm f/2 lenses on Agfa Vista 200 colour film.

The Web

As they use to say in Monty Python “And Now for Something Completely Different

This window is in the garage of the house in Saint Germain de Montgommery, France that we stay at for ours holidays. Before I’d seen this shot but because of a large shrub the sunlight didn’t come though so it was always in shadow. However, we have a new gardener and he has taken this bush down so allowing sunlight to come though this window now. The frosted glass of the window just adds to the spooky effect.

Leica M4-2, Summicron 50mm f/2 and taken on Kodak Tri-X, rated at 800.