I have come to realise that part of my problem is my continued use of film. I have used film ever since I was a boy – it must be getting on for 40 years now (More like 45… Ed). I like the way that film records photographs.
I like having a strip of plastic in my hand that has that record, there for me to look at. I like the grain. I like the lack of grain. I enjoy processing the film myself, when I have the time (of which, I don’t have as much as I like).
I have been increasingly frustrated by colour film. My favourite film of all time (a slide film made by Fuji, called Astia) went west a few years ago. Normal colour negative films are hit and miss and the processing (although do-able at home) is worse. Sometimes one processor will get it just right, on other occasions the negatives come back dirty or poorly processed. Slide processing is very expensive nowadays, as is the film.
Because of these factors, I have been less inclined to take my film camera, my Leica MP with me. It currently sits there with 25 shots taken from a roll (probably black and white Tri-X) and hasn’t been taken out for probably a month. The Nikon D700 isn’t a carry around camera and so only gets taken out when using the car. I have, however, continued to take photographs with my iPhone.
(some of you may be able to see where this might be heading)
I bought a new camera – my first ever Leica digital M. My dealer had a really nice Leica M9 for sale, about 4 years old but with less than a thousand shots under its belt. But, I just couldn’t bring myself to buy it. I asked him if he had any new ones in stock and I decided that the extra over cost was worth it, to avoid the worry of the failing sensor issue, if nothing else. I raided the piggy bank.
I didn’t think that a new camera was the answer – but now, I think that it might be. It is a pity, in a way, as I could have taken any of the shots below with my film camera. It’s just that I didn’t. And I wouldn’t have. Which is a bit odd.
I have to say that the M(240) has been a revelation in the two weeks that I have had it and I have really enjoyed using it. I have, once again, been bringing my bag to work and shooting at lunchtime. Last Sunday, we had a superb day in the Lakes and it gave me photographs that I have been quite pleased with. I am enjoying working out its foibles (the exposure bracketing had me foxed for a while, for example). It’s been a lot of fun.
I am fortunate to be able to go to San Francisco in a months’ time and I am looking forward to having become properly familiarised with it before letting it loose over there.
Now. To get on with the project…