Picked up a few books this month. A few of these I’ve wanted for many years. The Jim Marshall book I’d only heard of recently. There’s also a
documentary of the same title
, but I believe due to Covid the release date was pushed back to sometime this year.
The Vivian Maier book on her street photography is a stunner. Every single photograph is incredible. Her story is incredible. If you’ve never heard of her I highly recommend watching
Finding Vivian Maier
. I first watched this documentary in one of my photo classes at UNCG.
The Blake Little books I’ve wanted for a long time. There are a couple more I’m missing but they’re sold out. We got to meet Blake last year, or maybe it was 2019. A beautiful and kind man. Very talented. Both Work and Manifest are full of naturally rugged, handsome gay men in their respective environments. His Gay Rodeo photos I was not aware were in book format until I had placed the order for the other two. Had to grab a copy.
And, of course, The Americans by Robert Frank. It’s a classic and I’m happy to have finally purchased a copy. Will enjoy flipping through this one over and over.
Mitch made banana pudding for Super Bowl LV from a friend of a friends recipe, I believe. It was delicious. I’m not sure if banana pudding is a thing outside of the south eastern United States, but you should try it sometime if not. Those Nilla Wafers, though.
Normally I wouldn’t just sit around snapping photos of Mitch cooking, as cute as he is. But I had a new lens to test out. And since the weather has been pure garbage for the last month it seems, I gotta make photos in the house. What lens? Glad you asked.
The other night I was checking
for no reason, as a
, bored guy during a pandemic does, when bam my dream lens pops up. A Leica 35mm Summicron Aspherical (version 1) rated Excellent. With both caps, no less! Unfortunately no hood which I will get to in a moment. I didn’t plan on buying this lens until later in the year, but the price was about half of what a new one cost and if you have any experience with KEH, you know “excellent” basically means brand new. And it truly seems like this lens has barely been touched.
Previously the only other Leica glass I’ve used is my 90mm Tele-Elmarit. Also from KEH but rated “UG”, or “Ultra Good” (just kidding, it means ugly ☹️) And that lens is anything but! There’s something about Leica glass, it just hits different. Due to the creamy
or background blur, the subject that’s in focus seems to literally pop off the screen, film or print. Whatever you’re looking at. This is a more modern Summicron and doesn’t really have the “Leica Glow” that you may have read about, but it definitely does a solid job at isolating your subject.
I’m not, nor will I ever be, a technical review person. I will just say that this lens is an absolute joy to use. The build quality is second to none, the focus throw short and smooth. The weight…this lil baby has heft. Unfortunately mine didn’t come with a hood and I’ve read that the only complaint about this lens is the hood. One, it’s plastic. Two, it clips on, which is kinda weird. Three, the clips (I read) make it easy to bump and knock the hood off of the lens, therefore losing it. Four, people try to charge upwards of $300 for this tiny plastic hood.
Thankfully a buddy found me one at Leica SF’s online store for under $100, which is typical lens hood price for something on brand, albeit, usually made of metal. Not plastic. Well I’m not entirely sure if other people had a really bad copy but my dirty little plastic lens hood seems as stable as can be. It barely wiggles and is nice and sturdy. Even though it’s plastic.
I didn’t mean to get long-winded in this post. But I’m very excited and happy about this purchase. It sorta put me at an “end-game” so-to-speak. I don’t really have other gear I’m lusting for at the moment. Honestly thinking of selling my Hasselblad 500c after I get it repaired. Just not feelin’ it, but I should probably give it more time. It’s unfortunate it broke down so soon after getting it.
Jesse and I have been trying to meetup for months to go on a photowalk. Finally the stars aligned, and so did good weather on a Saturday. A few more people in his photo group showed up and we took off around the neighborhood to make some photos. It’s always nice to get out and shoot, and meeting new people while doing it is a huge bonus. And I can’t forget Otis, the most goodest boy, a golden retriever.
It was a lot of fun and I hope to do it again sometime. They also have, I believe, monthly challenges to create a specific photo which sounds exciting.
I mostly shot the Olympus XA2 the whole time and was surprised I went through a roll so quick. I also thought I had loaded Portra 400 but instead it was Gold 200 so I had to make sure I pushed a stop during development. I think the results were pretty good.
I wouldn’t say the XA2 is an underrated camera. It’s actually quite popular. A great, very compact point n’ shoot. The lens is very sharp for such a tiny 35mm f/2.8. Ken Rockwell has a
on the XA and XA2 that you can check out.
The last day of 2020, here at least, was covered in a dense fog for most of the day. I kept eyeing it out the window thinking McAlpine Creek Park would be really fun to make photographs at right now. It didn’t look like it was going away so I packed my gear and headed out the door. I could of rode my bike but the drive is a little faster.
I get there and it starts to rain. Dark Sky is usually pretty accurate on these things and said it wasn’t to start raining for another hour. Hoping the drizzle would let up (it did) I set off to find a spot near one of the bodies of water in the park. The more spooky, swampy one was perfect in this fog. I get the 500c set up, loaded up some Ektar 100, framed a shot and metered. It wouldn’t fire. Oops, forgot to remove the dark slide. It’s a common thing to forget. Alright, dark slide is out. Here we go. Camera doesn’t fire. Try to detach the lens to get a look. Lens is stuck. Oh no.
Long story short; looks like I’m sending the Hasselblad in for that CLA earlier than I thought.
So a little bummed I can’t get any shots with the hasselblad. I snap some photos with the M6 and packed the Hassy up. As I started to walk back to towards the other body of water I noticed the crane in a tree. I say the crane because he’s always around. I quickly got my 90mm Tele-Elmarit out, it’s the longest lens I have on me. Snapped a couple of frames and then he flew down to the edge of the water. I thought, this is incredible I can probably get fairly close with this lens.
A jogger comes up from behind me and runs right past the crane. Just a few feet from it and the crane couldn’t have been less bothered. Now I’m thinking I can get really close. I get a few frames of him on the edge of the water as I walk by. A woman walking her dog behind me was nice enough to stop moving every time I stopped to take a photo. After the crane flew off I thanked her and continued down one of the paths.
In the middle of the swampy looking water there’s a tall, skinny cross. If I’m not mistaken it usually has bird houses made from gourds hanging from it. But now it’s bare. And standing reflected in this murky body of water, surrounded by dense fog made for a pretty cool image. How on earth do they get out there to hang more bird houses on it?
On Christmas day after having dinner at my aunt’s house and watching the kids open their gifts, I ventured around my hometown a little bit to take photos. One location I definitely wanted to photograph is the old Adams School House. It’s right up the road from the house I grew up in. I actually meant to photograph it early in the morning so that the sun would be in front rather than behind, but overall I like how this turned out. Now I kind of want to reshoot it again with the sun behind, but from a better angle to try and get the light coming through all 3 windows. Gotta learn to slow down.
Here's a website
I found with a bit more information on the school house. The photograph at the bottom of the linked page is how I remember it most. It was moved at some point, I’m guessing after it took damage from hurricanes Fran and/or Hugo.