Going analog


I must admit this caught me a bit by surprise as well, but it all happened in December 2020. After spending too much time at home, I was hit by a wave of nostalgia. When I first got into photography, back in 1987 I think, I found my first true love in the used shelves at my local camera shop. It was a Pentax LX. I got two lenses for that one, 35mm f/2.8 and 100mm f/2.8 Macro. Both very nice lenses. I used that camera for more than 10 years before I sold it. Anyway, nostalgia hit, and I found a used LX with a 50mm f/1.4 and a 28mm f/2.8. This one had the issues almost every LX has. The rubber that dampens the mirror had failed. But I got it fixed, so now it works fine. I also bought some HP5+ and a bottle of Rodinal and went out shooting.

From this experience I came back with the following:

  • I truly enjoyed holding an analog camera and shooting film.
  • I love how I have to wait to see the negatives.
  • I still hate Rodinal. Did back then, still do.
  • The LX was not all I remembered. Good but no longer the love of my life.

Then I got hold of a Hasselblad 500C/M. That was something else. The experience is so different, and I had a lot of fun with it. I must have shot 60-70 rolls with that camera so far. But as good and fun as it is, it is also heavy and cumbersome. This is a camera I most likely will continue to use, but I also needed something lighter and smaller.

Chance would have it that I found a Konica IIIa from Japan for next to nothing. I started using it, and soon found that I enjoyed to use a range finder. Never tried that before. The Konica has a super nice 48mm f/2.8 lens, probably the most beautifully rendering lens I have ever used. But that camera is a bit of a hassle. No light meter I can live with, but the shutter button wasn’t all that reliable, so it was easy to miss a shot.

Then, at last, I got myself a Leica M6. I have never really lusted for a Leica, so this was a bit surprising to me, but after using the Konica and finding that I enjoyed the range finder, I thought it would be difficult to go wrong with a Leica. And so far that has really been the case. It’s not as perfect as the fan boys are claiming, but it is a very enjoyable camera to use. It is small and light for a pro film camera. The ergonomics suits me well. I love the light meter. Just the way I want it (almost like my old Pentax MX). But it is the viewfinder that I enjoy most. Imprecise as it is, I find it very “transparent” and unobtrusive. It is like it isn’t there. And also, the focusing patch just felt very natural to me. And I can use it event without correction for my failing eyes. That didn’t work on SLRs.

So, for the next year now, it’ll be Leica and only that. I will miss the Hasselblad, but that would not have been the right camera for this project.

First post, again

Many years ago had a small photography blog. I think I wrote more than 400 posts. I even had a few followers. In fact, back then I fell into a sort of photo blogger fellowship along with some really talented people. We had many interesting conversations, and we even had a few print exchanges going. I don’t remember them all, but I do have a couple of prints by Paul Butzi, Doug Stockdale, Martin Doonan and a few others (I must check my old print boxes again). Well, that blog ended about the time I had my first child. And my photography took an abrupt turn into documenting the growing family. I guess that’s how it goes.

But then years pass by, and the kids are becoming more self documenting. I started to enjoy photography like I used to again. About two years ago, when Covid was a thing, I went out and got an old Hasselblad. It was a dream camera from my youth, but I had never even held one before. I was sold. Back to processing B&W film and all the stuff. I have much to say about that, but not right now.

So, why this blog? It’s not about publicity. I’ll count myself lucky if more than 10 people will read it. The blogging era is long gone, but I enjoy writing and I can just pretend to have an audience. The real reason for starting again is that I want to document my “One camera, One lens, One year” project. Ever since that project was proposed by Mike Johnston back in 2009 it has been lurking in the back of my head. It was out of the question back then since this was about the time my son was born. But a few weeks ago, I bought a used Leica M6 and a Zeiss 35mm on impulse. It was a bargain, and I was already into B&W film again. I remembered that old article, and here we are.

The project has already started. I loaded the first OCOLOY film on Sept. 1. Here is how I plan to play it:

  • One camera (Leica M6), one lens (Zeiss Biogon 35mm f/2.8), one film… not really.. any ISO400 B&W film
  • At least one roll of film each week
  • Try to take at least one frame every day
  • Starting one month in I will print one frame each day. Knowing my schedule I will allow myself to do this maybe two times a week, but I intend to produce 365 prints by the end of the year.
  • I may allow myself to change the rules as I go along if there are compelling reasons to do so.

So that’s it for a start.