End of Photoblog

It is time. I started this photoblog almost 7 years ago as a means of sharing my photos. Then I started adding some text along with my photos. Then I started writing other articles. Of late, I have been letting this photoblog languish.

And so, like all things, this photoblog is ending today, in this incarnation.

I am still taking photos. And I am still writing, a lot more. But just not here. You can look at my photos on flickr at https://www.flickr.com/photos/suprada.

Someday, if fancy strikes me, then I might start a different format of sharing photo works again. But for now, goodbye!

Leica Year Doldrums

I started the Leica year with a lot of excitement and commitment. The usual ‘new thing’ rush. And now, I am in the dip – the valley of death. I think I have been in this valley for over 3 months now, and am only now accepting it.

What do I do from here? Try again? Or let go of this project? And accept that this was one more project I am abandoning?

The first 2 weeks of my Leica year project were great. I actually hit all goals. But after that everything just died. The only rule I’ve been able to keep – take photos with the Leica and film only. And the reason I’ve kept this rule – I don’t take photos any more.

It’s not that I don’t want to. But I can’t. And I don’t know what to shoot.

Over the past 4 months, these are the problems I faced:

1. I am taking a very long time to get used to the 35mm focal length. I just crave for the 50mm. But is this because I don’t have the 50mm? Is this just GAS?

2. It took me a while to learn to focus this camera and learn about zone focusing. I found most of my photos initially were way out of focus especially wide open.

3. I under-appreciated how low the depth of field on film is compared to digital. This compared with shooting in low light, wide open apertures and no knowledge of zone focusing = way out of focus photos.

4. I don’t know what to shoot. I have always been attracted to landscape photography. A film camera combined with a baby at home and full time work means I need to shoot whatever is around – city life / home life / suburban life / cats / dogs / street asphalt and traffic lights / whatever. This is very difficult and I don’t know what to shoot. I need to learn.

5. Rolls of film wasted because I didn’t load them properly. Demoralizing not to mention waste of money. How can I get better at film photography if I can’t even load the camera properly?

6. Utter fails in developing – because I wasn’t concentrating on details enough. Developer too warm. Not enough washing. Ugh.

7. The manual light meter part of my challenge – I just cannot judge my exposure settings well. Most of the time I am way off the mark. And combine this with out of focus photos and no attention to detail!

Yeah, this Leica year is much tougher than I thought. It’s a steep learning curve – which I’m just slipping off of – all the time.

Or maybe it’s not me that is the problem? Maybe it’s that the Leica M6 camera just hates me?

All I know is that I’m miserable. Miserable because I want to take photos but I cannot. Because I cannot make myself. Oh, I carry the camera everywhere! But I do not take any photos

Maybe, my problem is this: Am I enjoying wallowing in self pity so much that I cannot get off my bum?

Maybe my problem is that I am not carving out a unique time just for taking photos with my Leica?

So this is what I will try this week

A 1 hr date with my camera – just my camera and me. And my phone (for the Lightmeter app – yeah it’s a kind of cheating – that’s a post for some other time). Maybe some exclusive one on one time and my camera will hate me less?

Wish me luck folks!

Potted plant

Potted plant

Potted plant, Saratoga, CA

Kodak Tri-X 400. From the Leica year challenge.
Slighty overdeveloped: Developer – Kodak D-76 6.15min at 80F, Kodak Rapid Fixer with hardener (5 min at 80F).

Technical Details:

Camera: Leica M6 TTL Chrome
Exposure: 1/125 @ f/5.6
Focal Length: 35mm
Lens: Leica Summilux 35mm
ISO: 400
Date: May 2014

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Black and White Film Development – Try 1

D-76 powder –
1/2 packet + hot tap water at 80F to make 800ml of solution

Rapid Fixer
Made 0.95 liter
Water used – regular tap water
0.475L of water + ~ 236.5 of Solution A + 26ml (1/4 of bottle) solution B added with lots of agitation + tap Water to fill up to 0.95l

What I did:
– 1:1 D76 at 80F (150ml of D-76 solution + 150 ml of water), one reel in development tank, 6.15 mins
I used the Massive Development Timer app to scale my processing. For the settings I chose, the app scaled the development time of D-76 at 80F to 6.30 mins.
– Dump developer
– Stop Bath – 1min – regular water as per app agitation directions
– Again refill water – 1 min agitation for 10 s
– Fixer – 4 mins, as per app recommendation
– Saved fixer for reuse
– Wash – 8 mins, agitation as per app – changed water three times
– Add 2 drops of formaflo wetting agent, water, – 5mins – agitate as per app

What I did wrong above:
1. Developer (D-76) temperature wrong – needs to eb between 65 to 75F
2. Did not measure fixer temperate – needs to be between 65 to 70F
3. Kodak literature suggested times: D-76, 1:1 at 68F – 93/4 mins
4. Need to learn stop bath times / methods when using water
5. Washing all wrong: Need to use running water for 20 minutes (since the fixer I am using is a hardening fixer).

So my steps for next roll:

1. D76 (1:1) at 68F – 9.5 mins – agitation as per app
2. Dump developer
3. Fixer at 68C – 4 mins – agitation as per app
4. Save fixer (max reuse – 3)
5. Wash with running water under tap for 20 mins
6. Add 2 drops Formaflo + fresh water into tank – 1 min with agitation
7. Rinse and dry film

(This post was written in early May 2014).

Morning bench

Morning Bench

Morning bench, Santa Clara, CA

Kodak Tri-X 400. From the Leica year challenge.
Slighty overdeveloped: Developer – Kodak D-76 6.15min at 80F, Kodak Rapid Fixer with hardener (5 min at 80F).

Technical Details:

Camera: Leica M6 TTL Chrome
Exposure: 1/125 @ f/5.6
Focal Length: 35mm
Lens: Leica Summilux 35mm
ISO: 400
Date: May 2014

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Waiting at the carwash

Waiting at the carwash

Waiting at the carwash, Santa Clara, CA

Kodak Tri-X 400. From the Leica year challenge.
Slighty overdeveloped: Developer – Kodak D-76 6.15min at 80F, Kodak Rapid Fixer with hardener (5 min at 80F).

Technical Details:

Camera: Leica M6 TTL Chrome
Exposure: 1/125 @ f/5.6
Focal Length: 35mm
Lens: Leica Summilux 35mm
ISO: 400
Date: May 2014

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Birds

Birds

Birds on a electric line, Mission peak Regional Preserve, Fremont, CA

Hiking on a Saturday morning just after sunrise, at Mission peak Regional Preserve. Test drive of my LMMM setup. Simple, minimalist photos are so hard to take. But it is an aesthetic I seem to be liking more and more.

Technical Details:

Camera: Olympus E-P5
Exposure: 1/250s at f/?
Focal Length: 50mm (35mm conversion – 100mm)
Lens: Konica Hexanon AR 50mm f1.7 with Konica AR to Micro 4/3rds adaptor
ISO: 1000
Date: Dec 21, 2013

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