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!