Tuesday, January 27, 2015

News Flash: Film Never Died! Financial Times Video

Video Source: http://video.ft.com/3959591909001/Film-didnt-die-with-Kodaks-Chapter-11/Life-And-Arts
This seven minute video is worth watching. I knew fil hadn't died, but found myself surrounded by people who didn't believe.

Monday, January 26, 2015

A Recent Favorite - Georgetown Iceskating

Chilly Fun, by Reed A. George
Rolleiflex 2.8F, Kodak TMax 400
Just a shot that I really like. Made a couple of weeks back in Georgetown, DC.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Vienna Group - Alain

Alain, by Reed A.George
Rolleiflex 2.8F, TMax 400 Film
A couple of years back, I started meeting up with a few fellow camera nuts, at least once per month. We meet in a coffee shop in Vienna, Virginia, and talk all things photographic.
We initially came together to talk Leica, which we still do. As you can see from the F3 around Alain's neck, we aren't exclusive in our tastes.
In fact, it was the Vienna Group that reignited my interest in Rolleiflex and TLRs. To the point that I purchased my lovely 2.8F from another member, Charlie.
It's really good to have a group of friends with like interests.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

About to Try Ilford HP5 (35mm B&W Film) for a While

Image Source: http://filmphotographyproject.com/store/ilford-hp5-plus-bw-35mm-x-305m-100-ft
My friend Charlie has a couple of bulk film loaders. Since a small group of us have been regularly meeting and shooting film for a while now, we decided to start bulk loading our 35mm cassettes. It's actually interesting what's happening with film prices today. Charlie's a Tri-X shooter, so that's where we looked first. We were unable to locate a 100' roll of Tri-X anywhere at a price that would result in any savings over buying by the 36 exposure roll (savings is about the only reason to bulk load, unless you want to tailor the number of exposures you get per roll). HP5 is still reasonably economical.
(Click Here) to buy your film from the Film Photography Project.
So, we're just about ready to roll (pardon the weak pun).
In the past, I've played with pushing Kodak Tmax 400 to 1600. (Click Here) to see how that worked out.
I also found a post on the very interesting blog "35 MMC." (Click Here) to read about shooting HP5 at iso 3200. That's a three-stop push, but sure seems to work well.
I don't have any experience with HP5, but will soon!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Shooting in Recording Sessions

I've been developing my live music photography for several years now. I have also done a little studio promo shooting, mostly for friends. I've shot a couple of recording sessions, and definitely would like to do more of that. There's something about the atmosphere during recording. The musicians are not dressed and ready to perform in front of a bunch of people, but they're still focused, working hard to get the tracks down. Of course, the moments in between can be loose, funny, interesting visually.
Robert Mabe of Dry Mill Road, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm f1.4 AF-D Lens
iso 1600, f2, 1/60 sec.
Always interested in how others do it, I was happy to read when the Leica Camera Blog interviewed Andrew Stuart, who's photographed extensively in the recording studio. He's worked with the Foo Fighters, Mick Fleetwood, and others.
(Click Here) to read the interview on the Leica Camera Blog.
Since it was the Leica blog, Stuart highlighted that he uses the Leica M240 rangefinder and M6 film cameras. He says that 90% of his work with those cameras uses either the 35mm Summilux (f1.4) FLE or the 50mm Summilux Aspheric. Makes sense. Stuart also uses other cameras, including SLRs and his iPhone.
Stuart mentions that he uses a street-style approach to shooting in the studio, and alternates between being a fly on the wall, and actively interacting with his photographic subjects.
He mixes black and white and color in his work, his film (Fuji Neopan or Tri-X, usually pushed to iso 800 or 1600) work nearly always being in black and white.
Stuart has done some very nice work. It's always good to learn how others achieve their photographic goals.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Booked my Trip to Japan in April

My wife is Japanese. One of the major benefits of that is that I have a very good reason to visit Japan at least once per year. I think we're going to try to make it to Hiroshima this time, a place I've never been.
My plan is to take my new Nikon Df and a couple of lenses, including the 35-70 f2.8 AF-D, which I just purchased last weekend. It's my second unit of this lens; I was foolish enough to sell my first one. I'd forgotten just how good it is. I'm thinking I'll want a fast prime (like the 50mm f1.4 AF-D), and maybe a wide angle (24mm f2.8 AF-D?). I'll probably bring along the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 as well, which gives me f1.4 and 24mm equivalent.
I may also bring along a Nikon or Leica film body for fun.
(Click Here) to read a post on Rangefinder Forum about choosing the Nikon F over other cameras for fun travel.
In any case, I'm psyched and ready for spring!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Next Step for my Leica M9 - Returning from Leica Service USA

Back on December 13, 2014, I wrote about the newly-acknowledged sensor coating corrosion problems with the Leica M9. (Click Here) to read about Leica's announcement and "goodwill arrangement" to replace affected sensors.
I sent my M9 off soon after, and began inquiring about options. As of today, here's the situation:
  1. Leica USA Service has checked my camera, cleaned the sensor, and shipped it back, free of charge.
  2. Leica USA Service has indicated that my camera does not have the sensor issue. I'm surprised, but must assume that they're better equipped to diagnose it than I am.
  3. In Leica's announcement, they promise "an attractive offer" to upgrade. Despite trying as nicely yet persistently as I can, no information about my options for upgrading to a new model with different sensor has been forthcoming.
I was not, and still may not be in the market for the new Leica M240. I really like a lot of things about my M9, and for the way I use a digital rangefinder, see no need for a costly upgrade. However, this widespread sensor problem does worry me. If I could assume that Leica will continue this "goodwill arrangement" for several years, I would stop worrying about it, and simply keep shooting my M9. Perhaps that's what I'll do.
Or, maybe I'll step out of Leica's digital rangefinder world for a while, and sell the M9, straight back from service. At least I could sell it with full certification from Leica regarding its condition.
The truth is I've used this camera and enjoyed it very much. If it were not the most expensive camera I'd ever purchased, I would consider it money well-spent, and use it as long as I can. I've made a lot of pictures with it, and definitely enjoyed the process. I'll just have to wait until it returns, see if the rest of the goodwill arrangement (the upgrade offer) ever materializes, and decide.
I have mixed feelings about Leica's handling of this so far. I respect that they acknowledge the issue, and checked and cleaned my camera for free. I paid for the same service one year ago, just because it needed cleaned. However, it's pretty clear that Leica was not ready to actually make the attractive upgrade offer they promised in their announcement, and no one at Leica USA or the Leica Store have any information with which to make an offer. The company needs to get this part coordinated, quickly.
So, do I feel I've been treated fairly? Kind of. Do I feel that I've been treated as I would if I were a Mercedes-Benz owner with a known, acknowledged potential defect in my car? Absolutely not. Leica, at least to me, is a premium camera seller. I paid more for the features on this camera than I would with any other camera manufacturer, just as a Mercedes owner does with their car. Leica, you need to take a page out of the premium car manufacturer's book in terms of customer communication and retention.
My M9 story's not over yet, but even I don't know exactly where it's going.