Saturday, February 28, 2015

Some Love for the Leica CL

Symposium, by Reed A. George
Leica CL, Minolta Rokkor 40mm f2 Lens
Ilford HP5+ Film
I own several Leicas, including a digital rangefinder M9. I own two CLs, the little Leica that came from a fling, if not a marriage, between Minolta and Leica in the 1970s. The CL is not the top of Leica's offerings. It has some drawbacks, primarily the short rangefinder base length, which makes ultra-precise focusing difficult or some would say impossible. Yet, it has some real great features as well. Smaller than other Leica M models, with a built-in meter, the CL is a powerful little tool. And, the lenses designed for use with the CL - the Leica/Rokkor 40mm f2 and Leica Elmar C 90mm f4 are both just wonderful. The 40mm is one of the very best lenses I have ever used. Both lenses are compact like the CL body, and are great for travel. I've never gotten to try the Rokkor 28mm f2.8 that came with the CLE. The CL doesn't have 28mm framelines, so the 40 and 90 are the most often-used lenses.
The CL gets little love from the photographic crowd. That's okay. I love mine.
(Click Here) to take a look at a 1973 catalog for the CL on The Online Darkroom. Be sure to look at the comments as well. Again, no love for a great little camera.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Leica M9 - Still Something Special About It

Teen Style, Morning Light, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Zeiss Sonnar C 50mm f1.5 Lens
iso 500, f1.7, 1/15 sec.
Yes, there's still something unique about how the Leica M9 sensor renders an image. Nothing in your face, for sure. But, this is basically the tonality that I had in mind when I made this shot on the way out of the house this morning. There's something subtle about the way this camera draws.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Win Hamish's Leica IIIC!

Image Source:
I'm always looking for new blogs to follow. I've recently discovered Hamish Gill's blog, 35mmc.
Hamish is running a fun photo contest, and the first place prize will be his Leica IIIC and Russian lens (above). In order to win, you must submit a photograph made with a cheap 35mm camera. In fact, the film and camera together must have cost no more than US$15. Hamish wants the photograph you took, and a photo of the camera you used, along with a brief description.
(Click Here) for all of the contest details on 35mmc, and good luck! I entered a shot made with my Ricoh 500G, which I got for free.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


I made this shot recently at work. I was shooting my Leica CL and Rokkor 40mm f2 lens, one of my all-time favorite combinations.
Obscured, by Reed A. George
Leica CL, Minolta Rokkor 40mm f2 Lens
Ilford HP5+ Film, Developed in Kodak D-76
I've recently gotten back into bulk loading 35mm film, with a couple of my friends. It's weird, but at current prices, Kodak's products cost the same per exposure in bulk (100' rolls) as they do packaged into single rolls. So, there's no advantage to bulk loading Kodak at the moment. Ilford's products are still priced so as to make bulk loading economical. At $54 per 100' roll of Ilford HP5+ (Adorama), I'm paying $3 per roll of 36 exposures. You get 18 rolls of 36 exposures from a bulk roll.
I'm also back to processing my own black and white film. I figure that with the relatively little time I have available for shooting, bulk loading will force me to focus on shooting black and white for a while, which is a good thing. So, I'll take the much cheaper route of processing my own film, since it will be mostly black and white anyway. To be honest, I really enjoy the hands-on processing of my film, anyway. It's good to smell the fixer once in a while.
The fact that my friend Dennis gave me 20 rolls of Gekko 100 black and white film, and a 100' roll of Agfa black and white 400 speed film only adds to my rationale.
So, get ready for a lot of black and white film shots from me! Hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Self-Portrait at 50

I posted a self-portrait yesterday. Here's another. This one was harder for me, and deals with the fact that I've just turned fifty. There's symbolism in the cards, and no attempt to hide my age in my face.
Self-Portrait at 50, by Reed A. George
Nikon Df, Nikkor 35mm f2 AF-D Lens, Nikon SB-600 Flash
iso 200, f8, 1/60 sec.
You'll notice there are only two cards left in my pocket, and one's the ace of spades. The other fifty say something about the years behind me now. The queen of hearts is still there, close by.
I shot this by setting up my Nikon Df on a tripod, pointing straight down at me as I lay on the floor on black background material. The SB-600 flash is pointed in exactly the opposite direction, bouncing off of the ceiling. Twenty second self-timer, just enough time to get the cards in place.
Again, the inspiration for doing self-portraits came from the Photographer's Playbook. See the Amazon link below if you want to know more about that book.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Self Portrait

I've been referring to the Photographer's Playbook (see Amazon link below) for some inspiration. Self-portraits come up multiple times in the book.
It was a very cold Sunday, so I decided to set up and try to make one that I had in mind. Here's the result:
Zen Circle, Self-Portrait, by Reed A. George
Nikon Df, Nikkor 35mm f2 AF-D Lens, 3-stop ND Filter, Nikon SB-600 Flash
iso 200, f11, 2 seconds
I hung up a black backdrop, put the Df on a tripod, and connected the SB-600 flash with a remote cord and mounted it up higher on a second tripod with a small softbox over it. Using a 20 second self-timer setting on the Df, I was able to get situated before the shutter opened. With a 2 second exposure, I had enough time to make the circle with a small flashlight I held in my hand. It was my intention to leave the circle unfinished as it is. The flash was set to rear curtain sync, so that it froze my position at the end of the exposure. I also like how the preflash left an impression of where my arm was at the beginning of the exposure.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with this. I have a couple of other self-portrait ideas that I may try next.
If you think it's easy to do a self-portrait, you should give it a try. I find it quite difficult to get an image of myself that I don't hate.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

More From the Polar Bear Plunge - Rolleiflex 2.8F

Yesterday, I posted a series of pictures from the Polar Bear Plunge, an event to raise funds for Camp Sunshine, a wonderful place that helps families dealing with childhood cancer.
All of the images yesterday were from my Leica M9. Today, I'll show some that I made with my Rolleiflex 2.8 F twin lens reflex (TLR) camera.
And here's my favorite shot - these young spectators were just so cute under their blanket together.
It was a blast using the Rolleiflex alongside the Leica rangefinder at this event. Perhaps not the optimum equipment, but it sure worked out well.