Tag: Leica

Why It’s Time to be Careful When Flying with Film

Why It’s Time to be Careful When Flying with Film

Photographing with film is my absolute favorite method of capturing images. If it wasn’t for the cost and sometimes inconvenience, I’d photograph with film all the time. Alas, there are costs and inconveniences that result from photographing with film. It would seem that inconveniences have 

Why 35mm Film is Perfect for Architectural Photography

When the pandemic had resulted in so many aspects of life to be put on hold back in 2020, my photographic interests turned from people to architecture. My partner, Meg, had given me a photo book of Detroit architecture and it really spoke to me. 

Photographing in a Snowstorm for Five Minutes

It was December 24, 2022. Our plan, by way of yearly tradition, was to travel north and visit family for the holidays. Nature’s plan, though, was to make the Michigan roads as undriveable as possible through a weather assault of wind, snow, cold and ice. It was the Christmas Eve blizzard.

I’m from Michigan, so snowstorms are always in the forecast no matter what month of the year it is. Drive through enough winters, like I have, and you too will begin to posses a set of skills centered around calm, supreme attentiveness and road lane visualization when there, seemingly, are no lanes.

When we heard the travel warning for this particular time, and the warnings have been known to overestimate things, we discussed it and decided to give the trip an effort.

Even on family trips, actually, especially on family trips, I bring a dedicated piece of camera gear for documentation purposes. With my 35mm rangefinder in tow, I’d be ready to photograph anything.

Grand Traverse County

As we exited our neighborhood and made our way north, it was apparent that the storm was indeed trying its best to cause dangerous travel conditions. Blinding snow was whipping it’s way at a high velocity from the west and ice had already established itself on the pavement.

“Is this smart?,” my partner Meg said. The answer was,”No.”

We decided to turn around at the next drive, which happened to be a service drive to a fruit orchard farm.

Not one to squander a photographic opportunity, I grabbed my camera and exited the vehicle to make some pictures. The full force of winter was seen, heard and felt as I made some steps to photograph some winter scenes.

One of my favorite reasons to photograph during winter is that when there are colors, the stark whiteness of winter really makes them pop.

There was a teal shed of some sort that I photographed first. Then, when I turned around, there was a school bus in the yard of a house across the road.

My total time photographing was about five minutes.

Grand Traverse County

The point of this post is this: Life has changes and circumstances that seem to be in a constant state of flux. By having a camera, and that includes cell phone cameras, and being receptive to photograph opportunities, you’ll find that you’ll have more chances to be creative and to simply create.

Grand Traverse County

As days become busier and busier and time becomes ever more valuable, I’m finding it more important than ever to carve out time and make chances to photograph and be creative.

The best way to do this, for me, has been to simply have a picture-taking device and to be open to photographing.

If you’re finding that you’re not taking as many pictures as you’d like, try to bring your camera with you everywhere. Be open to new photographic possibilities and maybe take a different route to and from work. You may discover new photographic opportunities and you may find that you’re inspired to create art.

Tips for Photographing in the Midday Sun

As photographers, we obviously would like to photography when the light is optimum. The golden hour, the blue hour, sunsets, sunrises—these are all times of day when the light can turn gorgeous and can result in exquisite images. But, what do you do when the 

Why Fujifilm 200 is an Excellent Choice

When it comes to photography, especially film photography, I keep my equipment as consistent and simple as possible. The less one has to think about while taking pictures, the better. Kodak Portra 400 35mm (the 120 is great too, I just don’t use as much 

Why The Leica M6 is the Perfect Camera (But,You Don’t Need One)

Photography is a personal creative journey. On our journey we should select a tool that will help us along the way. When it comes to cameras, the options can easily become overwhelming.

Megapixels, pixel size, lenses, weatherproofing, DxO scores, and on and on are discussed. The most important thing though, is that you have a camera that you enjoy using.

The exact post escapes me, but photographer extraordinaire Michael Friberg had a blog post years ago. In it, he talked about camera equipment. One point he made stuck with me and still sticks with me: he stated that a bad photo at 6 megapixels will still be a bad photo at 100 megapixels, or something along those lines.

It’s so true.

Dollar Bay, Michigan
Camera: Leica M6

There was a time when the only camera brands I knew about was Canon and Nikon. Until one day, someone said, “Those are good brands, but they’re not as good as a Leica.”

From that day forward, I became a little (lot) obsessed. Legendary photos were taken with a Leica. Icons of photography used Leica. The most expensive cameras were <sigh> Leica.

Finally, in 2015, I bought one. It was a black M6 in really good condition. In 2015, film camera prices, even for a Leica, were much lower than what they are now. Mine was in fantastic condition and the cost was $1,300.

Traverse City, Michigan
Camera: Leica M6

From the first time I’d clicked the shutter button and listened with delight as the shutter made its almost-silent click, it was an infatuation for the M6. That love stemmed from the fact that the Leica rangefinder involved me in the process of photographing like no other camera had before.

Leica M6

You select the shutter speed and aperture, then click the shutter button. It’s a little more “work” to make good pictures with a Leica, but it’s also quite rewarding to see your photographic results after being deliberate with the composition, shutter speed, aperture—you know, photography.

There are, of course, other cameras that are simple, but, the Leica is extremely well-built and the quality is palpable when holding one. It has a substantial heft that feels like quality. And, most importantly, it’s pure joy to use.

Michigan
Camera: Leica M6

Do you need one? Of course not. I’ve never been able to identify what camera was used to make an image, just by looking at the image. There are many good and beautiful cameras out there that are more than enough for a photographer’s needs. I picked up a Canonet QL17 GIII for under $100 and I was blown away by the quality of the images, and the shooting experience as well.

The prices for Leica cameras have increased dramatically. I found mine for $1,300 (remember, it was 2015 when I bought mine) and the cameras have doubled in price. Some scoff at Leica as a rich person’s toy. They are indeed expensive. At their current prices, I don’t think I’d replace mine if something were to happen to it. An important note though: a good used Leica can be purchased for about the price of some of the current digital cameras. Also, Leica film cameras have not only held their value, but have increased in value.

Actually, if you’re looking for a great film camera and have Canon lenses, just buy the Canon 1V and be done. That camera is exquisitely engineered. But, there are heaps of options out there. The Olympus PEN, the OM-1, the Nikon F2, F3, etc. There are a lot of wonderful cameras.

Leica M6—and almost all of the Leica film cameras—has the potential to offer a rewarding photographic experience to anyone who uses one. It’s not necessary to have one to enjoy photography though, please know that. Also, the Leica M6 is perfect…for me. It’s up to you to use a camera that you feel comfortable with and that allows you to make the types of images you want. And, that is the most important thing.

“The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.”

Ansel Adams

The paramount objective is for you to be taking pictures with whatever photographic tool you have that allows you to make images and have fun.

How to Boost Your Creativity in Your Own Town

It can be the most difficult surrounding to photograph. Out of nowhere, you may find yourself stopped in the tracks of creativity before you even know what hit you. Or, it may hit you right away. You may walk, or drive, for hours looking for 

Voyaging: Lake Linden, Michigan

Few things are as enjoyable as loading some film into a camera and exploring a small, unfamiliar town. It’s the basis for how I came upon the name ‘Village Voyager’, after all. The, often, slow and methodical approach to composition and the new elements of 

Voyaging: Houghton, Michigan

To drive into Houghton, Michigan—a small college (Michigan Technological University) town in Michigan’s upper peninsula (U.P.)—is to be welcomed by a tidy, small-business-filled-main-street downtown. It had been years since I’d been there. It didn’t look like a lot had changed, but that’s a good thing. Change is too frequent for me and a lack of it is a welcomed surprise.

My most recent trip there was a few weeks back during our annual U.P. week-long excursion. This year, it was Dollar Bay that received the nod as our destination.

Being a photographer, it’s difficult to drive through a new and interesting place and not check it out. I knew I’d return as soon as I could. The mornings are a perfect time to sneak out the door of our lodging and get creative for a quick bit, and that’s exactly what I did.

Houghton isn’t an easy town to explore. The downtown is flat, but around that everything is seemingly on a hill. It’s a picturesque place that holds heaps of history, much of it mining history. In the realm of fun facts, photographer Edward Steichen lived in Hancock, which is just across Portage Lake via the Houghton Hancock Bridge.

Driving west through Houghton and just before arriving at the Houghton Hancock Bridge, is a place of respite called The Downtowner. There’s an inn and lounge so feel free to respite wherever you’d like. To see it though, with its bright colors and mid-century architecture, is like stepping back into a different era—I’ll say the 1970s.

Across the street from The Downtowner is a parking deck which is perfect. My photographic adventures often result in images made at street level. To have the option of an elevated parking deck appealed to me mightily. So it was, that on a morning outing of picture taking, I would seek this parking deck and make a image.

After parking on a hill, I walked toward the parking deck to look for a good vantage point for my photo. The parking deck couldn’t have been more perfect. Having the higher perspective, and photographing with a 28mm lens, allowed me to have a better overall sense of place of the town, as oppose to the viewpoint I would’ve had if I was at street level.

Being a photojournalist, I’m often trying to include people in my pictures, no matter where I’m at. So, for this shot, I knew my scene was good, all I had to do was wait. As luck, and patience, would have it, a person walked into the frame. Shutter button clicked, I was pleased with my photo and left the spot.

Houghton, Michigan

One important takeaway from this is that to visualize a photo can be really helpful. Having a plan of what you’d like to achieve photographically is a good practice. Either you’ll achieve your expected results, or you’ll receive a happy accident. You might take a picture that you don’t like very much. A good thing to do here is to analyze what you don’t like about the picture and try to make it better the next time.

Critiquing images is a great way to become a better photographer.

Why the 28mm Lens Has Become a Favorite

Most Important Though: Use What You’re Comfortable With Readers, my journey through photographic gear started many, many years ago. Gear can be the absolute kryptonite of creativity so what I’m offering here is a simple observation from my point of view. Take what you can