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Sunday, 23 August 2015


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Right! So here you are: no super fast Phase Detect Face Detecting Autofocus, no auto exposure let alone auto ISO (and no cluttered viewfinder, but I digress), only one image per second at most, and to top it all your years number 69 - and your photo stands out amidst hundreds (a completely wild guess, I admit) of digital contestants. Great! (says a 66 years old lover of photography who turned digital in 2006).

Ha. Saw this pop up on Facebook in the local street photo group yesterday. The world is so small... this was shot in Gothenburg, Sweden, where I live.

That hits the spot; it's a nicely seen and composed bit of human interaction.

Say, what kind of a smoke are those kids passing?

I got bit by the photo bug in 1958 when I was 14. A school friend was taking pictures indoors at a basketball game. Without flash. I was suddenly intrigued and wanted to know how he could do that. Later I was in the Navy during the Vietnam era and was an "official" US Navy Photographer's Mate. Totally analog. Speed Graphics, Rolleis, Leicas and big aerial cameras. Finally, about 2003, I went digital with a Nikon D70 and a highly underrated kit lens, the 18-70mm. Now, in my senior years (and many digital cameras later), I yearn for the old film days. And there seems to be a quiet resurgence for it. I picked up a Leica M6 with a 35mm Summicron on eBay and am now happily having to think about what I'm doing instead of just "pushing the button". I'm doing what I like. Sooner or later it all comes around. When asked why I all of a sudden prefer film, I respond with a comparison of liking analog recordings on vinyl versus digital recording: tube warmth. It just sounds better. Likewise, a black and white photo on film and even printed on real silver paper just looks better. Digital is too sterile. -30.

Gorgeous tones!

Yep. That's the way it's done at it's best.

Pardon me while I go beat my head sensless against the nearest wall for selling my Leica IIIf & the glorious Summitar I had. Stupid stupid stupid...

Bills suck :(

I kept my own M6 when going digital, and I sure miss its total quietness and light weight.
But honestly, when most image sharing is done digitally anyways, I challenge anyone out there to spot a film origin in the image as shown. Truth is, we may not want to admit it, but digital BW processing can deliver a precision of output control from a 'negative' file (RAW) that would take hours in the darkroom most of us simply do not have. If learning is something one does with repetition, then digital offers a vastly superior opportunity to develop one's image-making skills.
Then of course, the physical pleasure of producing a silver print vs having your printer spit out a new sheet of paper, ok I'll give that to you!

PS: I'm not saying one should shoot millions of digital images and trust the monkey's luck to 'improve'. Try and shoot digital with the same deliberate process you would use shooting film. Never chimp on camera, actually if you can, never look at camera previews (good news: Leica's M9 screen is so crappy that you don't care to look at previews anyways!). Just shoot, go home, and 'develop' your 'film' in your (Light)room as you would have with a tank of smelly chemicals. Bingo.

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