As most of the planet knows 6th of May 2023 was the coronation of King Charles III of Britain. Being in London it was another good occasion to go out and burn some film.
That was a particularly wet Saturday even for London, so I had a bit of hesitation on the weapon of choice.
I finally settled for the infamous duo : the Leica M6 for film, the Leica M262 for digital. This is the roll of Kodak TMY400 shot on the M6 with the 50mm v5 Summicron.
I did not want to carry too much gear, so I just put the 35mm Asphv2 on the M262 and put the Elmarit 90mmF2.8 in my Wotancraft bag (I cannot remember the model), which usually makes a pretty good job keeping the gear dry in wet weather.
The first set of pictures was shot in Hyde Park after a cumbersome walk around Hyde Park Corner then nearly up to Exhibition road where the park could be entered.
We hang around the giant screens with my friend L. an avid Sony shooter.
Cool crowd, good but not outrageous quantity of drinks ( well ok that was 10h30 am), a bit of silliness and dressing up in a festive mood.
Most everybody was happy to be snapped.
My roll ended up a bit dark, but what do you expect with such a weather.
Finding the exit of the park was just as complicated as getting in but we head out, looking for greener pastures. Through Mayfair and Regents street we made our way to the “Little Republic of Trafalgar Square” where Republicans were demonstrating their opinions on the affair of the day.
Also in good and cheerful atmosphere.
I swapped the lens for the Voigtander 21mmF4, time for a horizontal et a vertical snaps.
These pictures are a bit less descriptive but quite dynamic.
Finally a last supporter of the the King met on the way back, in full attire.
A bit later it was time for the maintenance team to regroup and head back home.
As the proverb says “errare humanum est perseverare diabolicum“, so here my second post with the second roll shot in Paris ( in the spring) with the Leica IIIC and its curtain problem
Of course I did no knew at the time that the infamous back curtain was lazy and that my pictures would be overexposed on the left and underexposed on the right.
I was so happy shooting away because as per my last post ( 2023 ROLL#04 – PARIS IN THE SPRING ) Paris and Leica III make for happy shooting. Particularly when a jazz band is playing at the foot of a giant Kuzama painting in the sky ( courtesy of LVMH advertising) .
We made a particularly long walk that day from the Seine to the Canal Saint Martin, aiming to reach la Villette ( we stopped before and turned back, that was already a 10 km plus walk).
When I lived in Paris, I rarely ventures in this area, I probably did not set foot there in 20 years. For the cinema aficionados along the canal is the famous “Hotel Du Nord” from eponymous movie by Marcel Carné with Arletty.
The canal seems to have become a fashionable leisure area where the young and the less young go for a stroll, a ciggie or a drink on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Particularly if the sun is out.
.. playing pétanque, reading, lounging, studying, making music, drinking again, sunbathing, all typeof activities seems to fit along this calm water piece.
Our road ended at the “base nautique de la Villette”, visiting the park of la Vilette will be for another time.
Next day was the last day in Paris, time for a couple of snaps like the creperie above of the other jazz band below.
Ok I did not emphasize too much but the all the shots show signs of the curtain problem, at various level, depending on the speed of the shutter. I played a bit with Lightroom trying to balance highlights and underexposed areas, but I think as the scanner was fooled by the problem, there is just that much I can do. I think I can try to rescan some shots twice and blend… not sure there as any worthy of such work, maybe the next one…
Back in London I still had a few shots in the roll. I changed the lens for the Voigtlander Color Skopar 21mmF4 and shoot away on a Saturday stroll. The mounted police above is quite nice, very dynamic, the 21 has some charm.
This roll was shot on Kodak Tri-X (ROll 04 was TMY 400).
So the Leica IIIC went to Aperture UK for a CLA and they called me after a little more than a week to announce it was ready. I went to collect it yesterday and put a roll on it so I am checking that its definitely ok. The CLA cost 240 GBP, already the cleaning of the rangefinder is awesome, even if the window is small, it is super bright, focusing is a bliss. It looks like I have anew curtain also.
Is it worth it? Well how long is a piece of string? The gentleman from the shop told me a IIIC is about 250 GBP, so I could buy a new non CLA’d one instead of fixing mine : that’s an easy answer. Now on the other hand this starts to be an expensive camera. I bought it for about 200£ 10 years ago, had an initial service of about 200£ and now an 240, that’s a 640£ body. On the plus side its newly CLA’d, is in good condition. I shot something north of 40 rolls over 10 years, you can try to make some maths see how much vintage shooting costs.
“Are you feeling lucky punk?”, the famous line of Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry was probably a warning. How lucky was I feeling picking up the Leica IIIc for a week end in Paris?
I had not used my oldest Leica for a good year, so it was time for a walk outside the cupboard. I attached the Elmar 50mm3.5 and took a couple of rolls of Kodak film. One TMY 400 (this one), one Tri-X (the next one).
I also packed the Sekonik 308x light meter, as I cannot guesstimate and I found it easier to use than the flash shoe one I use from time to time.
The IIIC is charm to use, and shooting with it you really feel lucky (I do). The Elmar itself is another story, the aperture setting at the front of the lens is not very user friendly, and it puts me in a mode where I set my speed and aperture only every few shots.
So far so good, and I can add, probably for the 10th time, that the camera is quiet small and funky so it is quite appropriate for street photography ( I don’t like the term cause I am a bit snobbish, but that’s what I kind of do).
So where does it go wrong? As usual with film photography it goes wrong when you get home, wait a week for the lab to process your film and you discover that the film has not turned out quiet as expected.
With some reframing and photoshopping I managed to minimized it, but on that beautiful week-end where most of the shots were done at high speed ( for the IIIC that means 1/100, 2/100 or 1/500, I never trust the 1/1000) the left of the pictures is constantly overexposed and the right underexposed.
It is more noticeable in the scenes which are brightly lit, like those at the market, not at all in the one below shot in dim light. This is due in my experience to the back curtain being lazy.
The two pictures above were actually shot in landscape and resized, as half the frame is black.
So what happens next? Well first thing I shot a second roll because I did not knew, and you will see it in a couple of days.
Then last week I brought the camera to Aperture UK in London to have it serviced. For the second time this little fellow will cost me more than I paid for it in the first place (230 USD back in 2013). Ok I realised that this is 10 years back! I can’t believe it. I think I shot about 35 rolls with it, so we’ll probably say that each roll cost me 20$ of camera usage, not counting the lenses. Film is definitely not cheap.
I hope you enjoyed the reading, be patient, next roll is coming
It has been super long since I last posed anything so here is my first post of 2023, even though these are pics of 2022. These are picture of the Italian Market that happens once a month, the first week end of the month, in Cagnes sur mer, near Nice, on the French Riviera.
Very colourful, even in black and white. Excellent cold cuts and cheese, pretty good value for money.
Genuine food sellers coming from nearby italy.
Shots were done with Leica M262+Summicron 50 and Leica M6 with Summicron 35mm Asph v2 on Kodak TMY (400Iso)
“Paris est une fête” as goes the say (Paris is a party) ; I am not 100% sure about it but Paris in summer surely put me in a great mood, and I enjoy shooting in the streets that I am rediscovering after so many years.
— Asian tourist checking a Korean restaurant —
This is summer 2022, probably my 5th or 6th trip in a year, carrying the M6 (The old one) and the Summicron 50v5 and a roll of Kodak TMA100, my favourite film very appropriate (I think) to the summer time. This is my 16th film of the year, so I am now far from my past One-roll-a-week diet, but ok this is not a competition.
Oh my Oh my. We are in March already and here is my last B&W roll of 2021, where was I? Well not shooting for sure, as I just brought my first roll of 2022 to the lab. Well time flies, photography is one of the losers in the adjustment to my new life.
Anyway, last roll of 2021, shot in December in France, first 4 shots in Paris, next 5 in Cannes, the others in Antibes.
This is a single roll of Ilford HP5+, still hand rolled from the 30 meters roll I bought last year in Singapore. Pictures were taken with the M6 classic with the Elmar 50F3.5 or the Summicron 35 Asph v2. Oh by the way that’s not my last roll of 2021, no no no sir, I quickly shot a roll of expired Portra 400 at the end of December, but I am not sure there are enough shots to share on that one, or maybe yes I ll do next week.
I am a slow shooter and a slower poster. So here is a roll shot in late October / November 2021 in London and in Paris for the last few shots.
I am sure the film was from my 30m meters roll of Ilford HP5, and shot with the Leica M6. I cannot se so sure about the lens.
The roll was processed by AnalogueFilms in Shoreditch again. I had to explain a bit that the film was not what was said on the canister, but I think the message passed across. They were also very kind and gave me a handful of empty canisters that I will replenish with more HP5.
The first three shots were taken during a long walk from Knightsbridge to Borough Market, the one above and the one below were taken another week around Covent Garden. The guy above was having some kind of practical joke with friends.
Then we went to Paris for the last week of November, from now on I used the Elmarit 50 only on the M6.
We are all kids in front of the Galleries Lafayette Christmas display.
If you read the last two posts, you get that I fell in love with Paris for the second time (or the third maybe, one shall not count when it comes to love).
So this is my last post of the digital shots made with the M262 and the Elmar 50 or the Summicron 35.
You guess by this last sentence that there are indeed some analogue shots of Paris but that will be for another post.
Goldilocks’ car a pre WWII Citroen Rosalie I think
6 or 7 weeks after these pictured le M11 is out and the M262 really feels like an antique. But I still really like it, faithful device, my goto camera.
I did not go camera shopping in Paris. Err, ok I went to the Leica shop on the Faubourg Saint Honoré, to check on the film MP prices in France. This camera is a beauty, but do I really need it? Ah let’s wait a bit longer…
Probably translate literally to “Boss pour us a little one, we are thirsty”. Paris and its bistro’s could fill a life of photography.
One of the new things I wanted to visit in Paris was the recently opened (Summer 2021) Bourse du Commerce. Very briefly : this building which was originally a place to trade grain, has been leased by French billionaire Francois Pinault to host the art collection of its group (well a part only as he also owns similar exceptional place in Venice, you can check back my post about the Venice Biennale of 2017 and also some of the 2011 Biennale).
Beside its exceptional architecture and location in the hear of Paris, the bourse du commerce as it is today, also boasts two major attractions to my eye. A work by Tadao Ando, under the form of the concrete cylinder at the heart of the main exhibition hall. I have made a few posts about Tadao Ando in the past, you can for instance read about the church of light in Osaka here.
But also in this same hall is a masterpiece by swiss artist Urs Fisher, that I already saw in Venice in 2011.
On the outside the concrete cylinder, forms a galley where work of arts by Bertrand Lavier
The glass ceiling
All shots were done with the Leica M262 and I think the Elmar 50mm F3.5 (otherwise that’s the Summicron 35mm Asph vII, but Lightroom tells me its 50mm). One of the constraints I feel when shooting in big cities it to limit the kit I am carrying : I feel like it is a bit silly (lack of style, overly touristic, …) to carry too much gear in such occasion so I often carry a single body and a single lens for the day.