It had been a long time since I’d clambered into the woods, dirt under hands and scraping knees, to makeÂ that meticulously framed photo. The more found-and-street photography I do, the less of the compose-recompose-recompose-againÂ process I had done. Last weekend was just such an opportunity. Walking in Percy Warner ParkÂ there was up on a hill a large tree that had fallen across another tree and, over time, twisted away and settled on the ground. In the future it will probably be a nurse log for other growth. Unfortunately it was a good was up that hill and too far for any lens to get it from the road.Â It was a very cloudy day making handheld shots tricky at best, and this being under cover of trees I had no choice except to scramble up carrying my tripod to setup for the shot.
Shooting with the Leica M3 at 35mm can be tricky. On the technical detail side, this was made with the Leica M3 with aÂ 35mm f/2.8 lens. Expired T‑Max 400 shot at 200, f/11 at 1/2 second. With that 35mm lens there is an attachment to the viewfinder to ensure proper framing, but when the camera is low to the ground in an already uncomfortable situation, it’s tough to ensure that the setup is just the way you want it. With a little time and patience, that part came together.
Next was metering and setting the shutter. Getting the exposure downÂ is thankfully a breeze with my handheld meter. Since it was a long exposure, a self-timer was going to be used. With the Leica there is a strange little half-winder on the front that you set, trip to start, and then when the winder finishes it fires the shutter. It takes a few tries to trust it — especially as the winder can run whether or not the exposureÂ has already been tripped by the shutter button.
But when all was done, the photo was made and can now be shared.
A week in Vancouver with a roll of Velvia 120 and FP4+ 35mm is about perfection.
Mostly playing tourist and not too much exploration, but even that was rewarding. Stanley Park is phenomenal, Gastown is great fun, and random side streets were well worth investigating.
Driftwood, Stanley Park
Stairs, Stanley Park
Houseboats, Coal Harbor Marina
Watercraft I, Coal Harbor Marina
Girl in a Wetsuit, Vancouver
Watercraft II, Coal Harbor Marina
Siwash Rock, Vancouver
Seaplanes I, Vancouver
Nike, Thurlow St
Loading, Vancouver Harbor
Trees Coffee, Gastown
Steam Clock, Gastown
Olympic Cauldron Stairs, Vancouver
Sea Planes II, Vancouver
Careers Installation, Vancouver
Side Street, Vancouver
Self Portrait, Vancouver
On the technical side, I shot the Velvia with my Mamiya 645 Pro TL with the 45, 80 and 150mm lenses. I don’t shoot that camera too much these days ‑Â I have been working with the GA645 more often for medium format film. When I to manage to set aside the time and energy to show the Pro TL, the results are amazing. Especially with slide film, looking at the actual media in real life is a treat. Not to mention the sheer size of the raw amount of data coming from the 6x45 negatives!
This was also the first trip with my Leica M3 and while I am not as quick with the focusing as I am with my A‑1, I am coming along with the rest of the process. Even having to meter with an external meter on this trip for it, I still was able to shoot reasonably quickly when the time came. And the look of the images I really love, especially on those photos with a large amount of fine detail and contrast.
A great trip, really welcoming city and who knows? Maybe one day we’ll call it home.
I am now the proud owner of a Leica M3 and three lenses (50mm f/2 DR, 35mm f/2.8 and 90mm f/4). And a MR meter, but no battery for it (yet!). And I am growing very, very fond of the camera.
However, it is an uphill climb. The first session with it, when I was testing it out before purchase, was a frustrating mix of fits and starts. Remember the first (and second, third and fourth) time you tried to drive standard? But do you also remember the first time you really were able to get a smooth takeoff and run through the gears? The start of the roll was fumbling and awkward, but by the end of my second session I felt like I could at least get the car around the block. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with this gear — especially next week when I’m in Vancouver!