Saturday, November 1, 2008

Back To The Future

Yesterday, I picked up my Canon Powershot from the repair centre in Victoria. While it was down and I was struggling along with the screenless point-and-hope Nikon, I did something I hadn't done in quite a long while: I dusted off my trusty Leica rangefinder and ran a roll of C-41 b&w film through it. I was astounded by the results. Even in crappy drugstore scans, the images are light years better than those from my digital cameras.

The first thing I noticed was the contrast. I have to boost that parameter on almost every digital image I make but not so here. The above photo has no manipulation whatsoever except for the black frame I added around the edge. And mind you it was shot in very cloudy light, exactly the kind of light from which you'd expect flat results. Don't know whether it's the film (a 400ASA Kodak product) or the Leitz lens or a combination of the two but obviously, it's a very snappy image. There's a roll of Ilford XP2-S in the camera now so we'll see what that produces contrast-wise.

The second thing that popped off the monitor was the beautiful grain in the out of focus areas of the image. So visually appealing. And then there's the out of focus areas themselves. Exposed with the lens wide open (f2.0), only the statue and parts of the boards are sharp. Everything else is background which really isolates Buddha in the frame, something else my point-and-shoots can't do. I love it.

I expect to be using my Leica quite a bit from here on out and I'll identify those images as I post them for anyone who cares about that sort of thing. I also added 3 pictures from this roll of film to my Flickr page: They are the last 3 photos in the set. The images really are truly superior but of course that's a matter of taste and personal preference. The other thing is how The Leica feels in my hands and how it reconnects me to my days as a beginning photographer. It was made in 1960 and is still in perfect working order, something I doubt any of us will be able to say about our digital wonders in half a century.

About the image: There are six churches on Gabriola but no Buddhist temple. There are a fair number of practitioners though and I find the island to be very conducive to meditative thought.

Lastly, Julie over at Sydney Daily Photo has nominated me for something called the Kreativ Blogger award. Thank you Julie! Now, to keep this thing going, I'm to tell you six things that make me happy and nominate six bloggers to receive the KB award so here goes...

Six things that make me happy
1. Every minute I spend with my wife
2. Waking up on Gabriola
3. Riding my bicycle on a perfect day
4. Teaching a young person to play music
5. Sunday Soup
6. Fresh vegetables from my garden

And my six nominees for the Kreativ Blogger Award
Bleeding Orange at Grenoble Daily Photo
Steve at New Orleans Daily Photo
Strangetastes at St. Louis Daily Photo
Fredrik at Ystad Daily Photo
Virginia at Birmingham Daily Photo
Benjamin at Victoria Daily Photo


Marie-Noyale said...

I enjoyed very much your explanation .
I learned more than in the photography class I am taking right now!!!
Thank you.

babooshka said...

I'd say it's a combination. Digital image to me always has a flat quality, but for work purposes it's the medium most favoured now. The depth of field is totally transformed with film on this image. Love to see more.

Julie said...

Thank you for participating, Snapper. One of the things I enjoy about this 'award' concept is that it gives me the opportunity to sample blogs that others value. I also like your list of 'happiness'. Now to investigate what is this 'sunday soup'. I note it is on your side-bar too so that is where I will start.

Virginia said...

I love it. A photography lesson in my bathrobe! I never have had a good SLR film camera so i can't comment, but have heard the same thing from other photographers. I am too impulsive and OCD to be able to wait on film anymore. Now that's really sad, but true.

It's an honor to accept this award from you, one of my favorite photographers in this talented bunch of folks.
I loved your 6 things. i'll bet your wife did too!

Perry said...

Splendid images from the Leica. I have an older (1937) screw mount lens Leica that I need to dust off and grab some film for. I have never used the C-41 B&W films. You have great results from it though!