Happy Anniversary ‘Cron

It’s exactly a year since I pushed the button and was lucky enough to buy myself a Leica Summicron 35mm f2 ASPH.

When I bought my Leica M10-P a couple of years ago or so, I promised myself I would one day own a Leica Summicron 35mm ASPH.

It’s one of those lenses that through time has reached almost legendary status and it was on my wish list from the beginning.

Between buying the camera and buying the lenses, I tried a couple of 35mm focal length lenses.

I originally bought the Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4, but was never happy with it. As sharp as it was the vignetting even close to wide open was really noticeable and proved quite a challenge to remove in post processing.

I also tried two different 7 artisans 35mm f2 lenses, which looked the part but the out of focus areas were almost psychedelic to me, and both suffered from terrible chromatic aberration along with really needing to be fine tuned on the M10-P.

I then picked up a Voigtlander 35mm f2.5 Color Skopar which was a really nice small lens, with good quality and optics, but the call of the Summicron lay there and it was an itch that needed scratching!

Finally I had the chance to pick up the Summicron 35mm ASPH and exactly a year later, I am still more than happy with the lens and have no intention of moving it on anytime soon.  

OK, so they’re expensive, but for me it was an expense I was prepared to meet.

The feel and quality of the lens is just perfect. The aperture clicks are positive but not over powering, the focus tab and pull are really so smooth, it’s quite easy to find focus due to this.

For me it is the ideal/perfect 35mm focal length lens with image quality that oozes sharpness, micro contrast and great colour rendition. I know some people think 35mm focal length is boring, but for me it’s a jack of all trades and one that lives almost exclusively on my M10-P.

I don’t think I could be any happier with any other lens in this focal length and and I’m looking forward to spending many more years with this little powerhouse of a lens.

So, happy anniversary little 35mm ‘cron.  

Sunday Strolling

Hanging the Leica M10-P over the shoulder along with the small but excellent Leica Summicron C 40mm f2 makes for a very compact, easy to use set up.

What better way to spend a sunny Sunday morning than wandering along the local canal towpaths looking for compositions with a flat white coffee as mid walk refreshment.

Starting to Feel The Black and White Pull

I’ve been shooting and editing to black and white almost exclusively since before Christmas and since the beginning of the New Year I’ve been shooting with a monochrome view through the live view of my camera.

I convert those images to a black and white preset when importing the files in to Lightroom, in order that I don’t get distracted by the colour RAW image at any point of taking a photograph.

It starting to feel like I’m starting to get somewhere slowly with how I want my woodland images to look and feel and this has come about from trial and error, either through the viewfinder or once imported into LR.

It’s a strange thing, but when I’m out with the camera now, I’m looking for those tones and trying to envisage how I will process the image, before pressing the shutter button.

I definitely prefer the darker, moodier look of black and white and that’s how I want to portray what I’m seeing when I’m out and about.

I’m trying to shoot more under exposed to be able to work with the shadows and highlights as I want, to give me the look I’m after.

So far, so good. For the first time in a while I’ve started to feel as if I’m shooting and editing how I want my photographs to look… and that can’t be a bad thing can it?!

A Year of Black and White

Given it’s the end of the year, I always like to try and set objectives for the year ahead.

Quite often they don’t work out well – in truth, most objectives I try and set myself quite often come to little, but I like to try and keep myself thinking.

A year in black and white

For 2022, the aim is to shoot exclusively black and white.

Let’s forget about colour, let’s forget about fancy editing – let’s get those creative juices flowing through simple black & white and the glorious tones that monochrome gives you.

I enjoy the colours of the woodland, but quite often find it difficult to keep it consistent. It’s a constant dilemma I have – shooting in colour or black and white.

Maybe that’s to do with my colour blindness, maybe it’s the lack of subtlety in my editing. Whatever it is, I do find it is frustrating at times.

Shooting and editing in black and white should also provide a more consistent approach to my work as well.

Of course shooting in RAW means a colour RAW file, but I can set my camera bodies to show a black and white preview, with Lightroom I can set a black and white import and with careful simple editing maybe it’s just possible to alleviate some of those creative worries that colour gives me.

Keeping it simple

Once again, my feelings turn to gear. It’s a constant internal churn I have with myself, I have a couple of different cameras that I turn to and despite the enjoyment of using different makes and models I crave simplicity.

I’m happiest when I have a camera body and a single lens with me. Even the introduction of a second lens often causes me to consider which focal length would be better for any specific composition when I’m out.

I’d like to remove such feelings, so the plan is to use my M10-P as my main body and the 35mm Summicron for as much work as I can.

My Precious!

I love the ‘cron 35mm, the image quality and field of view suit me, it really is the reason why I bought a Leica body for that lens.

Looking at my LR catalogue I shoot at around 35mm focal length for approximately 90% of all of the images I take. Even when I use a zoom lens I tend to see a composition at that kind of focal length.

As I’ve written about previously, the Leica M bodies are a bit of a compromise for a lot of what I do, but it’s a camera I love to use – it makes me want to take photographs and when I use other systems I feel like I’m simply pressing the shutter button rather than making a concerted effort into finding out how to make the image.

So, the objectives remain pretty similar to those I made around the same time last year – only this time the resolve feels more solid.

Only time will tell I guess!