Roll 019 highlights. Leica M4.

A few highlights from the most recent roll. Shot with the Leica M4 on Tri-X pushed one stop.

Sending the Leica M3 in for repair and CLA

The rangefinder in my 1960 Leica M3 needs repair. It stops moving when focused closer than about 4 feet. Time for a complete CLA.

I bought this M3 in 2013 and it had apparently been CLA’d by Youxin Ye in 2012. I guess it’s time for another. I’m sending it to the highly-regarded DAG Camera Repair. I’m including the 50mm Summicron, just in case he determines that could also use a bit of work.

It’s not inexpensive having these cameras taken care of like this, but a few hundred dollars every five or ten years ends up being a small investment. At this rate I should be able to get another 60 years out of it. Well, someone will.

Gail getting ready

Gail. (Leica M4. Voigtlander 35mm Color Skopar. Tri-X @800 in HC-110)

Gail getting ready. Shot with the Leica M4 on Tri-X. I normally shoot Tri-X at 320 but the last couple rolls have been pushed to 800. My thinking is that 35mm Tri-X isn’t going to be smooth and grain-free anyway, so why fight it? Also, I dig the increased contrast and the ability to shoot with slower lenses indoors.

Just a tool

They say that a camera is “just a tool”. I feel sorry for them.

Some cameras are also beautiful, meticulously engineered objects that are so nice to look at and so wonderful to hold that they do in fact help me to make better photos. And, as importantly, they let me enjoy making the shitty photos, which frankly are the majority.

I can make shitty photos with any camera, so why not make them with a nice one?


I will stick with Lightroom Classic for now

I prefer using Capture One Pro for editing images. I like the flexible export options allowing variables in filenames and the way I can run a bunch of different “recipes” at once. I like the fancy color editor. I like layers. I like the way it tethers. I like the “professional” connotations that come with it. And I really like not being pinned to an Adobe subscription.

But, I don’t like those things enough to justify living without the ecosystem available with Lightroom Classic. Things like Jeffrey Friedl’s plugins. Or Negative Lab Pro, or all the Mastin Labs options. Or the thousands of websites, blogs, and YouTube videos supporting Lightroom workflows.

I prefer my files local and with my own folder hierarchy, so I don’t mind that Lightroom CC can automatically sync my iPhone photos to Lightroom Classic, where I can move and rename them as I like.

I like exporting directly to services like Flickr and SmugMug.

Classic does a fine job with the actual business of editing. It does, in my opinion, a better job with DAM.

Keywording and metadata management is just lightly easier in Lightroom.

If I’m honest, most of the things I think I prefer in Capture One are hypothetical. I don’t actually use them much. I like the idea of Capture One, but I’m better off when using Lightroom.

That’s my story as of Sunday, August 25, 2019.


Leica M4 out of storage

Finally, I’ve gotten my beloved Leica M4 out of storage. It’s been in a case in my basement since last year’s move and that’s a shame.

Leica M4 with Voightlander 35mm f2.5 Color Skopar

Leica M4 with Voightlander 35mm f2.5 Color Skopar


The camera was made in 1966 and I bought it in 2009. It’s seen regular, if sporadic, use since then. I think it’s beautiful, and I especially like that it has the M3-style levers.

I have the tiny and terrific Voightlander 35mm Color Skopar on it. That lens is almost toosmall, but it makes fine images and was inexpensive.

It feels good to be using this setup again. I’ll run a few rolls through it and see if I still become fatigued shooting with no meter at all.

Old Man Yelling at [Dark, Ominous] Clouds (Leicaphilia)


So, next time you smug technological sophisticates begin to fell[sic] all superior to us film era Luddites, take a step back and consider that some of us may have articulable philosophical and creative reasons for rejecting the more outre aspects of digital technologies, and those reasons may be grounded in legitimate concerns based on deep historical sympathies. In other words, we may know things, important things, you’ve never even thought about, and you may be wise to listen.

A wisp of truth in there, at the very least.

Jess plays Keno

Leica M6. 50mm Summicron. Tri-X in HC-110

My daughter really loves playing Keno. Whenever we’re together, I’m forced to play too. Sometimes we win, but mostly we don’t.

Keeping a Digital Print Archive

I shoot RAW with my digital cameras, and edit in Lightroom CC. Non-destructive RAW editing is awesome, but the only good way to actually see the edits is by using Lightroom (or whichever app was used to do the editing). What happens if one day I stop using it?

Historically, I’ve exported each processed jpg file right next to the original RAW file. Switching to Lightroom CC has made this tricky because the originals are kept in Adobe’s cloud and CC’s export features are rather basic.

To help remedy this, and to ensure long-term viability of my photos, I’m creating a “Digital Print Archive”. Any photo worth editing is exported to a separate jpg file in a YYYY/MM/ folder structure on my main drive. I think of each exported image as a “digital print”.

I manage this process using my Rating system for photos in Lightroom CC.

Lightroom CC does not have color labels, so I’ve had to modify my system a bit. I used to use labels to indicate process/export status but now I’m using star ratings instead.

Here’s how my star ratings work in CC:

  • ⭐ – Pay attention to this image
  • ⭐⭐ – Has been processed/edited
  • ⭐⭐⭐ – Has been exported to the Digital Print Archive
  • ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – A favorite

This system gives me a curated, organized set of “burned” copies of my original RAW files and requires no specific software to view or manage them. I’m testing Photo Mechanic “Plus” as a way of cataloging the archive, and it’s working quite well.

Film Carrier MK1 Kickstarter

Scanning negatives is hard. I have yet to find a workflow that doesn’t involve cursing and disappointment.

To that end, I’ve backed the MK1 Kickstarter. The MK1 is a “35mm Roll Film Holder for Camera Scanning” from the folks at Negative Supply.

I’ve never tried scanning negatives using a digital camera, but it feels like the future, so I’ll give it a go.