Towards the end of last year, Ethan and myself attended an in-store day held at the Leica Camera Store, Manchester. The purpose of the visit was to get our hands on the newly announced Leica SL2 and see how it compared to the original SL. I have always been fond of the SL after trying one out at 2016’s camera show in Birmingham. However it was the T system that I brought into, comfortable with the fact that it shared the L mount with the SL. While slowly building my T system I kept an eye on the gradual evolution of the L system.
I thought I would share a story regarding a recent trip to Halkidiki in North East Greece.
We spent 16 nights walking and cycling much of the Kassandra peninsula, with occasional forays to other areas such as Vergina and Sithonia. Typically at this time of year, the weather was hot and humid, so our walks rarely exceeded 11 miles and cycling was limited to approximately double this. It is incredible how much more difficult physical exercise is once the temperature hits 35°, particularly when unaccustomed to high temperatures. As usual my camera accompanied me on every journey we made, enduring heat and dust while getting covered in sweat, sun tan lotion and sea spray. The sensor required cleaning on more than one occasion, thanks to reluctantly changing lenses in exposed areas. At one point, the touch screen stopped working, leading me to momentarily question the camera’s durability - until I realised that it was the sheer amount of sun lotion on the screen that prevented it working! Each evening I cleared off the day’s debris while enjoying a glass of chilled Retsina.
This is a walk of two distinct parts which splices high open moorland with lusher woodland and tumbling waterfalls. For a landscape photographer, it combines some of the best aspects of the Peak District and is an area that rewards walkers and photographers alike at any time of the year. It is particularly appealing during late autumn when the beech woodland of Padley Gorge is transformed into a coppery palette and the last days of summer swirl in the brook’s backwaters.
Macrophotography is a photographic world within a world, and one that holds an almost infinite variety of subject matter and themes. It is a place where a few square centimetres of moss become a jungle, or the beauty of an insect’s compound eye can be discovered. With so many subjects available, it is not hard to see why some photographers are drawn in… me included. Years ago, I assembled a full macro system to support my leaning and development needs and found most of my photographic effort was being spent capturing things that usually go unnoticed. As my own techniques developed, I soon learned that there was much more to macrophotography than simply magnifying a subject. Within a year I had gained a host of peripheral gear that assisted in my efforts, some of which was critical to success. Based on my own experience, I have put together a list of equipment that you may wish to consider if thinking of branching into the world of macro.
Coming from a traditional film background, I enjoyed the large bright viewfinders of Olympus’ original OM System and it was one of the attributes that made the OM1 so successful back in the 1970’s. My migration path over to digital eventually saw me drop the viewfinder concept altogether, as I embraced Leica's X1, X113 and T cameras. Generally speaking I was happy composing pictures on the camera’s rear screen, but it does have limitations.
Shoulder style camera bags are something I have never really got on with, having a preference to spread the load evenly across my shoulders. But it hasn’t stopped me from trying a few out over the decades – from Billingham’s beautifully tactile products to unknown budget brands… I have owned a few. Except for the Billingham, none have stayed with me more than a year or so, and the Billingham only survived longer as it had become a repository for seldom used gear.
Over the years, our loft has become a dumping ground for a whole pile of stuff that, through nostalgia, laziness and lack of space, has reached tipping point. Its steady encroachment from the outer reaches of the eaves, subsequent invasion of the central area and onwards toward the loft hatch means that I can no longer climb into it. From the top of the ladder I peered in, surveying the landscape with the aid of a small torch, while cold air rushed down into the house, carrying with it the roof space’s signature smell of slightly damp wood, age and insulation. With Howard Carter like trepidation I scanned the shadows for spiders, mice and a plethora of other fictional creatures which exist only in horror films.