Focusing on Film

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Leica R8, shot through a Fujifilm X-T2 with Leica Macro-Elmarit-R 60mm and adapter

Twenty years ago during graduate school I was an avid photographer, just not a very good one. Occasionally I’d get lucky with a shot of a New England coastline, but mostly I was snapping photographs, not creating them. Returning to Seattle I fell into the gearhead’s trap thinking the only thing I needed to be a better photographer was a better camera. I invested in top of the line film camera systems before deciding that film was dead when the Nikon D1 was introduced in 1999. Photography became less important in the early 2000s and I eventually sold all my gear including my first Minolta, the Nikon and a cabinet full of Leica R system cameras and lenses.

Fast forward twenty years and now I’m actively shooting again.

I’ve been really devoting serious effort towards improving my photographic skill, investing in time, practice and where necessary new equipment. Taking classes at Photographic Center Northwest, moving to the latest generation full-frame Sony ar7iii after my trusted Sony a99 was stolen, and working to intentionally edit the almost 20,000 photos in my Lightroom catalog have all contributed towards becoming if not a better photographer, at least a more deliberate one.

Now I’m taking a step back technologically but forward by adding 35mm film back into my arsenal. This wasn’t intentional despite the many photographers who still swear by film. I just got lucky again.

Christine, after listening to me fondly recall using my Leica gear 20 years ago, found on Facebook Marketplace someone selling a used Leica R8 SLR and 60mm lens combination in good condition and encouraged me to buy it. Now I’m the proud owner of a new used camera (along with a couple of other lenses I picked up afterward) while I relearn the process of framing, focusing and shooting film manually all over again. No more chimping, just time and intention to capture a decisive moment.

So far I haven’t developed any film from the camera. Those surprises are still to come. Meanwhile it’s a great new/old experience to be shooting a Leica film camera once again.

 

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