Leica M2 and Reflections

On Monday I sent my 1D to Canon’s Factory Service Center in New Jersey to get the Horizontal Noise Line issue fixed. From what I have read, there is a cable in the shutter mechanism that needs replacing. I have a feeling that resolving the HNL issue will also help to minimize the appearance of 1D banding. Some of my recent photos have been taken with a workaround for the HNL problem, and I’ve noticed that the quality of these images has been quite remarkable.

Since I sold or gave away my other digital cameras, it’s back to film with my Leica M2 35mm rangefinder camera. Everything has to be set manually, from the shutter speed to the aperture, and there’s no light meter or autofocus to assist me. In a time when almost everything I use requires electricity, it’s refreshing to have a camera that operates without batteries. Using this camera gives me the feeling that I am making a photograph rather than simply taking one. That being said, I don’t think my skills as a photographer would have improved as much as they have had I been shooting with film all this time. The immediacy of digital photography sure beats waiting days or weeks to finish and develop a roll of film.

Though it seems to me that I’ve been taking photos all my life, it had really only been three and a half years since I bought my first camera! The last two years of documenting my travels and life have given me more concrete and vivid memories than perhaps all those pre-camera years of writing in my journal. That’s one regret that I have when I look back — no photographs to enhance the written memories of being 16 and 20 years old. When I read those journal entries, I wonder if that really was me. He seems so different, young and naive in a great many ways. What I wouldn’t give to be that age again armed with the wisdom and camera technology of today!

I read with fascination the article about Sharbat Gula, the Afghan girl who was featured on a 1985 cover of National Geographic. The photographer, Steve McCurry, never got her name when he took her photo back in 1984. As a result, Sharbat Gula disappeared from the world’s eye for 17 years. A chance trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan resulted in her being recognized and rediscovered. Behind her traditional burka, the years of hardship, war, and turmoil are evident on Gula’s face, but her striking, penetrating green eyes continue to touch us 17 years later.

In other news, I’ve been making a number of changes to the web site recently. I’ve created a Discussion Forum for the Canon Owners of the Bay Area user group and have redesigned the front page. There are more features and changes on tap for the site, so stay tuned!

1 thought on “Leica M2 and Reflections

  1. AJUK

    I don’t think the years have been that kind to that girl, she still isn’t that old.

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