Alternative views on the Leica world by Erwin Puts

New visions

Ernst Haas, one of the lesser known Leica photographers (he used the Leica R and his subject were landscapes), remarked: “I am not interested in shooting new things - I am interested to see things new.”
This is indeed the essence of photography and in fact all creative visual arts. He explored the technical capabilities of his Leica equipment to find the tools and the technique that allowed him to see things in a new way. His approach is far removed from the style practiced by the community of pixel-peepers and selfie adepts. There is nothing wrong with knowing the limits of your equipment and/or testing what a certain lens/sensor/Raw-engine combo or a lens/film/developer combo can do for you. I have always argued that sensible testing is a must, but also that it is not easy to equate test figures with real picture taking. Most testing is done on tripod in even and clear illumination and this is not the same as working handheld, even at high shutter speeds.
Recently I am working with Leica M-A, Ilford FP4+ and FX39 to produce clair-obscur pictures or chiaroscuro pictures. The exposure meter is the Gossen Starlite 2 in ZoneSystem mode (spotmeter 1 degree). The Cinestill film I used earlier had two big advantages: no grain to speak of and an extended dynamic range (exposure for the shadows and let the highlights take care of themselves). The Ilford film is more restricted but should be good enough for most scenes. We will see.
The next stage is the darkroom and here I have installed a new safelight from Heiland: the LED safelight. It will evenly lit your darkroom and can be switched between red and white light for inspecting the pictures under daylight conditions. (http://heilandelectronic.de/led_darkroom_light/lang:en).
Anything that makes the analog processing easier and more foolproof is welcome as it lets you concentrate on the basic goal: making the most satisfactory pictures that seduce you to move on.