I’ve been distracted lately and missed a few self-imposed deadlines. During the month of February the #BelieveinFilm Twitter community ran a redscale theme. I respooled a roll of Fuji 400 and shot it at 100 ASA in my Leica M3.
I forgot to remove the yellow filter, so the first half of the roll has a very extreme color shift. I like them though. Most were shot on a train trip to Boston.
Burned out Work train Mosquito camp Bridge repair Harbor Towers Sherman looks a bit rough after a salty winter. Buried lead; this is my favorite. Note the Nikon around her neck.
Developed at home with a Unicolor kit and JOBO processor.
For years I was a fire apparatus nerd. I collected photos and specs; I knew all sorts of minute details. Over time the drive to shoot and collect has waned, but I can still identify most of the classic makes and models from a block away.
Today I look at fire engines differently when I visit places. The composition and condition of a fleet tells me interesting things about a department. The number and type of apparatus signifies a lot about the response conditions they face; the age tells a lot about the support they get from their community; and the condition tells me things about their pride and morale.
On day one of my Adirondack trip the Otter Lake Fire Department hosted us for lunch. I enjoyed nosing around their fleet. While a bit on the older side their 1 engine, 2 tankers, mini-pumper and rescue were well maintained and housed in a clean, modern station. They seemed to be a well-organized and proud rural department. Rock on, guys.
Every spring I take one day in April to go to Seashore Trolley Museum and renew my driver’s license. It’s a little boy’s dream. I get to play with full-scale antique trains. There is no such thing as a bad day behind the controls.
Every Leica enthusiast has a favorite model. The evolution from Barnack to M9 means there is probably a spot where your favorite combination of features was in production, and the cross-compatibility of most lenses lets you use your favorite glass.
I haven’t found that sweet spot yet, but it may be the M6 for me.
The M6 is a very nice camera. I like the weight. Everything feels smooth and solid. As with most Leica rangefinders, it’s very quiet to use. The meter was simple to operate, balancing the brightness of two LEDs in the viewfinder. I’m not sure what I think about the film loading system. It’s supposed to be simplified, but I find it easier to mis-load. The spindle in the M3 may be more finicky, but I know when I’ve gotten it right.
The M6 has 3 pairs of frame lines in the viewfinder, with the widest at 35mm. I find I must consciously think to frame 50mm shots.
I like it though. The meter makes it easier to use color and slide films, while the extra frame lines will be nice if I ever expand my lens collection. After a few more rolls, I should be proficient with it.
(Note: this week’s images were shot on FP4 and developed in my kitchen with Caffenol Delta-STD. It’s not really a fair example of what the M6 can do, but it displays some of the technical versatility of film. Coffee + soap + vitamin C= images!)
As week 52 marks the end of my first year of 52 Cameras, I decided to close the loop with my other Leica.
Introduced in 1984, the M6 was an evolutionary step in the rangefinder line which began with the M3 in 1954. Primary differences are a rewind crank instead of a knob, a quick-loading film system, a slightly larger viewfinder (with lesser magnification,) and most importantly a light meter. It also features a hot shoe for the flash.
M6 production ran into 1997. It was replaced by the M6/TTL which simply added Through-the-Lens flash metering to the M6 chassis. Production continued until 2003. Who else makes anything for 19 years in the modern world?
The M6 and M6/TTL hold the distinction of being the last mechanical Leicas. Although a battery is required for the light meter, the shutter continues to function without it. The later M7 introduced aperture priority automation and an electronic shutter.
The serial number of my chrome M6 body dates it to July of 1997, shortly before the upgrade to TTL flash. It is both the newest Leica and most newly acquired Leica in my collection. I’ve fitted my 1960 vintage Summilux 50mm f1.4 and loaded a roll of Ilford FP4 for the week.