I am back early from camping in the mountains of New York State. It rained almost every day, Several of the storms were heavy enough to wash out parts of the roads in the area. Our campsite was so soggy we made squishing sounds when we walked. After three days of that, my wife and I decided we’d had enough. We packed up and came home. It has been raining a lot in New Jersey too, with no immediate end in sight, but we are snug and dry in our house and all of the roads are in good condition.

I planned to take pictures of several abandoned properties in the vicinity of the camp. I brought the Leica IIIf and three lenses – 35mm, 50mm and 85mm – and half a dozen FILCA cassettes loaded with FP4 Plus and HP5 Plus. At the last minute I decided to add the Visoflex with the 65/3.5 Elmar lens and a lightweight tripod. The weather kept me from getting out to any of the properties I wanted to photograph. Maybe next year.

Not wanting to go home empty handed I took some pictures in the campsite during breaks in the weather. I don’t know if it was stress caused by the weather or something else, but I found it even harder than usual to hold the camera steady. If I had brought the table top tripod to use as a chest pod I might have been OK, but I didn’t bring it. A quick scan back at home of the hand held pictures from camp shows that my assessment was right. None of them are sharp enough to print.

The day before we left for home I attached the Visoflex and 65/3.5 Elmar to the IIIf, put the rig on the tripod and took some pictures around the campsite. I have always found it a pleasant kit to work with. This time the difference in my confidence compared with my shaky efforts hand held was dramatic. I could concentrate on the subjects, not the shaking in the viewfinder. It started me thinking that it might be time to give up using my film cameras hand held. The image stabilization of my iPhone camera is so good that all of my hand held memo pictures are razor sharp. And I would use a tripod for “serious” work.

It’s something to think about anyway.

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