If you were to look through my contact sheet notes in chronological order you would see a clear pattern, dating all the way back to the late 1960’s. The earliest negatives I proofed were shot with a Leica IIIf and 50/3.5 Elmar lens. This continued for quite a while – more than 40 rolls of film.Then the negatives changed to medium format, shot with a Rolleiflex T. But just 12 contact sheets of 6×6 negatives before I switched back to using the IIIf, now with both 50mm and a 90mm Elmars. Then there were a few contact sheets with just one 4×5 image each, shot with a Crown Graphic. But within a month, according to the contact sheets, I was back to using the IIIf and stayed with it for almost two years.
In brief, this pattern has continued to this day. I use my growing collection of LTM Leicas for a period of time until another film format or another 35mm camera system piques my interest and I pack up the LTM Leica kit. Fortunately I have never been tempted to sell it because I eventually tire of the other gear, which has included two attempts at digital, a variety of SLR’s and even a Leica M2, and get out the same old IIIf or one of its four LTM siblings and go back on autopilot, shooting with them as I have done for so many years.
It is a half mile hike to the lake where I have been taking a lot of pictures lately. Walking downhill with the Hasselblad and the big Gitzo tripod hasn’t been too bad if I am having a good day. The climb back up the hill reminds me every time that I am about to celebrate the beginning of my ninth decade. Add the higher cost of film and chemicals of medium format and the much faster and easier scanning of 35mm negatives, and my return to shooting again with my LTM Leicas was inevitable.
I am still shooting with a tripod. The big Series 2 Gitzo Systematic in the photo works well if I don’t have far to walk. For longer hikes I take my old Series 0 Gitzo with a Leica KGOON head, It is more prone to vibration and even with the center column fully extended I have to stoop a bit to look through the rangefinder and viewfinder. But it weighs almost nothing and works well if there is little or no wind.
Anyone else using a tripod these days with a 35mm film camera?