11000 meters high, 830 kilometers per hour fast. Is there a better place to recap and to write down some first thoughts about my little analog journey? Two great weeks on the island of La Palma have just come to an end. I’d left all the digital gear at home and went for my annual tracking vacancy to the Canaries, armed with just the Leica M6, a light meter and some tins of film.
The most overwhelming feelings are currently a deep relaxation, the knowledge of not having missed anything and the curiosity to finally see the results. I don’t expect much from the photos themselves, as I don’t have that much experience in fully manual analog photography. I’d taken a lot less photos, compared to my previous journeys to the Canaries. Instead of taking about 150 shots a day I just took about 15 this time. In best case, I’ll get as many keepers as during another holiday by reducing the number of “naa-not-that”-shots significantly. I will find out once I receive the developed results in three or four weeks. And with keepers I don’t mean those high-class-national-geographic-wow-shots, an amateur might capture once in a lifetime. I’m only thinking about those well photographed pictures, which are not only interesting for family and friends but might also create some smiles on some faces (which is much more than one can expect from a simple picture). I would be happy if the results proof that I got back a little bit of my photographic drive and that the results will hold up my idea of quality.
Did the way I took the shots change during the last two weeks? Of course, it did. One thing is the reduction of the pure number of photos taken. The other aspect is, that it slowed me down significantly. Where I was shooting all around me the other year, taking the extra shot with another focus and that with another exposure setting and wait, don’t miss the shot from deep below, this time it was mostly like seeing an interesting motive or a nice view, having some thoughts about how the picture should appear, estimating the light, framing the picture and just taking this one shot. It felt like that is how it should be. So far so good.
Are there some sad or mixed feelings? Did I regret anything? No. Despite the fact that I’m curious to see the pictures…
Did I make mistakes? Oooohhh, yes I did.
I’d left the light meter at home most of the time. Not really a problem, because the M6 has a build in light meter which works perfectly fine… with a fully charged battery… Therefore, I took the challenge and estimated the required exposure settings most of the days… curious about the results…
Besides a roll of T-Max 400 for some possible street shots, I was equipped with some rolls of Kodak Ektar 100 for the bright-light-up-on-the-mountain-photography and some of Kodak Portra 400 for having some room to play in darker situations. This ended up with shooting on ISO 400 on the bright sunny mountain top at the telescopes of La Palma, because half of the film had already been used during the former trip in the woods as well as trying to get some slightly sharp frames with an ISO 100 film deep down in the dark and wet laurel woods, because the day before I’d walked through some sunny meadows in the north. One has to plan in advance… This also tricked me not to have the ability to use the preferred aperture for some shots and I had to compromise to get at least a somehow valid exposure. Lesson learned and I’m curious about the results.
Will I try this again? Absolutely. It was fun, it was the slow kind of photography I’d wished for and helped me to focus on the frame. I often had to walk for the preferred picture instead of just turning the zoom ring. I also had to not take some shots, because with a prime lens it was not possible to create an interesting frame. But I’m absolutely fine with that.
And I’m pretty sure that analog photography will become a constant and important part of my photographic life. Until now it was an inspiring journey and I didn’t miss anything.
And did I already mention that I’m curious about the results?