Last Photos From an Old Friend

Looking toward the Capitol Building – Washington, DC

This is my “pics or it didn’t happen” post. I’ve made claims about owning a bunch of Leica gear, and this one is the proof. I’ve sold all the rest of my Leica gear off, except for this lens and camera body – which we consider a family heirloom from Cindy’s father. It’s a 1954 Leica IIIf RDST (Red Dial, Self-Timer) 35mm rangefinder camera, matched with a 1955 Leitz Wetzlar Summicron 50/2.0 Collapsible LTM (Leica Thread Mount) lens, vented lens hood, and lens cap – and the two photos below are from the last roll of film that I put through it several years ago.

Why not continue shooting with it? For one thing, it’s 67-years old. Yes, people shoot film with old cameras all the time, but finding a good technician capable of repairing an old Leica LTM camera is getting tough. Believe me, I know. This specific camera has spent a total of over 3-years in the hands of vintage camera repair techs since it was gifted to me back in 1997, for a wide variety of issues over that period of time. The camera works perfectly now, and is in mint condition, so we’d like it to stay that way by making it a shelf queen.

The two monochrome photos shared here were taken on a summer day back in 2018, from a balcony on the old Newseum building on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC. They aren’t the greatest photos because I used the wrong ISO setting for the film I had loaded and grossly over-exposed them. Unlike all of the other film images that I post here, other than adjusting the exposure and contrast, I haven’t cleaned these up in post-production, so you can see what the raw images look like straight out of the camera. However, this lens and camera combination is capable of taking some beautiful photographs, as you can see from this collection of photos on Flickr here.

Looking toward the Old Post Office – Washington, DC

One of the neat things about a very old Leica camera like this one is that you can still buy brand new lenses for it from third-party lens manufacturers – lenses with current designs and lens coatings – something that can’t be said for the majority of other cameras on the used market.

1954 Leica IIIf 35mm film camera – Poolesville, Maryland

Photo info:
Shots from Pennsylvania Avenue
The old Newseum building
Washington, DC
June 2018
Ilford Pan F+ 50
1955 Leitz Wetzlar Summicron 50/2.0 Collapsible LTM Lens
1954 Leica IIIf RDST 35mm film camera

Sunlit Cherry Blossoms

Sunlit cherry blossoms – Washington, DC

This image always reminds me of sweltering hot summers in Washington, DC, even though it was shot during the bracing spring days of mid-April. It just has that color and atmosphere to it that evokes heat in a big way. As I recall, this image was actually taken in temperatures around the mid-30s, on a still morning that just felt utterly frigid.


Photo info:
Sunlit cherry blossoms
Tidal Basin
Washington, DC
April 2015
Leica Summilux 50/1.4 ASPH lens
Sony NEX-5N digital camera

Making Adjustments

Wedding photo prep – Washington, DC

Like many scores of other people during the early spring – when the DC cherry blossoms have burst into spectacular bloom – this couple had scheduled a series of early morning wedding portraits with their photographer. And – you guessed it – on this particularly chilly April morning, there were hundreds of other couples and families getting similar portraits taken for their upcoming weddings, engagement announcements, annual Easter festivities, family reunions, multi-generation gatherings, etc. Counting all of the involved parties, their support groups, and the pro photographers they hired – plus all of the non-involved individuals (like myself) that were just there to enjoy the spectacle – there were literally thousands of people tightly milling about in all of the prime photo locations.

I don’t think that the bride-and-groom-to-be had any idea that it would be such a zoo, and they tried to make the best of it since they were already committed to the event. I took photos of them because I was already standing there when they showed up and just thrust themselves into my framing, without so much as an apology.


Photo info:
Wedding subjects prepping for their portrait
The Tidal Basin on the National Mall
Washington, DC
April 2015
Kodak Portra 400
Leica Summilux 50/1.4 ASPH lens
Leica M3 35mm film camera