The Leica File Thirteen

Hey folks, a little something different here. I’ve posted this image before, as part of a story about my travels to Peru. I am by no means a landscape photographer, but there is something about this image that I absolutely love. I wanted to explain what this is, and also how this image fits into the realities of covering something like the Amazon with a Leica rangefinder. Please follow the “travels” link above and see how this image fits into the overall context of the photo-essay. Also, listen to the Macaw soundtrack again, if you haven’t before because one of the surprising things about the Amazon is how loud it is.

Peru black and white. 2011

18 responses to “The Leica File Thirteen”

  1. Tom says:

    There are a number of technical advantages to film as you are well aware. These seem to get overlooked or misunderstood, especially if one has never really used film properly. I’m lucky to own cameras that excel at both technologies. I think the one advantage of digital that trumps all is the time issue. The digital files are available immediately for viewing and editing. Time saving is the big one for a lot of things. As for the practice of multiple digital images overlaid it sort of defeats the idea of time saving as one is then tied to the computer. This also creates additional issues for the finished image. By the way I like that sound clip idea explaining the photograph. I trust you recorded that on a tube amplified (analogue) tape machine (just kidding but don’t get me started on music).

    • Smogranch says:

      Hey Tom,
      Sennhesier mic and Zoom H1….. I totally agree. The things that are labeled as the limits of film are typically what I like the best. And the computer IS digital these days.

  2. Mike says:

    Daniel, I, too, love this photo: when I first saw it I thought “film”. It may be scanned, I don’t know, but even scanned film still retains ‘the look’. I love using film but these days it seems reserved for b&w work and for many years I used colour (Kodachrome). For some reason only Kodachrome colour will will (would) do. E6 was just the great pretender.
    Not sure yet if I can go all b&w Most of the books on shelf are b&w but as they are predominantly photojournalism themed that is to be expected: colour film was in many ways too restrictive for the genre. With the advent of good digital colour that still looks good at high ISOs we see much more use of it in photojournalism, although it is so difficult to use well that much of the work out there looks the same. Getting a consistent look to a body of work is the key but it’s not easy.

    I’ve not had a chance to listen to the audio yet: don’t want to spook my cat!


    • Smogranch says:

      I like to hit the play on the audio and then just stare at a single image. Something strange happens. Try it. Kodachrome looked so much better than anything I’ve seen in the modern world. Digital color is so sharp, and so textureless but lacks depth.

  3. Mike says:

    Just played the audio file: that is noisy – but good noisy – full of wild, free, life.

    • Smogranch says:

      The Amazon is a place that reminds you we are temporary. If something happens to out society nature will be back in control in a matter of weeks.

  4. lionelB says:

    Looking at the image it immediately shouts ‘Andrei Tarkovsky’. To me, anyway. Better maybe to say that the smell is the same. Smell works like that. Rationalising it, I suppose it is his obsession with backlight and the abstraction it brings to a scene. Also the way that it intermingles with memory, his other obsession. He taps into the animal in us. The hunter and the hunted. He is perhaps rather forgotten. A pity if so.

  5. Stephan says:

    Hi Daniel

    So I wanted to look at the other leica files on your website, but they are all private. Too bad.
    Can you tell us a bot about your workflow with film and the lenses you use.

    Thank you

    • Smogranch says:

      All my Leica files are on Vimeo

      f/2 and 50 f/2. That’s it.

    • Daniel, I’m not much of a gear head these days but when you do that next Leica File I’d love to hear your thoughts on choosing the 35mm vs 50mm lens for documentary style photography. I generally like to take a single camera/lens combo on my wanderings. The 35mm focal length is a Goldilox lens; I can make it work for just about anything. The 50mm makes me work harder or at least it feels that way. Can’t be lazy with composition at all with that lens. Not as much environment but the subject is more present. I think I end up liking more of the 50mm shots these days, maybe because I feel like I “earned” them more so than the easier (to my eye) field of view offered by the 35mm. Curious what you think when you reach for one or the other.

    • Smogranch says:

      Okay, good feedback. Will post about this. Also had someone else ask about process, so will touch on that as well.

  6. mike a says:

    Mighty fine photo there Daniel. I love the Leica file. One day I will actually get to touch a Leica. For now my XE2 will have to do.

    • Smogranch says:

      A totally different feel for sure. Heavy, but so solid. Look at an M4 or older if you want the real experience. Better yet, get one and shoot with it.

  7. Martin Fritter says:

    I agree. Great image. The way the light bleeds through the canopy. Impossible with digital, I think.

  8. Mike says:

    How big are you going to print it, Daniel?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *