A favourite image and a favourite camera – is that possible?
I was asked recently if I had a favourite image which I had made? In all honesty I don’t think I do, although there are a number which I could name in a top ten. I do though remember reading that someone else when asked the same question replied – ‘The next one I am going to take.’ I rather like this response as it suggests a desire to constantly improve, believing that your next photograph will be better than the last and all those in your back catalogue. It also infers that the last image taken must be a favourite for at least it’s tangible and not a figment of the imagination – or is it? I’ll come back to this question later, as it’s relevant to the photograph in this post.
As far as a ‘favourite camera’ is concerned, well that’s easy for me to answer. It’s my Leica M Monochrom which I have been using for the last couple of years. It’s built like a tank, feels so good in the hand and the simplicity of its controls put me in complete control. It doesn’t have a multitude of programmable buttons, nor pages and pages of menus, which only serve to confuse, and nor does it come with a manual which might take the best part of a week to read, let alone understand. More importantly though the Monochrom together with the exceptional Leica lenses produces the images I am seeking to achieve with post processing and careful printing. The next incarnation of the Leica M Rangefinder must be just round the corner but I think its unlikely I will want to upgrade. The Monochrom has many idiosyncrasies, but I love it and the cost of upgrading is quite likely to be prohibitive anyway.
Given my feelings towards the Leica Monochrom, I am not that interested in the latest camera technology although to digress for a moment I was intrigued to learn about a new camera being developed by a company called Light. The camera is called the L16 and has the appearance of a large mobile phone, but instead of one lens and sensor there are 16. On pressing the shutter the camera software combines all the exposures from each of the sensors to produce one image. According to their website this can be up to 52 megapixels in size, with low noise and covering a focal range equivalent of 28mm to 150mm. The depth of field and other adjustments can be manipulated in post processing. Is this the future of camera technology, I don’t know, but nothing stays the same, so it will be interesting to see what happens when it actually hits the streets.
Back to the question I posed at the end of the first paragraph and indeed to the photograph in this post. It was taken a few days ago at St Botolph’s Church in Hardham, West Sussex. I had visited the church previously and noticed how the light was falling on the altar. I had taken some shots that day, only to find that my composition was not quite right, nor had I used the correct exposure settings. There were too many blown highlights. I decided to return, knowing in my mind the image I wanted to make. I knew which lens would give me the composition I wanted (28mm) and the likely exposure settings required to produce a malleable and workable file for post processing. I knew the time of day when the light would be in the right position, so I arrived at the church in plenty of time to get ready. The sun wasn’t as bright as it had been a day or two earlier but this proved to be a good thing. As it turned out I only had a couple of minutes to take the shot before the sun moved round and no longer illuminated the scene as I wanted it.
A favourite image or not, I like this photograph, as it will always remind me that it can be worth revisiting a location to take a particular shot that you have already pictured in your own mind.
Here are two more entries about St Botolph’s Church at Hardham.
Churches Project no.4 – St Botolph’s, Hardham, West Sussex
Thwarted by the flower arrangers at Hardham Church
7 Responses to “A favourite image and a favourite camera – is that possible?”
The image above is absolutely superb and your judgement of the light spot on. Also a lovely balance of bright light and deep shade with the stone texture showing up well too.
(I told my younger brother once that I wasn’t going to die until I had made the ‘perfect’ photo. He told me that was a funny reason to ‘live’, but as I have a severe inherited heart condition, among other chronic pain/fatigue conditions, I was quite adamant about the statement. I have outlived all my ancestors and relatives with the same heart condition. I really and truly want to one day produce an image (preferably straight out of the camera) that takes one’s breath away 🙂 )
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Thanks Vicki. Sorry you have to endure so many health problems. Good luck taking the perfect photo, if there is such a thing. Your comment also reminded me of the saying ‘Life is not about how many breaths you take, but the number of moments that take your breath away’
That’s a favourite quote of mine too, Alan.
I’ve heard that quote too, Alan. And I’ve heard about this new camera from ‘Light’. They contacted me to ask me if I would mention the project and the camera. I’m still waiting to see some images and know that it is available for sale.
It’s very satisfying, isn’t it, when you know exactly what you want to capture, and go back to the scene and successfully achieve your aim. The lighting was just right: catching the cross but leaving the background in shadow.
Thanks Andy (apologies for the bloated response). I too was contacted by ‘Light’ so I guess they are getting in touch with a number of photographers. Like you say it will be interesting to see what it is like when it is actually available for sale.
Great work Alan – beautiful tonality. Must be a lot of fun working with the Leica M Monochrom.
Thanks Simon. The Monochrom is indeed a lot of fun and the RAW files are great to work with.