In these quite extraordinary times of Covid – 19, it is a challenge to all photographers to capture images of what is probably going to be the most significant event of this generation. The UK, like so many other affected countries, is in lockdown. Citizens are supposed to be out only for essential shopping and one form of short daily exercise. I decided there was no prohibition on carrying a camera when taking a walk. So, I picked up my Voigtlander Bessa L and attached the excellent Voigtlander 25mm Snapshot lens and viewfinder, loaded with Kentmere 400 (rated at 200 ISO) and set off on my daily walk to the local park in North London where I live.
The Bessa L is and always has been something of a curate’s egg. With its Leica screw mounting, no built in viewfinder, and through the lens light meter, it always seemed to combine the oddest of functions into a camera. It was manufactured by Cosina and has a mechanical shutter with runs from 1 – 2000th second. It’s very light and even with the bulbous viewfinder and lens attached, it seems to fit into a jacket pocket.
In common with a number of Japanese cameras of that era, the back of the Voigtlander Bessa L was given a rubberised coating. This has deteriorated over the years into a sticky mess so I covered mine with black gaffer tape. It’s not pretty but at least it stops my hands from being covered in black rubberised gunge. The light meter is centre average and works very well, with LEDs on the top plate to show when the exposure is set correctly. Cleverly, the LEDs are easily viewed even when one’s eye is up against the external viewfinder.
As for the walk, I hope the pictures tell the story. This part of North London, which would never be normally quiet, is eerily so right now. Shops and cafes are shuttered up, park amenities are closed, footpaths are closed off and there’s even social distancing guidance on the park footpath.
I’d be tempted to do a similar exercise further into central London, but then I’d be breaking the government guidance so, for the present, these images will have to be my reminder of London locked down.
By the way, the Kentmere was processed in Kodak HC-110, ‘H’ for 10 minutes at 20°C.
Hope you enjoyed my shots from the Voigtlander Bessa L. It would be great to see other images of lockdown where you live.
More of my Covid-19 images can be found at www.michaelscottfoto.com. Thanks for reading and I hope you and your loved ones keep safe and well.
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