The first lens I procured for my Leica M3 body was a 1958 Summicron 50mm f/2 Dual Range (DR). The Dual Range is unique among Leica 50mm Summicrons because it allows for close range focusing down to 0.478m as opposed newer models which focus down to no less than 0.7m. To achieve the close-up range, the DR is paired with detachable optics that not only optimize the magnification of the finder for close range, but also correct the angle of view and so adjust for parallax.
I had never really pursued caffenol seriously because some of the first examples photos I had seen were less than impressive. Frankly, the “unpredictable flaws in film are cool” aesthetic has never particularly appealed to me. My impression of caffenol had been tainted, and I never looked into it again. That is until now.
Infrared photography has long been a subject of fascination for me. Last year, I wrote about my experience shooting and developing Rollei Infrared 400 film, and concluded that while interesting, infrared film is too much of a hassle for me to pursue infrared film photography routinely. Since then, I have not bothered buying any more rolls of infrared film. Digital infrared is another story, however.
Some months ago, I signed up for a workshop with Meg Hewitt in Tokyo for March 18-24 this year. Despite circumstances with the growing global COVID-19 pandemic, Meg still showed up in Tokyo to run the workshop although participants from Europe were no longer able to travel, and those from elsewhere elected not to. I was one of only two participants who took part. Both of us live in Japan and were not going anywhere.
About a month before Japan’s world-famous cherry blossom season in late March, is the lesser-known plum blossom season in late February. Plum blossoms in Japan are the first hint of the coming spring, and while not as explosively striking as cherry blossoms and the warming weather than accompanies them, plum blossoms are enough to attract Japanese for plum blossom viewing if not tourists from overseas. There are some famous Japanese gardens for viewing plum blossoms in Ibaraki Prefecture where I live, like the Mount Tsukuba Bairin and Kairakuen in Mito, the prefectural capital, but I don’t need to travel too far from my front door to see plum blossoms, as there are many plum trees in my own neighborhood, and these make excellent subjects for photography.