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Insane money

I took this picture in Kirkwall yesterday, using my new camera, the story of which follows below.

(I'm starting with this photo because I want it as the thumbnail to this blog post and my blogging software always uses the first photo in the blog as thumbnail)

And now for the story:

I have just been to Manchester to drop an insane amount of money on a new camera, a Leica M11 rangefinder and a couple of lenses. Because it was a mad purchase, I decided to go the whole mad hog and nip down to Manchester from Orkney just to lay hands on it in the shop and bring it back with me. This meant flying to Aberdeen, then catching the train to Manchester (two changes required – in Edinburgh and Preston), arriving early evening and therefore having to overnight in Manchester so as to walk to the shop as soon as it opened the next morning.

And that is what I did. The purchase took a couple of hours in the very friendly and helpful shop.

And here is the camera. This, of course, is a iPhone pic, since even a camera such as this can't take a picture of itself.

My train back was the same afternoon, so I left my overnight bag in the shop, slung my new camera over my shoulder and went for a walk in Manchester.

When I arrived the evening before, I decided that the town was awful: way, way too many people, rubbish strewn streets, weirdos every other step... However, when I went for an early morning walk while waiting for the shop to open, I rather changed my mind. The town is actually very interesting with its mix of old and new and all it really needs is to be neutron-bombed to rid it of 50% of its population.

Manchester even has a part of town called 'Gay Village'. Good grief!


On the other hand, the city is chock-a-block with lovely buildings, old and new:

I had a chat with this priest, who moaned that there were too many people about just doing nothing all day.

I thought the reflective ceiling was a fun addition.

I stayed in the hotel in the left background of this pic.

Above – Jubilee doorway; below – striking council workers with whom I had a friendly chat: we both agreed that more management should be fired and more workers retained, the exact opposite of what is happening at the moment.

River Irwell (iPhone pic)

Three pubs in a row. Manchester is a drinking and partying town.


All the above shots with the new camera were taken within minutes of my taking possession of it. I was (and am still) only getting to grips with it. Next came the long trip trip back — another 7 hours of train, arriving Aberdeen just before midnight, overnighting there before taking the early plane back home the next morning.

The pic at the top of this post is my first pic that demonstrates to me why it's good to have a proper camera, particularly in a place like Orkney, where the air is crystal clean.

I took that picture during the Saturday shop in Kirkwall, but also took some test pics beforehand around the house and just outside to get a feel for things. I was pleased with the results, e.g.

This pic is through the window where my desk stands

Sitting room lamp

Austin's tantalus

Early morning light:

So that's the story of my ongoing madness.

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Jun 19, 2022

Thank you for the Hockney comparison. Very flattering (and I see what you mean now you mention it). I was very pleased with the fire station shot. It was taken just after a passing squall of rain and the Orkney light was even more magical and crystal-clear than usual. The symmetry and clean lines caught my eye and the lens was wonderfully able to capture it.


Jun 19, 2022

Congratulations, David. Nice machine. Very sharp and great color. Any post processing here? With 60 MP you should be able to crop radically and achieve, virtually, substantial digital zoom. (Bird photos?) What lenses did you get? Did you keep your old camera?


Jun 19, 2022
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I tried hard to resist the temptation, but the image quality is SO satisfying. Leica glass is just so good. (I will upload some full size/full res for you to see what the results really look like without the compression here.

I got 2 lenses: 35mm and 90mm (this last a second-hand APO; so you are very right in thinking that with 60MP, there are considerable zoom possibilities. The shot of the old house across the bay was taken with the 90mm APO (all the others with the 35mm Summicron f2). Bird shots had not occurred to me – thank you for putting that in mind and it’s going on my to-do list. Although I don’t think I’ll ever b…


The Fire Station pic is strangely successful. Strangely cos you can't quite say why it is so. So I see a kind of likeness with David Hockney's famous paintings such as the swimming pool and my parents. Stephan

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