Jono Shields

New Camera Day

I recently acquired my grail film camera. The Leica M2. Leica is a heritage brand and has a long history with press and documentary photography. The build quality is beyond excellent and their cameras have always been built solid. This bad boy is roughly 60 years old.

Why not the M3? It doesn’t support 35mm framelines, so shooting with a 35mm lens means that I wouldn’t be able to see the whole frame. Why not the M4? No good reason. I am just a little less fond of the plastic trimming and the fastload take up spool is a bit harder to know if you have the film secured properly. Why not the M5 or newer? These started getting out of my price range very quickly. And from the M6 you get a bunch of features I don’t really need. Especially because I am quite keen to learn to shoot without a lightmeter.

But Jono, you don’t even really like using a range finder! This was true. Before this the oly rangefinder I had used was the Yashica Electro 35, and I really didn’t like having to use the rangefinder patch because it was too hard to see.

My digital camera though is a Fuji X-Pro2, kind of like a hybrid rangefinder. Okay, yes I know it isn’t a true rangefinder, but I love the feeling of shooting it.

Besides the thousands of people shooting Leica M series cameras can’t all be wrong. I particularly enjoyed EduardoPavezGoye’s youtube channel, I spent hours watching his videos with his M3 before I made this decision.

I received it on Thursday and the next day I was off to Wellington. The following photos were taken over that weekend. These were shot on a combination of Superia 400 and Kodak Color Vision2 500T.

So how am I finding the M2?

I love it! It feels so good in the hand. The film advance lever is so slick and smooth. The shutter is so quiet, perfect for street photography.

I got a Voigtlander 40mm f/1.4 with it because I couldn’t afford to buy this and a summicron at the same time. But honestly after seeing these photos coming back I might never upgrade.

And I am slowly learning the Sunny 16 rule so I can quickly pick my settings without needing a lightmeter. I thought these shots would come out a lot worse than they did. I’m stoked.

Learning About Me via Photography

Recently a friend reached out to me to help him with a project he was working on.

He is studying Theology at St Johns and wanted to highlight the role of women in the Gospel of Luke.

I am not religious in the slightest, but I liked the idea as most texts of this age downplay the impact of female characters.

We met at St Matthews to talk about it and plan each of the shots on location. And wow, what a beautiful and interesting place to take these photos.

The idea was that I would take two series of photographs, the first depicting women as they were seen in the Gospel of Luke. And the second series to recognise women that continue to or are about to undertake a role of service today.

“Women were among those who observed the crucifixion” (23:27, 49)

“Mary listened while Martha worked” (10:38-42)

“Angels told the women that Jesus had risen” (verses 4-8)

“Women were the first to tell the other disciples” (verses 9-11)

Michelle Hollings - Fire Protection

Latisha Fia - Medicine

This was my first time doing any proper portraiture work. To be honest this was the closest thing I have ever had to a proper photography gig. It was daunting. But it was also lovely working with everyone and I got to meet a lot of cool people.

This has been different to my other photography experiences. Normally I take photos for me, because I want to and because I find the subject interesting. I am not saying the subjects or the project wasn’t interesting, because it was. But it was a differently feeling, its hard to describe.

I understand that this is how people make a living from photography. But perhaps I’m more content to just do my own thing. At least for now.

How to do street photography?

Street Photography. It’s not that scary.

And just like every other aspect of photography you can make it your own.

You can focus on the environment.

Or on people.

You can set up your composition and wait.

Or you can walk and shoot.

You can get up close and personal.

Or you can shoot from afar.

You can talk to your subjects and ask for them to pose for you.

Or you can take your photos discretely

There is one rule though. And this is important…


In all seriousness though, I think I neededed this when I first started doing street photography. It is nice to think about what you can shoot to help build your confidence and get to where you want to go. You have to start somewhere.

Let's Develop Film and hope it doesn't go terribly wrong

Lately photography (especially analog stuff) has taken a bit of a back seat.

This week I decided to take the next step in the process and have a crack at developing my own film.

What follows is possibly the worst first attempt in the history of photography.

I decided the best idea was to develop a roll that I had accidentally exposed by opening the back of the camera without knowing how much film had been exposed. I considered it basically ruined. So why not experiment with it.

So here I am developing a roll of Kodak Colorplus in my kitchen using Caffenol (a homebrewed b&w development agent made from ingredients you can get at the supermarket).

The recipe I used is straight out of the Caffenol Bible.

  • 54g/l Washing Soda (it says water free, but I couldn’t get my hands on any, instead they recommend 2.7x this amount for washing soda crystals)
  • 16g/l Vitamin C (I used chewable orange flavoured tablets - not recommended)
  • 1g/l Potassium Bromide (I used iodised salt because I saw someone else use it in a youtube video)
  • 40g/l Instant Coffee Powder

  1. The ingredients above are for 1 litre. So I used half the amount to make a batch of 500ml for my development tank.
  2. They also recommend to make the solution in two parts, one for the soda and another for the coffee. This is so that you can see when both are completely dissolved (the darkness of the coffee powder makes it really hard to see the soda).
  3. The bible recommends a 15 minute develop time, 10 inversions in the first minute, 3 every minute after.
  4. Then stop and fix normally. I just rinsed with water for my stop bath (I saw others do this). And I used Ilford Rapid Fixer at a ration of 1+4 to fix the film.
  5. Then lots of rinsing and hanging up in my shower to dry.

The results?

Well, it turns out that the film only had 3 frames on it. And there was very little transparency (they were very opaque), this made it very difficult to scan. Not that I have a scanner - I have an mirrorless camera with a 30 year old macro lens that is quite dirty.

Here are two of the three pictures…

Yeah. We hella cute.

Overall I am really happy with the results, especially considering how many mistakes I made. Very keen to have another try with some black & white film that has been exposed properly :D

Getting into Portraits with the Pentax 6x7

A beige coloured cat hissing at me

We went to Stanley Bay in the evening to catch the sun setting behind the harbour bridge and as I was setting up this cat appeared.

It would not stop hissing at me. It was seriously pissed off for some reason. And then when I got closer to take a photo it hissed loudly and started coming towards me.

I wussed out and ran away, but managed to get this shot.

A clenched fist on the chest

I am enjoying the level of detail that I can get out of these medium format shots. I feel like when taking portraits especially there is a whole other feeling that you get with medium format.

Portrait of a girl in a Ponch (black and white)

Also, when I take images of landscapes sometimes I feel like that extra detail doesn’t add much.

So I find that I need to be more careful when shooting landscapes with this camera (samples below).

Muriwai Gannet Colony, an outcrop over the ocean with nesting seabirds

A boathouse under a tree nestled between the rocks

Silhouette of a man against the setting sun