Venice to Hokkaido via Vancouver
Saying goodbye is hard. When the person from whom you part ways is a city like Venice, it’s even harder. This trip more than any other has been amazing. With my surgery in February, and an uncertain recovery time, I didn’t think I’d get to Italy this year, so to be able to spend Christmas here, in a stunning little rented apartment on a canal, just out of reach of the tourist crowds, was an unexpected delight. I wrestled this time, as I always do, but it’s usually my muse with whom I wrestle, and this time she showed up most days, full of ideas and the warm flame of inspiration. No, this time I wrestled with jet-lag. After 10 nights I’m still fighting it, and when you read this I’ll probably be on a plane home to Vancouver to do laundry, pick up some gear, and head to Hokkaido, Japan. So the struggle with jet-lag is only just gaining momentum. The short days and absence of any real sunlight probably didn’t help. But while it drove me to bed way too early every day, it made sure I was up early, and walking the streets, if not in search of photographs, then for a cappuccino and brioche. And on the way I found, as I seem to do more often when I’m not looking so desperately for them, some photographs I’m really excited to print.
Venice, 2014. I’ve edited these on my 11″ Macbook Air, so there’s some colour/brightness tweaks needed, and Lord knows there’s probably a dust spot or two. As always, they look pretty small as thumbnails, but click on one and you should be able to scroll through all of them a little larger.
I went light this time. A Leica M (240) for digital and a Leica M6 for film. 21mm, 35mm, 50mm, and 90mm lenses. A bag of black and white film, of which I shot precisely no rolls, so taken was I by the colours. The Leica M continues to amaze me. It’s got its quirks for sure, but for this kind of work I set it to f/11 or so, zone-focus it, and expose manually and photograph to my heart’s content. The images are sharp and need almost nothing done to them, though I colour-grade most of them, or warm them up a little. It doesn’t do well in very low light (at high ISO), but then neither do I, preferring to put the camera away when it gets too dark and head off in search of wine. If I were shooting in the dark I’d prefer my Fuji X-T1 or X-E1, both camera I also love. But there’s something about the Leica that feels so much a part of me in my hands. Hard to explain, but if you’ve ever had a tool you loved with an illogical kind of devotion, and despite it’s quirks, then you know what I’m talking about.
And now to Hokkaido. I’ll bring the same gear, but add my filters, a beefy tripod, and my Fuji X-T1 and a few lenses as a back up. Can’t wait. I hope you had a beautiful holiday, and wish you big adventures in beautiful light, with the ones you love, in the coming year.