Home Cameras/Lenses Leica A year of lockdowns and a bit of optimism for 2021

A year of lockdowns and a bit of optimism for 2021

Time for a visit to the Lake District and a ride on the Haverthwaite and Lakeside Railway, face-masks firmly donned

Here we are, back after a couple of weeks of rest following what eventually turned out to be a hectic 2020 for the Macfilos. Although I’ve kept the site going for twelve years and never before taken a substantial break, I needed some days off after a stressful year. Glad to say, I’m feeling refreshed as a result.

First, I want to thank all our readers, contributors and enthusiastic commenters for helping to push Macfilos to new heights in 2020. It has been a tough year for everyone, and the pandemic is by no means over. But we can now look forward to the next twelve months with more optimism than we have been able to muster for much of 2020. A rather belated Happy New Year to everyone!

Swiss Roll keeps on rolling

William Fagan’s Swiss Roll article has now reached the far corners of the earth and has produced a flood of comments and emails. Since December 22, the fascinating update story has attracted over 8,000 readers and 90 comments. And, by today, the original article has notched up 54,000 views and over 300 comments, many of them crucial to the investigation.

Thanks to the band of amateur researchers among Macfilos readers and from the Leica Forum—where there is a viral thread going—all the sites have been identified. What’s more, by diligent detective work we actually have a tentative date for the trip.

The journey is likely to have taken place between the fifth and eighth of June in 1950. This conclusion has been made possible by analysing the images, particularly those of Bahnhofplatz in Zürich, and looking up weather records for 1950. And there’s a further bit of wizardry—it’s even been possible to pinpoint the hour when some of the photographs were taken.

All this is welcome, of course, but we are still no nearer to identifying the missing couple.

Lockdown lore

Here in England, most parts of the country are back in lockdown mode following the emergence of the more virulent strain of Covid which seems to have started near the Channel coast and worked its way up through Kent and into East London. It has now taken over in most parts of the country. I’m keeping my head down and hoping to get the vaccine during this month.

A million people had had their first jab before Christmas and the Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccine, which is much cheaper and less temperamental than the Pfizer version, has started the roll out today. Ten million doses have been earmarked for distribution soon. Late last year several older friends (all over 80, in the first batch) told me they had been vaccinated with no side effects. This personal hear-say is more persuasive than any newspaper statistic.

Therefore, there are very tentative grounds for optimism, provided the vaccination programme can meet targets in the face of the usual bureaucratic hurdles. For one, I can’t wait to see the back of all the jargon. “Social distancing”, something we hadn’t thought of until a year ago, is the first for the chop, I hope.


Looking at Lightroom statistics, I see that 2020 has been a washout for my photographic efforts. I pressed the shutter just over 4,000 times compared with my usual crop of 25,000. Of course, I like to think I was a bit more selective in 2020, but this doesn’t disguise the few real opportunities to get out and about with a camera.

There has been nowhere to go during the stricter lockdowns, and nothing much to see (except wonderful landscapes) and I have sorely missed the many events I used to attend, many of them at the Brooklands racing circuit which is my local window on the classic automotive scene and a fecund provider of photo opportunities.

My number one resolution for 2021 is to get out there with a camera and stoke up my enthusiasm for photography. I suspect many of us are in the same boat.

This brings me to our enthusiastic band of contributors. Without them, I would have run out of ideas during the past twelve months. But our friends have delved into their archives and produced a steady stream of fascinating material that has helped Macfilos achieve a record year for readers and comments.

We start the year with new contributors, including Chris Rodgers and Roderick Field, whose articles you will see in the coming weeks. And existing contributors have been busy. Jörg-Peter Rau in southern Germany, a newspaper journalist and photographer, has put together a series of eight features on non-M M-mount film cameras if that isn’t too much of a contradiction. Look out for the introductory article next week.

Looking forward

To start 2021, therefore, we have an exciting programme. If you would like to receive an email update with details of the latest articles, subscribe below. Emails will be sent only on days when an article appears, which is usually Mondays to Fridays. Your details are not used for any other purpose other than this regular update, and you can unsubscribe at any time simply by clicking the link in every email.

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    • Thanks, Jean. It looks like I’ll have the time to write, if not the opportunities to take photographs. At least to for the next three months. We are in a lockdown until March.

  1. Thank you, Mike and pleased you are feeling refreshed. I fear it is going to get worse before we see light at the end of the tunnel.

    Numbers do not tell the whole story. In my case I have spent time re-editing old stock, time I usually cannot find. I have purged old pictures with doubtful potential and eased the load on my storage capacity. I have also rediscovered pictures well worthy of reprocessing to a level not always possible in bygone times when I was less experienced in Lightroom. Furthermore, I have also completed my first Photo-book which has been well-received by the family. So, it has not been an entirely lost year, photographically speaking.

  2. Happy New Year.

    I agree with the shutter count for 2020, I reckon I pulled less than 2000 images last year. A whole year with very little to show for it. I am hopeful that this year will be better.

    I think we will have to live with a degree of social distancing for a year or two yet. As there is sadly, no quick win in to overcome the virus. The vaccine should reduce the numbers and severity, but I suspect it will not do everything we want, more so given the new mutations rising around the world.

    As ever I will enjoy the new contributors and their articles and keep reading. Who knows I may even get a new article later in the year if my plans pan out.

    Best wishes.

    • Thanks, Dave. All the Macfilosofers with you are speedy and fully recovery from your particularly nasty dose of Covid. I hope you can get out with the camera soon. Mike

  3. Wishing everyone here a healthy and prosperous year ahead! With vaccines rolling out across the world, there is at least some hope that our ways of living can be back to normal during the second half of this year. In terms of the world economy however, it will take longer to recover. I am one of those fortunate people who still have a job through 2020. In fact, I have been working overtime in the past few months due to short staffing. During my off days, I have been documenting things here on Guam under this pandemic with my CL. Due to travel restrictions in many Asian countries, I haven’t been able to do any traveling since February of last year; which is tough as Guam is a small island. I was planning to visit my family in New York for Christmas and New Year. Reluctantly, I had to cancel my trip due to the latest surge in virus cases; I can’t put my elderly parents at risk by introducing myself into their living space. To keep myself motivated outside my job, I just purchased a NAS as my hard disk in my Mac has filled up. My plan is to transfer all my images from the hard disk to the NAS and start building a portfolio, this will be my project for this year. I am looking forward for more interesting articles and interactions here at Macfilos!

    Yours Truly,

    • Thanks, Patrick. Yes, it must be a bit constricting being stuck on Guam. Still, you seem to have lots to do. Let’s hope things do improve so you can get back to see our family. Mike


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