In Your Bag: 1715 – Neal Wellons

My name is Neal Wellons and I am from Georgia, USA.  I bought my first camera, a Sears Tower 35mm rangefinder back in 1960 with money from my newspaper route.  It wasn’t long before I was developing B&W.  In 1967, I was gifted an Exakta Vx and in 1969 bought a Miranda Sensorex in Vietnam.  I bought an Olympus OM-1 in 1978 and have used it off and on ever since.  I also bought an Olympus XA-4 during my early film days, lost it and 2 years ago bought another.  There was a digital interlude from about 2000 through 2019 but shooting with the Fuji X-100 series cameras reminded me of and rekindled my interest in film shooting and since 2019, most all of my photography is film. 

I’m also a camera collector or more accurately, an accumulator and have tried quite a few cameras over the last few years.  I’ve used two Kodak Retinas, a Nikon S3, and half-frames by Canon (demi) and Olympus (F and FT), with Fuji 690 and 617 medium format cameras for something different.  I have also shot at least one roll with 34 other cameras in the last two years, most 35mm but up to 5X7.   

Early this year after shooting a few rolls with my Zorki 1 (before it broke the third time), I found that the very cool camera was a copy of the Barnack Leica.  I decided to get a more reliable Barnack and soon, I had both a Canon IV and a IVS (copies of the Leica III) and then got a real Leica IIIf.  I finished the accumulation with one of the original production Leicas, the Leica I.  All four were from the same dealer who did a CLA and shutter curtain replacement on each.  I now can’t imagine anything else for my regular shooting. 

My go to outfit, fitting snugly in my Domke F-5XB bag is my Canon IVS (Industar 61 55mm f/2.8) equipped with a 720nm infrared filter and loaded with JCH Streetpan 400, the Leica IIIf (Canon 28mm f/3.5) usually loaded with Kodak Ultramax 400, and the Leica I (fixed Elmar 50mm f/3.5) loaded with Ilford FP4+ or HP5+.  I develop and scan all my film using HC-110 for B&W and C-41 for color. My favorite subjects are old buildings, old vehicles, and landscapes.

A final confession.  I am a film addict and after a few days not shooting, I have a compulsion to go out and shoot again. Sometimes results are good; others not so much but I love the act of shooting and developing.  Being a retired old geezer helps give me the time.  

I am on Flickr:

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