At DearSusan most of the behind the scenes work falls to one person. The DS site layout, galleries, mediation, many of the Challenges and of course, the upkeep in hard earned Euros.
It were Pascal – ‘e done it.
The past tense there is purely vernacular, BTW. I’m happy to report that our man is alive, well and continues to be full of good humour and ideas to keep our readers entertained and involved.
When I first encountered Pascal, he and Philippe were running DearSusan (DS) between them. Pascal was not bothering over much with photographic best practice, following a disk crash and the loss of many un-backed-up photographs. He seemed to be in something of a dwaal (Afrikaans for a kind of deep, uncontrolled funk), using his camera as much as a way of passing the time in a pleasant and interesting way, than for taking photographs.
The DS I signed up for saw me bring my own brand of not very much, but it was a supporting role. Needed as much then as now. Occasionally, I would hear Pascal bemoan his move from medium format, the then incumbent Sony’s inability to do very much that pleased him and despite its excellent price/performance, a Windows laptop that likewise delivered much less than happiness.
I sensed that there was a danger of him chucking it all in on more than one occasion. Thankfully, I was wrong.
In the intervening several years, DS has matured, grown and continues to move closer to the original rationale of being a resource for travelling photographers of any and every stripe.
Driving that along? Pascal of course.
The first change was a MacBook Pro with its sublime Retina display and halfway useless keyboard. Pascal seems to love that machine, despite its obvious handicap. If I recall correctly, Lightroom gave way to Capture One and then one day, the bargain of the century; a used Hasselblad X-1D accompanied by a pantechnicon loaded with that company’s world class glass, all for what seemed like little more than a handful of his childrens’ long-discarded Smurfs.
You don’t have to be a photographic maven to see the change. Pascal’s work was was suddenly (and remains) full of glowing, beautifully framed, fine black and white or impressively coloured and enviable images. His recently published shot of the interior of Ely Cathedral had my envy-o-meter wound up way past ten.
April 2016. Several of us Susans are in Paris for a photo get together, to which Pascal brings two lenses I had not seen or used before. One was a Leica R mount 90mm Summicron, the other a Zeiss 35mm f1.4 Distagon.
I got one frame with the Leica on my NEX-7 and returned it pronto in case I wanted one. Old they may be, but fine images are their forte.
The Distagon got a longer airing and didn’t tweak my interest much beyond its price. I shot a few frames and recognised its quality imaging potential and quickly returned it, too.
And so it stayed until recently, when Pascal posted some photographs taken with the Distagon on his X-1D, that stopped me in my tracks. Suddenly I wanted one, despite owning both a 35 Summicron and Fuji’s own 35 f1.4.
Now, semi-domiciled in London, I decided to wander the photo shops and see if I could find a Distagon second hand. I didn’t want it badly enough to pay full price, or spend time on eBay. And, of course Sod’s Law kicked-in; I found one almost immediately.
It wasn’t used, but an ex-demo version, discounted by around £300, to which I added further value by bullying the retailer into adding a £70-value Zeiss UV filter to further sweeten the deal. I already own a Fuji-made M to X mount converter and the rest was just down to time on the job.
On the day I found the Distagon, I also bought this.
Much as I’d like to blame him, this wasn’t Pascal’s fault.
Enough of me. Back to the matter in hand.
DS actively courts contributions from almost any- and everyone. Each tends to address a specific trip, experience, or idea and these contributions keep DS fresh and very much the resource we sought to establish when we started out.
In the midst of those posts, you’ll find Pascal publishing reasoned, well executed and incisive posts, often intended to inform and more importantly, teach. He regularly surprises me with the depth and breadth of his knowledge; as an engineer, the arts were largely eschewed in my training and I am now able to read about ideas, techniques and concepts that have resolutely escaped me for more than six decades. And anyway, who else would put a link to a Beth Hart video in the middle of a treatise on square format images?
We’re very lucky to have him.
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