The Ona Bowery Leica Bag

Bag shown with optional Leica M, Photo A. Tonn

I received the good news that Leica was fixing my Monochrome’s shutter, replacing the sensor glass, and giving the thing a general tune up.  The additional good news was that it would all be free.  The bad news was they estimated the repairs would take 18 to 20 weeks (and this 8 weeks after sending it in).  Regardless, this gave me the green light to buy a bag for my Monochrome.  I believe that every camera/camera system needs its own shoulder bag home suited to the way I use that camera.  Every camera has an infrastructure that needs to be contained and organized along with items of more general utility that live in camera bags.  If you use more than one type of camera and constantly swap cameras in and out of bags, then very soon you’ll find yourself trying to put a Nikon battery into a Leica or attach an M lens to an F mount or find yourself without a flashlight or pen at some critical moment.  Continue reading “The Ona Bowery Leica Bag”

The 50mm f/2 Zeiss Planar ZM

Highway heading into a storm on the Navajo Reservation, Northern Arizona, Leica M-P 240, Zeiss 50mm f/2 Planar ZM – Photo © Andrew Tonn 

When I bought a digital Leica I wanted a new lens to go with it.  There was no question that this lens would be 50mm.  I use other focal lengths (and have nothing against buying used optics) but, in this case, I wanted a new lens for the new camera.  When I bought a Leica M6ttl in 2001, I briefly used an antique 50mm f/2 Summar, but was soon able to acquire well-used 50mm f/2 Summicron from the 1970s.  I bought the Summar for $150 from an acquaintance and the second hand Summicron for $500 at the now sadly deceased F-Stop Camera in Akron, Ohio.  That lens has served me well but, when I decided to buy the digital M-P 240, the Summicron was in for repairs.  Anyway, I wanted a new lens for my new Leica and the M6 would be lonely and jealous if I confiscated its friend Summicron.  I like to maintain harmony in my stable of cameras after all. Continue reading “The 50mm f/2 Zeiss Planar ZM”

A Tale of Two Undies

ARLINGTON — A few years ago I attended a seminar about keeping yourself safe overseas.  It was taught by a genuine Bearded Tactical Guy (genus Hombre Sapiens Tacticus Barbus Americanus).  I have no doubt he delivered a terrific amount of great information but I only had two major takeaways.  First, the next time you are really, really, really hungry up in Nepal — like lost for a week or two in the Himalayas hungry — control yourself and don’t eat undercooked water buffalo when you finally stagger out of the hills.  It can make you really, really, really sick.  Really, that’s really a lot of reallys but don’t do it. Eat your water buffalo well done.  Wait until you’re back at Longhorns to get the rare steak.  The second thing was that there is underwear with pockets.  In an aside, the instructor mentioned that you could carry some last ditch money, emergency numbers or such items in the pocket of your underpants.  I mean, I’m a guy who loves pockets but I’d never even thought of having pockets on my skivvies. So, remember this, scouts: never eat undercooked water buffalo and there’s underwear with the ability to store more stuff than just your stuff.

Continue reading “A Tale of Two Undies”

5 Days In Kathmandu

Leica M Monochrome, 15mm f/4.5 Voigtlander Super Heliar, Temple steps, Durbar Square (Photo by Andrew Tonn ©

There were times when our two years in Mumbai seemed an eternity.  I knew the time would pass quickly, however, that every day, strange as it was, would crossfade into the next and that sooner, rather than later, we would be headed back to the airport, boarding a flight out, and that everything undone would most likely stay undone.

Continue reading “5 Days In Kathmandu”

Domke F3x Review

I will begin this review with the conclusion: there is no better all-around camera bag than the Domke F3x.  Now continue reading to find out why.  Or save yourself the time and just order one.  Continue reading “Domke F3x Review”

I Know A Good Tailor In Bombay…

(Photo by Andrew Tonn)

The phone rings and the front desk says, “Hitesh the tailor is here.”

“Yes, please send him up.”
A few minutes later I open the door. Hitesh Chhabria is standing in the foyer with two bags and a black and red garment cover bearing the logo of his shop, the Immediate Boutique. We shake hands and I invite him in. He takes off his shoes and we talk for a moment about our days and life in Mumbai. Continue reading “I Know A Good Tailor In Bombay…”

The Saddleback Leather Co Indiana Bag

The days pass while living abroad as they do back home.  Some people go through ordinary days in strange ways and I marvel at the strange days I go through in ordinary ways.  The exotic and even the frightening quickly become everyday and you feel almost at home until something reminds you of what you left behind.  It is almost always a small thing that triggers the nostalgia, the one mysterious bag of Tostitos in a Mumbai grocery store, the sound of Hank Williams playing on a tinny Russian car speaker in the Carpathian Mountains, or the sympathetic Texan voices of the folks at Saddleback Leather Company. Continue reading “The Saddleback Leather Co Indiana Bag”

Field Tested: Wigwam Socks

You know you’re getting a older when the first thing on your Christmas list is socks. Either that or they’re one heck of a good sock. I think I prefer the latter. Of course I also asked for a Cold Steel 1917 Boarding Cutlass… My wife got me the socks… Continue reading “Field Tested: Wigwam Socks”

RUS RUS

(Photo, Andrew Tonn)

RUS RUS, La Miskitia, Honduras—On my first trip to Honduras, more than 12 years ago, we were on another plane full of missionaries and Hondurans returning home. As the jet banked to descend into San Pedro Sula there were thatched huts and fields of palms and a river dark with red silt curving over the flat plain. Some missionary kid a row or two behind me began whistling the theme to Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark and I thought, “This is how it ought to begin.” Continue reading “RUS RUS”