Wil­liam Al­bert Al­lard,

Pasatiempo - - Pasa Tem­pos -

ca­noe­ing. One was a Le­ica and there were maybe two Nikon F’s with dif­fer­ent lenses and pos­si­bly dif­fer­ent film.

My nor­mal work­ing setup is two cam­eras and prefer­ably Le­ica range-finder cam­eras with maybe a 28 mm lens and a 35 mm or a 50 mm. For dig­i­tal, I re­cently went from Canon to Nikon. You have all these won­der­ful zoom lenses now, but the prob­lem is if you put a lens hood on one of those long things, you look like you’re go­ing out to mor­tar a vil­lage.

You’re a lot less ob­tru­sive if you have a Le­ica on your neck or the cam­era I’ve fallen in love with — the lit­tle Lu­mix. Although I would love to have a cou­ple of the new Le­ica M9s, but they’re seven grand apiece. I do love the way a Le­ica feels, and it’s a slightly dif­fer­ent way of look­ing, when you’re work­ing with a range finder, not look­ing through a lens. Pasa: Na­tional Ge­o­graphic elim­i­nated its pho­to­graphic staff in 2008. That must have been a blow. Al­lard: I was in Mis­soula, and David Grif­fin, the direc­tor of pho­tog­ra­phy, asked if he could visit me. I as­sumed he wanted to talk about this new book, but we hadn’t even or­dered our omelets yet, and he told me they had de­cided to elim­i­nate the two staff po­si­tions. And at the same time he was telling me, Chris Johns, the edi­tor in chief, had called Jodi Cobb into his of­fice and was telling her the same thing.

I bounced off the wall in sur­prise. I didn’t lose any sleep that night, but you have to con­sider how you’re go­ing to re­struc­ture your life. Both Jodi and I con­tinue to work for Na­tional Ge­o­graphic. Pasa: What are you work­ing on now? Al­lard: I just fin­ished a project in north­ern Mon­tana, which you’ll prob­a­bly see in the mag­a­zine in the com­ing year.

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