IN THE ANDES WITH THE 28MM SUMMARON

Oct 29, 2018  By James Lehmann
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I packed Leica’s reissued 28mm Summaron f/5.6 as the sole companion to my M10 last summer during a two week expedition in the Peruvian Andes.

Our goal was to climb Alpamayo, an almost perfect pyramid nestled 5947 m high in the Cordillera Blanca. Its dramatic, fluted southwest face requires 13 pitches of ice climbing to reach the summit. But before attempting the face, it takes at least a week of approach and acclimatization.

Why bring the 28 Summaron? A lens I had never used before? There are practical reasons like its tiny size and reputation as a classic landscape focal length. But more importantly, vintage lenses capture the imagination. As hobbyists and aficionados, we study classic landscape and street images and dream of replicating them. Vintage reissues like the 28 Summaron give us a link to the past, the possibility to create something unique, timeless. I wanted contrasty, sharp images with vignetting and lens flare. I didn’t care about its slow f/5.6 aperture, because in the mountains, one thing you have enough of is light.

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