Fantasy Camera by Will Ringland


Leica, renowned for their quality and reliability, were (still are in many cases) considered to be the best cameras you could buy. Many of the best photographers in the world used Leica cameras - Carier-Bresson, Frank, Capa, Leibovitz.

I have always wanted a Leica camera. They are compact, beautiful, and the optics are indisputably top notch.

This is not a Leica camera.


I collect weird cameras, generally Russian, because I enjoy odd designs, weird functions, or just silly history.

Lomo SuperSampler

Lomo SuperSampler

The Argus "Brick" 

The Argus "Brick" 

Zorki 11

Zorki 11

Most of what I have are Russian Leica knockoff cameras. As part of reparations for WWII, Russia were (was?) given the schematics for the original Leica cameras. Over the following twenty years, the KMZ plant would churn out dozens of Leica "inspired" models ranging from total, complete rip offs to ultra-modern design.

Zorki 4k, the first well designed, popular of the Soviet FED-Zorki line.

Zorki 4k, the first well designed, popular of the Soviet FED-Zorki line.

Zorki 5

Zorki 5

The first commercially successful of their cameras, the Zorki 4K, arrived in 1955 and started the slow march away from German design. The Zorki 5 started moving to boxier designs while retaining the Leica-styled front and center logo.

The Zorki 10-12, Z-10 pictured above, were the last in the line and a total departure in styling. Blocky, square, and heavy, they more closely resembled the Argus C3 Brick. All boxy and emblematic of 70s modern lines.

Now, this ridiculous bastard...

After the cooling of relations between Russia and the US in the 80s, tourism increased. Attempting to make a quick buck, enterprising Russian entrepreneurs bought old back stock of the early Zorki lines for dirt cheap and either buffed the brass under the coated skeletons or coated them in a brassy/gold cover.

They removed any markings from the original KMZ manufacturer, the Zorki logo, and any Russian indicators - like the B bulb letter - and re-engraved them with German/Leica indicators.

Especially clever ones would further decorate the cameras with German iconography to sort of up the ante on rarity.

The model I found is one of the better done knock offs. It has no Russian letters, sports the collapsed "Elmar" lens typical of Leica I and II models, and incudes a very fake serial number and German THird Reich '36 Olympiad symbol.

All the words are even spelled properly!

On first glance, t's pretty convincing. You know... except for being gold... But a 90s tourist otherwise unfamiliar with WWII era cameras could be swayed readily. A number of these came home with rather disappointed families when they were further investigated, especially if they paid the multiple thousands of dollars often asked for.

It's so delightfully ugly....

Mashy mashy by Will Ringland

People scoff at me when I tell them how much I read or write or research on productivty, time management, and self-improvement. I've read at least half a dozem books in the last year just about improving how I work in an effort to get more things done with better quality results. THis week I've been doing the Focus Summit which is a week long extension to The Focus Course which I completed two years ago.

##You're already really productive, why do you want to work more? But I can always get better, right? The idea is not to work more, not to spent all my waking time working. Why wouldn't I want the capcity to do more? I enjoy producing things.

Moreover, the point is that practicing matters. Getting better at things matters, even if it has only a vague relationship to what you do.

The Great Mashup

Great advancement, both personal, corporate, and creative all come from taking two or more ideas and smooshing them together in a way no one has really done before. Idea mashup, serendipty, is why the same basic story concept can still be so compelling. My take on "Boy Meets Boy" stories will be different than your "Boy Meets Boy" story11.

Learning anything, getting better at anything, increases the chance that you can mash things up in an intersting way.

What are you sharpening?

I try to learn something every day, big or small. it's another one of those things I track in my Journal. You can see in the image above the notes I took for the adjacent video.

I've posted a little about the Focus Summit that I'm doing this week. It is a short, daily self-study seminar focused on big ideas around focus, creativity, entrepreneurship, productivity, and owning your time and work.

It was reminded me, at the very least, that I need to stop checking email between tasks. Just move on to the next task. Email can wait.

You are not obliged to check email constantly. Even if your boss acts like it.

This, like saying NO more, can be life changing.

  1. Mine would obviously meet over a productivity seminar.

I Think I Can Help by Will Ringland


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

My biggest concern for the next few years is the combination of President-elect Dingus Tramp and a Congress with a spatial relationship to conservatism akin to Earth's closeness to Alpha Centauri1. They can push a very aggressive legislative agenda very quickly through the process. That means ACA, Medicare, Social Security, arts and science funding, anything that's not buying more artillery can be gutted. Too many people dear to me can be affected by this.

Reflecting on the results of the election these last few weeks has left me feeling angry and powerless. I do not like feeling angry or powerless. Nor do most of you. All these emotions do is serve to paralyze me, paralyze us, from doing anything useful. And, like terrorism, it wins when we are left stewing in inaction.

    Powerlessness stems from two places:
  1. Lack of knowledge
  2. Lack of clear next steps

The best way to affect change is through dedicated, consistent efforts. After a number of friends posted that Speaker Ryan had set up phone poll about keeping the ACA, I had and idea. And I think I can help. I've developed the skill to read and understand legislation. I know how to track the bills, track the committees and committee members introducing legislation, and I know how to dial a phone. What I'm going to endeavor to do for the foreseeable future is read the laws as the come through, digest them, and tell you about them. And then tell you who to call.

With knowlwdge, it will then be up to us to do the easy thing of telling people in DC how terrible we think it is.

Knowledge is power. But you have to use that power to do something. I think I can help.

1. It is waaaaaaaaaay out there.