Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/01/21

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Subject: [Leica] Millbrae notes
Date: Sun, 21 Jan 2001 03:50:57 -0800

[Not a lot of Leica content, but I have just finished running 9 rolls
of film and I'm inspired to write something before I go to sleep:]

I was at the Millbrae mudflats today, just east of the San Francisco
airport, looking for interesting views of mud at low tide with airplanes
in the far distance. I had my view camera with me, and it was a pleasant
afternoon so of course I got a lot of questions from perfect strangers
about what the heck I was doing there.

One thing I love about photography is the people I've gotten to meet:
strangers on the street (as above) but of course anyone I've met through
the LUG, plus the regulars who I see at the pro photo store in our area
(Keeble & Shuchat in Palo Alto).

Back to Millbrae: I was approached by a Hungarian man and his 8yr old
son. He was there to let his boy catch views of airplanes landing and
taking off, but he was fascinated by the 4x5 and wanted to know everything
about it, from the lens design, focusing, running film at home, etc. We
also ended up talking about raising children bilingual in the US, and
whatever else caught our fancy.

Just then a dyed-in-the-wool planespotter came up, and started telling
us about all the planes that had landed there so far that day. Good
grief! He was also curious about my camera, and was astounded to hear
that I could develop my film at home. I guess this ranks there with all
the comments I've heard about my Rolleiflex: "Can you still get film
for that camera? Does it take good pictures?" By now, I've learned to
smile inwardly. The same goes, for that matter, for comments about my M2.

At the same time, two cute young women who were sitting on a park bench
about 20ft away would call out to us every so often: "Hey, what kind of
airplane just landed?"

Of course after answering that question 5-6 times I couldn't help but be
curious, so I walked up to them and made some smalltalk about airplanes
and what they were doing there watching them. It seems that one of
them is a transport pilot who is just learning to fly jets, and she was
familiarizing herself with all the different types of airplanes using SFO.
The other girl was a flight instructor at San Carlos airport. You never
know who you are going to meet: as a birthday present from my wife,
I recently got an hour's flying lesson at San Carlos airport! I haven't
redeemed it yet, but it was a very pleasant coincidence to run into one
of the instructors.

Anyway, while all of this was going on I was shooting 6x12's of the
mud and the airplanes. I even discovered a decisive moment: as the big
747's taxi out of the new international terminal, there is a fleeting
split-second when they turn left towards the long runway. At that point
they catch the setting sun on their fuselage and I think make quite an
interesting spectacle. Needless to say, I didn't capture that on film
today! I was too busy talking -- there is a cost for everything.

This whole field trip was a lot more fun than I expected it would be,
and I will definitely go back tomorrow if the weather is good and try
to catch a 747 at about 4pm with the sun glinting off the fuselage.
I figure I have about 1/10 of a second or so to do this. Should I bring
an SLR to do this, or tough it out with a 4x5? :-)

Well, the film is hanging up to dry, and what is most remarkable to me is
a roll of Tri-X cam out of my M2 (with 50 summicron): it's my standard
fare of moving children shots (I have shot hundreds of rolls of film of
my son by this point. e.g.,:

is a recent winner.) and I was struck by how sharp, sharp, sharp the
pictures look. I am talking about wet negatives as they get hung to
dry, but I am often convinced that I can see amazing results even at
that point.

I guess the Leica bug has gone to my head, but I'll let you all know
how these latest shots look once enlarged.



Replies: Reply from "Margaret Jeffcoat" <> (Re: [Leica] Millbrae notes)