Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/09/18

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Subject: [Leica] photo essay I just shot
From: Eric Welch <>
Date: Fri, 18 Sep 1998 23:42:48 -0500

I had a great day yesterday. I spent about 12 hours following a 72 year-old
woman. I lucked on to her when I went to photograph the Calamity Jane trail
ride. About 195 horses and more people (some on wagons) all took off across
country to commemorate this "grand old lady of the wild west." Calamity
Jane was once the live-in companion of Wild Bill Hickock for you Western
history fans. She was born in Princeton, MO.

Shortly after starting, I photographed this lady who had a leopard
appaloosa horse. Didn't think much of it at first, but she had a winner of
a face. So I watched her, and photographed her every time I came across
her. She was a real character. So I decided that she was going to be my

At first she said she was going to ride the first half of the 18 mile ride,
then her husband would do the second half. At the halfway point, where I
had already caught up with her husband, she came along and said she was
having such a good time she thought she'd go the rest of the way. 

By now I figured she was really the subject. I got some nice pictures, but
was wondering how it was going to come together as a compelling story.

After she made it to the end of the trial, she put the horse away, and sort
of collapsed at the end of the barn. Not in danger or anything, just real
tired. Then she started to tell me her story.

She's raising three of her grandkids. She has survived lung cancer,
cervical cancer and breast cancer. She has arthritis. She raises horses and
cats and dogs and chickens on a farm in Northern Missouri. Tough life, and
she stuck through a ride that would have exhausted most people of normal
health. This trip was a "break" from the grandkids. "It was wonderful to
not hear anyone say grandma, grandma," she said.

Then she went to the hog roast. Her grandkids showed up. Two hours later,
(9:30 at night) she got out on the dance floor and danced to country music.
35 Summilux ASPH at 1600 wide open was barely enough. Hand held at 1/8
second. Two frames looked good out of a roll. But great color!

My R4sP malfunctioned. Shutter didn't seem to trip for about 2/3 of the
frames! Argh!!! But I got my critical pictures (albeit one somewhat
underexposed.) Thank goodness my R8 worked flawlessly and my M6.

The result, one hilarious picture, a sweet one with her granddaughter at
dinner, and the story of one amazing woman will hit the presses next week.
Nine rolls of film. Six nice pictures. All in all a good day.

A wonderful day away from the office. I gotta do this more! 

They pay me to do this stuff!  I'll post it on my web page next week before
I leave for Cape Cod.
- -- 

Eric Welch
St. Joseph, MO

"I say, play your own way. Don't play what the public wants. You play what
you want and let the public pick up on what you're doing - even if it does
take them fifteen, twenty years."
- -- Thelonious Monk