Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/10/01

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Subject: Re: [Leica] China visit
Date: Thu, 1 Oct 1998 14:59:14 EDT


I have been to Beijing and environs twice, with Leicas and several lenses,
hardly inconspicuous.  Had no problems photographing public buildings, tourist
attractions (Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, great Wall, street vendors
etc.).  Found that carrying little trinkets to offer street vendors or other
candid subjects worked wonders.  Was often asked to take pictures of other
Chinese in front of notable places, and they offered to do the same for me
with my camera.  general rule is not to do anything stupid, like aggressively
photographing military or police subjects.  Other cardinal rule, when in
doubt, especially with people, ask or look like you are asking for
permission, and do it with a smile.

Had no trouble whatsoever eiher bringing in the camera gear or in bringing it
out of the country.  My outfit consited of 2 Leicaflex SL bodies, and 5
lenses, plus about 15 rolls of film.  This is easily defensible as
"amateur/serious hobbyist" and does not necessarily put you in the commercial
category.  In some places "commercial" use of equipment is subject to some
customs reporting and duty requirements.

Mike Swiek