Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1999/02/11

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Close Enough
From: Ted Grant <>
Date: Thu, 11 Feb 1999 18:48:34 -0800

Donal Philby wrote:
>I remember being at the Altamont Rock Festival in the 60s (Movie: "Gimme
>Shelter") and was photographing a bunch of Hell's Angels working over
>the guy that eventually got killed.  One of the bikers noticed me and
>pointed his pool cue at me and came at me screaming and was large in the
>frame, especially the end of that stick--and that was while looking
>through a 20mm lens! >>>>>>

Hi Donal,

Similar story only with football fans somewhat under the "liquid influence"
and using an M4.

These guys were pushing a couple of rent-a-cops around and I shot some
frames of the melee, as I shot, one of the revelers turned and look at me
with the camera as I popped a frame. An expression of "did that guy take my
picture?" The next frame he really knew I took his picture and lunged at

I had the M4 in my right hand with the neck strap wound around my wrist and
an equipment bag on the left shoulder, so when he came at me I just let the
M4 drop loose to hold the guy off. But to no avail, he grabbed me and
started to do mean things with his fists. I tried to cool him down, but he
wasn't having any part of it, so I dropped the camera bag off my left
shoulder, clutched the M4 neck strap tightly in my right hand and slammed
him very solidly on the side of the head, just catching the top of his ear!

I must tell you that the M4 is a very solidly made body and to say this guy
was in pain doubled over, is putting it mildly! :)  Now I thought that
would be the end of it, but what I didn't see was a buddy of his about to
blind side me with a solid kick to the hip and then he jumped me face down
into the ground.

Then the two of them started to punch the be jeepers out of my head, to the
extent the guy I thumped with the M4 broke the knuckles of his right hand,
not to say, leave me with lumpy bumpies all over my skull.

Finally the rent-a-cops got into action and dragged them off. The story
gets longer.  But since then I use long lenses if I see a fight going on
with a bunch of mean looking mothers! :) The M4? Heck I was using it the
next day without a problem.

>You've never seen such a demonstration of back pedaling power and
>strength as I buried myself backwards into the crowd.

But I'm sure from your description of the Hell's Angels with pool cues it
was a REALLY GOOD IDEA to back pedal out. I must say for the following few
days after my session I wished I'd have done the same as you.:)

This little situation gave birth to my philosophy of carrying gear:

"You should never carry more equipment than you can run with!" :)  And yes
it works, as it has saved my butt a few times.:)

Ted Grant
This is Our Work. The Legacy of Sir William Osler.