Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/04/27

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Subject: [Leica] Up Periscope
From: "Po-Wen Shaw" <>
Date: Thu, 27 Apr 2000 16:54:06 -0400

Hello LUG,

I've been contentedly lurking and soaking up the posts for a year but now
would like to actively solicit the collected wisdom of this wonderful

But first, a little bit about myself: I got a M6 0.72 a year ago with a
35/f2 ASPH. I also FINALLY took a darkroom class -- after years of snapping
personal pictures, not always well I must add -- and the combination of the
little M6 and printing one's own images has been enormously
fun/satisfying/educational. I generally shoot with available light and am
working on improving my "street" and "candid" photography -- it is quite
difficult and intimidating, for me anyway, but when it succeeds the results
are immensely gratifying. I also like architecture details -- a lot of it
here in New York -- which is interesting with an M, but also keep a
treasured Nikon F3 with manual 20/f2.8 to shoot interiors. Around Christmas
I traded in the 35 for a 50/f2 (not necessarily the best financial decision
but I wanted a faster 35 and in the meantime found a new "old" 50 with an
older metal hood) and rediscovered the joy of the "normal" lens; recently I
took the plunge (so soon again? my girlfriend asked in half dismay) and
purchased the 35/1.4 ASPH from the wonderful Dr. Yao (thanks Ray for the
intro). Now if she'll just let me buy "her" a second M6 for our upcoming

My Leica association began when I "discovered" my grandfather's beautiful
IIIg with metric Summarit f1.5 while rummaging through his closets about 15
years ago. He told me I was too young and said to ask him again when I got
older; 12 years later he gave it to me (and Jim Lager, then at Tamarkin,
showed me how to load it and told me never to sell it). The IIIg was a
tremendous pain to focus with my eyes, but its "feel" was addictive and
really justified my conviction that things should and can be superbly made.
Most of my friends/family gasp at the cost of our beloved equipment but I
just try to explain to them the enormous satisfaction and pleasure that I
get from using such wonderfully-made tools (they just think I'm picky
because I'm a "designer"... sigh). Of course, it doesn't hurt that the M6 is
intuitively super-easy to use as well, with great optics. I even like the

But enough already!

I would like to ask the LUG if anyone has experience in South Korea. I will
be moving to Seoul in May, to stay for one to three years. It's a beautiful
country with a distinctive culture -- can't wait to photograph it from the
perspective of a resident; I've visited four times but never lived
there long-term, while the people I know there are not really into
photography... In reading the daily digests and perusing the archives I've
rarely come
across any LUGger in this part of the world (and then only a few times) but
would appreciate any advice/suggestions on photography resources, especially
darkroom access and cost considerations. Any LUGgers lurking out there who
may want
to meet up?

My other question concerns the recent thread re: digital printing. I've
noticed that many of you who've extolled the virtues of digital/Epson
printing are old hands in the darkroom; perhaps such experience makes one
appreciate the advantages/disadvantages of the new technology even more.
Should I explore digital or continue to learn the "craft" in the darkroom?
Even with only half a year in the darkroom, I have already come to dread the
testing time, etc. with the chemical tanks; yet I wanted to do darkroom work
precisely to get away from the computer. I also read with interest the
comments about the short life of computer equipment vs. the longevity of
traditional enlargers/tanks -- which I think is all too true. Assuming that
I can only afford a good Epson printer (which are quite expensive in Korea,
HP seems to have the market... so I may have to buy it here) but no film
scanner, can I get good print-outs from PhotoCD scans? I'm also thinking
about putting up a website in Korea, maybe with some pictures.

Apologies for the unintentionally long post, and thanks in advance.


- --

"Only Nixon could go to China" -- Vulcan proverb