Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/05/18

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Subject: [Leica] Herr Grant is von Deutchland wieder da. Trip report!
From: Ted Grant <>
Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 15:57:23 -0700
References: <> <>

Jim Brick wrote:

> Herr Grant is von Deutchland wieder da.  Wunderbar!
> Is a trip report forthcoming???<<<<<<<<<<<

Howdy Jim and others,
Yep I'm back, pooped and dragging after a hectic two and half weeks of
traveling the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Germany on an almost
never ending picture taking romp.

A quick visit to Solms for a chat with Herr Cohn and Gero Furchheim the
new Leica PR chap.  May I say despite many of the foreboding
conversations on the LUG, that Leica Camera AG is in very solid and
capable hands under the guidance of Herr Cohn.

No need to make comments here of a personal conversation, but lets say
things are better and will continue to do so over the next while and
beyond. So to the nay sayers that the world is coming to an end at
Leica, save your breathe it ain't going to happen! So put your crystal
balls away and go use your Leicas for what they were made for, taking pictures.

Picked-up an assignment while in Germany that kind of threw my time off
track. I was asked to shoot a series on a castle and the grounds
surrounding it that originated in Roman times, was sacked and rebuilt in
the 1300's and was wrecked again and redone in the early 1500's. 
Survived WW2 and is now lived in by a Baron, who's a direct decendent of
lineage from many centuries. Hey this is a "cool place!" :-)

This will be an on going thing, as there is a great deal to photograph
yet and will be done after my September Leica Seminar on Cape Cod. 
First look at slides this morning at 5 a.m. they seem ok. But one
shouldn't expect wonderful images when working in forests and underbrush
with old buildings when the sun is shining and the sky is wall to wall blue!

One requires slight overcast to capture the deep intensities of the
forest and old stone structures to give them a kind of foreboding and
ghost like look.

The weather was not the greatest at the beginning as we were in heavy
ground fog for almost ten days, then it cleared and the temperatures
went into the high 80's.  But there isn't anything like early morning or
late evening mood stuff with fog.

I was dragged kicking and screaming to ride a bicycle for the first time
in forty years so that I could get to farmers fields where it was easier
to ride a bike than take a car and block traffic. hey they sure have
some narrow roads and lane ways over there.

Of course I fell off once because my niece gave me a helping "push" to
get going, fortunately the R8 and I crashed into a wheat field, however
we didn't burn! :-)

The only "ugly event" was the unfortunate destruction, yep I mean this
is a real crash and burn now paper weight 80-200 lens event!  How bad
was it? The service tech at Leica in Solms said,  "we don't even want it
for salvaged parts!"

I think these little things are sent to try our patience and crying
ability, as the lens quietly descended 15 feet through the air, then
there was a sickening thud, landing solidly on the marble and tiled
floor of where I was staying.  I didn't move, someone else recovered it,
who in return walked up the stairs carrying it very carefully like a
broken child,  "I think it's had it." he said looking very solemn.

 I sat there still not moving while contemplating whether to slash my
wrists or throat whichever would bring peace and quiet first!  Now it
wouldn't be so bad if it were a lens of some long standing and well
used, however, this was a brand new lens of only a couple of weeks. A
yet virgin lens so's to speak.  Oh well what the hell, nobody died from
it landing on their head and it can be replaced, but not right there in
a moment while I sat in the middle of a small German village just three
days into the shoot.  And no other lang lenses along.  Why?

Well it was decided early on to go "light on gear carrying" as Sandy
Carter my assistant wasn't going on this shoot, therefore the old man
was going to pack it all himself with some help from a young grandson
along for the trip.

But if one dwells on all the what if's,  they'd never use their brain
for what it was ment for. To figure out how to make it work even in the
face of adversity.  It just meant getting closer with the 35-70, nope it
didn't create the same effects as the 80-200, but it damn well made you
look harder and figure how to still make the best images possible under
the circumstances and not make any excuses that "they aren't as good as
if if if if etc.!"  Bitch, bitch, whine whine!

Hell this is when the 50 years experience had better pay off to come
home with viable images and not excuses!

I made it through a three day shoot in Paris and what I've quickly
looked at I think I have some cool images, I also used the 15mm Leitz
lens on the R8 and a 15 mm Cosina on the M6 along with the Noctilux. 

Shot 55 rolls of 100VS and about 30 rolls of B&W, so some where in there
will be a few that worked. One must always keep in mind that. "You only
need one that really works!" to maintain your credibility. :-)

Didn't see another Leica anywhere, I was surprised, as I expected in
Europe to have seen more. It appeared I was the only Leica carrier in
Paris, Valkenberg, Cologne, Aachen & Vimy, not to mention a bunch of
other locations.

A note for any of you wishing to shoot in Paris and using a tripod. It
is forbidden to use a tripod "by anyone" at the Arc de Triomph. That is,
on the top or any of the immediate circle area surrounding the monument.
 A tripod automatically makes you a "professional" no matter what size
of tripod, camera or photographic standing.  A tripod is absolutely a no-no.

I had what one might call, "a discussion and briefing"  with two Paris
police officers who laid down the rules when I put an R8 on a Linhof
tripod for early evening time exposures of traffic. And when I tried to
use my little table top Leica ball head and tripod on the ground it was
really made quite clear.

You can use all the cameras you wish, but no tripod!  I didn't run into
this at any other location in Paris, so it must have something to do
with the sanctity of the Arc de Triomph. 

Any of you Paris LUGNUTS have anything further on this? The ruling that is?

It'll take a few days to edit the film as we put every slide on the
light table, loupe them for garbage, (of course I never have any!) ;-)
And if you believe that, have I got some land you can buy. ;-)

Then we rack the rest in trays, screen and edited again, then re-rack
the final cut to find any diamonds in the bunch.  After this the cream
is used for the Leica Seminar and other publications.

Am I glad to be home? Yes as always, but ever the itchy foot to wander
returns within a couple of weeks and we'll be gone again.

Anyone want to buy an 80-200 paper weight? :-)  Maybe I should put it on Ebay!


Replies: Reply from "Tom Schofield" <> (Re: [Leica] Herr Grant is von Deutchland wieder da. Trip report!)
In reply to: Message from Walter Bell <> ([Leica] Noctilux viewfinder blocking)
Message from Jim Brick <> ([Leica] Herr Grant is von Deutchland wieder da.)