Monday, June 24, 2013

First Regional Meeting of The International Leica Society (LHSA), Washington, DC, June 22, 2013

I am a member of the International Leica Society (LHSA). LHSA members are pursuing regional gatherings, with the purpose of building on the benefits that have already attracted us to LHSA which include the Viewfinder magazine, national meetings, raffles, and other opportunities to interact, teach, and learn about Leica and Leica photography.
(Click Here) to learn more about the LHSA. If you're a Leica enthusiast, you really should consider joining the society.
Our first Mid-Atlantic regional meeting was held on June 22, 2013 at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. The following people attended: Gary Irons, Charlie Arnhold, Bill Barton, Oleg Stepanov, Kevin Hase, Gerry Dreo, and myself (Reed A. George). The courtyard of the National Portrait Gallery turned out to be a nice place to meet, as there is plenty of space, great lighting and climate control. It is also a short walk from the new Leica Store DC. The only drawbacks were parking availability and cost of refreshments.
Through the course of introducing ourselves, we learned how each of us began photography, and came to use Leica equipment. Of course, we also got to see, handle, and sometimes even shoot equipment that others had brought, with bodies ranging from an early Leica C Standard to a new M. Other notable pieces included Charlie's Hektor 135mm screwmount lens with black lens head and chrome body, Gerry's lovely M3, and Bill's Ricoh GXR with Leica M mount module.
We took the opportunity to decide and agree upon some guidelines for future meetings. First,we came up with a few alternative locations in Vienna, Virginia, with better parking and coffee (which, of course, is critical!). Meetings will be held approximately quarterly, and we all agreed that the next meeting will be in the latter half of September. I will take responsibility for planning that one. More details coming soon. We are not particularly interested in group shooting, but may do special sessions, such as renting studio space for a future meeting, so that Mr. Arnhold can teach us about lighting. On the subject of photographic themes or contests, we agreed to a very simple approach: each member will bring one print to every meeting. The only requirement is that the image is shot with a Leica camera or lens. We will be relatively flexible, accepting any Leica lens or body, and even Leica branded Panasonic lenses.
One question that never got fully addressed was whether participants must be members of LHSA. As stated at the outset, the purpose of these meetings is to add value to LHSA membership. However, we would also like the meetings to attract new members. My personal feeling is that participants should at least be prospective LHSA members, but we'll continue that discussion at a future meeting.
We all walked over to the Leica Store DC to finish up the afternoon. Eric Oberg, General Manager,and his staff welcomed us to the lovely new store complete with equipment showroom, gallery, and teaching space. We also got a look at the new Leica Vario.
I'm quite encouraged by the turnout and the engaging discussions that we were able to start at this initial meeting. Thanks to everyone who came out. I look forward to the next one in September.