Ever feel that you got to a place a few decades too late? Well, I do, and that place is indeed the SoHo neighborhood in New York City. Not that I could hang out with the local fashionistas that strut the local streets looking “mahvelous,” but rather that upon setting foot on the place I had that all-too-common feeling of having arrived late to a party. I’ve been hearing about SoHo for far too long now, but for some reason or another (OK, like most tourists) I have primarily limited myself to mid-Manhattan and other “have been” attractions like Little Italy and Chinatown during previous visits. This was a serious mistake that I do not intend to repeat, though. In fact, several years ago I made the decision to leave most tourist places to time-starved tourist and just head out to the neighborhoods where no tourist buses are to be found. But this I applied mostly to cities abroad like Paris, Rome, and Berlin. One day in SoHo has made me realize that I need to do the same at home.
But I just didn’t just wake up one day and decided to go to SoHo. I was there to spend the day with the great folks of The Leica Meet group, who were being graciously hosted by the Leica store at 460 West Broadway. The people at the Leica store simply hit it out of the park with their great support for this event. Not only did they allowed the group to use their store facilities for the day, but they also coordinated a wonderful group lunch at the Hundred Acres Restaurant & Bar, followed by a visit with various great Leica photographers like Ralph Gibson and Adam Marelli. This sense of community is something that other camera manufacturers can only dream of, and SoHo was just the perfect setting for the event. It’s definitely great to discover a few more good reasons to visit the city that never sleeps more often – like taking a creativity vitamin, which I dare say, we all could use from time to time. I know I do.
I have touched the holy Leica grail! Thanks to the great folks at the Leica Store Washington DC, I was able to hold this top-of-the line, 37 megapixel behemoth and actually shoot with it. Well, I did manage to get a few photos in before I had to make way for the salivating group of folks that stood behind me ready to get rid of me if I took too long. Luckily, the folks from the Leica store and the visiting Leica representative had set up a great photo studio with a beauty dish and a soft box to make our lives a little easier. And of course, it did help to have a beautiful model with a professional stager and makeup artist taking care of all the the pre-shoot beauty details, but hey, I did get to push the shutter release and compose the photograph, so I’m quite happy with that. Actually, more than happy, to tell you the truth. This camera is simply a magnificent marvel of German engineering, and that is putting it mildly. Great ergonomics and weight for a medium-format camera, it handled like a fine-tuned Porsche sliding down an Autobahn. But at $27,995.00 for the body alone, something tells me that that this was the first and last time I will ever come into contact that with it. My only worry now is whether my personal cameras will ever feel the same again after this brief experience. I sure hope so, but it will not be easy forgetting this incredible camera.