First page of the Photography archive.

Happy Holidays!

Posted by is9582 on December 24, 2015 with No Commentsas , , , ,

From my family to all of my readership, we want to thank everyone for the continued support, and wish you a very happy holidays! Please stay safe during any travels you may make and enjoy visiting with your family, as much as we do with ours.

 

IMG_2295 Lee n Ali lrg

 

I’ll be back after the workbench build in short order, and have these and other articles to share.

Until then…..

Cheers,

 

Lee Laird

Germany – visit to Wetzler, Leica and a tool

Posted by is9582 on July 4, 2015 with No Commentsas , , , , , , , , ,

A few days ago I very briefly mentioned about happening across a tool store in Speicher, and I was intentionally vague regarding the location and the tools, solely since the store only had one of a specific tool I wanted to get. I know, you’re probably wondering why mentioning either the store or tool would make any real difference, so I’ll explain in a moment.

So as we were driving around, and got close to the market in Speicher, we saw a store that had really nice looking house goods, from plates and stemware to ceramic knives and scales. As we approached the store, a sign directed customers to the entrance on the market side, so around we went. I really couldn’t believe it when we rounded the corner, and when we finally reached the entrance, we were looking into a well stocked tool store.

Ok, so back to an explanation about this special tool. The tool is the Gransfors Bruks Swedish Axe, which is hand made, and each has the initials of the highly skilled artisan that made that tool. Gransfors Bruks has very few employees, and as their quality has become more widely known, the demand has kicked the waiting list into orbit! It now takes a full year to order any of the Gransfors Bruks products!

Luckily, when I went back to the store, the tool was still there, so all is good. The tool I chose is the Gransfors Bruks Swedish Carving Axe, with the standard double-bevel design, which is recommended for those who aren’t already skilled with a single-bevel axe. If you know anything about Gransfors Bruks axes, you might understand just how surprised I was to basically stumble into this unknown tool store, only to find such amazing tools. They had at least three different Gransfors Bruks models, before I bought the carving axe, but I just barely glanced at the others, as I’d already seen my prize! Please stop by and say hello to Martin for me, and make sure to look around, as they have a lot of good tools.

 

Gransfors Bruks Carving Axe in it's included sheath.

Gransfors Bruks Carving Axe in it’s included sheath.

 

Gransfors Bruks Carving Axe resting on it's sheath.

Gransfors Bruks Carving Axe resting on it’s sheath.

 

Oh yeah, I guess I should provide the store’s name, which is Zingen Fachmarkt. They are located at am Markt 32, 54662 Speicher. Martin Mertes kindly helped us, was extremely helpful, and did a wonderful job of communicating in english.

This morning, we decided to drive to Wetzler, which is the home of Leica cameras. For those who are not already in the know, these are amazing instruments, and are professional grade. We made it to Wetzler in good time, and followed our Google map information to find it with little issue. Leica offers guided tours of their main office, which is also their factory, but also has adequate information for those that wish to self-tour. We did the latter, and it was both awesome and amazing. In the main lobby, they currently have a display of photos taken by Lenny Kravitz, using Leica equipment. They are nothing but stunning. In a section close to this display, there were a range of special issue Leica cameras and gear. All were beautiful and it was interesting seeing some of the special versions, including one that was almost solid gold (colored; not sure of the actual material) and one that carried the crown on an upper surface.

 

Leica HQ in Wetzler.

Leica HQ in Wetzler.

 

Nearby they also had a wall with many models of their binoculars, of which I’d love any of them. They just know how to do all things optical, right.

Around the corner, we were greeted by some more of the self-tour material, including a huge display showing detailed slides and video of production processes. There was also a large window immediately to the display’s right, where you can watch an employee applying black lacquer to the edge of the lens to prevent any light from entering except from the true lens surface. It was so cool to watch her using some interesting tools, and using a skilled touch to complete an important operation. While we watched, another employee brought a tray full of different lenses to this same lady, and she pulled a random sample and ok’ed the batch. It seems this lady likely also has Q.C. or Q.A. duties.

A bit further down this hall, there was another display section, but there wasn’t anyone working this part at the time we were there. They did have two lens units attached to the counter, with a sign asking the visitors to please touch them. What a different concept than many companies have. Slightly further along there was a display unit with Leica cameras (or duplicates) starting with their first in 1914, as well as binoculars and rifle scopes.

After exiting the “tour” area, it was a short walk to their internal store. They had most, if not all, of their current product line available to see, and their employees were glad to remove product from the case for us to test.

 

Panaramic shot inside the Leica HQ sales room.

Panaramic shot inside the Leica HQ sales room.

 

Camera lenses displayed on their own pillars.

Camera lenses displayed on their own pillars.

 

After checking out all of the new Leica products, we made our way to an authorized Leica seller, that handles consignment gear. On the walk to this store, there were all sorts of interesting architecture, as well as a specialized manhole cover that documents where the first photo was taken using a Leica camera, in 1914.

 

Cool castle on path to both the Leica consignment store, as well as the Leica manhole cover.

Cool castle on path to both the Leica consignment store, as well as the Leica manhole cover.

 

Interesting building structure in Wetzler.

Interesting building structure in Wetzler.

 

Cool building in Wetzler.

Cool building in Wetzler.

 

Manhole cover commemorating location where the first Leica camera was used.

Manhole cover commemorating location where the first Leica camera was used.

 

On our trek back home, there were tons of castles and churches, but some were only seen from the car for a moment as there are lots of trees along the roadways. I saw the church in the photo below, when driving towards Koblenz a couple of times, and finally had enough time to snap a shot. Actually, I took about four different shots while we drove by, but none of them were super sharp. It is cool, even though it is a bit fuzzy.

 

Church in Hohr-Grenzhausen, shot while driving on the A48.

Church in Hohr-Grenzhausen, shot while driving on the A48.

 

Well, that’s it for this portion of our exploration. Thanks as always for checking out my article and please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

 

Lee Laird

Germany – return to Trier; dig a bit deeper

Posted by is9582 on July 2, 2015 with No Commentsas , , , , , , , ,

Today we decided to head back to Trier on the train, again purchasing a full-day pass, which allows 1-5 family members to travel on the train, as many times during that period as needed/liked. On our first trip to explore Trier, there was a lot going on at their festival even though it wasn’t yet […]

Germany – some time in Trier

Posted by is9582 on June 28, 2015 with No Commentsas , , , , , , , ,

Yesterday, we rode a train into Trier and hung out at a yearly festival that was occurring. We were very lucky to have such wonderful weather, as it was mostly sunny and the temperature was comfortable. Before making it to the festival area, we saw some cool sites, including some old statues and of course […]

Checking out Germany

Posted by is9582 on June 25, 2015 with No Commentsas , , , , , ,

I don’t have enough time to write about this subject tonight, but I’ll see if I can make some time in the next couple of days. I thought I’d toss out one photo I took today, of a post/beam that is inside my Daughter and her husband’s “house”, which has a ton of character and […]