It is early May and a light drizzle falls at an uncomfortable 8 °C. Buck hunting season started a few days ago but I’ve had no success so far in my own hunting grounds. Today, since the early morning hours, I’ve been “hunting” in a lush forest near Wetzlar, Germany. But instead of my rifle, I am armed with my Leica SL. And I’m not seeking roe deer, but photo motifs. Motifs of people who, equipped with top-of-the-line optics, move naturally through the forest as if they were hunting. The reason for this staging can be found right next door in the Leica Sport Optics headquarters: whenever product launches are due, many new photos are needed for advertising and PR work.
In order to meet this demand quickly and easily, the in-house marketing team plans such photo shoots right nearby, in Leitz Park. Formerly a training base of the German army, the grounds are now used in a variety of ways: to test new Leica Sport Optics products under development, to take pictures for new catalogs or ads, and as a nature trail for interested visitors.
A few years ago, to inaugurate the extended Leitz Park grounds, Leica Sport Optics created a 3-kilometer nature trail which introduces guests and customers to nature in the adjoining Leitz Park forest. More than 20 large-format panels explaining various aspects of local flora and fauna have been installed along the path. Visitors and customers have the opportunity to borrow Leica binoculars free of charge. Leica binoculars are available from the Leica Store Wetzlar – visitors simply leave their ID card as a deposit. Visitors can find detailed explanations on the life of various living creatures, discover biotopes and their special features, and learn how nature changes through the seasons. The starting point of the circular trail is close to both Leica Camera AG and the “arcona Living Ernst Leitz Hotel”.
The nature trail in the Leitz Park forest was planned and constructed by Leica Sport Optics in cooperation with German Federal Forestry, the Hesse Hunting Association and Leitz-Park GmbH. Additional partners of the Leitz Park are the Southeast Rügen Biosphere Reserve, the Gros Mohrdorf Crane Information Center, the Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft National Park, the Wallnau Waterbird Reserve, the NABU Katinger Watt Nature Center, the NABU Niederrhein Nature Conservation Station and the Linum Stork Reserve.
Today, however, the focus is on taking convincing photographs of hunters, all of whom are employees and friends of Leica. The cloudy sky dominates the day, but makes the whole thing even more realistic, as hunting takes place in almost any weather. Several memory cards are full of different settings and motifs and I’m already thinking about how to use them in the catalog, in an advertisement – or here, on the Leica Hunting blog.