On March 7th I received an invitation to attend the Miami Leica Store Grand Opening. I was very surprised to receive such an invitation and can only assume it was due to my new Leica camera purchase. Fortunately I was able to make arrangements with my job to get the last two days of work off so I could attend.
I finished my flying work rotation in Westchester, New York and flew commercially to the Miami International Airport arriving early Wednesday evening. I used some Hilton Honors points to stay two nights near the airport at a Hampton Inn.
Having never attended a function like this I had no idea what to expect. So I packed my navy blue blazer, dress shirt, my favorite “dress” jeans along with my Lucchese Ropers. The function started at 7PM and I decided to take the bus from the hotel vice taxi. (I didn’t feel like renting a car plus the hotel provides transportation back and forth from the airport.) I thought it would an opportunity to grab a couple shots on the way down to the store.
The bus ride worked perfectly and there is a stop right at the intersection of Lejeune and Miracle Mile. The store was less than a block away and I arrived early. I enjoyed a few minutes walking around and found a couple photo ops to help document my trip.
The grand opening celebration was a top notch affair as they offered an open bar and hors d’oeuvres. I had the opportunity to meet James Wagner, Leica’s National Sales Manager and Tom A. Smith, Manager for the Leica Akademie in North America. Plus there was David Farkas of of Dale Photo and Digital, along with his store manager Peter Dooling.
One of my biggest surprises of the evening was getting a chance to meet and speak with Riccis Valladares. He is an incredible wedding photographer and his work can be seen here: www.riccisvalladares.com
At the end of the evening I planned on taking a taxi back to the hotel and asked Peter Dooling if they could call one for me. Unfortunately with spring break going on it became apparent that a taxi was going to be impossible. Plus the bus operation was past normal hours too. As I was speaking to Peter about what my other options might be, Riccis volunteered to drop me off at the hotel on his way home. Pretty cool and a very nice gesture. Thank you Riccis!
So what a great evening. I got a chance to shoot the new Leica M and a special bonus was a peak at Riccis Leica MP.
A big thank goes out to all that put on a great show tonight. I look forward to seeing you when I get back to Miami again!!!