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01-22-2011, 10:15 AM   #346
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Cameras we used

I thought I'd post a short one here about the equipment we used while I was in Nam'.
The "standard issue" camera kit at the time was a 4x5 Super Speed Graphic. This was a complete kit w/ standard lens, flash unit, film holders, etc. The whole setup was in a carrying case that weighed in at about 20 to 25 lbs. As I recall, every still photographer (in our unit anyway) was issued one of these. They were rarely used except in the studio, or on local assignments. These were obviously not carried out into the field as they were too bulky and far to heavy to carry around. Additionally, they were waaaay too slow in use.
When I arrived in country, the unit had just started getting 35mm kits for common issue. These consisted of a Pentax (Asahi, I believe) Spotmatics! This kit included a carrying case, flash and 3 lens set. Standard 50mm lens, 35mm wide angle, and if I recall a 200mm telephoto. This was of course, our "field kit".
Most of the guys also had their "personal gear", and this was a variety of Minolta, Mamiya, Nikon and almost every brand you can you can think of. I can only remember one guy who carried a Canon and it was (I think) a 7s rangefinder type camera. Mostly the personal gear was whatever the individual had, or could afford. The Ninoniks were (as many are now) what I call "elitists" and sort of looked down their nose at everything else.
Then, when I got sent to the Cav, the only kit they had available was (you ready for this) ........ Leica M3! The Opns Sgt there told me that was all they had available an no one wanted it because it wasn't and SLR! I was absolutely in love with that kit ........ best damned glass in the world. Finally, I had something that I could beat the Nikoniks up with! Complete kit, never been used, still wrapped in original plastic bags waiting to be unpacked and used. When I turned it in upon return home, it went back into storage.
Now I might make mention of one camera set we were trained with at Ft. Monmouth, that most have never heard of. It was a Graflex 70mm Combat Camera. This was actually a pretty good camera, but I never saw one actually used. If I'm not mistaken, they are actually very rare collectible cameras today.
Now I've used Pentax, Miranda, Minolta, Yashica, Nikon and even Linhoff cameras over the years, but I've gotta say the Leica was clearly my favorite of all times.
I've still got some of the stuff I carried over there and have a Still Life Shot working it's way around my brain. I'm one of those guys that envisions a shot before it actually happens and I'm trying to locate all that stuff and shoot it in the coming weeks.
I've got my original Jungle Boots, Steel Pot (helmet) w/Camo Cover and graffiti, rifle stock for telephoto shootin, as well as my Miranda G that I carried as a personal camera. I've located all this crap except my steel pot and I know it's still around somewhere .... just gotta dig it out. The only thing missing would be the
M 14 rifle I carried. I've got a buddy who has a M1A (civilian clone of the M 14) that I'm gonna' borrow for the shot.
So anyhow, I'm gonna set up all that stuff and shoot a still life shot that I call Tools of My Trade. All I've got to figure out in my head is the background, and lighting ......... Suggestions will be appreciated!
Gotta go for now ya'll but again, I APPRECIATE the response I've had to our little conversation here.

01-22-2011, 10:52 AM   #347
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QuoteOriginally posted by pacerr Quote
If you follow this link and go all the way to the end of the WWII photos, there is another link to a series of Vietnam photos which pretty much span the whole period of the war, including several of 1st Air Cav personnel in the An Khe area. Several are attributed to Henri Huett.
01-22-2011, 11:14 AM   #348
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QuoteOriginally posted by Texas Transplant Quote
If you follow this link and go all the way to the end of the WWII photos, there is another link to a series of Vietnam photos which pretty much span the whole period of the war, including several of 1st Air Cav personnel in the An Khe area. Several are attributed to Henri Huett.
Henri Huett! I remember meeting him .... great guy and hell of a photographer. He's one of the few civilian photographers that would sit down with us (military photographers) and not be "talking down" to us! In fact, I've got a pretty good picture of him ..... somewhere!
01-22-2011, 07:31 PM   #349
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Just joined here at Pentax Forums and read through the whole thread! Captivating! Thank you!

01-22-2011, 07:43 PM   #350
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QuoteOriginally posted by hillerby Quote
Henri Huett! I remember meeting him .... great guy and hell of a photographer. He's one of the few civilian photographers that would sit down with us (military photographers) and not be "talking down" to us! In fact, I've got a pretty good picture of him ..... somewhere!
Henri Huet (one 't') is a right legend. They show a lot of his work at the War Remnants Museum, along with a lot of Larry Burrows and Robert Capa. He is certainly well thought of. I'd suggest the book Lost Over Laos to anyone interested in him or Burrows, or even the authors Richard Pyle and the legendary Horst Faas. Read that book hillerby? Might interest you.

Last edited by CWyatt; 01-23-2011 at 12:05 AM.
01-22-2011, 11:22 PM   #351
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QuoteOriginally posted by ashley3212 Quote
Just joined here at Pentax Forums and read through the whole thread! Captivating! Thank you!
Welcome ashley3212!
01-23-2011, 07:36 AM   #352
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QuoteOriginally posted by ovim Quote
Welcome ashley3212!
Thanks!
01-23-2011, 08:06 AM   #353
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Fantastic thread! havent been on here in awhile and saw this just now...read it from the first to the last words....More pics!!! More info!!! I love first hand information from history rather than dull factoids from some history book or documentaries. My grandfather was in WWII and Korea,My father in Vietnam and myself in the first Gulf War. The daily lives of people involved are much more interesting and one picture truly speaks a thousand words....You may think some of the things you have posted are not interesting,but they are words that we are so interested in and the pics even more.

01-24-2011, 11:11 AM   #354
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I found this thread 2 days ago and have just made my way through all 24 pages of it - fascinating ! As a Brit I can't say it any better then TJMag above :

QuoteOriginally posted by TJMag Quote
Hillerby, Ive just encountered this post and Im speechless. Im not American so I wont thank you for what you have done for your nation, I will, however, thank you for what you were and are doing for the whole World and History. Telling an important story through images and first person speech!
Just a few comments if I may ?

Photos - I love them, I find them more real (I'm sure a lot of people will understand what I mean by that) and remind me of when I was a little boy (I'm 52 now) looking at my Grandfather's WWII photo history books - I really wish he had given them to me, I hate to think what may have happened to them.

Having traveled through Hanoi and down to Nha Trang to dive, I just can't imagine what it would have been like in war-time. Another world.

And another vote for you to write a book (as you mentioned your son has skills in this field and would be invaluable in assisting you to write your account of recorded history) and you said that you would hardly know where to begin, well how about writing the book in the style of this thread ? Maybe to a lot of people it is the modern account of a veteran of recorded history that fascinates so much ? However mainly it is interesting because of your predilection for the people you encountered rather than the mechanics of war itself - faces, names (those you can remember and a tiny precis of them as people) and the things that etched those faces/actions in your memory (supported by your photographs - e.g. the story of the young girl filling your helmets with fruit for breakfast each day) as a basis for the book ? It is those stories that have made this thread so memorable ... and real, to me.

Intro : maybe how you came to start writing your account in this forum, the support, and then of course your military training.
Body : naturally your experiences
Conclusion : how this thread and possibly writing the book became a cathartic experience ? If that is accurate.

I can say that I had virtually no real knowledge of the Vietnam war bar that accrued, accurately or not, from films and the like, and that your account has taught me a lot about more about the real VN war. Thank you Bob.
01-24-2011, 02:31 PM   #355
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QuoteOriginally posted by CWyatt Quote
Henri Huet (one 't') is a right legend. They show a lot of his work at the War Remnants Museum, along with a lot of Larry Burrows and Robert Capa. He is certainly well thought of. I'd suggest the book Lost Over Laos to anyone interested in him or Burrows, or even the authors Richard Pyle and the legendary Horst Faas. Read that book hillerby? Might interest you.
I've not read that book, but will make an effort to get my hands on it. Henri Huet, Larry Burrows, and Horst Faas .... all of them I met while in Vietnam. I shot some assignments on operations when they were present. ALL of them were great photographers, but Henri Huet will always stand out in my mind as the friendliest, and most congenial of them all! The other thing I remember about him was that he had a great sense of humor. Being born in Vietnam, he had a distinct advantage over a lot of people .... he knew the country, the people, and the culture probably better than anyone I ever met.
01-24-2011, 06:02 PM   #356
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I am new here and only found this thread a a couple of days ago, still haven't read all of it, so part of what I will say is belated.

Thank you and all the others who served over there. There were and are many who appreciate what you guys did. Unfortunately the vocal minority got the press coverage.

I look forward to catching up on this thread and seeing more new posts from you.
01-25-2011, 11:34 AM   #357
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Hillerby - I just found this thread and wanted to compliment you on your photography and for maintaining this thread over the years. My family is from Vietnam (I was born here) and I have numerous uncles that fought in the Vietnam war. My family actually migrated here the morning of the fall of Saigon so needless to say they have some vivid memories of the war. I have shown some family members this thread along with the photos and they said it brought back so many memories. I cannot imagine what is was like to fight in that war but some of my uncles do and when I showed them this thread some where happy to be reminded and (to be completely honest) some were angry but in all cases it invoked emotion and I think that's what photography is about. Good job and thank you.
01-27-2011, 11:16 AM   #358
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QuoteOriginally posted by KxBlaze Quote
Hillerby - I just found this thread and wanted to compliment you on your photography and for maintaining this thread over the years. My family is from Vietnam (I was born here) and I have numerous uncles that fought in the Vietnam war. My family actually migrated here the morning of the fall of Saigon so needless to say they have some vivid memories of the war. I have shown some family members this thread along with the photos and they said it brought back so many memories. I cannot imagine what is was like to fight in that war but some of my uncles do and when I showed them this thread some where happy to be reminded and (to be completely honest) some were angry but in all cases it invoked emotion and I think that's what photography is about. Good job and thank you.
This is, for me, a very poignant post! I'm very glad that you took the time to respond. You being Vietnamese and responding means an awful lot to this "Old War Horse".
To your Uncles who fought in that war ...... I truly SALUTE each and every one of them! They were without doubt brave and honorable men.
The fact that some of them were happy and others were angry speaks volumes to me personally. In fact you said it best "...in all cases it invoked emotion". That tells me that regardless of personal views on one side or the other, my work (plain as it is) did exactly what I would have hoped it did.
Your response reminds me of some friends I have here (a Vietnamese couple) who migrated from Vietnam about the same time as your family. The wife had told me that she'd been raised in Saigon and had fond memories of visiting the Saigon Zoo as a child. I dug out some of the photos I'd taken in the Zoo and around Saigon in general. After making the prints, I gave her copies of about 12 or 15 different shots I'd located. Upon seeing them, she broke down in tears and thanked me profusely!
Never in my life, have I ever been as touched by an event. The very thought that something I'd shot and created could invoke such emotion was deeply appreciated.
Thanks again for your response, and keep coming back. I'll be posting again from time to time.
01-29-2011, 10:29 AM - 3 Likes   #359
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Rare & Previously Unveiwed Combat Shot

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What we have here ya'll is a previously unviewed (for over 40 yrs) photograph I took of Henri Huet! I'm not sure if this is a badly discolored original Ektachrome or a dupe of the original.
This photograph was taken in late 66' or early 67' when we were preparing to go on Operation Cedar Falls with the 1st Infantry Division and into the Michelein Rubber Plantation NW of Saigon (The Iron Triangle).
All the photographers and correspondents had just attended a "press briefing" prior to the operation. As we exited the large "press center" (a large tent), Henri and I exited together and I got this shot of him prior to sitting down and chatting. I took several shots of him that morning, but this is the first one I've located.
Press briefings were common for large scale ops like this one, and were usually an "overview" of what was going to take place, how the operation was to be conducted, etc. We were also given instruc tion as to what what arrangements were for our being airlifted w/the troops going in.
If I remember correctly, I also met Larry Burrows that day along with several other civilian personell. Henri and my team ended up going in different directions during that operation and I'm pretty sure he ended up with the 17rd Airborned Bde a little later. I do know he got some "killer shots" w/173rd during that operation.
Anyway, I'm very excited to have located this shot of him. It's definately one of my prized pictures. Now, I'm anxious to see if I can't locate the other shots of him.
I've only a short time this morning, so I'm closing for now and will be back w/more pix as soon as I can get them scanned.
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01-29-2011, 02:21 PM   #360
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I wanted a Leica M3, but couldn't afford one.

So, back in '82 I bought a used Leica 11f Rangefinder, with a 50 mm Elmar collapsible lens (F3.5). It was manufactured in '52 and as of 2011 is 59 years old...still working.

Picture quality is great and it's built like a Mack truck....a German designed and made Mack truck.

I know why Bob M3 appreciated the M3 so much .
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