Tag: Leica Q

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‘Come Home, Fess’

One month ago, Aug. 1, 2017, for the second consecutive evening, I saw my favorite neighborhood feline, Fess, lounging long after his owners came home for the day. The feisty, friendly furball sprawled far onto the sidewalk as it sloped into the street. I looked at my watch, 7:25 p.m. PDT, and walked down Cleveland Ave. to the corner of Meade—then turned back. I worried that in the dusk, a vehicular driver might not see the animal when turning into or backing out of the driveway. He looked relaxed and content. I walked on.

Four mornings later, as my mother lay dying in a Vermont medical center, I left our apartment for a long, soul-searching walk. Losing mom was unthinkable, but, based on communication with my sister Nanette, inevitable. Approaching the corner where I had looked back at Fess, his image waved from a poster placed on a utility pole by his human family. No one had seen the cat since the night of August 1st. He had vanished! My muscles tensed. We couldn’t lose Fess, too. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Charlie

My second-favorite neighborhood feline, The Colonel, is gone. Numero Uno, Fess, is missing—16 days, and as each passes his return grows more unlikely. In June, The Colonel’s owner told me that the majestic longhair had succumbed to “the cancer”. A few months earlier, while on a walk, my wife and I chatted with the woman (and her husband). The kitty had lost weight and, honestly, looked terribly scrawny to me.

The family has a new pet, Charlie, whom I first met on June 19, 2017. My struggle since: Getting good-enough portraits, despite several opportunities. Morning of Aug. 15, 2017, while walking down Monroe Ave., I saw a woman petting the cat on North—diagonally across the street from his home. The beastie, who is still a kitten, but closing on a year-old, is a roamer. As the lady turned away, he skirted from the sidewalk into a yard, where chomping grass consumed him for a good 10 minutes. 

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Have a Seat!

San Diego residents leave all kinds of things in alleys behind their residences. What’s that saying about one person’s garbage being another’s treasure? This sofa sits by a dumpster, but it waits for a new […]

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Beetle Mania

The killer feature(s) of my beloved Leica Q: Manual focus and Macro mode, both of which are controlled by rings around the barrel of the lens. They’re best when used together, as the Featured Image […]

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The Stagers

While walking past Campus and Meade this morning, I saw stagers moving furniture into a house “coming soon” for sale. After initially crossing the street, I turned back. The vantage point appealed to me, and Leica Q was in tow. The bold, yellow crosswalk symbols in the foreground are what made the moment worth capturing.

The Featured Image is the original, slightly straightened. Neither this pic, the other, or two crops of both have been retouched. I imported the DNG originals into Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and exported as JPEG. Vitals, aperture pre-set for street shooting: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/800 sec, 28mm; 9:49 a.m. PDT.

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Hello, Rabbit

Last night, seeking relief from an uncharacteristically overcast and muggy August day, I grabbed the Leica Q and walked, looking for felines to add to my “Cats of University Heights” series. Instead, I saw a bunny, sitting smack in the middle of New York Street, about halfway down from Madison—or, coming the other way, dead end into the canyon. I approached cautiously, getting closer and closer captures; necessity without a telephoto. The digital camera has a fixed 28mm f/1.7 Summilux lens. Noise from a nearby house startled the rabbit, which sprinted into a yard.

So I persisted, until my approach drove the cottontail to scramble further—and eventually out of sight. The 24-megapixel full-frame shooter uses (inside the lens) a leaf shutter, which is virtually silent. I didn’t worry, then, that camera clicks would spook the critter. 

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Purple Passion Flower

While I attended a basic botany class in college, my familiarity with plant life is limited—unlike clouds and bugs, or even the stars. Walking down Cleveland Ave. the other day, purple flowers hanging from vast vines rapped my attention. I snapped some closeups using iPhone 7 Plus, which were okay. On the evening of July 27, 2017, I meandered back with the Leica Q in tow and, using the dedicated Macro mode and manual focus, captured satisfying shots.

They’re purple passion flowers, and new flora to me. Interestingly—no surprisingly—their presence is “absent/unreported” in California, according to USDA. Oh yeah?

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Meow! Second Sightings

Several re-sightings of felines previously featured in my “Cats of University Heights” series demand updates about the beasts. So, please, pardon yet another furry exposé. The Featured Image is a tiger that I call “Stalker“, sighted and profiled in November 2016. I shot this more recent portrait on July 17, 2017, at 7:11 p.m. PDT using Leica Q. The animal is usually on the move, and this is the first instance seeing him quietly sitting in his yard, near Campus and Monroe. He really blends in, eh? Vitals: f/1.7, ISO 100, 1/400 sec, 28mm. After deliberate consideration, I chose to keep brightness and exposure as shot in this crop. 

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SDCC 2017 Day Four

The greatest geekfest and pop-culture event on the planet wrapped up this afternoon in San Diego, as the original Comic-Con closed its doors on the Convention Center. Imitator shows are everywhere this Century, but none commands character and class like the original. The first, full, three-day event took place from Aug. 1-3, 1970, at the U.S. Grand Hotel, with about 300 attendees and sci-fi luminaries, including Ray Bradbury and A.E. van Vogt. This week, 140,000 people attended, but the number doesn’t include the tens of thousands descending on the Gaslamp Quarter and other areas of the city. SDCC is too big to be contained by the formality of a single glass-and-steel structure or the fire marshal’s mandates.

I had given up on participating until unexpected opportunity occurred yesterday morning to purchase a legitimate Day 4 badge with my name—not one assigned to someone else and sold for exorbitant price, despite firm policy against such scalping. I picked up the badge in the afternoon, spending several hours afterwards in the Quarter.

Like yesterday, I captured moments using Leica Q, but far fewer than my typical day. Those that follow aren’t all, or necessarily the best, but they tell a story about shooting them. 

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Gaslamp Lights San Diego Comic-Con

I won’t explain how, but today I snagged a legit San Diego Comic-Con 2017 badge for tomorrow. Better one than none. From 2009 through 2016, I had passes to attend all four days but failed to get in the buying queue during Early and Open registrations—in March and April, respectively—nor later get consideration as working journalist. I picked up my last-day badge at the Convention Center around 4:30 p.m. PDT, then moseyed around the Gaslamp Quarter, which is livelier with off-site activities and vendors than I recall from other years. 

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Fess Wishes You Happy Caturday

This is not the last time you will see Fess featured on this site. He is my favorite neighborhood feline, and he could be eldest, having been with his owners for 13 years (but he is older). We first met on July 27, 2013, as I rode my then newly-acquired  Guerciotti bicycle down Cleveland Ave. In November 2016, he appeared in my Cats of University Heights series. Last night, we visited briefly during an unusually late sighting. Fess typically goes indoors when his owner comes home from work. In the next yard, Levi and Pepe hung out, too. I shot the Featured Image at 7:21 p.m. PDT, or about 30 minutes before sunset.

Fess sat in his driveway when I walked past, paying me no attention and demanding none for himself. I moved a few meters more before deciding to turn back for a quick portrait. I lay down on the sidewalk for better vantage point, which of course would rouse the cat my way—nudging against my face and looking for pats. The first capture was all auto. Vitals: f/1.7, ISO 100, 1/400 sec, 28mm. 

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Sunset Spectators

Adams Ave. ends at an overlook in University Heights that opens onto a canyon and expansive view of Mission Valley below. The location is where I photographed the feline nicknamed Grand for my Cats of University Heights series 13 days ago. The “End” sign to the far left in the Featured Image appears in post “My Fujifilm X100F Acros Romp“. I had walked down that way this evening hunting for an orangish-tan feline spotted weeks earlier.

The moment captured is unusual for me. I typically avoid shooting directly at—or this case into—the blaring sun. But as I approached, the woman’s silhouetted figure against the guardrail (looked to me like she stood on the other side of it) intrigued. So I flipped the aperture to f/11—other vitals are ISO 100, 1/60 sec, 28mm—crouched a little to compose, and snapped a couple quick portraits. Time was 7:38 p.m. PDT, or 15 minutes to sunset.