Tag: Leica Q

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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. 

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Hey, Spider

Six years ago in October, I photographed a stunning sunset spider using Google Nexus S smartphone. On July 17, 2017, at 7:16 p.m., another opportunity came—and I felt bad for the arachnid.The nighttime web attached to bush and parked car. If the owner(s) were to go out…

I shot several portraits with Leica Q, using dedicated Macro mode, and also iPhone 7 Plus. The digital camera delivered better than the smartphone—not that the Apple device did poorly. The Featured Image is a close crop from the original using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. I shoot in DNG (Leica’s chosen RAW format) and convert to JPEG. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/80 sec, 28mm. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Grand

The Leica Q has one of the best autofocus systems of any digital camera that I have used (and the list’s long). But when there’s failure, the scale is grand—as was the case yesterday morning where Adams Ave. ends at the overlook adjacent to Mission Cliffs. I hadn’t planned to stop there, but beyond the automobile guardrail and wire fence, I saw the clear shape of a cat sitting back to me. That put him on the canyon side, which would be a treacherous place from where a human could fall. He contently watched wildlife, mainly birds, with little care about me—although he moved away some when I approached to the side for better sight to shoot. The feline could have been looking out onto the Grand Canyon, for the scale set before him.

The kitty is blurry in every one of the seven shots, even the three where I manually focused. The auto-system stopped at the fence. I did only marginally better for the last capture, before the cat sauntered off. Problem: While only 8:31 a.m. PDT, the sun seared fiercely ahead of a heat wave, compelling me to wear sunglasses that make the electronic viewfinder’s visual focus cues difficult to make out when rushed—as I was. I fumbled to safely put down the protective eyewear, as the beastie waddled off; having stepped partly over the guardrail for better vantage point,  I could have carelessly let the glasses fall away.

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The Cats of University Heights: Levi

Do you remember Pepe, whom this series featured on March 9, 2017? Tonight, while out walking and chatting with some of our great neighbors, I met his housemate, Levi. His owner described him months ago, and I had been on the lookout since for the “shy” shelter cat who is about four years old. Levi came to his owners with a heart murmur and some uncertain problem with his hind end. He often leans forward when sitting and resists being held. I shot a dozen portraits, choosing this one for how he pushes up on his forelegs and for the personality that his mesmerizing eyes express.

Levi lives next door to my neighborhood favorite, Fess, a handsome, cunning Maine Coon. I look for him any time passing his house. Sadly, my other favorite, The Colonel, is gone. The majestic longhair succumbed to “the cancer”, his owner told me last month. I will feature the family’s new cat, Charlie, soon as he lets me make a good portrait. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Betty Too

This series seeks to promote one feline on one day and never again. But sometimes uncertainty lurks like a furball under a car, which brings us to what could be a repeat. I give the odds as 50-50 that today’s beastie is Betty, but I’m betting not or there wouldn’t be a featured shot. I met her on Nov. 11, 2016, in the alley behind North Ave. closer to Madison. She rolled around, grubbing attention from a neighbor who knew her.

The cat I call Betty Too (just in case they’re the same) was spotted on June 29, 2017, in a gated apartment courtyard opening into the same alley but closer to Monroe—street at the other end. I had walked down searching for a black cat that crossed the alley; hence how I saw this other blackie, way inside beyond the locked door-gate. I never did find the other one. Betty Too came up to visit, but she couldn’t get pats through the grates. Sorry `bout that, kitty. Like Betty, she is black, was sighted off the North alley, and wears a blue color. What are the chances they’re the same? 

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The Cats of University Heights: Spry

In the alley beyond Alabama going towards Park Blvd., about midway between Monroe and Meade, I spotted a lanky, grey short-hair sprawled on the pavement; June 13, 2017. She slipped away as my wife and I approached, among cars against a garage, resisting me and the Leica Q. The Featured Image shows her hanging on the fence, at least a six-footer and taller than me, following a dramatic leap. She balanced there long enough for four clicks of the shutter. This is the third shot.

Once again, the mirrorless camera’s 28mm, f/1.7 Summilux lens and 24-megapixel full-frame sensor deliver super sharp detail enough for a close-crop. Vitals: f/8, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 6:36 p.m. PDT. 

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Christmas in June?

I spotted Santa Claus while walking in Balboa Park this afternoon. He was out for a stroll—to where is anyone’s guess. An elf helper tagged along, so surely there was some purpose. After passing him, I stopped. Hesitated. Stepped forward. Then turned around and approached Mr. Kringle, rather than let the moment pass. I asked to shoot a portrait.

As you would expect, Santa responded jovially, accepting the invitation. While couching low with Leica Q, I asked about his presence, joking that it wasn’t Christmas in July. He smiled and said something about Christmas being every day for people who keep it in their hearts. Now that is a lovely sentiment. 

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Sunday Slowpoke

Here’s one for you: Why did the snail cross the road? Splat! He didn’t.

The sidewalk is a dangerous place for a slow-moving mollusca on a Sunday morning, with pedestrians reveling the fresh breeze or walking dogs—and none looking down where the foot falls. I spotted this little slogger while walking with my wife to Trader Joe’s. I got down low with Leica Q, for a few fast closeups, before Annie moved the snail safely aside.