Category: Photo

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Flickr a Week 7b: ‘The NYC Band, The Upwelling’

Our Sunday spot shouldn’t be, because of endings: The photographer is no longer active on Flickr, and I am unable to confirm that his subject matter still exists. But I can’t resist the portrait for looking to be exactly what it is—in purest, iconic, grainy, black-and-white composition: An indy rock group.

Steve Hardy shot self-titled “The NYC Band, The Upwelling” on Jan. 24, 2009, using Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 1600,1/15 sec, 33mm. He describes himself as a “Grammy Award and multi-platinum, award-winning mix engineer”. He mixed the group’s album “An American Stranger”, which released in August of the same year that he snapped the photo.

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Tortoises in Black and White

Yesterday, my wife suggested a walk around San Diego Zoo, which wasn’t nearly as bustling as I would expect it to be on a summer-like-weather Friday afternoon. The place was by no means desolate of people, just not overly crowded. I wonder if increasing paranoia about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is one reason. People infected or showing symptoms are being treated or quarantined at UCSD Medical Center, which is just 3.7-km drive (2.3 miles) from the zoo. My apartment is even closer: 2 km (1.3 miles) as the crow flies and 3 km (1.9 miles) by road. If—gulp, when—the virus spreads locally, my family will be at the epicenter.

But back to the lovely afternoon spent with the animals—calm before SHTF, as the country’s self-described Preppers call it—I brought along Leica Q2, with the Film Style set to Monochrome. The result wasn’t as anticipated. Importing into Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic, after returning home, the RAWs came in as color. I wrongly assumed that the setting would apply to the native files. Nope, only to the JPEGs.

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Flickr a Week 7a: ‘Lotta Love, ‘Lijah”

Valentine’s Day is for (cat) lovers—isn’t it? For the purpose of our series—and an additional posting, between the two regular entries—yes is the answer. Timing is motivated by something else: Last week, on Nextdoor, one of my neighbors issued the “challenge of posting a picture of their pet…The goal is to flood NDoor with positive pet pictures instead of negativity”. Let’s bring some of that positivity here, and even more.

With that introduction, please meet Lisa Zins and her photographic feline in self-titled “Lotta Love, ‘Lijah’“. She explains, about the portrait: “Elijah is always ready to pose for a picture. The little bottle of hearts are ‘sprinkles’ for cookies. I thought that a ‘Lotta Love’ is something that we all need. :)” Indeed it is.

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The Cats of University Heights: Danger

Three days ago, while driving down Cleveland, my wife and I spotted a fluffy black run diagonally across the street—a dangerous maneuver during heavier traffic as residents returned to the neighborhood from their jobs. This afternoon, while walking along Tyler to the grocery store, I passed by the beastie, relaxing on a doorstep.

Nickname Danger seems appropriate, given the perilous context of the first sighting, although calm—safety— marked the second seeing. I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image, which is a close-crop. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/200 sec, 28mmm; 3:13 p.m. PST.

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The Cats of University Heights: Keen

When not scaring off beasties, Fujifilm GFX 50R, with Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens attached, produced consistently better portraits for this series than Leica Q2. The 51.4-megapixel, 43.8 x 32.9 mm medium-format sensor matched to 50mm film-equivalent glass delivers fantastic detail and dynamic range, allowing the shooter to crop-in during post-production. The more compact, 28mm, fixed-lens, 47.3-megapixel full-frame (24 x 36 mm sensor) Q2 needs to be closer to subjects because of focal length, which cannot be physically changed. Proximity often isn’t an option for felines, particularly one suspected of belonging to a feral colony.

The Featured Image, of a tabby that I nickname Keen for alertness, is example. The Q2 portrait, while good enough, is less than what I’ve come to expect from using the 50R. But that camera is gone, and the Leica better fits my shooting style. I’ll explain why in an eventual product review. For now, photo vitals, aperture manually set: f/4, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, 28mm, 2:21 p.m. PST, Jan. 19, 2020. Location: Georgia, near Monroe.

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The Cats of University Heights: Spy

Nestled along the neighborhood’s canyons are several dead-end streets where I rarely venture—being they’re out of the way and some guy carrying a camera is an attention-getter for home Nest and Ring surveillance, of which there is plenty. On Jan. 22, 2020, on a whim, I walked down Proctor Place for the first time in months, and there spotted the series‘ fifty-fifth feline found behind door or window.

I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image—the best portrait of several where the shorthair looks at something in the foliage. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/100 sec, 28mm; 3:24 p.m. PST. I dub this kitty Spy, for its spying eyes and mine perceived to be if any nosey, Nextdoor neighbor noticed me.

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Flickr a Week 6: ‘Paris’

The week goes to Matteo Pezzi, for self-titled “Paris“. Juxtaposed subjects sharing something unexpectedly in common makes the moment. The modern woman using smartphone is passé, unsurprising. But the nun! Who represents what some people would regard as anachronistic!

Matteo describes himself as an “Italian nostalgic photographer, living in Strasbourg”. The street shot is “nostalgic” because of its composition, location, and subjects. He captured the image on Feb. 25, 2018, using Fujifilm X100F. Vitals: f/8, ISO 200, 1/180 sec, 23mm. Yesterday, Fuji announced the camera’s successor, the X100V, with larger sensor, updated fixed lens, and articulating rear LCD screen.

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The Cats of University Heights: Ash, Too

The Louisiana parade follows Huck with another: Ash (yep, real name). The grey and white lives on the next block, where he plays territorial tippy-toe with Bandit and buddies up to Nelson; the two are street mates, not house companions, which makes their getting-along a surprising relationship.

My quest to photograph Ash has been challenging—so much that my failure over several days to snag even a single focused shot greatly contributed to the decision to abandon Sigma fp and return for refund. Even Leica Q2, which produced the Featured Image and companions, missed the mark. The best composed portrait puts the focus point somewhere else, and the cat is completely blurred. Finally, on Jan. 23, 2020, when Ash made his best appearance yet, patience and manual focusing got good enough photos. They’re not as sharp as I would want, being close crops, but the banter with Nelson makes them keepers—and I would have been monumentally miffed if they hadn’t been.