Tag: Leica Q

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The Tree Tragedy

I can’t speak for my wife, but to me a pair of benefits marshaled my interest in choosing our current apartment: The front windows and what I call the “squirrel tree” majestically before them—as expected, providing plentiful wildlife entertainment for our cats Cali and Neko to watch; for the humans, too. Yesterday, the management company overseeing the property snuffed out magic, and life.

Time is immeasurable this year, thanks to triple-P: pandemic, politics, and protests (e.g., SARS-CoV-2, severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2, also known as COVID-19; Election 2020; and racial riots). As such, I don’t recall how long ago the building manager spoke to me about the tree—two or more months, seems like). He said that the perennial would likely be dramatically trimmed back; being top heavy, the branches pulled the trunk into brickwork before it (see first photo). Some discussion drifted to removal, which I opposed, promising in threatening tone: “The day they cut down that tree is the day I give notice”.

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Flickr a Week 30: ‘Bengal Cricketers’

The week goes to a street shot not for what it is but for what it isn’t: The choice selection from the Photostream of Pietro Tranchida. While week-worthy, self-titled “Bengal Cricketers” isn’t the best example of his art; the eye-poppers are designated All Rights Reserved, and this series only uses images that are released under a Creative Commons copyright.

That said, there is much to like about the sporty pic—for bokeh, clarity, composition, sense of motion, and the camera used: Leica Q, which is not typically an action-associated shooter. But, hey, capable hands work wonders. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/1000 sec, 28mm; Sept. 20, 2017.

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The Cats of University Heights: Hope

SInce shooting the Featured Image and its companion on Oct. 3, 2017, I have long considered adding the tabby to the series but refrained. The mesh on the patio that turned it into a catio obscured too much, particularly given distance away. But like Candor, the kitty earns a place, on reconsideration; he (or she) is the third presented catio cat (King and Jester are the others).

The furball earns nickname Hope, for longing look and my hoping that the beastie still lives in the apartment (unlikely), which is along Carmelina Drive and behind Old Trolley Barn Park. I used Leica Q and iPhone 7 Plus to capture both portraits, respectively. Vitals for the first: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, 28mm; 10:08 a.m. PDT. The other: f/2.8, ISO 20, 1/297 sec, 6.6mm; 10:04 a.m.

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The Cats of University Heights: Gem

The fourth New Years kitty to appear in the series shares the distinction with Storm (2019), Norman (2018), and Chub (2017). I chose the black and white, because of his (or her) fleeting resemblance to  Mr. Kitty, who disappeared nearly five months ago. His owner still searches for him.

I nickname the furball Gem, for being an unexpected find and in hopes the Mr. Kitty is one day found. Gem joins only five other felines featured from Panorama Drive: Brick, Hawk, Herbie, The Love Bug, Roadie, and Poinsettia. The Featured Image is the second of three taken—and they are the last photos from Leica Q, which I retired yesterday and posted for sale on Craigslist. Today, I start shooting with successor Q2. Photo vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 3:28 p.m. PST, Dec. 30, 2019.

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Once a Mighty Palm

Strange story the stump tells. Gone is the magnificent palm tree that dominated the corner of Monroe and Cleveland, nearby the Wilcox’s old apartment, in our San Diego neighborhood. This morning, while driving by, on my way to North County, I saw a tree cutter toss down the last frond before lopping off the top. Late afternoon, walking back, the devastation confronted me.

I haven’t written much about this tree over the years, but fleeting mentions are significant enough: “Fallen Fronds” (December 2017) and “Bell” (November 2016) from my “Cats of University Heights” series, where the kitty sits by the palm trunk that is now a stump.

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Bee Friendly

Along the sidewalk outside what was the Butterfly House—and a yard now greatly trimmed back of insect-and-bird-welcoming flowers and plants—a bee drinks nectar on July 19, 2019. I captured the Featured Image and companion using Leica Q, manually focused. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/1600 sec, 28mm; 12:19 p.m. PDT. Other is the same, except for 1/2000 sec.

Neither bug mug is as sharp as would please me, but they’ll have to do as memory markers for a refuge vanished. As Monarchs migrated South this autumn, I wonder where went those accustomed to the Butterfly House as one of their way stations.

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The Cats of University Heights: Squint

I processed this portrait soon after capturing it, on Sept. 4, 2019, using Leica Q. I cropped, desaturated, and otherwise tweaked the Featured Image—the hope being to create mood that could compensate for shooting situation. Angle to the subject, from the street, and exterior environment looked unbecoming in color and as shot. I then stepped back several months and returned with fresh eyes to decide whether or not to publish. So here we are.

My wife and I walked along Adams around Mississippi, when she spotted the tabby, window warming morning sunshine. Squinty eyes, hence the nickname, is what compelled me to include the cat in the series, despite my misgivings about his (or her) portrait. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 8:43 a.m. PDT.

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Hat Tip to Leica Q

For weeks, I have walked by this hat hanging from a tree along Alabama Street in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood. Finally, today, while out and about with Leica Q, I stopped for a shot. The Featured Image is a near 100-percent crop of the companion photo, which is composed as captured. I drew out highlights, but made no other edits. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/1600 sec, 28mm; 2:27 p.m. PST.

The hat, whether original or cropped, shows the fantastic detail that the Q’s f/1.7 Summilux lens and full-frame sensor combo captures. Beautiful Bokeh, too. The Leica continues to satisfy, more than 30 months later. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Ludwig

While walking down Madison Avenue, beyond North and approaching Park Blvd., I spotted a young man swinging a wand toy before his kitty in a driveway. Hey, the provocateur of this series had to stop for a visit and photographic moment. We spoke. The gent explained, almost apologetically, that he never considered himself a “cat person”, having grown up with dogs. Lest I misunderstood, Ludwig (yes, real name) is the first, and the shorthair has been with its caretaker for about two years.

But there is a backstory. Coincidentally, Ludwig’s original owners of one year were en route for a visit, and the young man wondered aloud if the pet would recognize them after two years apart. There is reason to be curious. Not long after joining his human’s habitat in 2017, Ludwig escaped and disappeared for about 14 days. The furball somehow made way back to his previous residence in Mission Hills. The nearly 5 km journey would require travel down busy Washington Street and possibly even over highway 163. Yikes. Poor baby. His paws were blistered. Once returned to University Heights, however, Ludwig settled in contently.

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The Cats of University Heights: Siamese Twins

On Feb. 1, 2019, as I walked down Monroe where it hugs the canyon behind Maryland, a bonded pair presented on adjoining properties. I captured several portraits, using Leica Q, planning to return for closer-up shots. I would see the chunkier beastie again, doing its business in another yard—and, well, even felines deserve some dignity, if not their owners. No photo.

While preparing to add the Siamese Twins to the series, using the Leica Q portraits, FedEx delivered the Fujifilm GFX 50R camera and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens. I intended the medium-frame shooter to replace my departed full-frame Leica M10, which a Mexican wedding photographer purchased four months ago. But the Fuji is considerably larger than imagined, and I strongly considered boxing up without even one shot and returning. 

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The Joy Ride

Classify this story in the category of surprising Sunday dramas. Painters have been working on our apartment building and parking their lift truck along the street. Around 11:45 a.m. PST, I saw some stranger climb onto the lift and start it up. While he wore yellow utility belts that gave the aura of authority, his presence was suspicious, because: Neither he nor his buddy was one of the three painters; his companion drove a nondescript white utility truck, while the painters’ vehicle is branded and red; and he initially fumbled around like someone unfamiliar with the controls.

When the dude unparked the lift, I wondered: Is he stealing it? Off he drove down the street, with his companion following behind in the white truck. This is my neighborhood, it’s a sleepy Sunday, and I am more curious than a cat. I had to follow, first on foot and then by car. The pair drove about 1.8 km (1.1 miles) through University Heights to Rhode Island Ave., which is nearby an area called The Point and overlooks a canyon leading into commercial area Mission Valley below.