Tag: Leica Q

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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.

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The Cats of University Heights: Stride

Two mornings ago—Memorial Day—my wife and I walked down Campus between Monroe and Meade, when she spotted a grey and white crossing the street. Whoa, two new sightings on the same block about 18 hours apart. The other: Siamese seen at dusk on May 28th. I also ambled to the other sidewalk, and there captured a series of sequential stride shots as the feline approached before turning into a yard (Featured Image). The other is below the fold. Vitals, respectively: f/1.7, ISO 100, 1/800 sec, 28mm; 11:04 a.m. PDT and f/1.7, ISO 100, 1/1000 sec, 28mm; 11:03 a.m. PDT. Both are crops.

For a compact camera with fixed lens, the Leica Q‘s focus and shutter response is fast. Easily, the entire series of shots as the cat approached is useable. The morning was overcast, which I consider to be perfect photography weather. At f/1.7, shutter speed was plenty fast enough to stop motion. Both pics are crops, BTW.

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The Cats of University Heights: Dusk

One of Leica Q’s best benefits is its dual-focus system: auto and manual—the latter of which uses a mechanism similar to the German camera maker’s pricey rangefinders. There is a dedicated focus ring and adjustment knob around the lens, which when activated, cause the electronic viewfinder to magnify the shooting subject and present visual cue—green “peaking“—when in focus. This feature is particularly handy because: the lens is wide-angle (28mm); the f/1.7 Summilux glass and 24-megapixel full-frame sensor capture so much detail that cropping-in can replace a telephoto; but when shooting wide, with multiple objects, the auto-focus system can hone in on the wrong one.

On May 28, 2017, as I walked down Campus, midway between Meade and Monroe, I spotted a Siamese not seen before. I lay down on the sidewalk to capture the moment. Since the kitty was so still, I took a few extra seconds to switch to manual focus. Interestingly, as dusk settled, none of the auto-focus shots were right. The Featured Image is spot on the cat, in this close crop. The original, which is below the fold, gives actual perspective and illustrates how much detail the Leica Q captures. Vitals: f/1.7, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, 28mm. Time: 7:12 p.m. PDT, about 40 minutes before sunset.

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The Cats of University Heights: Peso

I am a pitiful Southern Californian resident—for not speaking, or reading, a word of Spanish. Fortunately, Google gave my linguistic handicap a little boost yesterday evening, when encountering the large-pawed beast who is our featured feline this cool Caturday. Walking down Monroe from Park Blvd. towards Texas Street, I heard a furball meowing on the other side of a tall hedge at Georgia. I rounded the corner and peaked inside. The beastie came running out on the sidewalk to greet me.

The number of owned street cats without collars surprises me, but this friendly brute was an exception. As he rolled around for pats, I looked at his tag, which gave a phone number followed by “Gracias” on one side and “Mellamo Peso” on the other. I may be ditz-for-non-English-language brain but nevertheless recognize “Thank You”. But the other, I assumed was a first and last name, or perhaps a nickname. I whipped out iPhone 7 Plus and Googled “Mellamo”, only to discover that it means “my name is”. That caused me to resume petting with one hand and lifting the tag with the other; maybe I misread, because who calls their cat Peso? Crazy thing, makes sense. He is one big boy, and the name translates to “weight” (or so says Google). He is Maine Coon size but leaner. 

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‘Edna Scissorhands’ Cuts Me Quick

Sometimes stupidity is a bad habit—or that’s how I feel about making immensely idiotic mistakes mishandling the Leica Q today. A camera with manual controls demands that the shooter be smart enough to check the dials between outings. Last night, while hunting for subjects to add to my “Cats of University Heights” series, I set the shutter to 1/125 sec. Couple evenings earlier, motion blur spoiled several potentially good portraits of a black and white that I call Fraidy and another not yet featured. Because the digicam’s auto-mode had preferred low ISO and slower shutter speed, I chose what seemed right for late-yesterday’s lighting.

I should have sorted out my mistake this afternoon in San Diego’s South Mission Hills neighborhood. My wife had taken me on an outdoor expedition to two close-by destinations: The Spruce St. Suspension Bridge, which crosses a deep canyon in Banker’s Hill. Edwin Capps designed the pedestrian walkway, completed in 1912. I stupidly shot no photos there. Doh. From the footbridge, we drove to the “Edna Scissorhands” (e.g. Edna Harpertopiary garden on Union Street, where distracted by two cats, I turned attention first to them without checking the shutter—dumb, dumb, considering I took time to turn the aperture to f/5.6. 

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The Camel

For one of her birthday activities, my wife Anne wanted to ride the Skyfari Aerial Tram across San Diego zoo. We walked back through the park to the exit, despite detours due to massive construction of new habitats. Among my favorite animals: Camels and llamas; if you have never read my absolutely true llama story from 1980, please do!

Norwegian designer and photographer Martin Fagerås inspired me to even attempt a camel shot because of this brilliantly captured moment using Leica Q, which I also carry. I came across his Flickr when looking for shooters using the amazing full-frame compact. Obviously, I couldn’t compose anything as compelling as he did, particularly at the zoo.