Tag: Leica Q

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Where Did My Leica M10 Go?

I never expected to part with Leica M10 six months after acquiring it. But such was the circumstance on Oct. 5, 2018. So shocking the suddenness, I waited three months to explain. The camera was my dream shooter—a magnificent manual rangefinder that fit my personality. Problem: Too often I couldn’t focus fast enough, or with appropriate precision. Perhaps another six months of use and practice would have made perfect.

But my wife and I were looking at possibly moving from San Diego to Julian, Calif. So serious our intention that we had put down an offer on a house, where we went for formal inspection that fine Fall Friday. Thinking about living in the mountains in nature, I couldn’t imagine using the M10. For the wild woods, autofocus and telephoto lens would be better. So I had posted the camera for sale, with intention of replacing it with a Fujifilm mirrorless. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Mitsie

Our second featured feline of 2019 is the thirtieth seen along Alabama—on the same block where live Harley, Holiday, Laramie, Lupe, and Precious and where were the homes of the departed Monkey and missing Smokey. I have exclaimed about the putty population density on the street, numerous times, and I know of at least four more cats on the block that have yet to be photographed. But there are others of which I am aware along the 1.5 km stretch between Adams and Lincoln.

I met Mitsie (her real name), one of her owners, and three dogs while they sunned on the cool morning of Dec. 29, 2018. She came to one of her current caretakers as a stray about six years ago, when he lived in Imperial Beach, Calif. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Tranquil

I encountered our honorary Christmas cat five minutes after sighting Comfy, on Dec. 12, 2018—also along North Avenue, but closer to Madison than Monroe. I lugged Leica Q, which was the perfect companion for post-production close-cropping; it’s a necessity when shooting wide (28mm) from a distance but easily doable because of the detail captured by the superb f/1.7 Summilux lens and full-frame sensor.

The kitty earns nickname Tranquil for its position, location, and time of day (sunny 2:22 p.m. PST). Vitals for the Featured Image and companion, aperture manually set for street shooting: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, 28mm. 

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Gatto Basket

The folks over at Tuft + Paw saw my “Cats of University Heights” series and asked about my interest in some of their products and “to collaborate with you on a story. We have a talented team of cat behavior experts, designers, and engineers”. In looking over the outfit’s website, the understated designs of the feline furniture and accessories greatly appealed, but not the pricing, which I felt fell into a niche of well-to-do shoppers. Finally, on December 2nd, I seriously responded to founder Jackson Cunningham’s request (it has been a hectic autumn).

The $129, all-wool, Gatto Basket arrived this afternoon (my formal review, with tidbits about the company’s notorious beta tester, appears on BetaNews). Baskets are abundant inside our apartment. My wife loves them. As such, I unpacked the Gatto with great trepidation, wondering: “Why would any cat take to this?” We have so many others inside which our kitties can play, but for the most part neither does. A basket is a basket, right? Apparently, not. I plopped the thing onto the living room floor, and Cali settled inside quite nicely. Immediately, in fact, and she is finicky. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Comfy

Along North Avenue, but on the other side of Monroe from where I recently saw Stark, a handsome shorthair slumbered, soaking up the afternoon sun. The kitty changed positions while I snapped several portraits using Leica Q, which nearly silent leaf shutter caused no disturbance. The Q is my venerable camera companion, now that the M10 has gone to a new owner—a story I should tell soon in a future post. My needs are better met with auto and manual focus options, and the rangefinder only offered the latter.

For hopefully obvious reasons, our sleeping beauty earns nickname Comfy. He (or she) reposed on a back porch next to a kitty house. The Featured Image is the last in a series of five shots—all cropped and solely edited to draw out highlights. Vitals, aperture manually set for street shooting: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/320 sec, 28mm; 2:17 p.m., today. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Grape

Strangely, feline sightings along Shirley Ann Place are rare. I have only ever seen two kitties outdoors, and you will meet both consecutively as the series resumes pace after a deliberate slowdown. The first earns nickname Triumph—chosen for posture and demeanor. Our first encounter was Sept. 24, 2018, sitting atop a recycle can. The Featured Image, from Leica Q, was captured the next day. Vitals: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/60 sec, 28mm, 5:42 p.m. PDT.

I shot the companion portrait, during the first meeting, using Google Pixel 2 XL. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/289 sec, 4.459 mm; 8:30 a.m. The kitty has triumphantly presented several times since, but these two humble photos are the best ones so far. 

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Happy Halloween 2018!

I am mummified by how many apartments, condos, and homes in the neighborhood are dressed up for Trick-or-Treat day. Many of the decorations are elaborate, and about all are playful. Our Featured Image presents the front lawn inflatable that the owner of Bruce—one of the furballs from my “Cats of University Heights” series—put up; hehe, she paid five bucks for the thing 13 years ago during an after-Halloween sale.

The longhair tiger tabby is deliberately soft-focused, in this portrait captured on Oct. 17, 2018 at 6:29 p.m. PDT., or about 15 minutes after sunset, using low-light trooper Leica Q. Vitals, aperture and shutter manually set: f/1.7, ISO 1600, 1/125 sec, 28mm. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Alfredo

Some felines living around the neighborhood’s canyons have more than nine lives. Some survivors look like they have used them all but linger onward. Such is the case of Alfredo, a feral residing along the ravine at the Adams Ave. overlook—for an estimated 15 years. He was captured ages ago, neutered, and released. This afternoon, I encountered him for the first time since starting the series (two years ago this month) searching for food where E.T. usually eats. I snapped a dozen or so photos, using Leica Q, approaching closer and closer; someone occasionally spoke to the kitty as he meowed grovingly outside a security door.

The gent eventually came out with canned cat food, which despite hunger, Alfredo resisted. If you think the Featured Image portrays a sickly beast, you are right. Alfredo’s caretaker, who grew up in the house, believes the kitty has cancerous lesions around its nose and mouth—malady he has seen before among white furballs. The homeowner hopes to trap Alfredo. The technique is to put food inside the contraption that the cat can eat, then walk away. The food is pushed further inside each feeding until the cage door triggers. But he described Alfredo, no matter how famished, as “wily”—perhaps being cautious having been trapped and released as a youngster.

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The Cats of University Heights: Poise

Along New Jersey, where it intersects Meade and Monroe before Arch and parallel to Maryland, I met a fine tabby on June 30, 2017. I dscovered several portraits of the cat nicknamed Poise, like recently-profiled Prim, when archiving data from 15.4-inch MacBook Pro with Touchbar. About two months ago, Google Pixelbook replaced the Apple as my primary PC.

I captured the Featured Image at 7:33 p.m. PDT, using Leica Q. Vitals: f/3.2, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 28mm. 

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The Cats of University Heights: LilyTiger

Since seeing Sebastian and Persepolis in March 2018, I have looked for their sister, LilyTiger, who was too rambunctious to photograph back then. She presented herself, quite unexpectedly, on August 10. While walking down Meade Ave., I spotted a kitty reclining on the other side of the street along Mississippi. I had seen Amanda in the exact same spot months earlier and assumed that it must be her. Nope.

LilyTiger moved onto her owners’ charming, lush property, as I approached. But she stayed close enough to the front, on the steps, for portraits. I shot the Featured Image and its companion using Leica Q. Vitals: f/1.7, ISO 200, 1/60 sec, 28mm; 7:32 p.m. PDT—four minutes before sunset. I chose the wide aperture for bokeh but narrowed for the other to draw out Sebastian cozied up on the front porch. Vitals for the second: f/5.6, ISO 2000, 1/60 sec, 28mm.