Tag: Leica Q2 Mono

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To See Differently

Two years ago a new optometrist recommended adding prisms to my eyeglass prescription in response to slight vertical misalignment in my vision. I was skeptical and made an appointment for another refraction with a doctor at the office that performed my cataract surgery. He confirmed slight double vision, but after attempting to make corrective adjustments with prisms he recommended against them. Their therapeutic value was uncertain, he concluded.

But the first optometrist was so insistent, when I returned to make my eyeglass order and the Varilux lenses came with satisfaction guarantee: The Essilor lab would make a new set should the prescription change—all within 90 days of purchase. I relented. The overall quality of the lenses satisfied so much that I decided to give my brain and eyes some time to adapt. But I never got to choose: The SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 pandemic made the decision for me, as my wife and I hunkered down during February 2020 and lockdowns started weeks later.

Today, I switched lenses, with a new prescription. Prisms are gone.

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California Brings Back Mask Mandates

The mass hysteria about SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 and the public policy response brings forth a freshly minted mask mandate—from today until (at least) Jan. 15, 2022. Rising number of detected infections, coupled with fear about the Omicron variant, are major reasons for California’s restriction that applies to every public indoor venue and to all people—even the vaccinated. Am I supposed to feel relieved that the governor isn’t shutting down the state, like he did last Christmas? That we only have to cover our faces?

Not that there is any science to support the Omicron panic. Early epidemiology data from Southern Africa indicates that the new variant is considerably more contagious than the already highly infectious Delta. While infections rise, hospitalization and death curves are flat. Reported cases from South Africa, for example, are generally mild—and that’s in a population with relatively low vaccination rate (compared to the United States). But, as usual, the majority of news reports and guidance from the World Health Organization scare-monger about how terrible the variant could be—without presenting any data to support suppositions.

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Homeless in Hillcrest

This gentleman is one of the many street dwellers seen today, when I walked from University Heights to neighboring Hillcrest on an errand. He caught my attention for what the Featured Image fails to reveal: The large load of belongings on the cart and spread somewhat down the sidewalk. He also was overdressed for the unseasonably warm day—25 degrees Celsius (77 Fahrenheit), when I used Leica Q2 Monochrom to take the street shot from the hip. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 200, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 2:20 p.m. PST.

While you might think otherwise from the profile and apparent skin color, he is a white guy. Anyone living long under the San Diego sun will become darker, with respect to skin tone; dirt and grime contribute to the change. This characteristic distinguishes the truly indigent from people begging for money; the grifter will often send off a benefactor with “God bless you”. The others offer thanks, with a sincerity of appreciation that is unmistakably authentic.

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Got Mini?

A rear-window sticker asked that question, and I mentally lamented answering no. While walking through San Diego’s Hillcrest district, I passed the vehicle parked at Eli Vigderson’s European Car Repairs, which is across the street from Better Buzz Coffee on University Avenue. The auto shop is nearby the Eat’s sign that I used to illustrate a Nov. 25, 2020 story assessing the shocking number of restaurants and pubs permanently closed during California’s lockdowns meant to curb SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 infections.

Hillcrest is so grim, and also such a street photography opportunity, that I typically carry Leica Q2 Monochrom, which captured the Featured Image on Nov. 10, 2021. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 200, 1/800 sec, 28mm; 11:15 a.m. PST.

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16.2-inch MacBook Pro is a Tank

From writing-technology past—yesterday’s post about the discarded L.C. Smith typewriter—we go to the present-future: The 16.2-inch MacBook Pro that replaces my 23-month-old 16-inch MBP. Apple announced the new laptop, and its 14.2-inch sibling, on Oct. 18, 2021 and started taking orders for October 26 availability. I considered a customized configuration for the smaller model but couldn’t decide based on the information available—particularly considering my current computer’s beefy specs: 2.3GHz Core i9 processor; 32GB RAM; 8GB AMD Radeon Pro 5500M graphics; 1TB SSD. As my indecisiveness increased, so did the ship times for any new MacBook Pro. As they slipped into late November and early December, I abandoned the idea.

But I clung to interest in the new models because of the M1 chip, for which my experience already was quite positive from using 11-inch iPad Pro and buying my wife the newer 13.3-inch MBP. Apple offered generous trade-in for my late-2019 MacBook Pro, while supply chain constraints, rising prices, and burgeoning inflation made case for upgrading earlier than previously planned and future-proofing my investment. So I decided, after long consideration: On the 26th, if local Apple Store stocked the larger laptop, I would make the purchase. If not, I would keep the 16-incher for another year.

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Stuffed Buddies

I should have taken photos of these two plushies back when they had more color—before searing San Diego sun and two recent torrential rainstorms weathered them. The pair adorned this yard for months. Faded and ragged from the elements, they appear in black and white, which best presents them.

The Featured Image comes from Leica Q2 Monochrom on Oct. 15, 2021. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/640 sec, 28mm; 12:39 p.m. PDT. Coincidentally, porker Hamlet used to live in the same residence. After Hammy’s family moved away, new renters brought a dog and kitty nicknamed Breezy, who joined my “Cats of University Heights” series in March.

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You Can’t Call 911

This payphone is one of many things out of place along University Avenue in downtown Hillcrest. At my request, today, Annie dropped me in the San Diego neighborhood when she went out on an errand. I walked home, for a change in scenery. Eh, what a change.

As I stood at the stoplight, waiting to cross Sixth Avenue, something tumbled end over end over University and landed in the gutter across the way. Then a skinny, shirtless, suntanned dude strutted across the street—haughty and boisterous. He picked up what looked like a metal pipe or handle and began twirling it combat-style. I pushed the walk button to cross University rather than Sixth.

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We Voted Today

My wife and I dropped off our ballots at Garfield Elementary, which is located in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood. Crossing the parking lot, we saw three people, presumably all poll workers, sitting in folding chairs under an awning outside the school entrance. We had forgotten about masks, which the trio suddenly pulled out and put on before walking inside. Then a brave one came out to meet Annie and I, holding in outstretched arms a yellow canvas sack that blocked the woman from the two pariahs—meaning us. We dropped in our mail-in ballots, and she rushed away. Gosh, I sure hope that wasn’t the trash liner.

Californians are being asked whether or not they want to remove the governor. Unfortunately, opponents and proponents have framed the recall election in terms of Gavin Newsom vs front-runner Larry Elder, which distracts from the reason for everyone going to the polls. The special election is absolutely about Newsom vs Newsom, whether or not he should stay in office or be replaced. Nothing more matters. The answer is Yes or No.

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Storm Warning

They say it never rains in Southern California—until a thunderstorm rolls in without warning. This evening, I ventured out for a late-day walk and progressed one-and-a-half blocks from my apartment, when rain drops started falling. I had been looking West to mainly clear skies, where hung a crescent moon. A downpour commenced seconds later, and I took refuge in an apartment building carport. Meanwhile, lightning flashed and thunder roared.

I used Leica Q2 Monochrom to capture the Featured Image, looking out at the clear horizon while water pummeled everything about me. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/1.7, ISO 5000, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 7:33 p.m. PDT. The photo is cropped to remove building overhang but otherwise is presented as rendered RAW.

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I Don’t Miss Apple Watch

This evening, I turned on Apple Watch Series 5 for the purpose of making the Featured Image—captured using Leica Q2 Monochrom. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/4, ISO 800, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 6:22 p.m. PDT. I hadn’t touched the gadget since putting it in a drawer after taking it off for the last time, on May 31, 2021. The next day, I returned to wearing a mechanical watch—mainly the Luminox Automatic Sport Timer 0921.

I thought that perhaps I might miss the thing, but three months later not the least. Putting aside Apple Watch is a liberating experience. The device constantly distracts, which disrupts short-term memory. Still relevant enough, 11 years later, my missive “Internet Attention Deficit Disorder” is worth a look, on the topic of distraction. Even better, consider book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr. Just my luck: I bought a digital edition in June 2010; the book was revised last year; and a free update isn’t available.

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They’re Ready for Picking

Perhaps you remember the green grapes from early July that had started ripening red and violet two weeks ago. On Aug. 16, 2021, they had turned deep purple, suggesting to my uniformed eye that they are of the Concord variety and ready to pick. I assume a neighbor planted the vine and that the many clusters won’t be wasted.

Three-quarters of the way through a 6.5-kilometer (4-mile) round-trip walk on an errand to nearby Hillcrest, and carrying Leica Q2 Monochrom, I decided to shoot with street settings rather than go Macro mode. Vitals for the Featured Image: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/500 sec, 28mm; 3:52 p.m. PDT. I would have preferred color but black and white works, with the berries’ dark hue that also emphasizes dusty particles on the skin.

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Seagull Shopper

My wife and I drove down to Westfield Mission Valley today to take advantage of an expiring coupon: One free pastry from Panera. She chose the Kitchen Sink Cookie—so large two hands are required to hold it. Walking, while she consumed, we encountered a seagull so squawky that it more or less honked like a goose. The thing prattled about looking for food, presumably, making no attempt to fly off as shoppers passed by. I wondered if he might be wing-injured. Annie wanted to share some cookie but rightly worried that the one sweet thing wouldn’t be good food for the other sweet thing. Yeah, we found the bird endearing as it weaved about shoppers.

I brought Leica Q2 Monochrom to the mall and used the camera to capture the Featured Image. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/320 sec, 28mm; 2:32 p.m. PDT. We briefly continued, then I stopped and asked Annie if she minded my going back for more photos. Happily munching, she motioned me on. As I approached, a couple with a stroller stopped to gawk at the bird, seemingly unaware that they had cornered the thing between a store’s window and sidewalk sign. The gull’s only escape route was inside the shop, and that is where it briefly fled.