Tag: Leica Q2

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The Cats of University Heights: Jolly

The fifty-sixth putty-tat seen behind window or door made an unexpected appearance, along Madison near Delaware, early afternoon Feb. 4, 2020. I shot a half-dozen photos—some auto, others manually—focused, and the last is best. The Featured Image, nearly 100-percent cropped, comes from Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/800 sec, 28mm; 12:48 p.m. PST.

The cat’s coloration reminds of Internet meme-maker (and now deceased) Grumpy Cat, but without the ridiculous frown. An appropriate nickname should be some kind of opposite, then. I choose Jolly.

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The Cats of University Heights: Chum

As summer solstice approached last year, I spotted three playful kitties romping around a front lawn not far from where North meets Madison. Only two were photographed, and I frequented the property over the following months hoping for a shot of the third. No such luck. Finally, in October, the pair joined the series with nickname Chums; I have seen them chasing one another a few times since.

The other remained more mirage until the morning of Jan. 29, 2020, when he (or she) appeared on the porch overlooking the yard they all apparently share. Singular Chum is appropriate moniker for frenemy the third. I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 100, 1/80 sec, 28mm; 9:49 a.m. PST.

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The (Honorary) Cats of University Heights: Promise

On Feb. 16, 2019, my wife and I happened upon an unexpected apartment open house, in North Park, but only a few blocks beyond our neighborhood’s boundary. The complex’s center courtyard, surrounded by cute cottages, was lush with greenery and trees; the atmosphere was tranquil. In the back, two upstair flats topped garages that opened into the alley behind. One of them, a two-bedroom, was larger than our residence, for $210-monthly less money. The landlord had owned the property for nearly 40 years. We liked his character, and that of the vacant unit.

We were first applicants, and the gent called the next morning to offer us the place. Annie and I walked back, spent two hours looking around, and discussed whether or not we would accept. Massive number of windows would welcome warming rays from sunrise to sunset. We had to say yes, and left a deposit check equivalent to one month’s rent. In the afternoon, we returned to measure for placement of furniture and to assess late-day sunlight and airflow. Then the negatives started to pile up in our minds. Among them: With windows open, the place was warm, not breezy, which forebode overly-hot during summertime; an odd smell emanating from the kitchen bothered us; and prospect of street parking, which a San Diego bike path project would limit during years-long construction, looked to be challenging. After further deliberation, I called the owner to tell him, with great angst, we wouldn’t take the apartment after all.

What does any of this have to do with today’s kitty?

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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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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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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.

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The Cats of University Heights: Huck

Is that a neighborhood newcomer I see—but not yet a yearling? As my wife and I walked along Louisiana today, Huck (real name) appeared from behind a car, at the same property where Princess Leia and I first met about 19 months earlier. Last year, the Wilcoxes considered renting an affordable apartment in the same building. But the two bedrooms received no meaningful direct sunlight, making them too cold and dim for our liking.

Anne and I may not be Huck’s neighbors, but he has plenty—some of which may hissy-fit over territory. Among the other profiled, feisty felines seen on the street—along the four blocks between Adams and Meade—or known to live there: Amazon, Bandit, Boss, Daniel TigerDarth Mew, DonutsFluffy, Ginger, Gracie (deceased), Jedi, Nelson, Patriot, Royal, SnowStripe, and Topper.