It's been a while! Life goes on as usual, but I've been choosing to enjoy the family experience fully instead of carrying my camera. Surely, there's a balance to be had... to be able to have a camera with me and still be present enough to enjoy and participate. It's always rewarding, though, after we come home and find some nice captures to remember the day.
CicLAVia events are always wonderful to participate. There's just a strange feeling when you're riding in the middle of street where is usually filled with cars. It makes it easy to imagine a day when our city planners give bikes more room on the street. One can hope!
Maybe the title should be "So many things to buy, so little money". A bit off topic from Photography... After my recent trip of RV camping with friends, I've looking at various Class B RVs. Due to our city's parking regulation, which doesn't allow RV parking on streets nor trailers on driveways, I was thinking about finding a trailer that will fit in our garage. I already had my eyes set on the Taxa Cricket Camper, and it seemed perfect for us. Its 6'9" height will barely fit through our garage door, and we've started moving things out of the garage to make room.
But after the last trip, I was convinced that an RV is probably the better way to go. A class B RV will look like a van that can be parked on our driveway. It'll allow the kids to move around in the back, distract them from long drives. And, the thought of having a shower/toilet built-in will make boondocking possible. The trailer camper was always meant to be a stepping stone towards an RV in the later future (we're not getting any younger), so I asked myself, why not skip the middle step and just go directly to an RV?
The major deterrent is obviously the price, about 100k. They don't depreciate that fast so it'll likely keep its value for a while. Another fear is that it'll end up sitting in my driveway not used, but knowing us, I think we'll put it to good use. Having an RV means you can plan trips that go further, longer, and in seasons where you wouldn't dare with tents. The RV industry has gone through some technology update in recent years, with solar and lithium battery, some RV makers are moving towards a no-propane and no-generator design. I've found the Hymer Aktiv to be the one for us. Time to save some money, quick.
So what does this has to do with Photography? Well, it means no more new lenses, no more M10, and no more new gears. Plus, some people have often suggested that instead of a piece of new gear, people should invest the money on trips to make new memories. That's my main goal here. New RV so we can take more trips to make new memories... That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.
What an idyllic place for camping and fishing! I got invited to go RV camping with my friends to this central California location near Mammoth Lakes. The campground is in the middle of a plain that's surrounded by snow-peaked mountains. Being about 7000 feet above sea level, it was hot during the day time as the sun shines directly down, and yet chilly at night. The ever-bending Owens River provided plenty of places for fishes to hide and for the fishermen to cast their lines. There's also an off-road track that we took advantage of. Besides the swarms of mosquitos and blood sucking flies, it was a great weekend.
It was the first time I took my son fishing, so he had a blast. While I don't feel the same attraction for fishing, it was a wonder to see how many kids can concentrate and stay quiet while patiently waiting, whom might be considered over-active or hyper in normal settings. Patience as a virtue is often awarded in fishing, as long as the river is well stocked ;-)
With such an expansive landscape, I saw no desire of switching lenses from the WATE. I heard someone said that landscape photography is basically photographing weather. It felt true here. The land is beautiful all day long, but you really need to wait for the right light and cloud formations to kick it up a notch. Ultimately, I'm just glad to be able to take the camera out again, after being a bit stagnant lately. For the whole set of images, [CLICK HERE].
We had a busted hose in our house a couple of months ago, caused major water damage in the house. That's why I've been missing in action in the photography front. Finally, everything is repaired and life has returned to normal. We took my son and nephews to Universal Studio Hollywood today because their spring break is coming to an end. I didn't take a lot of shots since it was our 4th or 5th time back with our annual pass.
Leica doesn't make it easy for someone to hold on to a camera year after years. With great restraint, I'm using shooting with the M9 after all these years. The sensor of the typ-240 didn't impress me enough to upgrade, which is ultimately the same reason I didn't go for the M-D, even though it hit all the right notes for me ergonomically. I'm afraid the M10 is just too much for me to resist with the ISO dial, thinner body, viewfinder upgrade, and wonderful new sensor. I will, however, be a little bit more stubborn and wait for the M-P version, making my M9 almost 10 years old when I do switch.
Why not wait for the M-D version? The real pull of the M-D version for me was the ISO dial on the back and never needing the LCD screen again. However, now with the dedicated ISO dial on top, I will have what I need and be able to see all my exposure settings by look down at the camera. I can just turn off previews, and reserve the right to use it when I need it. I would love to try to shoot with the WATE without the franken-finder and use the LCD screen liveview for focusing and composing. Also having the option to format SD cards in camera will be nice, which is not available with the M-D.
So, I've successfully punt the camera purchase decision down another 1 or 2 years, and my wallet will thank me for that.
Jessica needed some photos of herself, so we hanged some sheets for backdrop and setup a single light for a quick portrait session. A bit awkward for both of us... since she's not used to modeling and I'm not used to shooting studio portraits. But we pushed through and came out with some nice shots and a bit more experience for both of us :)
For new year's eve, we drove up to Lake Arrowhead and stayed in a cabin. There were rain, there were snow, but luckily we didn't need any tire chains. It's not easy to encounter this type of images in SoCal, so I was entranced by the foggy scenery. Besides my numbing fingers, my only other concern was trying to keep the lens clean and dry. Although the M9 isn't marketed as weather-proof, it performed flawlessly none-the-less.
Lake Arrowhead is only about 3500 feet up, so we had mostly rain; only at night, when it's cold enough, we're able to get snow. We were stucked in the cabin most of the time, but we made the most of the sunshine we were able to get.
For the full set of images, [CLICK HERE]
For our company holiday party this year, we visited Malibu Wines which also had a safari ride through the SaddleRock Winery. Thousands of acres in the Malibu hills, mixed with animals and grape vines, what a beautiful and scenic setting.
Today is another CicLAvia event, in the heart of LA. The bike routes connected Chinatown, Boyle Heights, and MacArthur Park. We parked our car in Chinatown and rode our way through Downtown LA's financial district to MacArthur Park, and stopped by Little Tokyo for lunch on our way back.
With my minimal setup, just the M9 and 35'Cron, I caught a few keepers along the way. This bike event always gave us a great experience because it allowed us to pass through places that we normally took for granted, showing us beauty that can only be appreciated if you slow down.
The route also past right in front of the Bradbury building, so of course I couldn't resist to go inside and just bask in its beauty for a little bit. I wasn't expecting to take that many pictures so I didn't put in a freshly charged battery and ended up running out of juice around lunch time. I was glad to at least caught this last image, though.
My Journey into Leica...
A path not to be taken lightly, not without reservations, and not without dedication, but the results can be sweet, OH SO SWEET! This is a documentation of my trials and tribulations into the world of Leica Rangefinder Photography, and I hope you'll enjoy coming along with me.