For my 41st birthday, I asked my wife that we go camping. Luckily, we were able to find a open spot in Barton Flats Campground in San Bernardino National Forest (Near Big Bear Lake). Strangely enough, we've been camping all around California, and yet, this is the first time we've camped near Big Bear. I guess we always thought of it as a ski resort thing in the winter, but I'm glad we've found more use for it during the summer!
Barton Flats turned out to be a great campground. There are many big trees here to provide good shades and there are nice clean toilets and free showers. The camp host does an excellent job upkeeping the place... each campsite is raked and cleaned before the guests' arrival. We definitely wouldn't mind coming back here again.
Very near the campground, there's very nice short hike (approx. 1 mile) up to Jens Lake. It tooks us about an hour, with plenty of rests, to hike up to the Lake. The stunning view of the lake makes the hike worth it. Some of us went walking around the lake which probably took less than 30 minutes. The water is very clear, but we told to not swim in it because there are lots of fish hooks from people's line getting caught in the algae.
All in all, what a lovely weekend to celebrate my birthday. I found that 16mm is great for taking selfies, so you might see more of me in my own photographs! NOT :) If you would like the see the full set of images from this weekend, [CLICK HERE].
The WATE has been stuck on my M9 for the past month. Still learning its characteristics and adjusting myself to shoot at such wide angle. I'm starting to notice the distortions it brings when shooting at close quarters, but overall I'm still very happy with it. We'll soon be going on a camping trip and I can't wait to take it out in the wild!
Shooting with a wide-angle lens is a lot of fun. At 21mm, your field of view is about 90 degree, and at 16mm, it feels like looking with one eye open... it's WIDE! With the recently acquired Wide Angle Tri-Elmar (WATE), I figured I needed some time to get to know the lens, its operation, the frankenfinder, and just learning to shoot wide-angle shots overall. Today we took my son and our moms out for some sun exposure. We first went to Long Beach and stopped by the Restoration Hardware Outlet, and we went to Redondo Beach to walk around. I had a lot of fun trying to figure out how to compose a scene and here are the results:
I thought the Leica 16-18-21mm Wide Angle Tri-Elmar (WATE) was going to my landscape lens. However, I didn't know how much fun a wide angle lens can be in a close quarter, capturing scenes that I never imagined before. What a fun lens!
A father's day present that came early! 28'Cron has served as my wide angle lens for a while now. While I'm able to make it work most of the time, I always had a wandering eye for something wider. I've been hawking over the online forums and eBay for the 21'SEM and the WATE for a while now. Finally, last week I was able to pick up a great condition WATE for a very reasonable price, I'm so happy my patience paid off. My wife agreed with the purchase and said it'll be my father's day present :P
Here's a snapshot of my son while I tested the lens out:
The "Leica Q", just released yesterday, seems to have a lot of people excited. It checked a lot of must-want boxes that people have talked endlessly for: full-frame, slimmer body than the M, better ISO performance, EVF, and very good autofocus. Wait, what? AUTOFOCUS?! When did that become a big thing for Leica shooters?
The Q looks to be an effort for Leica to appeal to non-RF shooters who might come from DSLR or other Mirrorless offerings, but it doesn't interest me much. To be honest, I was tempted at first, too. I immediately thought that this would be a great backup to my M9 when the lights are low, but then I realized the flaw in that line of thinking... it will only be an second option for me. What I wanted was a camera that's good enough to replace the M9 to be my first option.
Since I shot exclusively with the 28'Cron on Sunday in the San Diego County Fair, I thought about how it would have been if I had the Q instead? I think it would have been just fine. For the shots of my son on the rides, I would have relied on the autofocus and it probably would have gotten me more shots than I did with the RF-and-wait method. It could also miss a few, like the shot above. It wasn't mission critical for me to get every shot in the right focus, but I got enough keepers to make me and my family happy, and most importantly, I thoroughly enjoyed the photo-taking process because I was 100% involved. If I had shot with the Q instead, I feel my own efforts or involvement would be greatly reduced to the level of using it as a point-and-shoot. Obviously, that's not where I want to be.
I know one can turn off all the auto-ness and shoot manual, but focus-by-wire with focus-peaking and live view zoom doesn't appeal to me. So... for now, I'll keep waiting. I'll wait for the right M9 replacement, while enjoy every minute with the M9.
While we were down in San Diego for a birthday party, we stayed over night and went to the San Diego County Fair at the Del Mar Fairground the next day. It's been a while since we've taken my son to a similar setting because he has been fairly skittish about going on the rides. Well, it seems he has grown up a bit this time. He was much more willing to get on the faster rides and overcome his fears. I was so proud.
The fair had a reserved section that contained rides for younger kids and that was perfect for Aidan. As for me, my wife and I just indulged in some not-so-healthy food :-) It seemed the most healthy food there was fish tacos and it gets much worse from there, fried-everything. I had my fill of fried zucchinis and fish tacos, which was what I missed about the Del Mar Fair.
For the full set of images, please check it out in my personal gallery [HERE].
While waiting for my meat to smoke during this Memorial Day weekend, I walked around my sister-in-law's backyard to look for interesting things to photograph. Saw this little guy... probably no one has paid him any attention for years. I wonder what was he suppose to hold in his hand?
Then I saw this bird that's about to be trapped by the vines.
I recently bought a Kamado Joe smoker grill and it has changed BBQ for me forever. I've always enjoyed some good BBQ once in a while, but now I'm slightly obsessed. While the new Monochrom 246 camera sounds intriguing, I think I will be spending my money elsewhere for a while... in my stomach :)
Also some shots of bubble fun in the backyard, something we haven't done for a while.
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.