Posted by Kirk Tuck, Photographer/Writer at 19:04
From "Christmas Carol" at Zach Theatre.
So, here we are, the day before Christmas Eve. I'm having six or eight people over for dinner tomorrow evening and we decided to buy an eight foot collapsible table to handle the overflow. Belinda found one at Walmart.com and ordered it online for at store pickup. I haven't shopped at Walmart....ever. But I had a huge load of prejudices against the chain of stores: They've ruined small town retail, they have a huge employee base and many of them are on Medicaide because they aren't paid enough to buy health insurance, the majority of their inventory is cheap crap from China, they are a shopping nexus for all the people with MAGA hats, and so much more. But here's the deal, the store nearest us was clean, modern and well appointed. The waiting area for online pickups had nice chairs and pleasant employees. Everyone was helpful. The service was prompt. Someone even offered to carry the table out to my car. I left with a much modified impression of my most local Walmart... Go figure. Not going to be a regular stop on my shopping agenda....but....
We went to our local grocery store to pick up our grass fed, organic, standing prime rib roast for tomorrow's dinner and I found myself thinking I could have bought a new lens for the same price. Odd; food and lenses priced in the same range. Of course, it would not be a pricy lens, nor would it be organic but still... Might not be wise to shop often at a store where one fights for a parking space with Bentley and Maserati owners.....
I got stuff done today that had nothing to do with photography. I bought a few last minute presents for family. I cleaned the main bathroom (and I mean I cleaned!!! Scrubbed the floor, scrubbed the toilet, scrubbed the sink, made the bathtub look brand new. I also washed the kitchen floor (Saltillo tile) and did a couple loads of laundry. I hit the wine shop and impoverished myself rounding up something for everyone on our dinner list.
But the most important thing I did was to ignore all the other things on my "to-do" list and hightail it over to the Deep Eddy pool for a frosty, refreshing, noon swim with my friends, Emmett and Julie. The water was a brisk 72 degrees but it was made more manageable by an air temperature around 70 degrees and a beautiful, sunny sky. I was in a hurry so I got in my 3200 yards and got back to (domestic) work. (Our regular pool is closed---much to our chagrin---from now until Friday!!!! Grrrr.).
As I was swimming along, trying to keep some feeling in my freezing toes, I started to think about what I might want for Christmas.... if there is a Santa Claus.
I made a list just in case someone out there has been torturing themself trying to figure out what to get me for being such an adorable and entertaining human. Let's go through the list. It's short. Call me if you need the shipping address. Okay?
I've been thinking of getting a new compact camera and I've narrowed my choices down to the Lumix LX 100ii or the Lumix LX 100ii. Either will do fine. My rationale? A good lens range, a small, nearly pocketable overall package, and a menu that's similar enough to the S1s that it won't cause my headaches. Reviews tell me that the 4K video is actually decent (no mic or headphone jacks) and that the color is a good match for the S1s and G9 in the Panasonic family. It's not ruinously expensive like a Leica and it's kind of on sale for about $100 off. If you decide that this is what you'd like to send along, Santa, then can I also request a second battery? I love back-up batteries....
I don't know why but after using some of these enormous lenses I've purchased for my Lumix S1 and S1R cameras I'm desiring one more big and over-engineered lens. The one I'm looking at right now...two days before Christmas.... is the Sigma 40mm f1.4 Art lens for the L mount. Sure, I have the 35mm Art lens and the breathtaking 50mm Lumix S Pro lens (which they sell by the pound...) but for some reason my avaricious brain is trying to convince me that it would be great to have something somewhere in the middle. You know, when your camera bag just isn't heavy enough and you're paralyzed trying to decide between the 50 and the 35.
The 40mm Sigma Art lens is supposed to be made to cinema lens standards (whatever that means) and according to those guys over at LensRentals.com it's wicked sharp and has an MTF curve that would pop the pennies off a dead man's eyes. Gotta have it. It will go well with the featherweight Sigma 45mm f2.8 and will allow me to select middling primes in 5 mm increments. What could be more artistic? (Tuck as never heard of cropping!!!?).
For all those times that I want to travel without the massive density of the assorted primes I thought I might also like the new Panasonic 24-70mm f2.8 S Pro lens. I handled one recently and it's less than half the weight of the 50mm f1.4 and is right snappy when it comes to focusing and handling. Yeah, I know it seems a bit over the top. Especially since I already have the 24-105mm f4.0 kit lens and have found it to be really, really good. But what are you going to do? The Think Tank rolling case knows what it wants to coddle....
If you had a banner year and you're just splashing cash all over the place you could impress the hell out of me with the gift of a Leica SL 90mm Apo Summicron. Really, for as good as that lens is the folks at Leica are basically just giving them away. Sharp and imbued with enormous character it could be the "break through" lens I've been searching for (in vain) for all these many decades. It might help me unleash my (until now) hidden talent as a photographer. If that doesn't work it will still look good when I saunter into those ASMP meetings or dangle it over my shoulder at a Photo Expo.
I'll probably leave the price tag on it just so people who don't know the brand will understand just how cool it is.....
Oh heck. If we're looking at getting me 90mm Summicrons from Leica we might as well just pull the Band-Aid right off and go for the sweet pairing of the Leica SL2 and the 50mm Apo Summicron. No. No, it is not possible to have too many 50mm lenses. Let it go. It's my fantasy. Maybe I'll sell some under-performing lens in the inventory to make room ---- but probably not.
I realize that $10K is a bit much to ask for but I'm sure a couple of you might want to pitch in together and make it happen. Just don't ask Belinda to contribute to the fund; I've already made that mistake...
So, Then reality kicks in and I tell you what I'm really looking for at Christmas: A new, winter swim cap. That's really about it. All I can handle right now.
Anybody out there getting something great (camera or lens-wise) for the Holidays? It's the perfect time to rationalize raiding the retirement account... No. Really!
Posted by Kirk Tuck, Photographer/Writer at 19:01