A Non-Linear wrap-up of the last three days. And what I bought myself for an end of the year present.

Belinda creating table decor with free rosemary. 

On Thursday, early afternoon, Ben and I drove out to Dripping Springs, Texas to Emmett and Lisa's Christmas Eve open house. Lots of people who I swim with were there with their families and friends. Ben got into a long conversation with an old friend who makes his living as a child psychiatrist while I took photos of Emmett (famous chef and restauranteur) using a saber to pop the tops off fancy Italian sparkling wine. Emmett and Lisa are the owners (totally hands-on) of Asti Trattoria which is my absolute favorite restaurant in all of central Texas. 

I knew Emmett was going to do something like use a saber to decapitate wine bottles so I brought along a camera and appropriate lens. It was a Lumix S1 and the 24-105mm kit lens. The perfect choice for a sunny afternoon out in the Hill Country.

Ben survived his interrogation conversation unscathed in time for us to head back home and help Belinda get ready for our Christmas Eve Celebration with a family of close friends. We made a standing rib roast which I think was a tactical error. Oh, it was delicious and everything but if you have a nicely marbled hunk of beef you'll be shocked at the sheer amount of grease that ends up on the bottom of the pan, on the cutting board, etc. As designated cleaner I now have an appreciation of just how labor intensive kitchen work can be. 

A good selection of red wines and Champagnes was a nice antidote to the very thought of my impending role as head dishwasher....

I photographed Belinda putting together sprigs of Rosemary with the Lumix S1 and the Zeiss 50mm f1.7 Y/C lens, wide open. (it was such a "wide open" sort of day). 

We ate and talked and laughed and sang until late in the evening and then, after our friends headed home, all settled down for a long winter's nap. 

A blue Santa in the window at Toy Joy.

On the 23rd I took a bit of time to go walk downtown to see if any pretty baubles caught my eye and would make nice gifts. I came home almost empty handed but did manage to take one photograph that I liked. It's the one just above of a plastic Santa in a blue costume. I love all the lights and colors in the background and captured this image with the Lumix S1 and the Sigma 45mm f2.8 (shot at f4.0).

As we say in Texas: "This here is Emmett, fixing to whack the top off a bottle of wiiiiiine."

I've been carrying the big Lumix S1 cameras and the even bigger lenses around for a couple of months now and they've done a great job but they left me desiring a small and discreet kit to carry around with me on long walks and in social situations in which five or six pounds of big, black camera gear seems to be a little out of place.

You probably read my musings about the possibility of adding a Lumix LX100 ii to the herd but I swerved after conferring with my retail camera consiglieri and carefully comparing the LX100xx and its sister camera, the Lumix GX85. For $900 I could buy the little fixed lens marvel but, with a current Panasonic end of year sale I could get the GX85 and two Lumix lenses for.....get this.....$449. 

I spent an hour at the store today, going back and forth and walking around shooting stupid stuff with each camera. The GX85 was the definite choice. Don't get me wrong, I loved most of the ethos of the LX100xx but the GX85 stepped up when I reminded myself that I had saved my complete collection of Olympus Pen FT half frame lenses from the chopping block during my last studio equipment purge. 

The GX85 can use those lenses (easily) since the mount (with lens adapter) is perfect for them. So, for less than $500 I end up with a body, a 45-150mm G Vario zoom and a 12-32mm G Vario zoom lens. I came right home and put the 40mm f1.4 Pen FT lens on the camera and I've been walking around, happy, ever since. 

Guess what? The GX85 menus are so similar to the S1 menus that I had the camera set up and ready to go in about 10 minutes. Bonus. 

I have time for a few more blog posts in 2019 so stay tuned. Or not. Your choice, but I won't be changing editorial content to please you.....