It was Black and White day today. I Celebrated the occasion with a black and white walk.


News that's largely meaningless to you but significant to me: 

Raccoons. AKA: Trash Pandas. Humanely removed by nothing more than a smelly rag. An interesting and low impact solution for my chimney dwellers. The chimney got two layers of heavy duty, metal mesh masonry-ed into place along with the regular top-of-chimney cage, also cemented in place. 

I now believe that raccoons are smarter and stronger than humans and can really only be stopped by half inch steel bars but the current construction is a strong deterrent. I now worry that the baby raccoons will not have as nice a place in which to grow up...  Not that I'll be inviting them into the office.

Cars: I was roundly pilloried by an anonymous commenter whose mission seems to be two pronged: to attack any post I make with which he disagrees and also to force everyone with whatever pressure he can exert to only buy electric cars which you will then be required to drive for the rest of your life. No replacements and no exceptions. I've had my fill of asshole commenters so from now on when I come across a petulant post from an anonymous commenter I will discard it post haste. Now, this doesn't mean that my loyal readers who are also brave enough to leave their names will suffer the same treatment. You are almost family and can slag me to your heart's content, as long as you stay away from the ad hominem stuff, and continue to take credit for your brutal critiques. I would not want to rob friends of the opportunity to tell me how wrong I am. That's what friends are for. 

I'm currently driving an "undercover" looking sedan from the dealer. My new car, prior to wreaking unbelievable havoc on the environment, is traveling to Austin on a car-carrying truck and will be here to begin its destruction of all we hold good and noble by, maybe, Wednesday. Just look for the black clouds of smoke over the '46 zip code. That'll just be me starting up my new, 4 cylinder, low emission, inexpensive car for the first time. I'm pretty sure I'll keep the new one for a much longer time frame. I hope that makes him/her/us/them happy. 

Here's what I'm tooling around in for the rest of the week: 

I swear to God that it doesn't run on coal...

Cameras and stuff: I'm pretty happy with the stuff I've got in-house. But you know how that might go. Still... we're entering what I usually see as a "breathing spell" after a period of rapid acquisitions. I'm already planning an out of town foray when the new car arrives. I'm heading to San Antonio to photograph out on the street. I'm going to get back into the practice of making portraits on the street. I plan to spend at least one overnight there. Since I no longer have parents with nice houses in that city I'll be booking my overnight at one of the nicer downtown hotels. I can't wait to get out of the city. It's been over a year since I've been to San Antonio and I've missed the way it looks, smells and feels. I hope it hasn't been damaged too much by the pandemic. 

Current lens crushes: I'm very attached to the 65mm f2.0 Contemporary lens from Sigma. Damn. It's very sharp wide open, improves a little bit as you stop down, and just makes images that sing beautifully whether I use it on a Leica or an S series Panasonic. If I didn't own one I would be sitting at the computer with my favorite credit card in one hand, ordering one right now. I'd even pay for the expedited shipping. 

Camera crushes: While I own the Leica SL2 it's the SL that's got me wrapped around its right hand grip. I can't put my finger on it exactly but the camera just feels perfect. I paid about $1990 for the camera, used, and it's right in line with the same price as an entry level, full frame, Sony, Nikon or Canon. But it's worlds more luxe when it comes to the body design and construction. The colors coming straight out as Jpegs are stringently neutral and the hand feel is almost so good as to be illegal. I've been shooting it in the Jpeg+DNG mode but I keep using the Jpegs, being satisfied and the then trashing the raw files. I wish the batteries lasted longer and, as an adjunct to that wish, I also wish the batteries were about a third the price. But everything else makes me smile so big I could rival the Cheshire Cat. If you've always wanted to play with a Leica get an SL and a Sigma 45mm f2.8 and go to town. It's one of the most fun combos I can think of. 

Camera crushes continued: Get a Fuji X100V. They are just really, really good for the price. I fall in love every time I shoot with mine. 

Finally, I used the interval shooting feature of the Leica yesterday. It was so simple to set up that I thought I might be doing something wrong. I was not. But it allowed me to get a funny photo of myself that I put up on Instagram with an appropriate caption. Here's the pic: 

It's my "Senior" portrait. I can hardly wait to see it in the yearbook.

It was shot by S. Tymer. 

Daylight Architecture at f2.0. Now that's different. At least for me.


I never thought to photograph a building at f2.0 in broad daylight. Logic would tell me that I have lots of light, could use a modest ISO and still be able to get a shutter speed that would freeze any camera motion at a range of apertures; any of which might get me deeper depth of field and greater lens correction.

But today I was exploring the edges of the gear. What happens if we shoot everything at ISO 50? How do the files look? Are they very different than all the stuff we usually shoot at ISO 100 or 200?

What happens if we photograph buildings with an aperture of f2.0 instead of f5.6 or 8.0? Will the entire building be in focus? Is the lens sharp enough when used at its maximum aperture? 

After working with both the Leica SL and SL2 I have a small theory about sharpness and image stabilization. I think it may be a good idea to turn it off when you don't need it and see if that actually improves the work you might be doing at 1/1,600th of a second or so. Surely, with a static subject that's a fast enough shutter speed to freeze just about any camera movement or shutter shock. And an engaged image stabilization feature in combination with high shutter speeds may create more problems than it solves. If you don't test it you won't know, right?

This was f2.0, 1/1600 shutter speed, and ISO 50. Jpeg with a little saturation boost in the shooting. Click on it and look at it bigger. See if I learned anything or if it's just another building shot.

That's Scott Newton's Photo of Leon Russell Behind Me. It's over at the W Hotel. Which is connected to the Austin City Limits stage.


I'm enjoying doing self portraits with my new Leica cameras. I think I do it to see what I've looked like for all these years to all the thousands of people who waited patiently for me to get my shit together on the other side of the camera. It's also a learning process but it's a small one. It's mostly how to get the camera hold correct to be able to get sharp photos without image stabilization.