Morning out with a Leica TL2 and the Sigma 24mm f3.5 lens; complete with an L mount...


automation comes to Barton Springs Pool. 
Pre-purchasing tickets speeds up the line to get in. 
Having a pool pass makes things even quicker.

It's a little after noon and the heat index is already at 109°. That's okay. I got out earlier this morning when it was still a brisk and cool 90°. Complete with a refreshing four mile per hour breeze --- but only if you were walking a 15 minute per mile pace...

As reflects my ever advancing chronological age I was able to park in front of Barton Springs Pool courtesy of my newly acquired "Senior Season Pool Pass." It's good for free admission to all of the Austin public pools and an added bonus is a hang-tag for the car that gives the holder free parking as well. Double bonus. 

I wanted to walk before noon because my TL2 came to me in a dream during the night (I blame the full moon) and indicated that I wasn't using it enough. It felt neglected. I can understand. There are only so many days in a week and there are so many cameras that need walking around. So after early swim practice and a meager first breakfast I put on some long pants, grabbed a big hat, slapped on some sunscreen and headed out the door. Oh yeah. I also took the TL2 outfitted with Sigma's dandy little 24mm f3.5 Contemporary lens. A far more amiable package than the Art series 24mm 1.4 and the big SL2. 

I really liked being able to park near the pool since it's on the hike and bike trail around Lady Bird Lake. It's a good spot to start a walk from and an even better end point for a long walk on a hot day. 

I've gotten better at dealing with cameras that have no eye level finders or EVFs. I even had luck today shooting in bright sunlight. I guess it's a matter of training oneself. It's not my preferred way of shooting but it's not as odious a routine as I once suggested. Either that or rear LCD panels have gotten a lot better. 

A quick shot before starting my walk. Pool attendance was brisk today. 
And remember, if you want to come and swim laps for free you can do so between 
five a.m. and eight a.m. It's not crowded then either. But there are no 
guards and there are no underwater lights. Keep clear of the sides 
in the dark so the snakes don't get you......

One silver lining to the tremendous heat is that as the day goes along
there is less and less traffic on the walking trails. 

funny. That building wasn't there last time I looked...

I am enjoying the colors I get out of the .DNG files from the TL2
They are also very easy to work with in post. Lots of D.R.

Just on the other side of the bridge is the spot where a garbage truck driver 
tried to take the curve too fast and lost control of his huge vehicle. It skidded over
the curb and right into the hike and bike trail just as then governor, George Bush, was jogging by the same spot with his security entourage. The truck missed him by "that much."
And now we'll never know what history would have been like if we hadn't been 
manipulated into attacking Iran's arch-enemy, Iraq. Only to find that,
just like voter fraud, there were no weapons of mass destruction....
Thanks George. It's a Wonderful Life.

The 24mm lens and the TL2 body work seamlessly together. 
The angle of view is much like that of a 35mm on a full frame camera.

At the end of a long walk I was hot, tired, covered with sweat and a bit drained from the heat. But since I parked across from the pool and I had a brand new pass I.D. card in the car, I tossed my camera, wallet and pocket junk into the car (don't ever try this in San Francisco...), grabbed my swim pass and headed into the pool. Minutes later I slid into the 68° water and could actually feel my core temperature dropping minute by minutes. Once I felt good and cold I got dressed and headed back to the neighborhood on the daily search for coffee. Oh, and a blueberry bran muffin. Second breakfast. Now heading for lunch...

My first attempts with the Leica TL2 were misguided. I tend to treat every camera as I would a professional camera. I expect to spend time intervening in the settings, carefully examining the frames, adding my input where I felt it was appropriate. But the TL2 isn't like a Nikon D850 or even a Leica CL. It's really designed, I think, to be about as welcoming of "outside" instruction as a cellphone or an artist. 

I've decided that the optimal way to use the TL2 is to consider it a smartphone without any telephony capability. You trade the ability to make phone calls and trade on the stock market for a bigger sensor and interchangeable lenses but your approach to this camera should be the same as your approach to your iPhone. Wake the camera up, point it at the subject you'd like to capture, half press the shutter button to focus and then....commit. 

I have my TL2 now set up to shoot Raw+Jpeg Fine. AWB. S-AF. Single Frame. Auto-ISO. I point, make sure the green square lights up and then shoot. That's it. I never check a histogram but that's because I permanently have the camera set for minus two thirds of a stop with the exposure compensation. I figure if the frame is too dark I can easily fix it in post. This is, for all intents and purposes, a point and shoot camera; the iPhone of mini-cameras, etc. If you want to be more serious in your pursuits you might want to consider something more festooned with controls.

At some point my obvious contrarian nature will rear up and present itself by taking this small camera (with no finder) and putting the biggest and most expensive lens on the front of it. Something that absolutely dwarfs this little box. Then I will attempt to shoot a big and complex project with the odd and totally counterintuitive pairing. Stay tuned. 

For now I'm getting comfortable learning to enjoy this little camera in the way I think it was designed to be operated --- and enjoyed.

Also learning to ignore (for the most part) the heat and get on with life. It's all a mindset.