“Beauty is the courage to be oneself. … It should be the responsibility of modern photographers to free women, and ultimately everyone, from the tyranny of youth and perfection,” Peter Lindbergh, Photographer.

 Peter Lindbergh is one of my very favorite photographers. He passed away recently. His death moved me to buy all of his available books. His black and white work, while very different from mine, is "emotionally" the standard to which I constantly aspire but will probably never reach. 

There is an online photo magazine called, Blind that just posted a nice article about him
and his place in the fashion world. 

It's well worth reading: 



When I wrote about mirrorless cameras with EVFs back in 2010......


...the typical response from legions of photographers was something like: "I'll stop using DSLRs when you pry my cold, dead hands off my Nikon (or Canon, or Pentax or.....). A few years ago I was told it would take a decade or more before mirrorless cameras outsold DSLRs.
I was also told by a huge number of working photographers that: "Real Pros will never stop using optical finders!!!" 

Imagine how surprised I was when I walked into my local camera store. They finally organized all of their used cameras. These are cases filled with almost nothing but DLSR cameras. All used. All looking for new homes. All hoping to escape recycling or salvage. 

Seems like a whole lot of dyed-in-the-wool DSLR adherents died all at once. Or maybe they just had their minds changed by progress. I guess that could happen. I just don't see it very often...

(Yeah. That was twelve+ years ago...)

When I asked the staff about the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of Nikon and Canon and third place finisher DSLR cameras bodies and lenses they had on their shelves they told me that very few people even consider buying a DSLR these days and the store had been  buying the used ones up for peanuts, or on trade, with the idea that a barely used, professional DSLR would sell well to people who still liked the moving mirror/optical finder technology. 

The follow up? They've actually stopped buying used DSLRs  because --- no one seems to want them anymore. They don't actually sell these days. But Sony A7s, Panasonic GH cameras and Olympus OM-1s, even Leicas, are flying off the shelves.

I got bored photographing the DSLR surplus with my phone and asked to see the case with the used L mount system stuff, or the used Leica SL/CL stuff. It didn't exist. Seems people don't trade them in very often. Like, almost never. Maybe it's because of all that stuff I wrote about in 2010. The tectonic shift finally arrived in spades and now it's on track to be the decade of mirrorless cameras. In whatever form/brand you like. Suprisingly people finally figured out the advantages of mirrorless cameras and EVF finders. Better late than never.

The Ebb and Flow of Work. Now preparing for a minor uptick.

Central Texas Wine Harvest. Early morning start.

I've given up listening to advice about the 'inevitable' winding down of a career on the account of age. My clients don't seem to notice. The gear still works. Both photographic and human. And it's really nice to work with people who are willing to pay well for what you like to do.

Everyone tells me that if I retire I can spend my days doing whatever I want. Hmmm. What would that look like? I could get up early and go to swim practice! But I already do that. I could pick and choose the projects I'd like to work on! But I already do that. I'd be master of my own schedule.....and if you don't think I already do that you don't know me well... 

Last month I did three jobs. Or assignments. One was to take portraits of advertising people against a white background and then drop them into a nice, believable composite with various industrial backgrounds I'd also photographed. The portraits took the better part of a Monday morning. The industrial scapes took a "mixed" day which I describe as a choppy salad of photographing mostly when the mood struck me but almost always while out for a walk with a camera and lens. You know, something I regularly do without the crutch of an assignment. The post processing took a day. The payoff matches or exceeds our domestic "burn rate" for a month.

The second assignment, also for a local advertising agency was a bit of a rush job for an art director with whom I've worked for over thirty years. We met at a seafood wholesaler and photographed various arrangements of fresh gulf jumbo shrimp on crushed ice. We were in and out of the location in three hours time. There was a bit of post production in the afternoon and the payoff was somewhat about having fun goofing around with my friend, but also a quick payment that would easily finance another (contraindicated) used Leica CL.

The third assignment was a half day spent photographing attorneys in front of a white background in a comfy, large conference room at the Four Seasons Hotel. After the photo selections were made I also composited each image with a corporate looking background. I spent two days doing post production. The payoff is another month and a half of burn rate for the domestic operation we call "home life." 

If you have the ability to meet your financial obligations by working three or four days a month I would have to say that 'official' retirement really wouldn't gain me a meaningful amount of spare time or time to play. I think I have that pretty well wired right now. 

When I finish a project I always have the thought that, because of the markets, or the recession, or the plague, or my age, or something, this will be the last time I ever get booked. The last email from a client. The last phone call. The last request for a bid. It's sheer paranoia but there it is. 

And so I delivered my "last" two jobs on Monday and sent out bills to the clients on Tuesday. And then I steeled myself for the eventuality that this was it. The gray hair (white, actually) would serve as work repellent and age-ism would take care of the rest. I'd never work again. Never be able to justify buying new cameras based on actual mission critical need. My work life would be over and I'd resign myself to an attempted relevance by volunteering for something. Anything. 

It's horrifying being an extrovert and needing to have frequent (and fun) human contact. 

But then, after a rousing swim practice in hot water, surrounded by long term aquatic friends I came home to make coffee and read my email. And there it was.... a booking to photograph a doctor on Monday. Then a second email from the same very large medical practice letting me know that they had eight other doctors who needed to be photographed in the studio this month. The doctors would each be getting in touch to set up individual appointments. 

No negotiations. No wrangling over details. No requests for budget reductions.  Just solid, fun portrait work on my own home turf --- with me making the schedules. Yay. Something fun to do. 

On Monday I'm going to try pressing that odd assemblage of the Sigma fp and the 35-135mm Zeiss lens into service. It's probably a really bad idea and I should just default to the easy solution and use the Leica SL2 and a portrait lens. But there it is. It's really the play that makes all this fun. 

For now the biggest task in front of me between now and Monday is to clean and straighten. Clean and file. Clean and set up lighting. Not a bad way to spend another couple of days in the Texas oven. 



Big, fat lens goes away. Replaced by a newer, smaller lens that's just as good. Or better. The tale of two thirty-five millimeter primes.

 This is the new lens. It replaced an older lens. The older lens was traded in. It was a good idea...

When I first starting playing around with the L mount system I bought a bunch of big-ass primes. There were few lens at the beginning for the Panasonic S1(x) cameras and at the time Sigma was making big headlines with the image quality of their Art series lenses. One of the Art series lenses I bought was the first generation 35mm f1.4 in the L mount. It was enormous. It was incredibly sharp; even wide open. But it was incredibly heavy. But it was nicely contrasty and had great nano acuity(tm). But it was long and ponderous.... etc. etc. At the time the only choice for a nice 35mm was either the Art lens or some sort of adapted lens from another system. Either that or the $5K Leica 35mm Summicron. But I wasn't ready to go there yet. (or...still). 

I quickly decided that the Art lens was fine for all the corporate work I was doing and it seemed to find a place in the case on every paid assignment. But just as quickly I decided that it just wasn't a great choice for walking around on my own dime and shooting "found" art in the streets. While the image quality was unimpeachable it just stuck out like a hippopotamus in a Miata. So, lately, after all the permutations my L system as gone through the lens mostly has been languishing in a drawer. Neglected and ignored. 

Especially so after buying the Leica 24-90mm zoom lens. At the 35mm setting the lens handily outperforms a who bunch of prime lenses at the focal length --- but it should considering the marketing hype and the asking price.  

In the same time frame I started  discovering the i-Series Contemporary lenses from Sigma. These were quirky and interesting lenses that have wonderful industrial design, great performance for imaging and feature less than half the weight and half the volume of their "Art" siblings, in the same focal length range. The trade offs? Slower apertures and ...... not much else. 

I have two L mount systems running side by side here. One is the full frame (35mm frame size) cameras from Leica and Panasonic and the second is the APS-C sized Leica CL and TL2 cameras. Both have their place and in both systems I've been more and more attracted to 35mm lenses for different reasons. 

For the full frame stuff the 35mm represents what most people consider the universal option for most quick, on the street and in the moment styles of photography. I'm just getting comfortable (after 45 some years of trying) with the focal length and find myself using it more and more. When I go out with one camera and a lens I find myself wishing I had just the right 35mm lens for the format. I wanted smaller, fast, sharp and stylistically comfortable design in one reliable package. And I wanted it at an "efficient" price point. 

I've also be hankering after a "normal" "standard" 50mm equivalent for the APS-C system which would be a 35mm focal length. In the best of all possible worlds I would be able to buy a lens that fit both of the L mount cameras and provided me the two different use case I was looking for in one product. But I do live in the best of all possible worlds (or blissfully unaware of my actual circumstances?) so the smaller Sigma 35mm presented itself. 

I saw a review on YouTube by a fellow named, Hugh Brownstone. His channel is "Three Blind Men and an Elephant." He shoots with a lot of Leica stuff and gets invited to Leica in Germany for the big product reveals. He is prejudiced toward the Leica universe of cameras and lenses and owns quick a bit of their product. But he did a review of sorts comparing the Sigma 35mm i-Series lens with the more expensive Sigma 35mm (newest version) Art lens. It was pretty much of a draw across the board, at equivalent apertures. He also mentioned that he compared the inexpensive i-Series 35mm f2.0 to the $5K Leica Summicron 35mm and basically said that if you aren't pixel peeping files from both at more than 200% magnification one would never be able to see a difference. 

Yes. I would like to save 9 times as much cash on a lens. 

I took the big Art lens up to my (now second) favorite camera store and traded it in on the i-Series lens, which was also on sale. Might still be. I got home from the store late in the afternoon yesterday and had domestic chores to complete so no test of the new optic was possible then. But after a routine Saturday morning and the ritual family lunch I headed out with the new lens on the front of a Leica SL and went to look for a new mural, a series of commissioned art, that was over in the Govalle Neighborhood of east Austin. And that's where I did my preliminary tests of the system and the new arrival. 

It's a single subject test done on a 103° afternoon and mostly at a single aperture but it is a start. And I do have about 24 sample images for you to look at. 

My initial impression is that it's a very good lens and will work well for my mixed uses. Before I left the house I took one photograph of a blue-ish pillow sitting on a leather chair. The rest of the images are from the Govalle Neighborhood Mural on Bolm Rd. If you live in Austin it's pretty easy to find and will reward you with a half hour of fun looking. Click through my images below.  Let me know what you think!  

Mural by Catie Lewis who I photographed in my studio last Fall. 

Detail from image above. 

Detail from image above. 

Sharp, snappy, filled with luxurious nano-contrast....

Alternate shot taken when the sun went behind a cloud.

I'm amassing collection of i-Series single focal length lenses. 
It's my answer to the Leica SL primes. We'll see how that all works out.


Three more samples from this morning's photographic adventure in heat management. G9+25mm Summilux.


I really like this dilapidated iron works building on the edge of downtown. I think it's still functional but I rarely see anyone there. Today was unusual in that there was a car parked out front. A bright red car that made a nice contrast with the ample green tree and the melodic blue sky. I approve of the color I get out of the G9 and I feel like the lens adds something special to the mix as well. 

Being a nerdy photographer I've read all the review of the lens and looked the MTF curves too often. I have surmised that f4.0 or maybe in between 4.0 and 5.6 is the aperture setting that yields the highest quality files. Well, highest quality in terms of resolution and contrast. 

Today I just set the lens at f4.0 and the camera in both Auto-ISO and aperture priority and spent my time looking at stuff. And I really worked on just looking at stuff. Downtown is in constant flux. People response to emergencies like overwhelming heat in a totally different way. Shops are opening. Older businesses are closing. And I try to really look at all these things as I stroll through downtown. The accession of the images into my own brain's memory bank comes in handy when I decide on projects that require a certain environmental feel. 

It's interesting that walking with one's eyes wide open is almost like reading a stream of consciousness novel. A surprise in every chapter. With lots of texture and plenty of the universe's fine writing. 

And red cars. 

Revisiting a very powerful pair. The Panasonic G9 and the Leica Summilux 25mm f1.4 type 2. Wow! Sharp and color rich.

By some measures (mostly calendar centric) the Panasonic G9 micro four-thirds camera is getting long in the tooth having been announced in 2016. But a raft of meaningful firmware updates have kept this camera as up to date as anything else in the market today. It's a powerful photographic tool and it's also an extremely effective video camera. I used two of them on two major projects in 2018 and pressed them into good service for plenty of gimbal-powered video in 2020. The camera features a 20 megapixel sensor, fast focusing (with the right lenses), a robust and weather resistant build quality and a great viewfinder. I love the color that I get straight out of the camera in Jpeg. If I have to mess with raw files they are great too!

The lens is a 25mm, speedy, Leica-designed but Panasonic built, fast aperture lens. The one I currently own is the second generation (the most current) and while the optical design is reported to be the same as the first one many improvements were made to the AF capability of the lens when used with DFD capable m4:3 cameras. My only idea for improvements to the lens would be to cut down on the size of the supplied lens hood. It's pretty big. But then again --- no flare from glancing light. 

The lens is a perfect match for the G9. Together they are reasonably light, easy to handle, fast to focus and capable of very high color discrimination, which might just be more valuable to the image quality of a file than many other parameters that get more press. In a way, it's the classic "good camera/standard lens" combo that most of us started with in the days when Canon, Nikon, Olympus and Pentax film cameras came in "kits" along with a 50mm, standard lens. This is the micro four-thirds variation. And it works perfectly if that's the way you first got into photography. Except, perhaps, the lens is better...

I went out this morning, after swim practice, because I could feel the cabin fever induced by the wretched heat and I wanted to be outside playing with a camera. The G9+25mm combo made a lot of sense since it is small and light to carry compared to a full frame camera and a big, standard zoom. The battery life is really good and the camera seems indifferent to the heat. 

For some strange reason everywhere I looked I saw architectural and urban-scape stuff today. So that's what I photographed. My first impulse was to go completely black and white but that fell apart after the first block walked because the sky was actually beautiful this morning and I couldn't resist the color dynamics. I did shoot some stuff in black and white but I really think I should stick to color or at least shoot raw+Jpeg with the Jpegs being black and white. Then, after I get back to the studio, I can make up my mind at my leisure....

Lead in to a question: 

I know a lot of my readers came to the blog because of our early reporting on all things micro four thirds but I'm curious how many who are still here are continuing to resist the lure of full frame and APS-C camera and still enjoy shooting with the smaller sensor format (and the delicious assortment of lenses).

?????  It would be interesting to know since the internet makes it seem as though everyone throughout the world has rushed to grab hold of big sensor cameras. I get sidetracked by the promise of a performance difference but when I go out and shoot with a favorite camera like the G9, along with a really great lens, I just don't see much room for meaningful improvements. 

Hey! Look! We still have trains in America. 
I wonder if we could somehow learn to transport people with them?
Wouldn't that be a great idea? 

 We're 42 days in a row over 100° and the power is still on. It's a miracle.
I guess our governor knows that he's toast if the power goes out this Summer. 

So, I walked and looked at stuff. I shot with that absolutely fun camera. It made me re-think everything I've bought and sold over the past three years. What an interesting series of odd decisions. Probably should have paused in 2018 and just enjoyed this happy format. It seems more "futuristic" than other formats. Not so much like a revised relic from the film age. Don't tell Leica I wrote that.....


Weird camera and lens combinations involving weird cameras and weird lenses.... Or what we do when it's too hot to play outdoors.

Photographed with the charming and highly capable Panasonic Gh5ii
and the Olympus 12-45mm Pro lens. Surprised at how much I liked the
technical quality of the image.....

 I love being out taking photographs far more than I like talking about cameras but the weather is actively campaigning against me spending much time tromping around in the nasty heat jungle that seems to have settled over Texas. Perhaps it's a karmic punishment for our political transgressions. Maybe it's just a rogue weather pattern that won't let go. But right now we've got an actual temperature of 105° and when you combine that with 30% humidity you wind up with a lusty 112° of heat index; or what it feels like to your body. We're exceeding our "Wet Bulb" threshold by a good margin. 

As of July 19th Summer we have had 78 days over 90° (actual temps) and now 41 days in a row over 100°. We're all getting just a little tired of the relentlessness of it all. Can't wait to see the electric bills....sigh.

I've been getting up earlier in order to water the plants and trees that I consider "mission critical" to my long term lifestyle/mental health. The Japanese maples are getting special treatment these days. I've even rigged up a few scrims to block the direct sun on a few branches that were showing signs of heat stress. It's hard work but it would be harder on me to lose the trees. They are quite beautiful. 

After I take care of my horticultural chores I make myself a cup of (these days....) decaffeinated coffee, eat a piece of toast and head over to the pool for our coached workout. The water temperature is as cold as we can make it with evaporative coolers but with our daytime highs and nighttime non-lows we're struggling to keep the water temperature under 84°. That's a hot swim and it sucks the moisture right out of your body when you are swimming hard. We each keep a cold, re-usable bottle of water at the end of our lanes and in between sets our coaches encourage ample re-hydration. I didn't used to take it very seriously but this year I'm zealous. Sixteen ounces an hour.

Sadly, or happily, I took a break on Monday from swimming with the team and went to the Deep Eddy Pool which is Spring fed and just freaking marvelous. The spring water is refilled every couple of days and it comes out of the wells at something like 68°. Plunging in on Monday morning was a little bit of heaven. The laps were better than free money. But now I feel that the memory of the perfect water colors my appreciation of our team workouts in the warmer pool. Deep Eddy is a public pool and I'm pretty sure the City of Austin isn't going to invite our whole team over to monopolize all the lap lanes any time soon. 

Since the "mercury" has been hitting 100° or higher by noon each day I try to get errand running done as quickly as possible. Our house uses a septic system for wastewater and our septic guy, Bob, recommends we drop a gallon of a special live, beneficial bacteria solution ($48 per gallon !!!) into the main tank at least twice a year. The stuff in the gallon bottle smells really bad but I can tell you that the grass is much greener over the septic field --- and we haven't had any major problems with the system in years. Occasionally a pump fails. It gets replaced. And yes, I do have a septic guy. I hope he never retires...

Except for a few assignments inside chilly high rise office buildings we're dead in the water here, business-wise. And that's okay. Nearly everyone in Austin who can swing it is working from home, nestled in their air conditioned refuges. Few are venturing out in the heat of the day. I'm no different. 

If you've read the blog for a while you know I'm usually a big adherent of getting out in the afternoons and walking no matter what the weather. But not in this. If people won't come to work and there's little traffic on the roads it's probably a message from the hive that we should all just slow down and be more careful than usual. So, since I got home with the septic stuff I've been chilling in the house, just reading a novel on the couch. But I got bored so I ventured out the twelve feet from the front door of the house and into the studio. I've been keeping the A/C in there at 85° when I'm not present --- that's what our power company recommends --- so I turned the thermostat down to 78° and got comfortable. 

On the floor by my desk I found a camera and lens that I'd put together for some project that never happened but I'm more and more attracted to the potential of the actual "system". The lens is an ancient Carl Zeiss zoom lens made originally for the Contax Y/C system but rejuvenated by the mirrorless revolution and the availability of a huge range of cheap lens mount adapters. Yes. Even for the L mount cameras. 

I've shot with it before and posted about it here. The lens is big and bumbly. It's a 35-135mm and I have to say that this must be the absolutely perfect focal range for me. I don't miss the wider angles at all and I love being able to zoom out to 135mm. It's slow by today's standards in several ways. First the variable aperture is from f3.3 to f4.5. Certainly not a problem on a camera like the Panasonic S5 or the Sigma fp. Those two cameras can pretty much see in the dark. The lens is also "slow" because it's a manual focusing lens with a long throw focusing ring and that makes for sloooow focusing. Finally, it's a one touch zoom in that the zoom ring and the focusing ring are one and the same. The whole front of the lens trombones out as you zoom to 135mm. It takes practice to make this combination of focusing and zooming efficient. 

When I use the lens on a non- image stabilized body focusing gets progressively harder as the focal length gets longer. Why? because the finder image shakes. We're spoiled by new tech. 

I mounted this slow, plodding lens on the front of the weirdest camera I have in the studio. That's the Sigma fp. It's an eccentric little genius of a camera and when you get everything just right the files are wonderful. They just exude "art." But it's a demonic looking system when put all together, as above. 

I'm only comfortable using it on a tripod and for this particular lens I really have to have the big Sigma loupe attached to shade and magnify the rear LCD. I'm pretty sure I'll never run into anyone out in the field who has exactly the same set up. The odds are long. 

But when it's hot outside and you're playing with your toys in the miracle that is air conditioning it's all good. Can't wait till we get some cooler days so I can get out and shoot with this beast of a system. Stay cool.



Camera guys love to "modify" their cameras. I am no exception. Just added....

The unmodified Leica CL.

The Leica CL with an added grip and base extension. (Today's add-on). 

The "must have" thumb grip for the Leica CL. 

It is rare to meet a photographer of the male gender who does not openly or secretly enjoy adding things to, and otherwise modifying his cameras. The understood goal is usually that the adaptation modifies and improves the handling of the camera in such a way as to make it easier to hold correctly, easier to control and use with only one hand, and because it adds to one's image of professional panache. The idea being that the user spends so much time with his tools (cameras) that he finds things through experience that hamper his performance, diminish his ability to respond to a scene in front of his camera with the utmost finesse, which can only be remedied by taking his choice of camera and personalizing it. "Tweaking" the operational characteristics. "Fixing" some sort of ergonomics that got "overlooked" by the camera maker. 

And I totally get it. We all have different sized hands and our fingers fall onto the camera's surfaces in different ways. If a few bits of apparatus can make using the camera more comfortable and efficient then why not give them a try?

Some people are strap-sensitive and like to find different camera straps that better serve them. While I am a traditional strapist and strongly dislike several of the recent and popular straps I'm certainly not against other people using them if they find more enjoyment of photography as a result. For the record though, the straps I strongly dislike are the Peak straps because some design fool put the sticky, please don't slide off my shoulder stuff on the wrong side of the strap. If you use the friction-y side then the buckles face in towards your torso. A complete design failure. I understand that the whole idea of the Peak straps is to wear them across the chest and let them slip-slide around but as a traditionalist I always want the more discreet "over the shoulder" carry instead. And really, $50 for a slippery strap with some little red disks held on with strings? No thanks. 

And don't even get me started about the camera-killer strap-crap from Black Rapid. Yuck. Bad-gineering

But finding and using a great strap (for you) is an important part of camera modding. Especially for the camera that is your every day carry camera. 

Another add-on is the soft touch augmentation of any shutter button that is center-threaded. People love to put little metal mushrooms onto the shutter buttons hoping it will make the whole process of half presses and full presses more tactile and controllable. Some of the button plugs are made in colors out of anodized aluminium. I think those look pretty cool --- on the right camera. I have a black one right here on my desk but currently have no cameras that have threaded shutter buttons; the kind that were made to accept cable releases.... But I do have one. 

I have become a sucker for using thumb grips on smaller cameras because then my right thumb has somewhere to rest. I never appreciated the thumb grip concept until I bought and began using a Fuji X100V. That was a really good camera which was made remarkably easier to handle and shoot with once I added a thumb grip to the hot shoe. After I installed them on both of my Fujis they never came off again. I just gave up shooting with flash on that camera altogether because the thumb grips seemed the more valuable extension to the camera. 

When I got around to buying a Leica CL I realized that it was the same size, generally, as the Fuji X100V and would probably benefit equally from a thumb grip. I checked on the Leica grip but was aghast at the idea of spending something like $175 for a simple curve of metal. Not when I could get one from a different maker for something like $50. I tried an inexpensive one on the CL, loved it and when the second CL landed it was fitted with a thumb grip as well. 

The thumb grip improved the handling of the Leica but there was one other thing that was sub-optimal. The camera is short. from top to bottom it's just...short. When I use it in it's naked form I have to put one of my fingers under the camera body. It's okay and I can handle it just fine but I always wondered if one of the grips made for the CL would improve the handling noticeably. 

Yesterday, after I billed my two big portrait/composite projects for the month I was feeling the swagger of impending cash flow and I was emboldened to splash out for a Chinese version of the CL grip. I didn't bother to check on the Leica branded version because I knew I wouldn't want to spend crazy money on it. And the Hoage model (yes, from China)  got lots of praise in reviews on two different camera retail sites. 

The grip arrived today and it's actually well finished and almost pretty. If you can call a hunk of camera metal "pretty." 

I'm not sure if it's going to work for me or not because it's hot outside, it's late in the day and I haven't spent any time with it. But the bottom plate and front grip is my latest modification. If it's great I'll get a second one for the other body. And I will have mindlessly modified yet another tool in the camera bag. It's only a matter of time before I convince myself about the value of leather half cases....

I like to make modifications that aren't permanent and can quickly and easily be reversed. Other people are more daring. I had a student in one of my classes at UT that decided to paint his then brand new Olympus OM-1 bright red. He taped over every port and control and sprayed the camera's metal body with red spray paint. I had to admit it looked pretty good. I saw a Hugh Brownstone video in which he interviewed an English filmmaker whose gear was stolen. One piece of gear was a Leica SL but instead of a black anodized finish his was left in a bright metal finish. A special edition? "We deliver less and charge you more?"

I'd love to have a metallic finish SL. But I'm not willing to scrape off the current black finish to get there.

Recently I watched a video on YouTube about the photographer, Steve McCurry, using a Leica SL2 in Italy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nThspSqTzBA I was baffled to see that he has a grip or handle screwed into the bottom of his camera (tripod mount) and holds the grip with one hand and stabilizes the camera with his other hand. Rollei used to make grips like that for the square format TLRs but I can't see how Steve McCurry is at all comfortable turning that camera sideways for verticals. His elbow sticking out to the side in a perilous fashion... But he's famous. And that's one of his mods. And not the first time I've seen video of him working that way. Eccentric but most modding probably is.

A recent and somewhat odd trend for photographers is the adaptation of video camera cages for their specific cameras. Sure, there are mounting points galore on cages for stuff like external monitors, huge batteries and audio equipment, and I understand that this is great for videography but it makes little to no sense for people who just want to do still photographs. I guess you could make the argument that the cage protects the camera but in my mind any protection is offset by the huge reduction in handling comfort conveyed by a cage that should either be sitting on a tripod or a gimbal. Right? I think these people are just trying to announce to the world that they are really --- film makers.

Have you modified or augmented your camera? Are you willing to tell us with what? 

Just trying to stay cool and keep the trees on the property alive. We have fourteen live oaks that are between thirty and fifty feet and I'd hate to lose one to the drought and the heat...  I've stopped bathing so I can give them my ration of water (just kidding, kind of) but the grass will probably be sacrificed sooner or later. 

We're in stage one water rationing. If the city catches you washing your car in your driveway they send out a team to slash your tires. It's all very fraught. 

My workaround is to swim every day and then shower at the pool. Seems to work. Ready for the cold front.....any time.....is any body listening.....?