Aerial Dancing at Seaholm Power Plant. Austin, Texas.

An aerial dance troupe.
Practicing for a series of shows in September.

It was breezy and less humid this morning in Austin. I grabbed a camera and headed out for a walk while the heat index clocked in around 90°. Funny how context and comfort go together. 

I was feeling camera-egalitarian so I paired the Leica SL2 with a battered by serviceable Canon FDn 50mm f1.8. The last FD iteration of their manual focusing "nifty-fifty." It's the one without the metal bayonet lock and it has a 52mm filter size instead of the previous models' 55mm filter size. But it's a charming, small and light lens that I think does a wonderful job as part of a rudimentary walk-around kit. And actually, the optical performance is not at all poor. By f4.0 and f5.6 it's actually quite nice. 

The focusing ring is smooth and light on the touch. It moves without too much effort and that makes it a wonderful choice for manual focusing. It's a very simple optical formula with 6 elements in four groups and a set of five curved aperture blades. I use it on the Leica SL(x) cameras with a Fotodiox Canon FD to L mount "dumb" adapter. There is no electronic connection whatsoever between the lens and the camera so everything, EVERYTHING is manually set. 

I walked along with my camera slung across my chest on what Peak Designs calls a camera "leash" and it was comfortable enough. I turned the corner into the Seaholm Power Plant (now decommissioned and an active retail and office environment with a nice central courtyard) and walked right into a really fun aerial spectacle. Graceful dancers suspended dozens; maybe up to 100 feet, up in the air pushing off the sides of the old power plant cooling towers into classic dance and action movie poses. 

They were practicing for an upcoming series of performances that will take place on the same towering cylinders in the middle of September. Being a bit acrophobic I was astounded at the ease and fearlessness of the dancers. I found it all quite amazing.

The lens and camera worked well but I wish I'd brought along a few longer lenses. But isn't that always the case? You chance upon something and you just have to make the best of what you brought. Thankfully the high resolution of the camera sensor meant that crossing by 50% wasn't an issue. 

There was more to the walk but I was just thrilled by what I found in the first five minutes. I'll definitely go back for the show....

Cheap lenses on pricy cameras. It's a thing.