SoCal after Christmas

Over the past several years we've developed a new habit.  A couple more years of consistency, and perhaps we'll call it a tradition.  After Christmas, on December 26th, we head down to Southern California for a week of frenetic activity punctuated by blissful moments of peace and quiet and 70℉ and sunshine over a calm blue Pacific.  This year we're visiting Rancho Palos Verdes.

It's yet another flavor of cliffsome California shore and sunshine with tons of interesting things to do outdoors, including a fairly cool hike down the side of one of the aforementioned cliffs to a rocky beach and tide pools, and a great spot at cliff top to watch the ocean and the big freight ships passing slowly in the distance on their way to and from the ports at Long Beach and Los Angeles.

The Leica has been getting quite the workout, and I'm trying to mostly follow Ralph Gibson's advice and leaving the 50mm on most of the time so that focal length becomes more natural to me.  The Leica kit now has a 28, a 50, and a 90, and honestly I don't know whether I would need anything else.  It's remarkable to me how compact that kit is.  I drug it around Universal Studios Hollywood for 7 hours yesterday and didn't really notice it.  As for the Phase One, even though its kit is decidedly neither compact nor light, I cannot resist lugging it around with me, and it has gotten some limited usage this trip.

Despite rain, we took a short trip to Catalina at the end of the week.  This was the first time that we had ever visited Catalina, and it was interesting.  Very few cars on the island makes for a very serene setting.

I also took a bunch of interesting photographs at the LAIKA Films exhibit at Universal Studios which featured a bunch of the original stop-animation models from Coraline, ParaNorman, Box Trolls, and Kubo and the Two Strings.  I'll post some of those too.  They were fantastically cool! 

All in all a very nice week away.  I continue to be impressed by how stunningly good Leica glass and the Monochrom M are.  Even with wiggly children and shooting with wide open apertures, I'm missing very few shots, and getting shots that I wouldn't have before because I can see beyond my frame and am using focus more creatively with a rangefinder.  I've been tempted to buy an SL to complement the Monochrom M, but have held off because I'm not sure the SL's EVF (even though it is by FAR the best EVF I've ever experienced) will encourage the same sort of shooting as a rangefinder.  I've got my fingers crossed for an interesting M announcement early in the year.  Could be an M10 and a Fujifilm GFX-50C in my future...


Kevin Scott