A Tale of Two Leicas

It turns out that the reason I could only get the Leica V-Lux 4 from Austria was because they’ve discontinued it. And the reason they’ve discontinued it is because . . . there’s a new one out as of about, oh, yesterday.

On the left, my Leica V-Lux 2: not sure how old it is, but given that I’ve had it since 2011 and it was a hand-me-down from my mother who used it for some amount of time before that, let’s go with “elderly (in camera years)” and leave it at that. On the right, the V-Lux Typ 114, which is O_O shall we say a little bit larger.

I’m okay with this. I just didn’t realize how much larger it would be. Still nothing compared to my father’s setup, but his rig — body and lens — weighs about four pounds, which is way more than I ever want to carry around myself. This should be fine. I’m going to sit down with the instruction manual and learn how it works, including both the stuff the V-Lux 2 couldn’t do and the stuff the V-Lux 2 could do but I never actually learned it, and then I’m going to find an excuse to go photograph something dark just so I can cackle at what it’s like to have an up-to-date sensor that isn’t borderline at ISO 400 and useless above that.

Best thing? I called the Leica store in San Francisco yesterday to ask when the Typ 114 was going to be released, and the guy told me they’d arrived that morning. I thought about going to the city to pick it up, but it turned out that shipping would cost less than parking, would require zero effort on my part, and would have the camera to me today — way sooner than I could have gotten up there to claim it in person. Laziness for the win!

Stories, stories, everywhere

A number of these things have been piling up:

  • “Daughter of Necessity” is live at Tor.com today! Some of you heard me read this at FOGcon this past spring; well, now it’s out in the world. With fabulous art by Ashley MacKenzie — seriously, it is gorgeous and amazingly appropriate to the story and not a spoiler. Which is a remarkable balance to strike.
  • I just got my contributor copies for Zombies: More Recent Dead, which includes a reprint of “What Still Abides.” (Shhhh, don’t tell Paula Guran that I used to refer to that as my Anglo-Saxon vampire story. It’s as much a zombie story as it is a vampire story, which is to say it isn’t really either, but you can read it both ways depending on the angle you tilt your head at.)
  • The anthology made from the first four issues of Mythic Delirium‘s online reboot won’t be out until November, but it’s gotten a starred review from Publishers Weekly, with a specific shout-out to my story “The Wives of Paris.”

(Now I feel like there ought to be five things. But at the rate I do (or don’t do) short fiction-related stuff these days, that would mean delaying even longer, which is silly.)

A Year in Pictures – Moss-Covered Urn

Moss-Covered Urn
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October will be a themed month, sort of — the theme is “October-ish stuff,” which is to say autumn color, cemeteries, and bones. (Only two photos of bones, if you’re put off by that sort of thing.)

To start us off, I have one of my favorite photos from my 2013 trip to England and France. This is a funerary urn in Highgate Cemetery, covered in a velvet layer of moss. I know all the growth on and around the monuments in Highgate is not good for them, and people are working to restore the ones that have been badly damaged . . . but of course the partially ruined state of the place constitutes a large part of its aesthetic appeal.

A Year in Pictures – Bright Blue Beetles

Bright Blue Beetles
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Today we are kicking it old-school, not just with another print scan, but with a photo from my oldest album. I thought I wasn’t interested in photography until I went to Costa Rica; then I realized I just needed to be in a place worth taking pictures of.

Or at least presented with beetles worth taking pictures of. :-)

A Year in Pictures – Etched Window

Etched Window
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If I needed evidence that proper cameras still have the edge over cameraphones, this provides it. I tried to take a photo of this window (in the Okinawan Prefectural Budokan) with my phone, and it came out useless, with the etching totally washed out. When I came back the next day with my actual camera, though, I could control the settings enough that it came out beautifully.

A Year in Pictures – Zakopane Church

Zakopane Church
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It took some fiddling in Lightroom to get this photo to reflect what I saw; the initial result left the leaves above so thoroughly silhouetted that their color didn’t come through at all. The framing pleased me, though, with the evergreens on the sides and the changing leaves fringing the top.

A Year in Pictures – Flower-Decked Fountain

Flower-Decked Fountain
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This is another scanned print, from my first trip to Japan back in 2002. The fountain stands in the temple of Hounen-in; I don’t know whether it was a monk who decided to decorate it with fallen flowers or just an idle passer-by, but either way the effect was beautiful.

A Year in Pictures – Under the Bridge

Under the Bridge
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Golden Gate Bridge is far from the longest in the world. But when you’re looking at it from underneath, seeing the huge length of its span hanging from two simple towers . . . it’s quite impressive.

A Year in Pictures – Silhouetted Church

Silhouetted Church
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After visiting the neighboring island of Delos (birthplace of Apollo and Artemis), we had a short time on Mykonos, where the churches are plastered featureless white. So the silhouette effect, where the details of the object mostly vanish? Works very well here.