Happy Anniversary to my wife, x5


It was our first big trip together; Sonoma Coast wine country in California. One of many firsts for us as a couple and looking back a defining one. It is when I knew.

There were many memories made that trip, but one stands out. Watching the sun set on the Pacific, high on the coast, not a soul around us. I spotted this area earlier in the trip and wanted to come back to it one evening to watch the sun set. The first day there was a clear evening we decided to go for it and while most were heading back into town to catch dinner we headed out to see the day’s last light fall serenely into the ocean. We got there early and I remember thinking how long it was taking for the sun to go down. I got restless, as I do, fiddling with my camera, walking around to find the prefect vantage point and being the anxious person I am until she said to take it easy and come sit down. It was about this time that DMB’s “You and Me” (which was our wedding song) came onto the iPod and that was it for me. It just all come together and I knew I loved this woman and wanted her to be my wife.

The memories didn’t end with the magical sunset. Our rental Mustang sat low on the ground and got stuck on a bump on a hill as we were leaving the coastline. No cell phone service and night was coming down fast, I was getting worried about our chances of getting out of there in a reasonable amount of time until two good ‘ole boys pulled up and helped me lift the car off the hill to get us on our way. Crisis averted, we were starving and headed down the coast for some food. Being the middle of the week most places were closed and unlit so we drove on. And on. And on. It wasn’t until many miles later that we saw lights. And like hungry moths we flocked to the light, finding, of all things, an Indian restaurant in the middle of nowhere. I do not know if the empty pit in my stomach affected my brain chemistry, but it was the best Indian food I have ever had. And one of the most memorable  dinners we ever had, to this day.

This took place in April 2010 and is something that will be remembered all my days. A year later we were married. A year after that we had our first daughter. Two years forward we had our second daughter. Today, it has been five years since we were married, and though a lot has happened I am excited about what the future holds for us. As a family, as lovers and as friends.

Thank you, my love, for the great memories, beautiful daughters and life we have together. Happy anniversary with many more to come.



The road well traveled

The road well traveled

The road well traveled has proven its worth, hence why its well traveled. Usually safe, known and easily followed, but even these roads present their own danger and perils. Perils made more dangerous because the unassuming believe in the safety of the road, that there is nothing to fear simply by its own virtue. Not always true, but I guess every road has its share of uncertainty. This leaves us with the age-old question; is it sometimes better to take the road less traveled?

Camera porn: Leica M8 Anti-Panda

Leica M8 Anti Panda

Don’t know about you, but I think there is something damn sexy about a black paint Leica camera. Lines of brass caress shiny black lacquer paint, revealing the timeless brass body hidden underneath that is only rewarded to the most ardent users as the camera ages (unless you let Lenny Kravitz sell you this camera for $24k). What’s not to find irresistible?

For those who don’t know about the Leica M8 Anti-Panda edition, it is a unique camera created at the end of the M8 run just as the M8.2 was being released. With only 100 pieces made, it stands to be one of the rarer versions of Leica’s first digital rangefinder. What separates the Anti-Panda from regular production Leica M8 are the black paint top and bottom plate paired with silver accented shutter speed dial, frameline preview lever, and on/off switch. While the black M8.2  had the black paint as standard, this is the only M8 to boast this gorgeous feature.

My journey to this camera came from looking through photos for this site, and seeing that the images from the M8 were some of my favorites overall. Sure, I hate the UV/IR filters as much as the next Leica geek but there has always been something special about this camera. Maybe I have a soft spot for the M8 since it was my first Leica rangefinder, and it has always been on the top of my list of favorite camera to shoot with. So began the search for my third M8.

At this stage I really wanted the M8.2, which features black paint, upgraded framelines with increased framing accuracy, a quieter and more robust shutter, unscratchable sapphire glass on the LCD, and retro vulcanite covering. Problem for me was the M8.2 still commands a hefty premium in 2015; right around $2,000 on average while the original M8 will set you back about $1,400. For nostalgia’s sake the added expense wasn’t worth it. So, as a gearhead often afflicted with G.A.S. (gear acquisition syndrome) I kept an eye on eBay and the Fredmiranda.com Buy & Sell forum for a cheaper M8.2 since I really wanted the black paint camera. Low and behold the M8 Anti-Panda showed up on FM. A black paint M8 at a reasonable price? Yes, please.

So, after purchasing the camera from a great guy in Canada, the sleek Leica M8 Anti-Panda was in my grubby hands in short order. Being particular about this camera, I almost immediately changed out the original slippery shark-skin covering for the vulcanite-like Aki-Asahi #4008 leatherette, and swapped the ubiquitous red Leica dot to the low-key black purchased from DAG Camera to complete the understated style that I find so appealing. Throw on my trusty Tap & Dye leather camera strap and I’m good to go! Normally I’m much more pragmatic about my gear but we all need to peacock at some time or another.

Well, enough chatter. Check out this sexy camera!

Leica M8 Anti Panda

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