STORIES

"Friends in High Places"

Recently I made the rookie mistake of booking the first flight into SFO. I arrived early to the airport on a Saturday morning only to find out it’s been delayed due to fog. Typical. Luckily for me I get on the Oakland bound flight. After a short flight and an Uber I get to the Leica store on Bush street. Walking in the first thing I notice is the soft diffuse light permeating through the large industrial windows. Nothing makes me happier than this type of light. Well except of course all the sexy Leica gear being displayed all around me. I am here to grab the 24-90mm lens so that I can test it for this weekend’s shoot. At first glance I notice the behemoth size which kind of makes me feel like one of Ron Jeremy’s co stars. But then again size doesn’t matter right? 

After picking up the mammoth lens I go right to the Ferry Building. Walking into the building I can already taste the briny goodness. First glance inside Hog Island Oyster Company I see my good friend behind the stick. Saul is one of the best bar men in the city, especially in his utilization of all the amazing produce just outside his doors. After ordering a few dozen Sweetwater Oysters grown from just up the coast in Tomales Bay, I start putting that 24-90 through it’s paces. It takes some time getting used to the size and weight but I am pleasantly surprised at the images I am getting. The autofocus is fast and accurate. Subsequent to shoveling down many of the sweet and salty bivalves I make my way to the Mission.

Chef Val Cantu is owner and chef of the two star Michelin restaurant Californios in the Mission. He too is a Leica enthusiast and is looking forward to seeing the images off the behemoth lens. My plan is to use the lens in various types of situations as how I typically would should. I start off with portraits of Val and then onto some dish shots. We are both very pleased with the sharpness throughout each image. I especially love the dynamic range of this set up. It’s definitely the “look” I am after. 

Sunday morning, still feeling the effects of too many craft cocktails at Trick Dog, I meet up with Chef Melissa Perfit of Bar Crudo. She has a great energy and positivity about her. It’s always difficult meeting someone for the first time and having to capture their personality. Thankfully she makes it easy for me. After a glass of wine I snatch my SL and we start snapping away. I am shooting wide open with her and really loving the sharpness and tones.  

Before using the 24-90 all my experience w Leica lenses has been w M lenses and rangefinders. I’m extremely excited about the ability for autofocus with the SL lens line up. Overall I was very pleased with it’s performance notwithstanding its size. I know Leica has several lenses lined up for the SL this year. Perhaps I will get an opportunity with some of those. After all, it’s good to have friends in high places.