The Weekly Margs by

Q is for Q

I know, it sounds dumb

Hi, welcome back!

This week is about the Leica Q, my digital standalone camera. Between this issue and M is for M3, I’m sure longtime readers of this newsletter are like “yes, we get it, you have a thing for Leicas.” And they’re not wrong. It’s a brand I’ve become attached to. They have really high quality products, and yes, there’s some cultural cache (that red dot), and I enjoy that too.

For me, getting and using a Leica Q has been a little bit of a self discovery journey. As I’ve said before, I think of myself as a casual or hobby photographer. For a long time I just used hand-me-down film cameras from my dad, or my phone. And to be clear, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But when I got curious about the Leica Q, and started considering buying one, it was the beginning of a mental shift. Buying a Leica (new) is definitely a bit of a self-indulgence. In some ways having this Leica Q is merely about the pictures I take with it, but there’s this angle of self-acknowledgement, that now I see myself differently, as a more serious hobby photographer than I was before (but still a casual one).

So threading through this issue of photos from the Q, is pictures of me and how the camera has affected the way I see me.

December 2016. Logan Circle (Washington, DC)

As I’ve mentioned a million times, I rented the Leica Q (twice!) before committing to one. When I received that first rental in the mail and started testing it out in my apartment, this is the fourth photo that I took (after a mediocre shot of the sunset through my dusty windows and two pictures of my ankles because they were in front of me). But it’s the first actually worthwhile photo. I was clearly so excited to have the camera in my hands, I was ready to take a mirror selfie (which I just don’t do very often normally). The photo is pretty blown out, I hadn’t figured out how to turn on RAW mode so all I have is the JPEG version. But this is me! Excited to try a new camera.

July 2020. Lake Tahoe (Tahoe City, CA)

This is a remote selfie I took, like some of the ones in S is for Self-Portrait, but clearly closer up.

I have a lot less hair in this picture. In March, the combination of my hair continuing to thin, and not being able to get my hair cut due to shelter-in-place meant it was time to me to take the plunge to order some clippers and start buzzing my own hair. I was worried about it, but it was surprisingly cathartic to buzz my hair. I felt much more comfortable with the version of myself in the mirror than I was planning on.

This particular photo is the first picture I took of myself with the Q since shaving my head, and I was surprised at how much I liked it. Again, another time the Q helped me see myself differently.

January 2021. Ring Mountain Preserve (Belvedere Tiburon, CA)

This is, uh not me. This is Vanessa! Vanessa had borrowed my Q a few times, and was considering getting her own, and then a few months ago she did it! Vanessa has been very diligent about taking her Q on hikes, and looking up techniques to take particular photos. Here we are on a hike up in Marin, and Vanessa was taking some bracketed photos of the sunrise. This was the second of these photo walks we’d done, and they’ve been great at reminding me to use my Q. Typically I used to pack my Q on trips or to parties or social gatherings, but there have been a lot fewer of them recently, so going on walks like this has been like a little re-awakening, a chance to see the Q with fresh eyes. Like I mentioned in O is for Overexposed, I got a UV filter since I saw what a difference hers made.

January 2021. Ring Mountain Preserve (Belvedere Tiburon, CA)

Here’s me, holding my Q! This is from the same hike as the previous photo. Vanessa took this one. It’s a bracketed photo she combined into an HDR photo, and I love the way it turned out. I love how she captured me in the middle of my shot, smizing behind my face mask, with a stellar sunburst in the background. The golden sunrise light looks amazing.

Thanks, as always, for reading, and see you next time!