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Old City

Bhavna and I were in the Center City section of Philadelphia early this morning. I had a CT scan and pre-surgery testing for my upcoming orbital decompression surgery. The Wills Eye Institute is several blocks, about a 10-minute walk, from the outer edge of the Old City section of Philadelphia, which was an excellent opportunity to capture some images at Independence National Historical Park for Frank's weekly challenge.

Bhavna is still recovering from her foot surgery. Her foot was still sore, and she did not think she could walk to Old City, so I went alone. She stayed behind in the sitting room at Wills Eye Institute.

I wanted to be respectful of her time. I quickly walked to Chestnut Street to Independence Hall. Tourists were milling around outside the building, and only later did it occur to me that people might enjoy the long weekend visiting this historic section of Philadelphia. I stood close to the edge of Chestnut Street to get a photograph that included as much of the Independence Hall building as possible while reducing the chance of tourists stepping into my frame. It was frustrating. The 16mm end of my Fujinon XF16-55mm R LM WR lens was not wide enough for this occasion.

Old City, Philadelphia
Aug 30, 2019, Tourist, Old City, Philadelphia — FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

Independence Hall is where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed, bringing the United States of America into existence.

Old City, Philadelphia
Aug 30, 2019, Liberty Bell, Old City, Philadelphia — FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

After photographing Independence Hall, I headed inside to photograph the Liberty Bell. Although I have visited and photographed Old City a few times, this was my first visit to the Liberty Bell. The popular activity is photographing the Liberty Bell.

In the 19th century, the State House bell became known as a symbol of freedom. Its inscription, "Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof," inspired abolitionists who wanted to end slavery. The bell was first called the Liberty Bell in 1835 by an abolitionist paper, The Anti-Slavery Record. However, it took years for this name to become popular.

From the late 1800s, the Liberty Bell travelled across America. It was shown at fairs and expositions, visiting many towns. This tour was important for a country healing from the Civil War. The bell reminded people of their shared fight for independence. Over time, different groups like the Women's Suffrage and Civil Rights movements also used the bell for their causes. For example, in 1915, Pennsylvania suffragists made a copy of the bell. They called it the "Justice Bell" and toured it around Pennsylvania to support women's right to vote. This bell stayed silent until the 19th Amendment was passed in 1920.

Today, the Liberty Bell is a symbol known all over the world. Its message about freedom is still strong and important: "Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof."

After I got my photograph, I stood there watching the Bell and pondered how incredible it was to live in a part of the United States with such historical significance.

Old City, Philadelphia
Aug 30, 2019, Liberty Bell, Old City, Philadelphia — FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

After photographing the Liberty Bell, I looked at my watch and realised that I needed to get back to my wife. I walked down 4th Street, crossing through Independence Square toward Walnut Street. I felt rushed and wish I had more time to compose my shots. Perhaps I'll plan a photo walk with some friends.

Old City, Philadelphia
Aug 30, 2019, Thomas Jefferson Garden, Old City, Philadelphia — FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Old City, Philadelphia
Aug 30, 2019, Independence Square, Old City, Philadelphia — FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Old City, Philadelphia
Aug 30, 2019, Commodore John Barry Statue, Old City, Philadelphia — FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

John Barry was the first Commodore of the U.S. Navy.

Fujifilm X100F or Leica Q? Which provides more value?

Back in the old days of photography, when film technology advanced as quickly as a snail crossing a road, I think Leica camera would have been a good value for those who could afford the upfront cost.

Let me define my terms.

value: a fair return or equivalent in goods, services, or money for something exchanged

The film Leicas had a cost and quality of experience that was excellent. The buyer could be assured that the camera would last “their” lifetime and with care in maintenance, produce the same quality of result on each snap. A digital Leica, in my opinion, is far removed from the word value. Is the image quality superior to what can be found on similar featured digital fixed lens cameras? At the rate of development of digital technology, whatever image capture experience the digital Leica may offer, the technology itself is quickly (18 months?) surpassed by some newer (and often less expensive) digital camera.

I think someone paying US$4,000 for a camera that will be technologically obsolete within months of purchase is paying for the brand and what they think that brand says about them.

I've read a few articles stating that the Fuji X100 series offer better value. The latest model, the Fujifilm X100F, is US$2700 cheaper than a new Leica Q and almost $2000 more affordable new than a used Leica Q. I rented a Fujifilm X100F for a weekend and fell in love with the camera. Even though I have a Fujifilm X-T2, the experience with the X100F was, please forgive me, "magical". It's among the things I would always carry when leaving the house; wallet, smartphone, sunglasses, X100F.

Here's what Ken Rockwell had to say about what he calls "Leica man":

Don't fret price when discussing photography issues with a Leica man. He doesn't know or care price; the only thing that concerns him is being the best. The Leica man rarely takes his own pictures. He has others to bother with that for him if he is on holiday. If the Leica man requires art, he has it purchased for him. This is why Leica men don't care about a Leica's picture-taking ability, and get so oddly freaked out if you mention cameras that are better for a fraction of the price. "Better for what?" asks the Leica man. Taking pictures? Who uses cameras to take pictures? Rarely the Leica man. You are personally insulting him and his vastly superior taste should you broach this topic.Ken Rockwell

So while I understand that, for some people, the Leica Q is that magical camera, I don’t think the magic is worth that price. Perhaps I’ll have to rent a Leica Q to experience it for myself.

Photo by D A V I D S O N L U N A on Unsplash

Old City at Night

The title of this post might suggest that is an entry for last week's photo challenge. But it isn't.

Last weekend, we celebrated Bhavna's 50th birthday by bicycling and bar hopping through Philadelphia's Old City. The we was me, Bhavna, her older sister, her younger sister, her brother, her three cousins, all their spouses, and Bhavna's best friend. Fifteen of us did the Big Red Pedal Tour around Old City. It was an entirely new experience for all of us. We visited three new pubs, Irish Pub, McGillin's Olde Ale House, and So Good where I tried three new ales. In between stops at the pub, we took turns pedalling on the bike. This was a new experience for my thighs and calves. Ow!

I also gained a new perspective on Philadelphia. I've only seen parts of this town and only in the early evening.

Front to Back and Left to Right — Mukesh, Sameer, Dipan, Ami, Mihir, Falguni, Khürt, Jeremy, Ami, Toral, Gina, Sonali, John (the driver), Nilima, Uday, Neha — FujiFilm X100F + 23 mmf/8.0 ISO 12800

I rented a Fuji X100F for this occasion. The Canon EOS 5D Mk III would have been too conspicuous and difficult to carry. Besides documenting out new experience I wanted to try some street photography, which is something entirely new for me. Most people mistake the Fuji X100F for a film camera. The design and the small lens and knobs, to my mind, are less intimidating than the large bodies and lenses of the traditional DSLR.

Empty — FujiFilm X100F + 23 mmf/5.6 ISO 12800 — CC BY-NC-SA