That Was The Year That Was

by | Jan 5, 2021

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

“Well, if I be served such another trick, I’ll have my brains ta’en out and buttered, and give them to a dog for a New Year’s gift.”— Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor

Sonofagun, here we are in 2021 and I’m sure you join me in hoping that this year will be better than the last one. But before we jump into this new year, I would like to continue some ruminating over 2020.

The blog. Because of the effect of the global pandemic on car shows, coverage of the shows as well as my ability to photograph some interesting cars or even get to meet their owners was difficult if not impossible. I had to cut back to two posts a week—Tuesday and Thursday—and Google’s algorithm punished me with a drop of referrals. Yet somebody out there likes my car photographs since five of my top nine Instagram posts (at right) featured cars, including two of them my own and then two of these were images of my former XJ-6.

JoeCar: It’s been a little over two years since I sold my Mercedes Benz CLA 250 and as I’ve mentioned here before, I don’t miss it. I’ve been driving Mary’s 2016 VW Beetle convertible and while it’s not a bad car on even moderate drives it’s just not comfortable for me. Over these two years I have been saving money for a new (used) car and as we ended the year I have enough for a healthy down payment. But—and here is the BIG but—I am not going to buy a boring car just to have wheels. No Camry’s please. My goal was to acquire an interesting $10,000 car that was around 10-years old, because Colorado’s license fees heavily discriminate against new cars and even moderately expensive cars like my CLA. I am tired of paying a tax every year for license plates—or just a sticker—that someone with a beater POS get cheaply.

Car Shows. I expect to attend more car shows in 2021. They’re outdoors and easy to socially distance but I don’t think masking requirements are going away anytime soon. My local Cars & Coffee is a rain or shine event but there has been inclement weather at the last two events and while maybe a few cars showed up, I didn’t. The month before these two shows, when the weather was moderately poor, only a handful of cars showed up and I can’t blame them. I’m not bringing a McLaren or Buick Grand National (if I owned either one) out in crappy weather. But I’ll make this promise to you: I plan (key word) to attend each month’s Vehicle Vault’s Cars & Coffee events in 2021…but Alexa told me last night that it might snow. If that happens not many cars will show up and neither will I.

How I made this shot: As I’ve mentioned before I have a love affair with Buicks—not all of them but some like this one. I photographed this Buick Regal TourX at Parker, CO’s Cars & Coffee event using an Olympus Pen F, one of my favorite Micro Four-thirds cameras. Lens was a M.Zuiko Digital 25mm f/1.8 and the image was captured in Program mode, my preferred mode for Cars & Coffee, with an exposure of 1/800 sec at f.6.3 and ISO 320, my got-to ISO setting for these kinds of shows.

Cameras & Lenses: During the pandemic I’ve acquired some new photo equipment. It may have not have been added to the Gear section yet because the current software that runs this newly redesigned site—did you even notice?—is difficult for me to use so I have to pay my Webmaster for updates. And I;m waiting until I have something substantial to change.

But I did buy a new camera—a Panasonic Lumix G9—but haven’t used it to photograph cars, at least not yet. I’ve also purchased a M.Zuiko Digital 25mm f/1.8 that I used to photograph cars. Then I picked up an M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro lens and tried it at Cars and Coffee. Not the best lens for cars but it was interesting; read my post about it here. Finally I purchased a battery grip for my Olympus E-M5 Mark I from my favorite store, Roberts Camera.

You will notice that these last two lenses were made by Olympus, a company well-known for their optical excellence but what will happen to Oly in 2021? Now owned by a company that has two members of its board from private equity companies makes me wonder, “what is on their minds that they want to purchase a camera company?” A hopeful and maybe a bit naive take is that maybe they want to make cameras but the cynical me knows that’s not typically the mindset of private equity firms. I think we’ll discover the fate of Olympus sooner rather than later in 2021.

Which brings me to Canon. They are probably in good financial shape but what will happen to their EF-M mount cameras in 2021? I am a big fan of their EOS M6 Mark II, which I have on extended loan and was a huge fan of the prime lenses that Sigma designed for this system. You can read my reviews of the 16mm, 30mm and 56mm lenses in EF-M mount on my photography how-to blog by searching for “EF-M.” You gotta love the concept: Much like shoving a big engine in a mid-size body, like Pontiac’s GTO, Canon jammed a 32.5 megapixel APS-C sensor into a compact body. What’s not to like? But given the success of their R-series full-frame mirrorless cameras can any APS-C sensor camera, especially one with a unique lens mount, survive in 2021? I’m not so sure.

With all these rambling thoughts in mind, I wish each and every one of you a happier and healthy 2021.