Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Fleet of Terrigal pelicans meets my new Leica Q2

Fleet of Terrigal pelicans meets my new Leica Q2


The last few months have been difficult, very difficult, for most of us and particularly for me. First we had the lockdown and travel restrictions due to the pandemic and then my wife of 51 years, Val, was diagnosed with a very serious health issue early July.

For many years we have been inveterate travellers, but Covid-19 meant that instead of two pre-planned exciting overseas trips in 2020 there have been none. Indeed, in better circumstances, this week we would have been sailing on a small riverboat into darkest Myanmar along with fellow Macfilos contributor, Wayne Gerlach and his spouse.

My wife’s health issue has meant that I have been in a continuous state of stress, taking her to seemingly endless medical appointments and visiting her in hospital. I have become adept at driving a wheelchair in and out of medical facilities—and that’s quite a challenge, not quite as satisfying as piloting one of my classic Porsches.

This forced confinement to base has not been easy and my feet have not stopped itching throughout the winter. But, at least, I live in beautiful Terrigal and, even in the depths of winter, my regular early morning cliff-top walk has been enjoyable. It has also kept me fit and has helped me try to keep my mind in a good place.

Now the walk is even better as Spring has really sprung. The temperature has gone up and the gardens are suddenly bursting with colour.

Enter the Q2

As well as the lack of time and my fatigue, all the gloom has meant that my enthusiasm for taking photographs has waned in the last two months. The very week before my wife’s diagnosis I had been idly thinking about switching my Leica Q for a Q2. I did not need a Q2 as the Q, although over four years old and very well used, was still performing faultlessly.

I had mentally decided to stay with the Q when Val’s diagnosis arrived. However, on the spur of the moment, I decided to buy the Q2 as a sort of personal pick me up. Fortunately, some of the financial pain miraculously disappeared when Photoco in Adelaide sold the Q for me at an excellent price.

The therapy benefit of Q2 buying was sadly short-lived and I barely touched the camera until last week. In fact, the only photos I took with it were of my beautiful old cat, Phoebe, as we snuggled up together on the sofa in the evenings after yet another stressful day.

Last week I decided that it was well past time to give the Q2 an outing. So it accompanied me on my early morning walk as I came across a flock of pelicans (or, as I now see, it is actually a pod, or even a pouch, a scoop, a squadron or if they are fishing as a group, a fleet). I rather warm to the term fleet, so fleet it shall be. The fleet was in its usual berth by the end of the boat ramp at The Haven in Terrigal, waiting for early morning fishermen to return and sort their catch.

This guy, or gal (I never was any good at sexing pelicans), stood still just long enough for me to take one photo. It is a sizeable crop but if I had edged another centimetre forward it would have swum off, I’m sure. Of course, the biggest benefit of the Q2 over the Q is that the 47mp sensor can really handle big crops.

I also thought that I should include one of my Phoebe shots as I promised her that if she stood still long enough I’d make her famous by getting her photo onto Macfilos. She’s been a great comfort to me over the last few difficult months.

Read more from John Shingleton


  1. John, I am so sorry to read of your personal family woes and pray that they will be positively resolved and your dear wife Val will be restored to full health. No-one deserves what you both are enduring – plus the scourge of Covid-19. There must be a silver lining somewhere, waiting to shine on you both.

    How bold of you to seek solace with a new camera in your hands. Perhaps that is an ideal antidote to the anguish you suffer.

    Be brave. Continue to support and comfort your lovely wife and prepare for a positive outcome, which we all hope will be yours.

  2. Sorry to hear about your wife’s health challenges. It’s enough to struggle under this Covid blanket. Here’s hoping the shots from your photographic trips can perk her up a bit.

  3. Sorry to hear about the incredible challenges of this year being compounded with caring for your wife and the associated tole of the heavy weight of concern. I hope things dramatically improve quickly.

    I love the portrait you captured of that amazing himalayan cat – hopefully that is the correct breed.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks Brian. Yes Phoebe is a thoroughbred Himalayan and she in now in her 21st year which is almost unheard of for a thoroughbred cat. She is the oldest cat on the books at the local veterinary hospital. She is still eating really well but I fear that she may not be with us for too much longer.

  4. I hope things get better for your wife and you. And that someday soon the four of you can take that trip to Myanmar. Take a picture everyday. A couple of nights ago, I dug out some old albums, you know the kind the prints come back in from a Kodak store? from the early years of our marriage and when our daughter was a wee’un. And my wife, who’s recovering very slowly from a prolapsed disc, then had something to look through when she couldn’t sleep. And my daughter, who’s in her last teen year now, had a great time going through them as well, specially those photos she was in. So take a picture everyday and show it to Val. Just another thing to share. And wish her speedy recovery from all of us.

  5. Sorry to hear about your wife’s illness. Hope her health will improve soon so that you’ll be able to travel again once the covid restrictions are over.
    Beautiful images from your Q2

  6. Sorry to hear about your circumstances, John, particularly regarding your wife. Health is more important than travel and photography, but they can help us get through the challenges which life brings. It looks like travel will be off the menu for most of us for quite some time to come. Even with a vaccine, Covid will remain a threat for a long time. People have been adapting their photography to the ‘new normal’. Various auctions of cameras and photographs in aid of the NHS have taken place. Just this morning I received an email from the Photographic Collectors Club of Great Britain about supporting the Disabled Photographers Society at the forthcoming Photography Show which is going to be virtual this year.

    There are other initiatives such as various ‘Mass Isolation’ sites on Instagram and I have my own ‘Single Isolation’ series also on Instagram. Also there have been Zoom Presentations by the likes of the LHSA which included my recent one. Leica Akademie have been running a series of talks and I sat in on a Leica Akademie Australia Webinar on Wednesday which was given by Peter Karbe about the Leica M lenses.

    In many ways the pandemic has brought the photographic community closer together and sites like Macfilos play a big part in this.

    You have all of our best wishes, John. You clearly realise that photography can be a wonderful release in times of stress and this will help to get you through.


  7. Hi John,

    We do not know each other, but sorry to hear about your wife. As a full-time carer for my partner (who is originally from Adelaide btw), I know what a little ‘me’ time with a camera can provide. I recently part-exchanged my Q for a Q2 with Ivor at Red Dot. It has taken me a little while to get used to the Q2. I thought I would be an easy transition, but those extra pixels make life a little more interesting when post-processing. But as with the Q, it is a wonderful camera and I hope you get the time and space to enjoy it.


  8. Very arresting pelican picture, John, and really good to see Phoebe again. It’s a long road from X1 to Q2 – quite a transition?! I remember you telling me just to take my X2 on holiday with me last summer and not have any snazzy zooms to fall back on! It was a very intersting exercise in considered composition, and I suppose the Q and Q2 are the same thing on a higher plane (except for the cropping).
    Our brief meeting in Copenhagen was a real pleasure. I think of you and your wife often and send warmest good wishes for this difficult time.

  9. Good Evening John, from the other side of the world.

    I am sorry to hear about the personal circumstances surrounding your good lady’s health. All I can say is I get it, and the grind of hospital visits presents us with a challenge we are often ill prepared for.

    I am impressed that you slid your Q2 purchase through the home accounts while no one was looking. I may save that tactic up my sleeve for a rainy day. hmm!

    And Phoebe, as ever, steals the show. The Pelican, well- with Phoebe in the article, its just a decent shot of a Pelican, not a patch on a head turning ageing feline beauty. Heck she deserves her own Q2 article, and to be able to rid herself of the pesky Pelican.

    Naturally I hope yourself and the other Aussie contingent are all well, and keeping away from the viral invader. I do hope that Val is okay, and the Aussie health system is looking after her and treating her well.

    Best wishes



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