Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Retail Politics

This is not new news, but the recent Indiana law - misinterpreted or not - reminds me that I always meant to post about this.

I'm the owner of a few items of Really Right Stuff gear, most notably lens plates but I also use their BH-55 head which has its issues but is a fairly good ball head. However I've stopped buying new products from them, not for hardware performance reasons, but for philosophical reasons.

It was when I was researching the replacement clamp for the BH-55 that I came across a snippet of news, as shown in this thread: http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/956293 . The owner of RRS had donated a substantial amount of money in support of the "Yes on 8" campaign. California Proposition 8 aimed to ban same-sex marriage in California via constitutional amendment.  For a while it succeeded.  Privately-owned company, and the company as a whole does not have anything on its website concerning this but nevertheless it came to light because of California reporting laws.

In a country where discrimination of this type is still a big factor, and where I also have multiple choices for hardware (Kirk, Markins etc), it's difficult for me to justify buying from a company like RRS.

Allen's Hummingbird, California

I stopped in California en route to visit family in Australia this past December and basically found Allen's Hummingbirds all over the place in the LA area - many of them pugnacious males apparently staking out some sort of territory.  This bird was at Madrona Marsh in Torrance and allowed me to approach slowly while eyeing me warily.  I was testing out the Tamron 100-600 zoom at the time, and the light conditions were marginal.  I have mixed feelings about this lens but this came out quite well under the circumstances.

I probably saw more Allen's on the few days bracketed either side of my Oz flights than I had in all previous visits combined.