Leica X2

Washington has an annual event called FotoWeek to highlight DC’s photo community. This year, the German camera company Leica, which has its only US shop in DC, organized free photowalks with some of their cameras. I really wanted to walk around with their amazing M-system cameras, but those dates did not work for me. However, I was able to take their X2 for a spin.

The camera is a compact digital camera with manual shutter and aperture control dials on the top of the camera. The X2 features a 16 MP sensor, an excellent quality 24mm lens (equivalent to a 36mm on a 35mm system) all while being pretty inconspicuous – great for street photography. Like most things Leica, the lens quality is the greatest feature of the camera – and it better be! The camera retails for $2,000. Of course, you’d have to give the Paul Smith edition a close look if you were going to plop down that kind of dough! While it was fun to shoot, I still preferred my Sony NEX-7 for its greater number of megapixels, innovative tri-mode dial system, focus peaking and just overall better results. However, the two cameras are not really in competition so perhaps that comparison is unfair.

Some of the photos I took are below. More of my photography can be found on my Flickr page. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Leica X2 street shot
Ollie's Trolley
Leica X2 Tree
Statue and Fall Colors
Flags and Fall Colors
Fall Colors
View up 14th Street
Leica X2 Photowalk Group Outside the White House

Baileys Bundt Cake

For Cooking Club this month, we decided to combine a member’s office wedding shower and our usual monthly cooking meeting into one. The theme was “boozey” foods. I was originally going to try to make a savory dish since I feared that most people would bring desserts, but after acquiring Baileys Irish Cream (along with lots of other liquor courtesy of American Express and their Small Business Saturday promotion) I looked on the Baileys’ recipe website and came across the recipe for Baileys Bundt Cake.

I pretty much had all the ingredients and, thanks to the Senate working ’til midnight the night before, very little time to make it. But the recipe is super easy and the results were a cake that was not too sweet, with the Baileys really coming out as the star. As I held the cake wrapped up on my lap on my Metro ride into work, the smell of the liquor was calling my name the whole way in!

The recipe follows along with a picture of the finished cake. Due to time limitations, I forwent the usually pictures of the steps along the way. Next time!

Cake ingredients
1/2  lb butter (2 sticks)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 cup Baileys Original Irish Cream
2 cups flour
Pinch of salt

Topping ingredients
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour a bundt pan.

Combine butter with sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well.

In a separate bowl, mix together 1 tsp of the baking powder and Baileys Original Irish Cream. After well mixed, add to the egg mixture and combine.

Sift together the flour, 2 tsp of the baking powder and salt in another bowl. Add to egg mixture and stir until well combined.

In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients to make the topping.

Pour half of batter into the pan. Sprinkle in half of topping. Pour in remaining batter. Top with remainder of topping.

Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Finished Bailys Bundt Cake
The finished Baileys Bundt Cake ready to serve