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A Moment Between Buddies

For a brief time, I owned Canon PowerShot G9—a compact camera that only satisfied my most modest expectations. As such, I don’t have much of a catalog of photos from the thing, but the Featured Image is one of them. Vitals: f/4.8, ISO 80, 1/800 sec, 44.4mm; 12:13 p.m. PST.

The date: New Years 2008, when we went with friends to Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. These two gents converse about their wives, kids, weather—I dunno what, but something. The day was relatively clear and about 21 degrees Celsius (70 F) when I made the portrait, which in post-production is cropped 3:2.

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Surprise in the Sky

Importing the Featured Image into Adobe Lightroom Classic revealed unexpected dirt on lens. Where did those specs come from? But zooming in close revealed something else: A flock of birds set against the clouds—and half-Moon. So I cropped to give you another peek at the amazing detail Leica Q2‘s 28mm f/1.7 Summilux lens captures. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/400 sec, 28mm; 9:24 a.m. PST, Dec. 26, 2021.

The close-crop won’t win awards for composition, but it’s not meant to. There’s a certain satisfaction to how the intended object, and story about it, becomes something more. Since crane also is a bird, surely there is a clever way to describe the happenstance (not that I can think one; perhaps you can).

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The Film Shooter

My wife and I made Panorama Drive part of our Sunday walk routine—entering the loop at Louisiana. After we exited onto Alabama, at cross-street Madison, Annie pointed out a group of people meandering down the sidewalk ahead. She wondered if we should choose another way. Understanding that everyone would have to squeeze by, I asked to continue on. Before proceeding even 10 paces, I saw the cameras. Lots of them. We had come upon an apparent photo walk.

We passed through the throng, with many people stopping to shoot anything and everything about. University Heights is one of San Diego’s oldest neighborhoods. As such, in part because of different construction eras—following world wars, for example—the housing architecture is distinct and varied. The contrast is striking compared to what locals call North County, where whole areas of homes look one and alike.

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The Cats of University Heights: Mizu

It’s Caturday, and I’ve got a backlog of unpublished felines. Let’s celebrate! We bump to the front of queue, Mizu (yes, real name), who my wife and I met yesterday in the alley between Louisiana and Mississippi. She was friendly and cautious—and happiest when invited inside to visit a neighbor.

Mizu initially and unexpectedly rushed across the alley to visit with us, but a passing car caused her to retreat beneath another vehicle. I used iPhone 13 Pro to capture the Featured Image and two companions. Vitals: f/1.5, ISO 50, 1/4831 sec, 26mm; 12:32 p.m. PST.

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The Gathering

Sometimes, like now, I miss using a telephoto or zoom lens. Tonight, while looking over neglected, archived RAW files, I came across a set from a Sep. 28, 2008 evangelical gathering. Problem: I don’t recall what it was or where was the San Diego County venue. Similarly, I can’t identify any of the people portrayed in the three portraits that you see in this post.

The Featured Image and companions come from Nikon D90 and 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED-IF AF-S VR DX Zoom-Nikkor lens. Vitals for the first: f/5.6, ISO 800, 1/200 sec, 130mm; 10:55 a.m. PDT. I suspect, but can’t say, that the gentleman is a preacher and the lady is his wife. But, again, and apologies, I don’t remember.

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Where the Palm Crown Fell

Now I understand why the city of San Diego cut down the majestic palm on my street that South American Palm Weevils had infested. The dead, or dying trees, are dangerous. What a story we tell today, with accompanying photographs. Read and look on.

Walking with my wife along Meade Ave. in University Heights, I told her about the restaurant that Canadian officials closed for accepting dog photos instead of vaccination verifications for SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19. Wanting to confirm country, I asked Annie to stop at cross-street Georgia, where I pulled out iPhone 13 Pro and web-searched. If not for that 30 seconds delay, we would have missed the disaster that had occurred at the corner. She saw the aftermath and called me to look.

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Blasting Bureaucratic Bungling

For the first full day since San Diego road crews etched “North Park” into two traffic circles located in University Heights, the correct community name is displayed. I asked “Who Authorized This?” on Oct. 1, 2020, regarding the, ah, mishap at Alabama and Louisiana streets along Meade Ave. The city constructed the roundabouts as part of the Mid-City Bikeways project.

Restoration at Alabama started before Christmas 2021 but was repeatedly delayed by rainstorms. Work there completed last week and at Louisiana yesterday. The process was arduous and messy—and not just from the actual physical disruption; clutter and confusion replace the previous clean etching of letters and design. As such, I wonder if all the money and industry invested to correct the misnaming was wasted.

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The Stranger

This afternoon, after I crossed back into University Heights, carrying bananas in one hand, someone called from behind me. I turned to see a bearded fellow who had seen my strapped, slung-back Leica Q2. He asked if I would take his photograph—because he was interested in modeling. Ah, okay.

I responded cautiously, but welcomingly, because that’s the kind of delaying ruse a thief might use. But he seemed to be genuine enough, there was good distance between us, and I was situationally aware of his movements and my exit options along an extremely familiar route.

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The Cats of University Heights: Pudding

A sudden surge in kitty sightings is creating a backlog for the series. My apologies, then, if they overwhelm the site for awhile. For reasons that make no sense to me, they cluster around Alabama and Louisiana, which, coincidentally or not, are also where are the new traffic circles at Meade.

We begin with a black and white seen on the latter of the two streets. This fine feline, who earns nickname Pudding (for something about those cute ears), is the eighty-third behind door or window. I used iPhone 13 Pro to capture the Featured Image on Dec. 17, 2021. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 32, 1/602 sec; 9:22 a.m. PST.

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Party Like Your Life Depends On It

Of all the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 oddities that I have seen, this sign might be strangest and yet most appropriate—punctuated commentary, whether or not the intention. The balloons suggest a birthday party, possibly for kids. You are welcome but be prepared for the consequences, especially if masks aren’t required. Meaning: You’re responsible for you.

I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image, today. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/400 sec, 28mm; 10:25 a.m. PST. Location: Somewhere along Maryland Street in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood.

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For Kuma

This afternoon, I made a ceremonial walk along the paths and places Kuma used to go. Ten years ago today, around 6 a.m. PST, he looked up at me quizzically before slipping under the apartment building’s back gate. I let him out an hour earlier than typical, into darkness and without accompanying him into the alley as usual. My eyes never met his again. Kuma vanished.

Sixteen days later, San Diego city workers recovered his collar from a nearby canyon. The inference was clear: Coyote, as we suspected about Priscilla—a neighbor’s kitty that similarly disappeared 12 months earlier. She inspired his adoption.

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The Cats of University Heights: Kittens

While walking along Mississippi Street, between El Cajon and Meade, today, I spotted a four-to-six-week-old kitten scurrying among an apartment building’s greenery then passing through the lattice panels beneath a corner cottage. Not long later, the tyke looked out suspiciously long enough for me to approach and capture the Featured Image, using iPhone 13 Pro. Do you see the rascal? Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 32, 1/2273 sec, 77mm; 12:02 p.m. PST.

When the shorthair vamoosed, so did I—only to see an adult black across the manicured space of an adjacent apartment building. The mom, perhaps? She hung out closer to the alley, so I walked around for a look (and some portraits).