Author: Joe Wilcox

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Flickr a Week 26a: ‘Purple Fields–Hitchin Lavender, Cadwell Farm, Hertfordshire’

First-half of turbulent 2020 ends with soothing self-titled “Purple Fields—Hitchin Lavender, Cadwell Farm, Hertfordshire“, which Barbara Asboth captured on Aug. 22, 2015 using Canon EOS 5D Mark III and 28-75mm lens.

“This lady was dressed as the perfect subject in orange against the sea of purple”, Barbara says of the moment. “Processed to have a magical feel to it, just like I felt in person. They were already harvesting the lavender that day, though, so if you want to go see this, you will have to wait until next year for the most beautiful views. It’s worth it, though”. Lovely composition and stunning ethereal feeling take the Sunday spot—and oh, so well-deserved.

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The Cats of University Heights: Friday

Fifty-one: The number of felines found on Alabama between boundaries Adams and Lincoln, since the first three—Anthony, Goldie, and Itchy Valentino—appeared along a single block on the same day: Sept. 5, 2017. The black also is sixty-third seen behind door or window, since the series started in October 2016. Confession: This handsome shorthair lives in a house that, being a whisk beyond Lincoln going towards University Ave., could classify as North Park. Welcome to boundary-bending Caturday!

Not very original, Friday is the beastie’s nickname—chosen for the day of the week for June 19, 2020. I captured portraits using Leica Q2 and iPhone XS but chose the Featured Image from the smartphone shots rather than the camera. Better composition, aided from the secondary lens, is main reason. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/232 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 9:20 a.m. PDT.

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The Cats of University Heights: Foxtrot

Humans aren’t alone emerging from the the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19pandemic lockdown. After a kind of drought, I suddenly see more kitties—three of them yesterday morning, all along Mississippi between Howard and Lincoln: This fine Tuxedo, another, and a ginger. But I failed to get portraits of the others, seen on another block; if lucky, perhaps we’ll meet again sometime soon.

This fine feline earns nickname Foxtrot, in part for how he (or she) foot-stepped its approach to me and my wife. I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 8:55 a.m. PDT.

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Too Much for Some, Not Enough for Others

Today, while walking with my wife along Meade Avenue in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood, I was reminded about the food giveaway still going on at Garfield Elementary. Four full cartoons of skim milk littered the sidewalk and, later, a twist-tied bag containing unopened cereal and other sugary breakfast eats that would appeal to children.

In mid-March, California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the closure of most businesses and all schools. While the state is now reopening and adults return to work, kids remain home—many with parents who are still furloughed or fired. San Diego County’s unemployment rate is a staggering 15 percent, up from about 3.5 percent before the lockdown precipitated by the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19pandemic. Select schools offer free food to needy families, and they are many.

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Why Watermelon?

As I crossed the Vermont Street Bridge from San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood to Hillcrest today, something strange stopped my morning walk. Why was there cut-up watermelon? Was it left for someone—perhaps the homeless gent wrapped in a blanket, lying still, and (likely) sleeping on the sidewalk outside the structure’s entrance? Was it a flavorless, abandoned breakfast? The slices looked fairly fresh and no flies swarmed about. So free from wildlife and human attention, the makeshift meal could have been the final feast of the apocalypse.

Update, June 19, 2020: Call me clueless! This morning, I showed the photo to my wife, who scolded: “You do know that there’s a stereotype about black people eating watermelon?” That’s news to me. “I love watermelon, and I don’t understand why there’s some kind of negative stereotype about it”. She, and me, is hyper-aware, given three weeks of protests about racism in America.

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Signs of Our Turbulent Times

Six minutes after seeing the squirrel treed by Bruce, I came upon something quite unexpected along the Florida-Georgia alley between Madison and Monroe in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood. The Featured Image (warning 29MB file) needs no explanation—other than camera (Leica Q2) and vitals: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 10:15 a.m. PDT, today.

We started 2020 with a pandemic and subsequent, nearly-nationwide shutdown of most businesses and all schools. Just as states started to reopen, a black man (George Floyd) died in the custody of white police officers. People poured into the streets, protesting and rioting, in response. Seattle surrendered six blocks to vigilante demonstrators, who have cordoned off the area, which they claim to be a cop-free zone.