Author: Joe Wilcox

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Juneteenth is a Terrible Name

The second celebrated Federal Holiday of the oddly-named Juneteenth is nearly over as I write. Oh, remembering the less formally-designated but also wide-celebrated: Happy Father’s Day to all the dads. My fingers are crossed that you’re happy being one and that the kids share the same sentiment.

Back to the other, the name unruly rolls off the tongue, doesn’t at all tell anyone what the celebration is for, and—go ahead and argue—poorly respects what the holiday represents. Quickly: On June 19, 1865, the Union Army rode into Galveston, Texas and announced the end of black slavery. Emancipation deserves better.

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The Pusher and the Biker

Four days ago, I came across Chris Gampat‘s The Phoblographer commentary “Manual Mode Is Overrated: A Popular, Unpopular Opinion“. Conceding that I am amateur at best, my tendency is to shoot semi-automatic by presetting aperture and fiddling with other settings only when necessity arises.

Chris tramps through several examples of missed opportunities. From the lede paragraph: “You raise the camera to shoot, very sure that you’ve got the decisive moment. But when you chimp the LCD screen, you notice the screen is pure white. Because you were in manual mode, your camera couldn’t adapt and you lost the moment. Had the camera been constantly adjusting the exposure itself, you would’ve probably captured the moment”. Okay, I might have some experience with that.

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Missed Moment

This is not the photo you are meant to see. I failed to capture the right one for you. Please accept my apologies for being too stunned and too slow to get either camera or handset out before opportunity passed. Lesson learned; I need to practice my draw, so to speak, like a gunslinger of old—or modern-era concealed carrier.

While walking along Monroe Avenue this morning, close to 10 a.m. PDT, two police cruisers, their lights flashing, slowly approached from the East. They trailed the lame-legged coyote that some locals call Notorious. My wife and I first saw him along Louisiana on Sept. 8, 2021, date of the Featured Image. Sadly. Honestly, there should have been enough time for me to get off a quick shot of Notorious, if not the cop cars.

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Dinosaur Descendants

We fly back to Aug. 3, 2004, joining seals and swimmers. I used Nikon D70 and 70mm-300mm lens to capture the Featured Image, which is composed as shot. Vitals: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/1600 sec, 300mm; 3:17 p.m. PDT.

There is something oh-so prehistoric about pelicans, and by studying them you can perceive how they are descended from dinosaurs. Meaning: The extinct animals are more aviary and than reptile.

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Teachable Murals

If there were alternate realities, in another my wife and I would have purchased what we call the Schoolhouse nearly five years ago. Location, nearby Alice Birney Elementary, was one of the appealing attributes—that and misguided speculation San Diego would never allow any type of overdevelopment nearby the kids.

A block-long, multi-residence high-rise is under construction across from the school and SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 restrictions kept away students for more than a year. Both are ambience-killers. We’re better off with the decision made in this reality.

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Tattered Tome

March 7, 2022, along Howard Avenue, down the block from the University Heights library, I came across discarded, open book Basta!: Land And The Zapatista Rebellion In Chiapas by George A. Collier and Elizabeth Lowery Quaratiello. Copyright 1994 and 2005.

Say what? Published by Food First Books? Self-described, the organization “has been working to end the injustices that cause hunger since 1975…Food First has published over 60 books and hundreds of articles and research reports”. Ah, okay. Mottos like “where food justice grows” illuminate the group’s progressive politics and policies. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Juicy

So long ago that I can’t recall when, a tabby kitten looked out through the same spot. Glare prevented a portrait. But not on this sighting—and look who grew up! The ninety-third feline found behind door or window resides somewhere West of Park Blvd, but, ssh, I won’t say where.

I used iPhone 13 Pro for a fast Featured Image on May 31, 2022. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 50, 1/99 sec, 77mm; 10:45 a.m. PDT. I chose the nickname for being a synonym to succulent.

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On the Rocks

For a second day we stay at Seal Beach in La Jolla and the creatures for which the area is named. Like yesterday’s shallows shot, the Featured Image comes from Nikon D70 and 70mm-300mm telephoto lens. Vitals: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/1600 sec, 300mm; 5:09 p.m. PDT, Aug. 3, 2004. Composed as shot.

The D70 is my all-time favorite dSLR. The camera started quick, focused fast, and produced super sharp photos. There is something classic about this earlier entry into the prosumer market that Canon carved out with the Digital Rebel. But Nikon one-upped its rival with a body worthy of professionals as well as enthusiasts.

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A Good Reason to Work From Home

At one of the pricer area filling stations, located where Fourth and Washington meet in San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood, the price of gasoline approaches mountaineering heights. Grab your gear and head for the summit of cash required to fill the tank. For context, rounding to the nearest buck, customers paid $6.60 per gallon on May 27, 2022 and $4.94 on Oct. 15, 2021 at this location.

On the same day as the Featured Image, June 8, 2022, at my University Heights-located Valero, I filled up a half-tank for 30 bucks at $6.09 a gallon around Noon. Lady driving an Acura in the queue before my car paid $69 and some change. When I drove past a few hours later, posted price had jumped to $6.16.

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The Cats of University Heights: Fabby

The ninety-second feline found behind door or window made an unexpected, and singular, appearance along the alley between Florida and Alabama, which makes the putty the eighty-ninth from the latter of the two streets to appear in the series. Perhaps I will see her again, but so far not since April 30, 2022.

I shot portraits using iPhone Pro 13 and Leica Q2, but the handset’s telephoto lens produced the better (e.g. larger-size subject) Featured Image. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 32, 1/602 sec, 77mm; 9:58 a.m. PDT.

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Bark Art

Trust the wife to have a good eye for the amazing. Today, while walking through Old Trolley Barn Park, which is located in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood, Annie stopped to regard tree bark and photograph it with her iPhone 13 Pro. I almost walked past, ignoring her interest. But quick examination revealed a mesmerizing mosaic that could easily be a painting hanging in an art gallery.

When she finished her impromptu shoot, I set to work with Leica Q2. For the Featured Image, I used the Macro control—activated by turning a ring around the lens barrel. Vitals, aperture manually set for both: f/4, ISO 100, 1/50 sec, 28mm; 10:57 a.m. PDT.