Category: Events

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Easter was Four Months Ago, Right?

Walking up Meade Avenue in San Diego neighborhood North Park, today, I stopped to wonder which “A” month is now. Because this poster reads April but surely it’s August. My wife focused on something else, stepping forward, pointing, and commenting on the absurdity of an egg hunt for anyone “18 and up”. Huh?

Odder still, the location of the poster: Garfield Elementary. That to me precludes anyone over 12. Then there is question why the school promotes an event that occurred more than four months ago. Granted, education should be timeless but this?

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Praising the 135mm

In a post dateline eight days ago, Phoblographer publisher Chris Gampat explains “What You Should Know Before Buying a 135mm Lens“. He describes my favorite Prime focal length: “a magical wonder for many photographers”; “optically speaking, no one looks bad on the other end of this lens”; “notoriously hard to get in focus”; and “render[s] super tight if you don’t have a lot of room”. Also calling 135mm a “pain”, he acknowledges: “I’ll admit they can create beautiful photos”.

If shooting an interchangeable lens camera, rather than fixed-28mm Leica Q2, I absolutely would favor 135mm. Honestly, I might go 85mm for close spaces but otherwise mainly use the longer focal length. I love 135mm.

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Bluegrass and Monochrome

The third of four Friday live music concerts filled Old Trolley Barn Park this evening in my San Diego neighborhood of University Heights. Bluegrass greeted descending dusk as I arrived packing Leica Q2 Monochrom. I captured crowd shots—three, and share two.

As an afterthought, I pulled out iPhone 13 Pro for a single color composition, which I chose for the Featured Image. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 200, 1/99 sec, 77mm; 7:37 p.m. PDT.

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Spidey Steaks

As I write, Preview Night is coming to a close at San Diego Comic-Con, which returns for a full festival following a two-year hiatus in response to SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19. The virus overshadows the show nevertheless. Attendees must wear face masks or other protective covering and provide proof of vaccination or negative Coronavirus test within 72 hours.

Interestingly, the popular culture event implemented those rules before recent rise in COVID-19 infections mainly caused by the BA.5 variant. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention puts SD County in a high-risk category, although deaths aren’t dramatically rising nor are hospitals overwhelmed. Case fatality rate is 0.64 percent, while most people infected show slight to no symptoms. Hey, just saying.

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Let the Music Begin

This evening, after a two-year hiatus because of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns (and fear), Friday-night Trolley Barn Park musical concerts resumed here in University Heights.

I passed by minutes before the players took the stage and while people settled in for a pleasant evening shared listening and commiserating. Temperature was a comfortable 22 degrees Celsius (72 F). Even now, as I write, 20 degrees (68 F) refreshes park-goers.

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Comic-Con’s Crazy COVID Conniption

To close out the month, and first half of the year, we connect the somewhat distant past with the not-so-far-off future. San Diego Comic Con returns July 21-24, 2022 with Preview Night on the 20th. The show floor, or break-out sessions, will look nothing like the Featured Image, taken seven years ago.

SDCC apparently didn’t get the memo that SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 is endemic and no longer pandemic. Locally, people move freely about without being required to wear masks, be tested, or verify vax status. Based on the official tally, the cumulative-calculated case fatality rate in San Diego County is 0.64 percent. Meaning: Your chance of surviving Coronavirus is better than 99 percent, while more than 85 percent of those infected likely show no symptoms.

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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 Players

Friends invited me to attend Spirit West Coast at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in 2008. I couldn’t guess what to expect—and, whoa, what a surprise. The atmosphere felt good and the overall ambience refreshed and enlivened. Christian musicians. Families. Young adults. All having fun at a festival where there was no alcohol or illegal substances. I was surprised. Transfixed.

I attended the following year, too. But those days are gone. The music festival no longer comes to San Diego County.

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He Knows No Limit

I can’t explain why the Featured Image appeals to me. Maybe the gent’s mouth caught in speaking motion is reason combined with tilt of head, necklaces hung around neck, and one presented in hand. Is he selling the beaded strings? Seeking donations? I want to know.

The moment is from the Labor Day Parade on Sept. 5, 2005 in Kensington, Md. I used Canon EOS 20D for the portrait, which is composed as shot. Vitals: f/10, ISO 400, 1/500 sec, 40mm; 10:26 a.m. EDT.

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A Sign is 25

I can’t imagine how our family still resides in the village of University Heights, which is where we settled upon arriving in San Diego nearly 15 years ago. But here we remain, even as rising rental fees and soaring property values make the area unbearably costly. Exit strategy has been my priority for some time, at least since our decision not to buy the Schoolhouse five years ago. As homeowners, we would have been more natural members of the community.

Still, my wife and I briefly joined today’s block party—along Park Blvd between Adams and Madison—celebrating 25 years of the neighborhood’s iconic sign, which you can see in the Featured Image, taken using Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 100, 1/80 sec, 28mm; 4:41 p.m. PDT. The event officially started at Five.

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The Humiliation Games

On the same day the 2022 Olympics opened, February 4, I passed by something appropriate and timely: discarded pair of thirtytwo brand snowboarding boots. Their abandonment, along the North Avenue alley in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood, could be a metaphor for what’s being chucked away in Beijing right now: fair competitive spirit, human dignity, and truthfulness. It’s all humiliating.

Let me count the ways: Humiliating that, because of surveillance, athletes were instructed to bring burner phones to China—and, for their own safety, not to publicly criticize the host nation. Humiliating that China presented as propaganda a token Uyghur during the opening ceremony; what genocide? Humiliating that Russian President Vladimir Putin joined Chinese President Xi Jinping, while Western nations, including the United States, chose not to send diplomatic delegations. Humiliating that Chinese officials dragged away a Dutch reporter during a live broadcast. Humiliating that athletes quarantined for positive SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 are mentally and physically impaired by poor food quality and living conditions. Humiliating, and convenient, that some foreign gold medal contenders test Coronavirus positive and can’t compete. Humiliating that most NBC Sports commentators and hosts are broadcasting from the United States rather than China.

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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.