Category: Media

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Farmer @Work

In my Aroostook County hometown, students grades 9-12 returned to school last week (August 16). The summer start is so teenagers can go on break to help with the potato harvest: 10 school days, or effectively two full weeks, starting at the end of classes on September 22. During my growing up years, all the schoolkids had recess to help bring in the crop.

Confession: I hated picking potatoes, which perhaps explains the traditional basket kept as souvenir. A picker would fill one with spuds pulled from unearthed vines and then lug them to a barrel and dump in the load.

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Easy Rider

Among my most favorite “Cats of University Heights” is Pepto, who joined the series in October 2020. He roams too much for my comfort, sauntering across once lightly-trafficked streets that bustle because of torrential construction of towering multi-unit complexes like BLVD North Park and the Winslow.

My wife happened to come upon the orange and white fluffer finely set up by one of his owners. What a fantastic photo-op, eh? She used Samsung Galaxy S22 to capture the Featured Image on Aug. 18, 2023. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 20, 1/470 sec, 23mm (film equivalent); 3:07 p.m. PDT.

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Neon Pizza

We return to the pizzeria located at El Cajon Blvd and Louisiana Street in the San Diego neighborhood of University Heights. Already you should have seen slimer dripping into three glasses and a table of leftovers.

The Featured Image can’t quite convey the evocative character of the sign just inside the back door that exits onto a patio. This one comes from Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, like the others. Vitals: f/1.7, ISO 500, 1/40 sec, 23mm (film equivalent); 8:30 p.m. PDT, Aug. 15, 2023.

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Remembering Moto X

A decade ago today, Google released Moto X—a classic smartphone by every measure that matters. Two years earlier, the search and information giant initiated a $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility, which would manufacture the Android. Months following the initial launch, I bought the Developer Edition and loved it.

Moto X promised so much: American assembled in a Texas factory; made-to-order, with custom color and other personalization options; simple, straightforward online ordering, tight integration with Google services; voice activation and commands. Nothing like the device, the purchasing experience, or truly hands-free operation existed in 2013.

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Sapphire Showers Duranta

I let Google Photos stylize the Featured Image, which is composed as shot. You won’t see saturation like this naturally presenting in nature. This is what happens when some form of artificial intelligence does the job that you should do for yourself. I would never edit like this but must acknowledge to not disliking the photo, which isn’t the same as liking it.

Once again, Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra rises to the occasion. Vitals: f/1.7, ISO 50, 1/120 sec, 23mm (film equivalent); 11:50 a.m. PDT, Aug. 18, 2023.

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The Cats of University Heights: Tsuki

At one home, three kitties once lived: Booger (who was hit by a car in November 2017); Sebastian (who vanished in October 2022, possibly by coyote); and Ash (whose status I don’t know; my last photo of him is Feb. 8, 2023).

Few months ago, a Calico appeared but inside the home rather than roaming the lush yard. Presumably, with recent surge of cat disappearances in the neighborhood, the owners choose to keep her indoors—oh, but with great vantage to the outdoors. She is the one-hundred-thirteenth feline found behind door or window since the series‘ start in October 2016.

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Sports Cars Don’t Get Much More Classic Than This

The strangest, and unexpected, cars show up on the streets of my neighborhood of University Heights. Perennial San Diego sun may be hard on the paint, but arid Mediterranean climate assures that a well-maintained vehicle can last for decades—free from the abuse imposed by extreme temperature swings, frequent rain, high humidity, or seasonal changes. The SoCal coastal region has one season: Summer, in three variations of early, mid, and late.

Unsurprisingly, and fitting with California stereotypes, Volkswagens of various vintages, typically circa 1960s and 70s, are commonly enough seen. But this Jaguar XK120, in the Featured Image and companion captures, is a first. I saw it once, April 22, 2023, and never again.

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Calm Before the Storm

This evening, I snagged one last dry walk for the next day or so. Rain is expected to start overnight as the outer edge of Hilary—the hurricane become tropical storm—blasts through Southern California. As I write, the weather is remarkably pleasant: Cozy muggy and 23 degrees Celsius (74 Fahrenheit).

The Featured Image, of apartment complex BLVD North Park, marks the moment. Vitals: f/1.7, ISO 640, 1/40 sec, 23mm (film equivalent). I used Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra‘s 50-megapixel mode for this one.

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Essential Eating

As Hurricane Hilary approaches Baja California, Mexico, on its way through San Diego County, we make some preparations. Today, my wife and I topped off our non-perishable foodstuffs in the event of electrical failure or even flooding.

Too bad that I bought frozen goods last week that will be ruined should there be prolonged power outage. Well, better to eat up now than let burgers and burritos spoil. I bought both cases at Costco Business Center, where I took the Featured Image, using Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, on Aug. 10, 2023. Vitals: f/1.7, ISO 100, 1/120 sec, 23mm (film equivalent); 9:02 a.m. PDT.

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Come On In, Have a Seat

I am maximizing my evening walks ahead of potentially foul weather. Hurricane Hilary approaches from the South. Current track puts landfall along Baja California, then across San Diego County, and headed towards Los Angeles. The thing is currently Category 3 and may only rate as a tropical storm if passing over our area. Heavy rains and winds would nevertheless unleash.

Hurricanes are uncommon in San Diego. The last recorded was, wow, in 1858, according to a report by CBS 8 News. Whatever the extent of turmoil might be, Sunday and/or Monday should be when (I write on Thursday). Surely, I will have something to share with you during, or after, the event.

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Where is Everybody?

Walking about my neighborhood of University Heights last night, I passed few people on the streets. Some small crowds gathered at several restaurants along El Cajon Blvd, but few folks appeared elsewhere. The Featured Image, taken at 8:28 p.m. PDT, provides timeframe.

Desolate best describes the scene, which would have made great setting for shooting an apocalyptic movie. Zombie. Viral Armageddon. Alien invasion. You suggest one. Where was everybody? This is summer-year-round San Diego. The cool evening—21 Celsius (71 Fahrenheit)—appealed to me. Was everyone else home streaming content and ordering GrubHub? Is that the sorry state of society?

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Galaxy S23 Ultra RAW Roars Past an Iconic Sign

This isn’t my first Featured Image of this sign—and certainly not at night. But this one is the first using Samsung’s Expert RAW app on Galaxy S23 Ultra. Results do surprise, because I didn’t expect this much character or clarity from a smartphone’s small sensor.

I chose 50 megapixels and let S23 pick the settings. They’re easily adjustable, and I will do so on another day’s test run. Vitals: f/1/7, ISO 1600, 1/25 sec, 23mm (film equivalent); 8:39 p.m. PDT, tonight.