Category: Photo

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Abandoned

On Veterans Day, I passed by this pair of abandoned boots alongside the Monroe Avenue wall of LeStat’s on Park in the San Diego neighborhood of University Heights. Perhaps some street person lost them or they were left for one of the area’s homeless.

Why I stopped for the Featured Image is mystery to me. Sure, I remember pulling out Leica Q2 for the shot but not really why making it. The footwear’s good-looking condition and oddity of the location would be reasons enough. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/30 sec, 28mm; 10:33 a.m. PST.

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‘Kiss Me on the Bus’

A few weeks ago, I spotted this green bus seen again today. Then, I was sheepish about photographing the thing. But with clearer line of site from my eyes, and no obstructions, out came Leica Q2 to take the Featured Image. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/400 sec, 28mm; 1:10 p.m. PST.

Converted school buses aren’t rare sightings, but they’re uncommon enough to rouse my attention—particularly when an air conditioner hangs out the back window. Now that’s something new. Someone clearly lives in the vehicle, which bears New York plates (I obliterated the numerals in post-production). Welcome to San Diego!

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The Cats of University Heights: Squeaky

For the first post-Thanksgiving Caturday, we present a kitten nicknamed Squeaky for its high-pitched mewing. I met the little squirt once, and not since, on Oct. 20, 2021, along the same stretch of Louisiana where lives Honcho.

The Featured Image and companion come from iPhone 13 Pro, captured in Apple ProRAW and converted to JPEG after being cropped 3:2 and modestly tweaked. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 50, 1/122 sec, 77mm; 2:37 p.m. PDT. The other: f/2.8, ISO 32, 1/283 sec, 77mm; 2:38 p.m. Squeaky came close for a visit, but we never connected; a roaring vehicle scared back the kitten.

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Homeless in Hillcrest

This gentleman is one of the many street dwellers seen today, when I walked from University Heights to neighboring Hillcrest on an errand. He caught my attention for what the Featured Image fails to reveal: The large load of belongings on the cart and spread somewhat down the sidewalk. He also was overdressed for the unseasonably warm day—25 degrees Celsius (77 Fahrenheit), when I used Leica Q2 Monochrom to take the street shot from the hip. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 200, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 2:20 p.m. PST.

While you might think otherwise from the profile and apparent skin color, he is a white guy. Anyone living long under the San Diego sun will become darker, with respect to skin tone; dirt and grime contribute to the change. This characteristic distinguishes the truly indigent from people begging for money; the grifter will often send off a benefactor with “God bless you”. The others offer thanks, with a sincerity of appreciation that is unmistakably authentic.

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Fit to Survive

Hard to imagine that a year ago, Californians freaked about rising SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 infections, with Governor Gavin Newsom imposing additional lockdown restrictions that essentially cancelled Christmas. Thanksgiving already was collateral damage.

Some small businesses, like Boulevard Fitness, resisted closure and defied threats of fines—or worse. The city (or county) could pull permits, particularly related to public health. For eateries and pubs, liquor license could be yanked instead or as well.

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Pedal the Pacific

Is it irony that an organization that cycles for its cause advertises on the side of a van? Maybe somebody will get the message about “trafficking” when stuck in rush-hour traffic beside the vehicle—or perhaps consider that an unmarked, white, windowless van could be carrying sex-trafficked men, women, or kids. Shiver the thought.

The group explains its mission: “Pedal the Pacific exists to educate all people about sex trafficking. We use bikes as a platform to raise awareness, educate peers, fundraise for leading nonprofits, and develop leaders who believe that no voice is too small to make a difference”.

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Have a Seat, Bring Books and Friends

Whether or not intentionally done, these giveaways are arranged like an outdoor living room. Comfy chair is the centerpiece, with stool and fold-up seating for entertaining guests. The bookcase could occupy real reading material—and surely one of the nearby lending libraries could provide a novel for personal perusal or perhaps poetry to share with the group. The other standing shelf would be place to put out food and drinks. The orange cones could cordon space for the gathering.

The setup is exactly how I found it yesterday in the alley separating Alabama and Florida Streets. Seen nearby and previously profiled in my “Cats of University Heights” series: Boxer, Pixie, and Spry.

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It’s Fake!

My wife and I came upon this sign, affixed to a utility pole, today, along Mission Avenue between Louisiana and Mississippi streets. Call me surprised, for having seen no other in our San Diego neighborhood of University Heights. So I got to wondering if a resident attempted a little scare tactic to get dog owners to clean up after their mutts. More effective: Place the notice higherand above, out of reach, a mock surveillance camera.

I walked about several streets inspecting every sign of every kind and all others shared in common: Tiny print somewhere indicating that the thing is the property of the city. By comparison, this one’s credit is “SmartSign.com”, which sells the warning, with a stake kit, for 27 bucks on the website.

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The Cats of University Heights: Parker

Our seventy-eighth kitty from Alabama, between boundaries Adams and Lincoln, is also the seventy-ninth seen behind door or window. Meet Parker—and, yes, that is the kitten’s real name. In the Featured Image, he sits overlooking the alley that separates the street from Mississippi.

I used Leica Q2 to capture the portrait, on Oct. 3, 2021. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/1000 sec, 28mm; 9:14 a.m. PDT.

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Abandoned Homeless Shelter

On Nov. 3, 2021, alongside the Adams Substation (e.g. electrical hub) in University Heights, my wife and I passed by the makeshift refuge that you see in the Featured Image. For concern someone might be sleeping inside, I shot Leica Q2 from the hip, seeking not to disturb the resident. The first companion, taken the next day, looks towards the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses on the alley behind Alabama Street and across from Old Trolley Barn Park.

Vitals, aperture manually set for all: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/400 sec, 28mm; 11:39 a.m. PDT. The other: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, 28mm; 11:15 a.m., the next day. In the second photo you can see a bicycle behind the utility box. The entire setup was cleverly constructed but surprising for the busy location.