Category: Photo

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A Bridge Apart

After my father-in-law passed away at age 95 in January 2017, my wife and I had more free time to spend together; we started taking local excursions about San Diego. Among our jaunts: Several to the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge, which is the Featured Image captured using Leica Q on May 27, 2017. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/1000 sec, 28mm; 10:12 a.m. PDT; composed as shot.

Now that San Diego has entered the Orange Tier for loosening restrictions imposed by Governor Gavin Newsom in response to SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19, Anne and I will get out more—perhaps to the bridge and there capturing some vertigo-inducing photos.

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Bee Better

This is an odd post: Disappointing photos. Today, while waiting for my wife to fetch me from the ophthalmologist, I stopped to gawk at bees busily bouncing about flowers for nectar. Hundreds of them gathered and proved no threat to me as I closed in and captured 20 shots, using iPhone XS.

Grumble. Can the Apple cameras do no better than these, which are the best of a bad lot? I experimented with standard and Portrait modes—and all the pics look artificial at best, and not sharp enough at worst.

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The Cats of University Heights: Mr. Frankie

While walking along Louisiana Street and talking to my sister in Florida (yes, the state), I spied a woman with a leashed orange kitty up ahead. Sis got the “call you back in 2 minutes” request; I moved along and asked permission to take photos of two-year-old Mr. Frankie. He posed between leash-pulls, trying to chase a butterfly, and I used iPhone XS to make his portraits. Vitals for the Featured Image and companion: f/1.8, ISO 25, 1/3086 sec, 26mm (film equivalent); 9:51 a.m. PDT, today.

Bunch of cats live on that one block, currently: Daniel Tiger, Darth Mew, FluffyHuck, Peach, and Pepto—that I know of. Possibly passed away, moved away, or kept indoors: GingerJedi, Milo, and Princess Leia. Some of these, or others, come by to visit Mr. Frankie, outside his home—and some territorial squabbling occurs among them, his owner says.

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The Cats of University Heights: Leery

I continue to review older, unpublished photos and reconsider some of them for the series. The Featured Image, captured on June 28, 2017 using Leica Q, earns a place after I played around with several cropped compositions. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 4:45 p.m. PDT. Nickname: Leery.

I don’t even recall taking this one but see why the rejection. Nearly four years later, subtle improvements in my craft and adapted attitudes about what makes an acceptable portrait lead me to look differently at the grey being partially obscured. The foliage, grass, and shadows are emotional elements—immediately transportive for anyone whose house and yard looked anything similar. Something else appealing: The scene doesn’t look, or feel, anything like San Diego—no cactus, palm trees, or succulents.

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A Tree Grows

When looking through Nokia N95 photos to illustrate the previous post, I happened upon a palm portrait that my wife, Anne Wilcox, made using the cameraphone on Sept. 14, 2008. I startled seeing how much shorter was the tree then than I remember seeing recently. So, today, I ambled over to the corner of Adams and North, in my San Diego neighborhood of University Heights, for a fresh pic.

The Featured Image shows how the palm has risen since she shot it (left). Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, 6mm; 4:10 p.m. PDT. I used iPhone XS for the taller tree (right). Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 25, 1/1992 sec, 26mm (film equivalent); 1:25 p.m.

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The Other N95

As the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 pandemic winds down (hopefully), most people hearing “N95” will think respirator mask. But I remember a time, before Apple had a meaningful App Store or iPhone with capable camera, when N95 referred to Nokia’s smartphone, which competently captured photos as well as, or better than, some digital compact point-and-shooters. I owned two, or was it three, different variants—as well as successors N96 and N97.

My wife, Anne Wilcox, used the Nokia N95 to capture the Featured Image on Oct. 10, 2008, at Oma’s Pumpkin Patch. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 125, 1/125 sec, 5.6mm; 1:17 p.m. PDT. Wow. These kids, whoever they were, are teenagers now. How many already finished high school, I wonder.

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The Cats of University Heights: Spooky

Since seeing this black on Oct. 19, 2019, I have watched for a reappearance. Call me unlucky, for there being none; the Featured Image isn’t the desired portrait; profile view is okay but barely. I used iPhone XS to make the moment, which location isn’t shared because of the visible address number. Neighbors deserve some respect of privacy. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/1261 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 5:18 p.m. PDT.

The shorthair earns nickname Spooky, for Halloween Cat color and nearby holiday decorations. Spooky is the sixty-fifth feline seen behind door or window.

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A Bible Story Revisited

On this Good Friday eve, when according to the Biblical account Jesus shared with his disciples the Last Supper, I follow up the personal story from Jan. 21, 2021—buying with, and for, my wife the Thomas Nelson-published, Leathersoft “classic verse-by-verse, center-column, reference Bible” (New King James Version). Five days later, when an online video referred to Matthew 18:1, Anne asked about the narrative text being in red and Christ’s words in black. I looked. That’s not right.

So I perused and found that on some pages Jesus’ quotes were the expected “red letter”, while on others text was swapped black with the rest. Mmmm, what to do? I considered calling the Christian bookstore from where we purchased the Bible. But given how negatively SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns have affected small businesses and being a printing error, I contacted the publisher.

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How I use a Camera Differently Than a Smartphone

On March 16, 2021, approaching the Vermont Street Bridge, I stopped for a single shot using Leica Q2 Monochrom. When wielding the camera, or my regular (e.g. color sensor) Q2, my habit is this: Stop, compose, capture one or two photos—single more likely, as is the case with the Featured Image. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/400 sec, 28mm; 11:21 a.m. PDT.

When handling iPhone XS, I point and shoot, with little to no regard for composition—typically taking four to six shots, minimum. One reason: The display isn’t easy enough to see in the bright San Diego sunlight. Additionally, when there is motion, such as a frisky feline for my “Cats of University Heights” series, the smartphone proves more able, because of its smaller size but big screen for fast, on-the-fly composition.

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An Early Easter Bouquet

Palm Sunday is unseasonably toasty here in San Diego. As I write, the official temperature is 27 degrees Celsius (81 F)—and that’s the forecast high, which means more sizzle to come by early afternoon. As I walked along Madison—between Alabama and Mississippi in University Heights—orange and yellow flowers beckoned my attention. At first, I passed by, then turned back for a quick shot, using Leica Q2. The Featured Image is the first of four captures and best composition. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/2000 sec, 28mm; 10:13 a.m. PDT.

As I lay low for the final photo, an older fellow walking a dog asked, as he passed: “Have you got good Macro on that camera?” I replied affirmatively—even though not using the mode right then. Vitals for that shot, which is cropped: f/8, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, 28mm; 10:14 a.m.