Category: Photo

Read More

I Don’t Long for Them Beyond Nostalgia

Go ahead and scold me for this being one of the most pointless of posts. But before changing my diet in July 2013—foresaking all confections  and largely reducing processed carbohydrates—MoonPie was among my top choices for cheap treats (I couldn’t find Devil Dogs outside the Northeast United States).

My wife and I passed by a massive display of the Double-Decker variety, in boxes of 24, for $9.49—that’s 39.5 cents each—at Costco Business Center today. Best price for the same thing from Amazon sellers: $23.79. That’s a helluva markup, if Costco’s considered more wholesale.

Read More

The (Honorary) Cats of University Heights: Candy

One-and-a-half blocks beyond the neighborhood’s boundary at Texas Street, my wife and I spotted a pretty kitty on Dec. 6, 2021. Months earlier, we first saw the beauty jump to the fence on the same property. As I crossed the street for a photo-op, someone else moved up the sidewalk, scaring off the fluffball. Lucky: What a lovely pose presented for my second portrait attempt (and success).

In the spirit of the holiday, this fine feline is nicknamed for the nearby candy cane decorations. Candy joins just eight other honorary cats, among the 448 profiles (including this one). They are: BuddiesChill, Envy, MonaMoophie, Ninja, Promise, and Sammy. Darth Mew initially belonged to the group, until later turning up in University Heights, where he now lives.

Read More

The Overlook, Revisited

Where Madison Avenue ends, an expansive view begins—across Mission Valley below to the Pacific Ocean on the horizon. In the Featured Image, left of center, on the coastal area before the water, some of the rides at Sea World are visible.

The 95-percent crop won’t win awards for clarity; the task is beyond Leica Q2‘s reach. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/11, ISO 100, 1/80 sec, 28mm; 10:21 a.m. PST, Dec. 11, 2021. Location: San Diego Community of University Heights.

Read More

The Runaround

Finally, somebody puts these godawful traffic circles to good use. This afternoon, while walking along Louisiana Street, I came upon someone running around the edifice to poor transportation planning at Meade. The Featured Image is the first of four shots—all taken from the hip, using Leica Q2.

The person could be identified from any of the other three captures; not having permission to publish, I chose the back view; besides, sun is more pronounced in this one compared to the others. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/1250 sec, 28mm; 2:23 p.m. PST; composed as shot.

Read More

Red Flower Monochrome

For the third day in a row, the Featured Image comes from Leica Q2 Monochrom. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/4, ISO 200, 1/400 sec, 28mm; 1:01 p.m. PST, today. I used the camera’s dedicated Macro mode, which is activated by turning a ring around the Summilux lens.

I spotted the red flower—with, if I recall rightly, white stamen and yellow pistils—while walking along Arch Street in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood. The water droplets drew my attention, and I figured Why not black and white?—being no other choice really.

Read More

To See Differently

Two years ago a new optometrist recommended adding prisms to my eyeglass prescription in response to slight vertical misalignment in my vision. I was skeptical and made an appointment for another refraction with a doctor at the office that performed my cataract surgery. He confirmed slight double vision, but after attempting to make corrective adjustments with prisms he recommended against them. Their therapeutic value was uncertain, he concluded.

But the first optometrist was so insistent, when I returned to make my eyeglass order and the Varilux lenses came with satisfaction guarantee: The Essilor lab would make a new set should the prescription change—all within 90 days of purchase. I relented. The overall quality of the lenses satisfied so much that I decided to give my brain and eyes some time to adapt. But I never got to choose: The SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 pandemic made the decision for me, as my wife and I hunkered down during February 2020 and lockdowns started weeks later.

Today, I switched lenses, with a new prescription. Prisms are gone.

Read More

California Brings Back Mask Mandates

The mass hysteria about SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 and the public policy response brings forth a freshly minted mask mandate—from today until (at least) Jan. 15, 2022. Rising number of detected infections, coupled with fear about the Omicron variant, are major reasons for California’s restriction that applies to every public indoor venue and to all people—even the vaccinated. Am I supposed to feel relieved that the governor isn’t shutting down the state, like he did last Christmas? That we only have to cover our faces?

Not that there is any science to support the Omicron panic. Early epidemiology data from Southern Africa indicates that the new variant is considerably more contagious than the already highly infectious Delta. While infections rise, hospitalization and death curves are flat. Reported cases from South Africa, for example, are generally mild—and that’s in a population with relatively low vaccination rate (compared to the United States). But, as usual, the majority of news reports and guidance from the World Health Organization scare-monger about how terrible the variant could be—without presenting any data to support suppositions.

Read More

Is God Inclusive?

This post is sure to stir up trouble. I write sparingly about politics and rarely about religion because the topics are metaphorical loaded automatic assault weapons ready to blast endless emotional rounds of ammunition. Retaliation is swift. You can’t duck fast enough or return fire in the way of meaningful discussion. For too many people, conversation isn’t an option. To them, you are offensive and wrong. So safety is measured in silence before the easily offended.

But I uncharacteristically wonder outloud about faith, sparked by the Featured Image, which I captured on Nov. 20, 2021 using iPhone 13 Pro. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 32, 1/1167 sec, 13mm; 12:45 p.m. PST. The church, located in San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood, has long puzzled me because of the six doors and what their combined colors represent. I had thought the canonized Bible—the same book the congregation presumably reads—prohibits behaviors and lifestyles which the institution embraces.

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Tinsel

As my wife and I walked back from Smart and Final on Dec. 9, 2021, we passed by a shorthair along Polk between Alabama and Mississippi. The kitty is the eightieth seen behind door or window. That works out to 18 percent of the total profiles.

I used iPhone 13 Pro to capture the Featured Image. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 32, 1/231 sec, 77mm; 10:30 a.m. PST. This fine feline earns nickname Tinsel, for the Christmas lights and decorations for the time of year.

Read More

Hang On, Woody!

In what could be a real-life scene from film Toy Story, Sheriff Woody precariously hangs from the back of a Toyota Tacoma spotted along Mission Avenue in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood. Where is Buzz Lightyear to the rescue? Take a closer look at either the Featured Image or companion and you will see that the cowboy doll is pad-a-locked in.

Both photos come from iPhone 13 Pro, yesterday. Vitals: f/1.5, ISO 50, 1/1698 sec, 26mm; 1:07 p.m. PST. The other: f/2.8, ISO 32, 1/319 sec, 77mm; 1:06 p.m. When I showed my wife the second shot, taken first, she observed that it’s not absolutely apparent that Woody hangs off the ground. So I took another.

Read More

Goodbye, Nature

The last issue of Nature—Vol. 600, No. 7887—awaits my reading attention.  For this renewal cycle, publisher Springer raised my annual subscription price by 36 percent, pushing the cost beyond my budget.

I will miss the magazine but can’t complain. After the company stopped offering an iPad app digital edition four years ago, I phoned seeking alternatives and was presented with a half-off rate. While a discount remains, the new price is too steep when considering other subscriptions and weighing the value of each for the cost.

Read More

The Omicron Variant

This post’s title, which also names the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2) strain currently causing a global healthcare scare, would be better for a thriller-genre book or film about viral terrorism.

Cue the movie trailer: Six survivors. Keanu Reeves. Daniel Craig. Angelina Jolie. Regé-Jean Page. Kelly Marie Tran. And the esteemed Charlton Heston (appearing as a 3-D hologram). The Omicron Variant. The premise is so frightening that the screenwriters have each gotten three COVID-19 booster shots. You, too, will never think the same way about vaccines—and who gets them when supplies are lacking and the HAZMAT-suited stack body bags in front of your house. Oh, did we forget to mention that they’re empty and waiting to be filled—when your, ah, quarantine is over. The Omicron Variant. Who will survive viral armageddon?