Category: Photo

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Priceless

I apparently am wrong about this fine feline, being absolutely sure it is already part of the series. But manually looking back through four years of profiles and searching the site for Texas, which is street of the sighting, I find nothing. Perhaps I previously shot something that couldn’t be used.

Honestly, the Featured Image is barely usable, but the cat’s expression is priceless—hence the nickname. I wish the portrait was sharper, but the tree leaves reflected from the glass add character and look like they’re growing out of the fur.

Read More

Tangled Web

Belated topic time: Few months ago, I changed copyright on this blogsite and my Flickr from a Creative Commons non-commercial variant to All Rights Reserved. I did this in response to so-called artificial intelligence algorithms scraping content from websites for various purposes—improving learning models being one of them.

Some of that content can and likely will be repurposed for profit and in manner outside my artistic control. Software developers, many of them large tech companies—think Apple, Google, and Microsoft, for starters—can claim plausible deniability. “Hey, we didn’t know that would happen”.

Read More

Witchy Where?

What’s the remedy when a photo doesn’t come out as expected? Experimentation is one answer. When shooting Halloween decor on Oct. 31, 2023, I was sure the eye would follow the line of witches hats—and/or their shadows on the sidewalk. But the late afternoon sun, shining behind me from the West, glared and the hats lacked the contrast to stand out against the busy background of grass, houses, and street.

Tonight, for the first time, I fired up Analog Efex Pro 3, which is part of the DxO Nik Collection. Mucking around, I came across Camera profile Multilens 1, which separated the photo into three panels. A few perspective adjustments later and separation moves the eyes left to right, drawing more attention to the flow of witchy wear. The effect is a workaround. I remain dissatisfied with the result, but use the circumstance to show off the editing tool.

Read More

The Beat is Gone

For years, we have infrequently heard the playing of drums from a garage off the alley behind our apartment building. I’m a fan, who enjoyed listening to the practice. Has that era come to an end? I ask, because of an awfully nice-looking set of shells stacked behind the aforementioned garage—sans skins—as if being discarded. I know nothing about the percussion instrument. Does that look like a good kit to you?

I spotted the set during an impromptu walk today and used Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra to mark the moment. But returning home, and looking over the shots, I decided that black and white would be better. About a half-hour later, I returned with Leica Q2 Monochrom, from which comes the Featured Image. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/7, ISO 200, 1/5000 sec. 9:32 a.m. PST.

Read More

Autumn Annie

Where does the time go? I opened Google Photos to “22 years since…” and a portrait of my wife from November 2001! She looks great, but—my gosh—two decades doesn’t seem long ago by my memory when in reality it’s a third of a lifetime passed. Yikes!

The Featured Image is presented as captured. The companion is not, and I will get to that in the next paragraphs. Canon PowerShot S20 was my go-to digicam during that era. The compact was among the first over-3-megapixel pocket-size shooters. Vitals, incomplete: f/5.6, 1/125 sec, 6.55mm; 12:34 p.m. EST, November 4.

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Silky

Nearby the hydroponic house, a blackie jaunted across the sidewalk while I was still a half-block’s walk away on Oct. 7, 2023. He (or she) later appeared from under a car, as you can see from the Featured Image taken using Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. Vitals: f/4.9, ISO 80, 1/60 sec, 230mm (film equivalent); 3:04 p.m. PDT.

For sheen of its fur, this fine feline earns nickname Silky.

Read More

Death of a Republic

Foreshadowing is a common storytelling technique. Perhaps in a movie with what I call a “French ending”, the handsome hero stubs his toe early on, only to later die of blood infection. A different kind cuts across genres: In the classic trope from American cinema, a sidekick is introduced with intriguing backstory and quickly developed character, which signals that his or her death is imminent.

My question: What does a hearse parked across from the polling place in North Park foreshadow? The death of our constitutional republic? Or of democracy, if you prefer? Judging by the advanced ages of the people choosing to vote in person, on-call ambulance wouldn’t be unreasonable precaution. Hearse is a bit much, but, hey, surely someone will croak while voting somewhere. “Be prepared” is the Boy Scot motto and that of undertakers everywhere.

Read More

Where She Waits

I don’t have much experience with Catholic religious symbols. But, presumably, the porcelain statue spotted in an alley—between Louisiana and Mississippi in San Diego neighborhood University Heights—is one. You tell me. I can’t say whether the relic is meant to be hidden behind the vine, or if the growth is naturally occurring.

The Featured Image comes from Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, using the 200-megapixel capability, which resulted in a massively large file (Warning: 58MB).

Read More

Big Bear Lake

While rummaging through old digital photos, I came across one which character and composition evoke a moment from the 1960s or 1970s. The metadata makes more modern origin known: June 23, 2010, 1:23 p.m. PDT. GPS-logged location: Pine Knot Avenue, Big Bear Lake, Calif.

My wife is the photographer, accompanied by her dad during a day trip. She used Google Nexus One to capture the Featured Image. Strangely, the metadata doesn’t record the camera settings. The photo is presented untouched; no cropping or enhancements. 

Read More

The (Honorary) Cats of University Heights: Esther

For the first Caturday of the month, we leave the neighborhood’s boundaries to introduce seven-year-old Esther. My wife saw the fine feline first and I the school teacher owner, on Utah Street, today. We had a delightful conversation, while I shot a few portraits using Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.

I politely asked permission beforehand; not only did Esther’s caretaker grant it but she informed that her pet appears on the “Cats of North Park” Instagram. Say what? Have we been imitated? Either that or like minds are awork. First post there is June 15, 2020. “Cats of University Heights” started Oct. 17, 2016. Ha! There’s are portrait there of one-eye, no-tail Reddy (also known as Jinx) with name Lucky.

Read More

The Big ‘Little Library’ Renovation

Whoa, something changed with the LittleFreeLibrary located on Campus Avenue in University Heights. You probably wouldn’t recognize that this is a less-decorative rendition of the one shared in October 2021. But size still commands all other curbside lending boxes situated around the San Diego neighborhood.

My wife and I first spotted the renovated enclosure on Oct. 10, 2023, while walking along perpendicular street Monroe. The Featured Image and companions come from Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set for all: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/320 sec, 28mm; 11:20 a.m. PDT.

Read More

Pet Perhaps?

Who is this mysterious Pookie? I want to know. Surely the name refers to an animal. In summer 2020, I saw black cat Cocoa in the yard behind the fence where is this sign. Oh, so you aren’t confused, since San Diego is three summers long, I refer to the “mid” season. We’re in late summer now, with warmer-than-typical temperatures: 29 degrees Celsius (85 F) yesterday and 27 C (80 F) today and dry; low teens humidity.

For the Featured Image, I used Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra; today. Portrait mode produces bokeh—not sure if the blur is optical, digitally enhanced, or both. Vitals: f/1.7, ISO 10, 1/240 sec, 23mm (film equivalent); 10:21 a.m. PDT.