Category: Photo

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Flickr a Week 9b: ‘Willing Prisoner’

Strange how foreshadowing metaphor can be a single street shot and its accompanying caption. Quinn Dombrowski captured self-titled “Willing Prisoner” on Sept. 23, 2012, using Canon EOS Rebel T2i and EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens. Vitals: f/7.1, ISO 400, 1/400 sec, 240mm. The gas mask and woman bound are eerily appropriate illustrations for the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19—pandemic spreading across the Continents from China.

As I write, more than 3,000 people have died globally from the virus, which has infected around 90,000 in at least 60 countries. But those numbers are likely low, because of unreported cases—for numerous reasons: Inadequate testing; influenza confusion; political  coverups; and the extremely long, asymptomatic period when the infected are contagious. In the United States, six people have died from the disease in about 72 hours (four announced today)—mostly in a cluster within Washington State, where experts estimate unobserved transmission occurred for about six weeks. As such, the infection is likely widespread.

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The Cats of University Heights: Shade

I don’t see many furballs along the stretch of Lincoln from Washington to where it dead-ends past Vermont. Our newest, observed inhabitant joins seven others: CoolDainty, Glass, KittyLittle MissSky, and Spunky.

Not the most original nickname, Shade is apt for the challenge posed capturing the Featured Image using Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, 28mm; 12:20 p.m. PST, Jan. 22, 2020.

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Flickr a Week 9a: ‘Essaimage’

I came to the Photostream of Alexandre Gallier by way of “Simple Portrait“, which charms for its texture and natural effervescence. But the Sunday spot instead goes to self-titled “Essaimage“, not because the other isn’t worthy but to keep a varied flow of the series‘ selections.

The closeup, from Nikon D610 with 90mm Tamron Macro lens, is a keeper for beautiful bokeh, contrasty colors, and delicious detail. Vitals: f/11, ISO 400, 1/40 sec, 90mm; April 16, 2019.

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Flickr a Week 9: ‘She Concentrated Deeply on the Message She Dreaded Sending’

Some street shooters swear by Ricoh GR II—or, presumably, the nearly year-old III. I can see why. If you asked me what camera J Stimp used to capture self-titled “She Concentrated Deeply on the Message She Dreaded Sending“—or any other image in his Photostream—I would have said Leica M10, or one of its siblings. But, no, the GR II. Wow.

I discourage you from looking at any other portraits but this one. To peek at his Photostream is to fall inside and became gloriously trapped in an enchanting and mesmerizing montage of (mostly) black and white street shots. You have been warned. I barely escaped from the sheer visual wonder and clever captions.

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The Cats of University Heights: Jolly

The fifty-sixth putty-tat seen behind window or door made an unexpected appearance, along Madison near Delaware, early afternoon Feb. 4, 2020. I shot a half-dozen photos—some auto, others manually—focused, and the last is best. The Featured Image, nearly 100-percent cropped, comes from Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/800 sec, 28mm; 12:48 p.m. PST.

The cat’s coloration reminds of Internet meme-maker (and now deceased) Grumpy Cat, but without the ridiculous frown. An appropriate nickname should be some kind of opposite, then. I choose Jolly.

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The Cats of University Heights: Chum

As summer solstice approached last year, I spotted three playful kitties romping around a front lawn not far from where North meets Madison. Only two were photographed, and I frequented the property over the following months hoping for a shot of the third. No such luck. Finally, in October, the pair joined the series with nickname Chums; I have seen them chasing one another a few times since.

The other remained more mirage until the morning of Jan. 29, 2020, when he (or she) appeared on the porch overlooking the yard they all apparently share. Singular Chum is appropriate moniker for frenemy the third. I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 100, 1/80 sec, 28mm; 9:49 a.m. PST.

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The (Honorary) Cats of University Heights: Promise

On Feb. 16, 2019, my wife and I happened upon an unexpected apartment open house, in North Park, but only a few blocks beyond our neighborhood’s boundary. The complex’s center courtyard, surrounded by cute cottages, was lush with greenery and trees; the atmosphere was tranquil. In the back, two upstair flats topped garages that opened into the alley behind. One of them, a two-bedroom, was larger than our residence, for $210-monthly less money. The landlord had owned the property for nearly 40 years. We liked his character, and that of the vacant unit.

We were first applicants, and the gent called the next morning to offer us the place. Annie and I walked back, spent two hours looking around, and discussed whether or not we would accept. Massive number of windows would welcome warming rays from sunrise to sunset. We had to say yes, and left a deposit check equivalent to one month’s rent. In the afternoon, we returned to measure for placement of furniture and to assess late-day sunlight and airflow. Then the negatives started to pile up in our minds. Among them: With windows open, the place was warm, not breezy, which forebode overly-hot during summertime; an odd smell emanating from the kitchen bothered us; and prospect of street parking, which a San Diego bike path project would limit during years-long construction, looked to be challenging. After further deliberation, I called the owner to tell him, with great angst, we wouldn’t take the apartment after all.

What does any of this have to do with today’s kitty?

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Flickr a Week 7b: ‘The NYC Band, The Upwelling’

Our Sunday spot shouldn’t be, because of endings: The photographer is no longer active on Flickr, and I am unable to confirm that his subject matter still exists. But I can’t resist the portrait for looking to be exactly what it is—in purest, iconic, grainy, black-and-white composition: An indy rock group.

Steve Hardy shot self-titled “The NYC Band, The Upwelling” on Jan. 24, 2009, using Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 1600,1/15 sec, 33mm. He describes himself as a “Grammy Award and multi-platinum, award-winning mix engineer”. He mixed the group’s album “An American Stranger”, which released in August of the same year that he snapped the photo.

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Tortoises in Black and White

Yesterday, my wife suggested a walk around San Diego Zoo, which wasn’t nearly as bustling as I would expect it to be on a summer-like-weather Friday afternoon. The place was by no means desolate of people, just not overly crowded. I wonder if increasing paranoia about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is one reason. People infected or showing symptoms are being treated or quarantined at UCSD Medical Center, which is just 3.7-km drive (2.3 miles) from the zoo. My apartment is even closer: 2 km (1.3 miles) as the crow flies and 3 km (1.9 miles) by road. If—gulp, when—the virus spreads locally, my family will be at the epicenter.

But back to the lovely afternoon spent with the animals—calm before SHTF, as the country’s self-described Preppers call it—I brought along Leica Q2, with the Film Style set to Monochrome. The result wasn’t as anticipated. Importing into Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic, after returning home, the RAWs came in as color. I wrongly assumed that the setting would apply to the native files. Nope, only to the JPEGs.