Category: Storytelling

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Waiting to Cross

From the same North Park corner as yesterday’s jaywalker, we regard a woman looking at her smartphone while waiting to cross 30th Street at University Ave. She wasn’t the target of the shot; I cropped him away for her.

This neighborhood is considered one of the more desirable ones closer to downtown San Diego. I passed a dozen (or more) homeless folks from Meade to University. Streets are dirty, and stinky, but nowhere near as ripe as Hillcrest. Yep, desirable.

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The Jaywalker

If I walk where there are stoplights, someone surely will cross the street against traffic. Nowhere else have I seen such consistently stupid, arrogant behavior. Is it only San Diego? All California? I do wonder. This type of jaywalking isn’t occasional. Every time I venture out, someone strolls into oncoming traffic.

The gentleman in the Featured Image is an offender seen today. He and I walked along 30th Street in North Park—he ahead of me and later behind. Oddly, we would both arrive at Target, but by different routes. At either Lincoln or Polk (not sure which), I crossed to the other side of 30th with a walk sign. That meant green light for the cars going in the same direction as me. Continuing along 30th, he ignored the don’t walk sign and brazenly crossed into oncoming traffic, meaning cars proceeding on a green light.

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Deciduous Delight

Six weeks or so since my last haircut and sports medicine specialist appointment today compelled me to get a trim yesterday afternoon from the Barber of Seville, who at 80ish continues to cut clients’ mops. His shop is located along the main business blocks of Park Blvd in University Heights.

I was on time, but George was late—focused on another customer who dragged out the cut with conversation. While waiting outside, I marveled at the turning colors of leaves on several trees. San Diego’s mild Mediterranean climate and Southern latitude (for the Northern Hemisphere) typically mean later-year seasonal change for deciduous trees. Leaves bursting with color, and being shed, is something seen in December for sure. November timing grabbed my attention.

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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.

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‘No Contract, No Peace; No Justice, No Peace’

The headline is the slogan I heard chanted by striking workers, seen on the El Cajon Blvd sidewalk between Georgia and Florida streets and alongside—but not on—Kindred Hospital property, which is in San Diego neighborhood University Heights. Last time I saw, and documented, similar picketing was June 2018.

But the tone was different today; hostile even. “No justice, no peace” is more typically associated with cultural and societal protests, particularly regarding equality or race. I always have regarded it as an implicit threat; you may not agree. Putting that aside, how else should “no peace” be interpretated as chanted by unionized workers demanding contract concessions? You tell me.

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Three of Us

I take the hint—just need to follow-through. Tonight, my cousin Dan emailed another photo, taken by my uncle, circa 1970, with closing “call any time”. I will. I will. We Wilcox men must stick together.

Meanwhile, the Featured Image, later edited by me, is what he sent. I only share with you because everyone benefits from humbling moments of public humiliation. Eleven-year-old me looks like the prince of dweebs. I am aghast, honestly. Someone should have left that little twerp in the woods.

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Dan Wilcox emailed a couple of photos today of us as youngsters. The Featured Image, dated 1970, would put our ages at about 16 and 11, respectively. Cuz was always taller (and better looking), even in adulthood. Ah, to look on my fine, blonde hair and remember having it.

The film SLR belonged to Dad. If I rightly recall, he used a Kowa, probably the seT R2. Like Leica Q2 (my primary camera), the Kowa utilized a leaf shutter, which I believe was located in the lens, rather than the body. The design made for nearly silent shooting—an appealing feature for wildlife photography.

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For Her President

On Sept. 10, 2023, as I pulled up to the pump at my local filling station, a looming, white pickup truck came in behind me. The other driver was quicker getting out of her vehicle (because I lumbered gathering together cash).

I stepped inside to pay and found her jabbering away with the clerk; she had a friendly mile-a-minute mouth. She spoke about how bad is the economy when the last person to fill up could only afford $3.75 of gas. Context: Price at the pump paid in cash or by debit card was $5.50. So that customer got less than one gallon’s worth.

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The Threesome

I don’t take out Leica Q2 Monochrom often enough. The camera’s super sharp f/1.7 Summilux 28mm lens, supported by the 47.3-megapixel mono sensor, produces photos from which emerge so many possibilities. Take, for example, the Featured Image that is a close-crop of three people—one of them back-to in the hammock—during one of the summer concerts in Old Trolley Barn Park, which is located in San Diego neighborhood University Heights.

The naturally-produced graininess feels film-like enough, at least to my eyes. Is the young man looking at me? I would be surprised, since I shot from the sidewalk at the hip. This is about a 95-percent crop, for perspective.

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Tennis This Time

San Diego’s three-season summer weather creates all kinds of outdoor activities that would be uncommon elsewhere. Consider public schools: Many are indoor/outdoor, meaning classrooms are enclosed but kids go out to move among them. Costco eateries are on the outside of the warehouses rather than within. The examples abound.

As such, I shouldn’t be so amused, but am, about the older gent watching sports programs out of doors. On Aug. 9, I passed him riveted to a baseball game—all by his lonesome. Tonight, it’s tennis—and he has a friend. “Say, could you pass a can of Modelo Especial?” (Because Bud Light is boycotted, the Mexican beer is now top-seller.)

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Batter Up!

The appropriate action would be to ask this gentleman why he watches television outside. But I instead chose to shoot stealthily from across the street because mystery makes the moment. The answer could ruin the curiosity.

Perhaps his partner or spouse doesn’t like baseball. Maybe he is lonely and hopes the outdoor game will draw some company. Perhaps ambiance is the reason: He wants a taste of remembered experience of going to the stadium and watching the game. I will never know and don’t want to.

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Mom’s Prom Dress

Mom passed away six years ago today. Last night, I came across a portrait digitized a few days later but not published. This evening, I spent some time editing, and also applying preset black-and-white filters, but in the end present the Featured Image as it was recovered in August 2017.

Photographer is unknown, as is timing. Mom is dressed for prom, but I am not sure what year of high school. She doesn’t appear to be pregnant, as she was during 12th grade. She already was married during junior year, having eloped to Canada at (sweet) sixteen.