Category: People

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The Stranger

This afternoon, after I crossed back into University Heights, carrying bananas in one hand, someone called from behind me. I turned to see a bearded fellow who had seen my strapped, slung-back Leica Q2. He asked if I would take his photograph—because he was interested in modeling. Ah, okay.

I responded cautiously, but welcomingly, because that’s the kind of delaying ruse a thief might use. But he seemed to be genuine enough, there was good distance between us, and I was situationally aware of his movements and my exit options along an extremely familiar route.

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The Grillers

From the same Greenbelt, Md. church picnic as yesterday’s “Pooh Party“, we present another moment. I used Canon EOS 20D and EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens to capture the Featured Image on Sept. 18, 2005. Vitals: f/6.3, ISO 400, 1/400 sec, 70mm; 12:22 p.m. In Capture One 22 post-production I applied style “Oslo 1”, working from an original JPEG. The portrait is composed as shot.

If the prognosticators of climate doom get their way, grilling events like this will someday soon be but a memory. We will all consume protein-infused plant matter made to look like meat because—so they say—cows and chickens produce deadly global warming gases. Eh, and people don’t?

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Pooh Party

One of my posting goals for 2022 is more people photos. But my catalog of recent choices is paltry pickings, so I reach into the past for the Featured Image, which comes from a church picnic in Greenbelt, Md. on  Sept. 18, 2005. I used Canon EOS 20D and EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens for the portrait. Vitals: f/8, ISO 400, 1/400 sec, 43mm; 12:18 p.m. EDT. Composed as shot.

This is the first photo published using Capture One 22. In post-production, I applied styles “Stockholm 1” and “Effect—Red Only”, working from a JPEG original.

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Annie and the Snowman

Merry Christmas! My wife poses with an inflatable along Madison Avenue, between Georgia Street and Park Blvd, in our neighborhood. I photographed kitty nicknamed Alcatraz nearby the same spot 10 months ago; early March 2021, the black and white appeared in my “Cats of University Heights” series.

I left Leica Q2 at home and so used iPhone 13 Pro to take the Featured Image—first of four and best of the lot. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 32, 1/328 sec, 13mm; 10:31 a.m. PST, today. As you can see, the snowman is quite large, and the smartphone’s wide-angle lens let me capture the inflatable and surrounding scene for context. We had heavy rain for the holiday. I’m dreaming of a wet Christmas…

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Homeless in Hillcrest

This gentleman is one of the many street dwellers seen today, when I walked from University Heights to neighboring Hillcrest on an errand. He caught my attention for what the Featured Image fails to reveal: The large load of belongings on the cart and spread somewhat down the sidewalk. He also was overdressed for the unseasonably warm day—25 degrees Celsius (77 Fahrenheit), when I used Leica Q2 Monochrom to take the street shot from the hip. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 200, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 2:20 p.m. PST.

While you might think otherwise from the profile and apparent skin color, he is a white guy. Anyone living long under the San Diego sun will become darker, with respect to skin tone; dirt and grime contribute to the change. This characteristic distinguishes the truly indigent from people begging for money; the grifter will often send off a benefactor with “God bless you”. The others offer thanks, with a sincerity of appreciation that is unmistakably authentic.

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Chickenbone Slim and the Biscuits

I came upon a blues band playing outside our auto mechanic’s shop on Oct. 16, 2021, while walking to fetch more Orijen dry food for our cats Cali and Neko. The place is closed on Saturdays (and Sundays, too). I listened for a bit before continuing along Adams Avenue, in San Diego’s Normal Heights neighborhood, to Pet Me Please.

My wife met me with the car to take home the 12-pound (5.4 kg) bag of kibble. I plodded back to the service station, where I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image and companion, iPhone 13 Pro to film the one-minute video clip, and my hands to pay for and grab Chickenbone Slim CD “Sleeper”.

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Parents Protest San Diego School District Vaxx Mandates

Late afternoon, my wife asked: “What is all that honking?” Annie was right. Car horns could be heard in the distance, occasionally and repeatedly tooting. We turned to one another flummoxed over the sudden roar of cheering that reminded of sporting events. What was going on nearby—and where? I left to find out, following the sounds that piqued our mutual curiosities.

Our University Heights apartment is located about .8-kilometer (one-half mile) walking distance from administrative offices for San Diego Unified School District, where a sizable crowd had gathered with picket signs. As I arrived, a woman’s voice bellowed over loudspeakers advocating against vaccine mandates and for parents’ rights to choose for their children—not the government nor SDUSD. What I didn’t understand: The school board scheduled a 5 p.m. PDT meeting to vote on a proposal requiring staff and some students to be vaccinated. How ironic: They cowered in isolation via Zoom, while parents protested in person.

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The Photographer’s Friend

I am reluctant to post pics of myself, but this one presents opportunity to pay photographic homage to my wife, who captured the Featured Image using her iPhone XS. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 25, 1/1748 sec, 26mm (film equivalent); 1:01 p.m. PDT, today. Thank-you, Annie.

We walked by the house where live Bruce (pictured) and Guido, both of which are profiled in my “Cats of University Heights” series, and the fluffier feline came on to the sidewalk to visit.

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A Simple Remembrance

Mom would be 80 years old today; she passed away in August 2017 and will always be missed. Short stature, she put on the pounds with age, which would eventually make her bound to a wheel chair. She navigated the thing like a sports car, and I would like to have seen her race someone riding an electric scooter. But their popularity zoomed after she departed.

Linda was a sun around which other people revolved like planets—not because she was a narcissist demanding attention but for being affable and generous. They nourished off her light and enjoyed being pulled by her gravity. My sisters and I were blessed to have her as a parent.

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Summer in the Park

No thanks to SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19, during 2020, University Heights Community Development Corporation cancelled concerts normally held Friday evenings throughout July into early August. Presumably, because I see nothing scheduled as […]