Category: Tech

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The Haunted Dollhouse

If this scene is to scale, you should be very concerned about the size of the spirits hanging around your place. The question: Are bigger ghosts merely more menacing or do they pose greater threat to the living?

I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image and companion on Oct. 16, 2021. Vitals for both, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/30 sec, 28mm; 2:56 p.m. PDT. Whoa, look at that shutter speed and no camera shake—although in this instance a little motion blur would add appropriate ambiance.

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Stuffed Buddies

I should have taken photos of these two plushies back when they had more color—before searing San Diego sun and two recent torrential rainstorms weathered them. The pair adorned this yard for months. Faded and ragged from the elements, they appear in black and white, which best presents them.

The Featured Image comes from Leica Q2 Monochrom on Oct. 15, 2021. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/640 sec, 28mm; 12:39 p.m. PDT. Coincidentally, porker Hamlet used to live in the same residence. After Hammy’s family moved away, new renters brought a dog and kitty nicknamed Breezy, who joined my “Cats of University Heights” series in March.

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The Cats of University Heights: Gypsy

On this date five years ago, the series started with a kitty nicknamed Scruffy—seen once and never again. A few months earlier, surgery in both eyes recovered my vision, remarkably also making it better than anytime earlier my life. Adjusting to a new way of seeing and also wanting to improve my photography skills, I chose cats as objects for my camera (and smartphone).

But I expected the project to be short-lived. As stated on Oct. 17, 2016: “I begin a new series that ends when the photos are all used”, thinking something like 30 days at most, given the pics already taken and the few additional to follow—because in a community dominated by dogs surely few cats could be found. Obviously, I was gravely mistaken; happily, if you prefer.

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Pumpkin Mountain

The iPhone 13 Pro camera system surprisingly satisfies—more than any other smartphone to bless my grubby fingers. I am loving the ultra-wide (13mm) and telephoto (77mm) lenses, along with RAW capture capabilities. Shots are sharper than I would ever expect from a device with relatively small sensor and which primary function is not photography.

All combined, the 13 Pro is creative fun—and that’s from my only surface skimming the sea of benefits. The Featured Image is example, with distortion from the ultra-wide lens adding character to an otherwise mundane scene. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/122 sec, 13mm; 1:01 p.m. PDT, yesterday.

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The Big ‘Little Library’

I cannot rightly express my surprise while walking along Campus Avenue close to cross-street Monroe on Oct. 5, 2021. In the distance, a decorated utility box beckoned attention. The things are all about University Heights, but all others are plain grey. Shape and overall size were right for what I expected to find, but something else waited: A “LittleFreeLibrary”.

The Featured Image gives some perspective of dimensions set against the Ford Super Duty truck for comparison. Vitals, aperture manually set for all: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/800 sec, 28mm; 12:59 p.m. PDT.

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The Benefits are Mutual

Along Mission Avenue, which cuts through University Heights East of Park Blvd, someone placed an appropriate sign for the many residents walking their dogs. The message could be interpreted as a politer way of saying “Don’t let your animal poo on my property” but I see something else: Too many mutt owners stroll the sidewalks, leashed dogs pulled along by one hand, with eyes glued to a smartphone held in the other. Frak, yeah. Play with your woof-woof.

San Diego is like so much of California: Dog-loving. There are special beaches and parks for the beasties to run about. They are walked all times of day or night, and I often see one person with three or more mutts. At least these people are more likely to engage their leashed charges than a cellular device.

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Putty Pairs

While looking for kitties to profile in my “Cats of University Heights” series, I occasionally come upon some hanging out together—as is the case with the Featured Image, captured on Sep. 25, 2021. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 125, 1/125 sec, 28mm, 10:26 a.m. PDT. Daniel Tiger approaches Darth Mew. The cartoon character-named orange lives on Louisiana, while the Star Wars black often hangs out there.

A better pairing with Darth Mew is the photo essay accompanying Jedi (a nickname). The others are less friendly: A stand-off with Ash and Bandit—and another between Goose and Jasmine. They all share territory and are not housemates.

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The Better Sentiment

For more than a year, a handmade “Black Lives Matter” sign beckoned from the window where Shy typically sunned. My “Cats of University Heights” series profiled the kitty in February 2019. I don’t support the slogan, because BLM refers to an organization with political and social ambitions that are in many respects incongruous with righting the country’s perceived and real racial wrongs. What appears to be a grassroots group, particularly portrayed during 2020’s racial riots and protests, is something else.

Capital Research Center, which tracks non-profits, their organizational structures, and funding, provides insight in two-part exposé: “The Organizational Restructuring of Black Lives Matter: Movement for Black Lives” and “The Organizational Restructuring of Black Lives Matter: BLM Global Network Foundation“—both from April 29 of this year. Fueled by corporate and other donations following the death of George Floyd while in police custody, the organization raised $90 million last year.

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Cluck, Cluck

When my wife and I walk past the home of Daniel Tiger, we sometimes hear chickens—could be along the side of the building or perhaps the backyard. Today, we saw one of them pecking about the frontage. I pulled out iPhone 13 Pro for some fast shots—and, of course, the bird repeatedly turned back-to as I clicked the electronic shutter.

The Featured Image is one two usable head-in-view portraits. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/122 sec, 77mm; 9:46 a.m. PDT. The telephoto range of the third lens is a welcome change over earlier models’ 52mm. Before going out, in camera settings, I flipped the switch enabling Apple ProRAW, expecting that would be the format for today’s captures. Nope. Unbeknownst to me, the user must tap RAW on the touchscreen to truly turn on the feature. Frak.

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The Cats of University Heights: A.C.

The seventy-seventh feline found behind door or window made a single appearance on Sept. 14, 2021. I hadn’t seen the beastie before that day and not since. While good at spotting furballs, I am not knowledgeable about cat breeds. If my online sleuthing is accurate, you are looking at the series‘ first American Curl.

I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image and iPhone XS for the companion, along Louisiana approaching Adams. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 12:25 p.m. PDT. The other: f/2.4, ISO 25, 1/149 sec, 52mm; 12:25 p.m.