Read More

Who Authorized This?

Occasionally, metaphors slap you aside the head—as is the case with the Featured Image and companion, captured with Leica Q2 and iPhone XS, respectively. Both images represent the incursion of territory, in most strange manner. Last week, a road crew etched “North Park” into the so-called traffic calming circle at Alabama and Meade. Workers returned for more letter-cutting today, two blocks farther at Louisiana. Problem: Both intersections are located in University Heights, which boundary extends another four cross-streets south to Lincoln. Uh-oh.

I witnessed an older gentleman mark the structure with chalk on Sept. 27, 2020. I returned the next day with camera in hand. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 100, 1/400 sec, 28mm; 9:16 a.m. PDT. I selectively saturated orange, using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic, to draw out “Mead and Alabama in University Heights”. The other photo shows some of the sandblasted lettering the day of completion, on the 25th. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 16, 1/1634 sec, 26mm (film equivalent); 4:38 p.m.

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Spur

The third-in-a-row Alabama Street furball—and fifty-sixth for the series seen between boundaries Adams and Lincoln—follows Speckle and Whiskers. At least two more Bama beasties that I have observed, but not yet photographed, are likely coming soon. The shorthair looks down into the alley at the back of the building, where also live Mao and maybe Dizzy, whom I haven’t seen since before the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19pandemic started.

The portrait of this black, who earns nickname Spur, won’t win any awards. Sometimes you go with what you got, not what you wish you had taken. I used iPhone XS to capture the Featured Image on Sept. 18, 2020 at 8:53 a.m. PDT. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/3690 sec, 52mm (film equivalent).

Read More

Flickr a Week 39a: ‘Full Circle’

Self-titled “Full Circle” marks the return of  Risto Kuulasmaa for a second profile; his amazingly lucky and appropriately named “Photo Bomber” was “Flickr a Day 183” in my 2015 series.

Risto captured what I anticipate will be the only nude contribution before we wrap up things at the end of December. He used Canon EOS 5D Mark II and EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens to make the moment, on May 2, 2013. Additional equipment, he explains: “430EX soft box from upper right corner” and “Hähnel Tuff TTL transmitter”. Vitals: f/4, ISO 800, 1/60 sec, 19mm.

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Whiskers

How did we get to 352 profiles without using Whiskers as a nickname? It’s taken now, but I wish the kitty would have let me get close enough to see its tag. Whiskers is the fifty-fifth feline from Alabama between boundaries Adams and Lincoln. There are even more coming to the series, and I remain flummoxed about the number compared to every other street in the neighborhood. Concentration of multi-unit residences is the only explanation that makes any sense. BTW, do look back for an exciting update about another Alabama kitty: Pace (pronounced paw-chay).

My wife spotted Whiskers as we walked from Smart and Final on Sept. 18, 2020. I used iPhone XS to capture the Featured Image. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/262 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 9:06 a.m. PDT.

Read More

Reopen the Playgrounds!

Nearly six months have passed since San Diego cordoned off Trolley Park and others like it around the city. As summer started, the public spaces reopened but the playgrounds remain closed—a restriction that defies common sense and current science regarding SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19.

“The best available evidence indicates that COVID-19 poses relatively low risks to school-aged children”, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Children appear to be at lower risk for contracting COVID-19 compared to adults…as of July 17, 2020, the United States reported that children and adolescents under 18 years old account for under 7 percent of COVID-19 cases and less than 0.1 percent of COVID-19-related deaths”. Seasonally, the flu kills more kids—and, unlike that virus, children ages 0-9 are extremely unlikely to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 or to transmit it to adults. In San Diego County from Feb. 14, 2020 to yesterday, among that age bracket, 1,514 tested positive—or 3.3 percent of the 45,425 confirmed cases.

Read More

Flickr a Week 39: ‘Money and Run’

For this week, we revisit two photographers profiled in my 2015 series—and purely by coincidence. I deliberately don’t look back for good shooters but freshly search for noteworthy images; seems like cheating if I cull from the 365 entries from five years ago. However, before using anything new that tickles my eyes (and hopefully yours), I search my site to make sure there is no accidental duplication; that’s when I occasionally discover some shooter from five years ago.

We start with Raul Lieberwirth, whose “Glowing Mouth” was “Flickr a Day 208”. He returns with self-titled “Money and Run“, which he captured on July 28, 2012, using Canon EOS 5D Mark II and EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens. Vitals: f/18, ISO 100, 25 sec, 24mm.

Read More

San Diego’s Record House Prices Baffle Me

In a pandemic-stricken economy of soaring unemployment and where small businesses fall like dominos—and more risk toppling because of California Governor Gavin “Gruesome” Newsom’s restrictive lockdown orders—you might expect the housing market to reflect real-world woes. Oddly, though, the median sale price of homes in metro San Diego is a record high of $665,000, according to data collected by Redfin. That’s a 13-percent year-over-year increase, as of Sept. 6, 2020. County-wide, according to the California Association of Realtors, median home price is $732,560, and that’s up 13 percent from August 2019.

My neighborhood, University Heights, reflects the trend—with emphasis. Searching Trulia and Zillow, the bargain-basement-priced listing is a single-bedroom, one-bath, 576-square-foot condominium in a three-story complex looking into an open courtyard. You can live there for $299,900, or $521 per square foot. If that’s too small, how about a cozy two-bed, two-bath, 726-square-foot condo for $415,000; $572 per square foot? Both places are indistinguishable from any apartment for rent; maybe not as good-looking.

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Speckle

Call me surprised for finding another Alabama cat—fifty-fourth seen between boundaries Adams and Lincoln. I don’t walk down the street significantly more often than others, so the number of beasties baffles me. The ginger and I met in the parking lot of the same building where lives Mercy.

The shorthair earns nickname Speckle, for the dash of white in the center of its M-mark—as you can see from the Featured Image and companion, which I captured using iPhone XS on Sept. 8, 2020. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 25, 1/597 sec, 26mm (film equivalent); 9:54 a.m. PDT. The other is f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/193 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 9:55 a.m.