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The Halloween House

Continuing the walk down nostalgia lane, in my San Diego neighborhood, we go out of season—back before SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns tempered some holiday decorating. I used Leica Q to capture […]

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The Cats of University Heights: Blueberry

Looking out onto an alley, this fine feline lives in the same apartment on which balcony sat Spur in September 2020. Because the building stretches out to Alabama, where also is the front-gated entrance, the kitty counts for that street—bringing the total to fifty-eight out of the 377 profiles posted since the series started in October 2016. Mao dwells in the same multi-unit residence and maybe Dizzy, whom I haven’t seen for more than a year. Fifty meters (165 feet) down the alley, but on the Florida side, Chancy regularly suns on a second-floor railing.

Fifty-ninth seen behind door or window, the tabby earns nickname Blueberry—inspired in part by the hue of the curtains behind. I used iPhone XS to capture the Featured Image on Jan. 25, 2021. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/615 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 12:32 p.m PST.

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The Traffic Circle of Unintended Consequences

As summer began last year, I started seeing some strange change in driving behavior—where my neighbors slowed down and rolled through Stop signs rather than stopping their vehicles. Initially, I attributed the disrespectful and dangerous practice to SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. Many people weren’t working, or if doing so from their residence, and traffic was considerably lighter than usual.

But as San Diego reopened (before later closing again), the no-stopping continued and I recognized the real cause to be something else that is far more disturbing. The Stop-sign roll-throughs started not long after the city opened the first so-called traffic calming measure at Alabama and Meade in University Heights. Where once were Stop signs, the city has placed circles at four-ways where drivers now slow and yield. I first observed the slowing behavior at posted Stops along Meade at Campus and also Cleveland. Coincidence? I think not.

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A Pooch Portrait

Few days ago, Fujifilm unveiled the long-rumored GFX-100S—a 102-megapixel medium-format sensor shooter. I almost regret going back to Leica (Q2 and Q2 Monochrom), after letting go the GFX-50R in late-November 2019. Soon after, I purchased and returned the Sigma fp before buying the Q2. I love Fuji cameras, and the 50R surely satisfied. Problem: The impressive physical size intimidated animals and people, which was my primary reason for selling the thang.

The 100S reminds of what I gave up, with respect to image quality and dynamic range—both stellar benefits of the medium-format behemoth(s). So-o-o, this afternoon, I started reviewing some of my 50R RAW originals and happened upon a pooch portrait that silly me forgot to share with you.

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The Cats of University Heights: Weepy

We celebrate the last Caturday of the month by featuring a young shorthair spotted along Florida at a property from which other kitties were profiled: Bramble, Brumble, and Shrub. I have seen other beasties there but have been unable to get photos, and none of the ones taken are all that good; they’re make-dos. Cat carrying and other paraphernalia stored by the front door makes me guess that someone is a feline fosterer.

I used iPhone XS to capture the Featured Image and companions on Jan. 13, 2021. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/436 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 10:02 a.m. PST. Second: f/1.8, ISO 25, 1/928 sec, 26mm (film equivalent); 10:02 a.m. Third: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/118 sec, 52mm (film equivalent): 10:03 a.m. The trio is presented in sequence shot.

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Which is the Better Guido?

Yesterday, as my wife and I walked down Alabama towards the languishing bearded tree, we were surprised to see Guido approach. He more typically is standoffish with us, but times aren’t normal in his household and maybe he longed for extra affection. The dark-striped tabby lives with Bruce and Little—and on another street. The first two cats, Little less frequently, often walked with their owner and her dog. The troupe was always a delightful sight, and I stopped to talk with the woman whenever possible (as a matter of privacy, neighbors’ names are purposely withheld).

I use past tense, because she let her beloved canine go to doggie heaven around Christmas, following a decline from old-age-related infirmities. The loss caused the tiger tabbies great distress—absence of their larger companion and dramatic change to their walking routine. I know that for a time she tried to continue the practice with the kitties alone. She may have stopped, but I will need to ask to confirm—whenever, if ever, the time feels right. The family’s loss is too soon now. BTW, she put out the Squirrel Italiano feeder that I wrote about 10 days ago.

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Surely There is a Better Way to Help the Homeless

I specifically shot the Featured Image, yesterday using Leica Q2, to illustrate this essay. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/400 sec, 28mm; 11:22 a.m. PST. The carts belonged to one of three homeless men gathered together a few meters away on the Hillcrest side of Washington Street Bridge (University Heights is on the other). For sure, San Diego has a significant indigent population. But I write about San Francisco and something that surprises me—and perhaps will you, too.

According to the SF Chronicle (sorry, subscription required), the city is “currently sheltering more than 2,200 homeless people in about 25 hotels” and the “monthly program costs range from $15 million to $18 million”. By my math, that works out to between $6,818.18 to $8,8181.82 per person each month. If these people were paid, the equivalent annual salary would be between $82,000 and $98,000. Oh, and looks like the United States government will cover costs through the end of September 2021.

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The Cats of University Heights: Gleam

Along campus—outside a condominium where once lived Blue, Chipper, and Copper (before a dog mauled her) and where resides Valentine—I spied a black on Jan. 10, 2021. The Featured Image comes from Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set: f5.6, ISO 125, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 3:21 p.m. PST.

For the shimmer from the fur and glowing green eyes, the kitty earns nickname Gleam.