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Galaxy S23 Ultra RAW Roars Past an Iconic Sign

This isn’t my first Featured Image of this sign—and certainly not at night. But this one is the first using Samsung’s Expert RAW app on Galaxy S23 Ultra. Results do surprise, because I didn’t expect this much character or clarity from a smartphone’s small sensor.

I chose 50 megapixels and let S23 pick the settings. They’re easily adjustable, and I will do so on another day’s test run. Vitals: f/1/7, ISO 1600, 1/25 sec, 23mm (film equivalent); 8:39 p.m. PDT, tonight.

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Voting Integrity, Seriously?

Before SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 provided California with the excuse to issue mail-in ballots, voting was straightforward: The County assigned a polling place, where you would go to vote. Volunteers had a list of registered citizens from which your name would be checked off and then you would do your civic duty. Simple. Straightforward.

In 2020, I chose to vote in person—and I brought along my mail-in ballot, which would have been accepted had I not requested to vote onsite. After confirming my identity, the election volunteer provided ballot and place to vote. Simple. Straightforward. But the experience my wife and I had voting today was nothing like this or during elections 2021 and 2022. By every measure, looks to me like the polling place process is engineered to deter in-person voting.

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Patriotic Parrot

Something about the American flag juxtaposed with the parrot and complimented by reddish flowers compelled me to stop and shoot the Featured Image on Aug. 11, 2023. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 800, 1/60 sec, 70mm (film equivalent); 8:33 p.m. PDT.

Once more, I wonder why own Leica Q2 when Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra produces photos with so much character. Professionals prattle about the Leica look. My Samsung shots are distinctive, too. They may not be as sharp but they’ve got style that is dimensional and poignant.

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‘I Like That One More’

Last night, when I walked by Gnarly Girl Pizza, a collection of beer glasses and discarded box on an outdoor table caused me to stop and shoot the Featured Image. But, yesterday, I chose to share the other, where cheese appears to drip from the mural behind into each mug. Oh, and that sloppy eater is the slimer from film “Ghostbusters”.

This morning, when I showed both pics to my wife, she surprisingly said: “I like that one more than the photo you posted”—referring, of course, to what you see today. When I suggested straightening the slanted shot, Annie objected. She praised painting-like appearance and cinematic feel that the angle imbues. But I couldn’t resist, nevertheless, which explains the companion capture that is the original composition.

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Lucky Shot

If like me you own Galaxy S23 Ultra, rush to the Samsung Members app and opt-in for the One UI 6 beta. The camera app receives some refinements that are worth trying out. Why wait, if you mustn’t—and testers help improve the software. The changes are topic for another day, after I spend some serious time exploring them.

But I can attest to improved low-light shooting from the walk taken this evening. Colors are richer and more accurate; previously, washed out highlights was a problem. As the shooter in my pocket improves over time, and subsequently I carry around Leica Q2 less often, the question emerges: Is a full-frame camera even necessary?

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Garden Wall

About a half hour after sunset, I set out on another early evening walk. By San Diego standards humidity is high—granted Floridians would smirk and choke back laughter at what passes for muggy here. But, hey, it is 82 percent as I write but comfortable 20.5 degrees Celsius (69 Fahrenheit).

Where was the Nativity outside the home of Carl, one of the “Cats of University Heights“, I stopped to gawk at the charming backlighting behind plants and trees. A sucker for contrasting areas of dark or light and competing colors, I pulled out Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and utilized the 3x optical zoom capability.

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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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Behave Yourself, or Else

Unless mistaken, I never shared the Featured Image—although that was my intention and mistaken belief having done so; ages ago. But here we are with no searchable evidence that you have seen this one, which is among the last taken with iPhone 13 Pro. In mid-December 2022, I returned to Android via Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.

The “Code of Conduct” sign was, and may still be, nearby Bloomingdales on the upper level of San Diego’s Fashion Valley Mall. “No weapons” means that I break the rules every visit—and, until now, without knowing. Yup, I carry a pocket knife. Quick, call the security guards! The tiny thing cuts paper pretty well. Occasionally.

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Night Garden

On the same property where are the solar-powered lamps that I shared with you last month are decorative lights that surround a sculptured montage of rocks, succulents, and waterfall. When walking by this evening, I decided to stop for a shot—several, actually.

The Featured Image is my selection of the set, and it is edited to taste. While taken after sunset, the original photo isn’t nearly as dark. I amped blacks, dehaze, and highlights, looking to more strongly contrast areas of light and dark—particularly shadows upon the stonework and light on the greenery.

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Chair Pair

Will the Featured Image win awards, or even kudos, for compelling street photography? Never. I don’t have a good supporting story either. The chairs caught my attention for being two, fitting the space placed, and […]

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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.

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The Cats of University Heights: Moonpie

Along a Mississippi alley, I spotted this fine feline on June 2, 2023. This rascal is the one-hundred-twelfth furball found behind door or window since the series‘ start in October 2016. Believe it or not, the animal is on the second floor.

I used Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra to capture the Featured Image. Vitals: f/4.9, ISO 160, 1/125 sec, 230mm (film equivalent); 7:38 p.m. PDT. What nickname shall we give? How about Moonpie.