Fuji Photo

Overlook

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Sometimes, I stop where Adams Ave. ends in my neighborhood to see if the Pacific Ocean is visible along the horizon. The location is sentimental—for our long time living nearby; the overlook’s majestic view; and for some of the felines profiled for my “Cats of University Heights” series. Among those seen in the vicinity: E.T., for Exotic Tail, and Alfredo and Shadow, both outdoor strays who passed away after living double-digit years on the street.

I captured the Featured Image (warning: 32MB file) yesterday, using Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens. The photo is composed as shot, converted from Raw with only highlights tweaked. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/16, ISO 125, 1/60 sec, 63mm; 8:59 a.m. PST.

Fuji Leica Living Photo

How Much Has It Rained in San Diego?

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Record rainfall pummels Southern California, as a series of storms continue. In my neighborhood, according to official government weather stats, 3.7 cm (1.45 inches) fell during the Valentine’s Day downpour. Totals for the month, as measured at Lindbergh Field: 7 cm (2.8 inches). That same storm walloped Palomar Observatory with 28 cm (10.9 inches) of rain. Yikes! Rivers overflow. Flooding wreaks havoc in the community Ramona, among others. And nobody uses the dreaded D word (e.g. drought).

The sun shines through puffy, cumulus, cumulonimbus, and nimbus clouds stretching across the horizons upon the wet asphalt, earth, and fallen palm fronds—brief respite before the next storm surges. But the air is chill, and record low temperatures are expected tonight. Already, ice accumulations have led authorities to close both major roads leading into the quaint, mountain community of Julian—where we nearly bought a house last year. Being President’s Day, the town would typically bustle with tourists.  Read More

Critters Fuji Photo

The Cats of University Heights: Tony

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The Fujifilm GFX 50R, paired with Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens, delivers outstanding image quality; today’s cropped Featured Image and fuller-size companion demonstrate the camera’s capabilities. Rather than use a telephoto, I prefer to shoot with a prime lens on a camera that can capture lots of detail, allowing me to crop-in, or recompose, during post-production. The 50R is an IQ over-achiever, and its handling and ergonomics suit my shooting style, too.

I encountered the sleepy white beauty along Golden Gate somewhere between Cleveland and Maryland. Snowball—nickname my wife suggested—is the thirty-seventh feline found behind glass (and/or screen) and usually looking out rather than snoozing. The main portrait is cropped from the other, to spotlight the incredible detail the medium-format camera captures. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/210 sec, 63mm; 9:25 a.m. PST, yesterday.  Read More

Critters Fuji Leica Photo

The Cats of University Heights: Siamese Twins

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On Feb. 1, 2019, as I walked down Monroe where it hugs the canyon behind Maryland, a bonded pair presented on adjoining properties. I captured several portraits, using Leica Q, planning to return for closer-up shots. I would see the chunkier beastie again, doing its business in another yard—and, well, even felines deserve some dignity, if not their owners. No photo.

While preparing to add the Siamese Twins to the series, using the Leica Q portraits, FedEx delivered the Fujifilm GFX 50R camera and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens. I intended the medium-frame shooter to replace my departed full-frame Leica M10, which a Mexican wedding photographer purchased four months ago. But the Fuji is considerably larger than imagined, and I strongly considered boxing up without even one shot and returning.  Read More

Critters Fuji Photo

The Cats of University Heights: Valentine

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Some kitties pull your heartstrings—to somber notes—as did this black and white seen yesterday along Campus Avenue, at the same property where lives the grey that I call Blue. The putty-tat earns its nickname for the day being profiled and for me thinking when looking at its face: “Be mine”, like the text on one of those candy hearts.

Valentine also has the distinction of being the first cat appearing in the series shot using the Fujifilm GFX 50R, which I received four days ago, and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens. Vitals for the Featured Image: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/70 sec, 63mm; 9:13 a.m. Same for the other, but 1/100 sec. Read More

Food Living Photo Society

Candy Crush

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If you believe the Wall Street Journal (and some other news outlets), “No One’s Making Sweethearts This Year, Crushing Lovers of Valentine’s Day Candy“. NECCO (New England Confectionery Company), the manufacturer behind the confection, closed its doors in 2018. Sweethearts’ new brand owner, Spangler Candy Company, hopes to have production lines ramped up for Valentine’s Day 2020, but existing supplies are limited for this year. Hehe, good thing this stuff has long shelf life.

Given the Sweethearts shortages, I was surprised to see a bowl of the candies strategically placed between the cosmetic and jewelry sections inside Macy’s Fashion Valley. Shouldn’t there be a security guard to protect these precious commodities from smash-and-grab robbers rushing the bowl? I imagine a sitcom plot where an attempted jewelry case robbery is merely a distraction for stealing Sweethearts instead.  Read More

Critters Photo

The Cats of University Heights: Mewl

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Wagering a guess, the shorthair that I call Mewl is a pregnant female. She was needy and noisy—hence the nickname—when my wife and I encountered the kitty along Spalding Place on Feb. 6, 2019. We approached from Madison Avenue through the alley between Park and Georgia, when we saw her walking from street to sidewalk. She turned when I pulled out Google Pixel 3 and loudly and nearly continuously meowed as she came up to us.

I spent some time tweaking the Featured Image and its companion, particularly for highlights and shadows. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 58, 1/1466 sec, 4.44mm; 10:43 a.m. PST. I let Google Photos auto-tune the second pic, for comparison sake. To my eyes, the first is more color accurate, as captured by the smartphone. The other has a more yellowish hue. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 57, 1/1565 sec; 4.44mm; 10:43 a.m.  Read More

People Photo

The Barber of Seville

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The Fujifilm GFX 50R is meant to replace Leica M10, with which I parted ways four months ago. The camera arrived yesterday afternoon, and I unboxed it last night—in disbelief. The thing is ginormous! Perhaps had I read PetaPixel story “How the Fujifilm GFX 50R Compares in Size to Popular Cameras“, my choice would have been different. The medium format shooter appealed for image quality, rangefinder-styling, and straightforward ergonomics—and all three attributes satisfy straight out of the box. I am pleased. But I don’t know about the size, though. I chose the GF63mmF2.8 R WR as my one—and so far only—lens for the GFX 50R. Applying the crop factor, the Fujinon glass is about 50mm, full-frame equivalent.

This morning, I grabbed the 50R, which is surprisingly comfortable to handle (rather than being cumbersome, as the bulk might suggest), for a photo walk. I arrived at Park Blvd and Monroe Avenue, in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood, just as my barber opened shop. Explaining about the new camera, I asked to take his portrait, and he kindly obliged.  Read More

Critters Fuji Photo

Slumber Time

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We stumbled into an unexpected nighttime ritual—thanks to a free product sample—of giving Cali and Neko a can of Fussie Cat food to share. The local pet store cashier calls the stuff “crack for cats”, and I wonder how true that might be. Because both longhairs devour with uncharacteristic enthusiasm. In the Featured Image (warning: 44MB file), Neko naps following his Fussie feast—and that’s more from disappointment that he didn’t get more than from digesting a hearty meal.

The portrait is the first photo taken using the Fujifilm GFX 50R medium format camera. Yes, yes, composition could be a whole lot more pleasing. But being the first image, I got to share, even if it isn’t the ideal keeper. Vitals: f/4, ISO 5000, 1/60 sec, 63mm; 11:05 p.m. PST, yesterday. High ISO performance impresses, and I held the camera still enough, despite the slow shutter speed and 50R’s size (It is huge).

Living Photo Society Storytelling

The Joy Ride

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Classify this story in the category of surprising Sunday dramas. Painters have been working on our apartment building and parking their lift truck along the street. Around 11:45 a.m. PST, I saw some stranger climb onto the lift and start it up. While he wore yellow utility belts that gave the aura of authority, his presence was suspicious, because: Neither he nor his buddy was one of the three painters; his companion drove a nondescript white utility truck, while the painters’ vehicle is branded and red; and he initially fumbled around like someone unfamiliar with the controls.

When the dude unparked the lift, I wondered: Is he stealing it? Off he drove down the street, with his companion following behind in the white truck. This is my neighborhood, it’s a sleepy Sunday, and I am more curious than a cat. I had to follow, first on foot and then by car. The pair drove about 1.8 km (1.1 miles) through University Heights to Rhode Island Ave., which is nearby an area called The Point and overlooks a canyon leading into commercial area Mission Valley below.  Read More

Critters Photo

The Cats of University Heights: Shy

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Happy Caturday! Meet our thirty-sixth behind-the-window watcher, whom I have seen several times over the past few weeks. During the portraiture session a couple days before the Featured Image, a young man returning home said that was his kitty, Shy, looking out. None of the shots, taken with Google Pixel 3, precisely auto-focused on the shorthair.

But on Feb. 3, 2019, with Leica Q, I could manually focus just right. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/320 sec, 28mm; 11:14 a.m. PST. Shy lives in the same apartment complex as Honey Bunny, who was the 11th cat to appear in the series. Shy is number 244. BTW, Veruca lives on the same block, along Meade.  Read More

Critters Photo

The Cats of University Heights: Brick

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Feline sightings along Panorama are infrequent. Among the 243 profiles since the series‘ start in October 2016, this is only the third from the drive that horseshoes to Adams Ave. at both ends. Brick—nicknamed for the wall behind—joins Herbie, the Love Bug and Roadie. Will there be more?

Few months ago, I saw the black shorthair in the same vicinity before it disappeared into the bamboo along the canyon. Brick presented once more, finally, briefly in a yard on Jan. 30, 2019. I used Leica Q to capture the Featured Image, which RAW DNG file underwent extensive editing to emphasize highlights, pull back shadows, and boost whites to make the dark fur more visible. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/4, ISO 100, 1/320 sec, 28mm; 9:38 a.m. PST.  Read More