Tag: autos

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Vintage Volkswagens

Today, while walking along Adams Avenue, my wife and I came across three vintage Volkswagens. I have seen some of these vehicles parked about, but this is the first time together, in a row—and there were others elsewhere. Possibly one of our neighbors is an auto-collector or repairer/refurbisher.

Finny, who was profiled in my “Cats of University Heights” series, lives in one of the houses before which were the VWs. Oh, and we saw him skulking about while we both took photos. The Featured Image and companion come from Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set for both: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/400 sec, 28mm; 1:50 p.m. PDT. The other is the same but 1/800 sec, one minute earlier.

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Doggone Fun

At the corner where University Heights ends and North Park begins, my wife and I waited to walk across El Cajon Blvd. I turned to see a car come up Texas Street to the intersection; a big `ol dog hung out the window. I pulled around Leica Q2 for a quick shot, not wanting to draw the attention of the driver and possibly to offend him.

The Featured Image is about a 95 percent crop, which deliberately includes price of gasoline—down from a high of $5.96 per gallon as recently as last week at this station and others around my San Diego neighborhood. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 100, 1/500 sec, 28mm; 11:38 a.m. PDT, today.

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Thunderbird and Chair

The Featured Image is example of a failed photo. I used Leica Q2 to capture the moment on Oct. 15, 2021 and held back sharing because the composition doesn’t work, whether cropped or as shot. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 100, 1/80 sec, 28mm; 4:32 p.m. PDT.

When stopping to look at the crusty chair, abandoned in a University Heights alley, I thought it would nicely juxtapose with the classic car—both being vintage. My mistake.

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Don’t Drive Plastered

Is there some metaphor or deliberate message here? Hodad’s is a popular burger joint in Ocean Beach, Calif.—if the persistent waiting lines are any indication (unless seating is inadequate; I wouldn’t know). As you can see from the Featured Image, the restaurant’s vintage Volkswagen minivan is plastered with stickers, such that anyone sensible shouldn’t drive it. Safety first!

The eatery also sells craft beer. Being plastered is a euphemism for intoxication, in which state no responsible person should be behind the wheel of a vehicle. So is it coincidence that a place that brews beer parks its plastered VW nearby? I should have asked someone when in OB on Nov. 17, 2021 carrying Leica Q2. Photo vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/500 sec, 28mm; 12:30 p.m. PST.

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Where the Palm Crown Fell

Now I understand why the city of San Diego cut down the majestic palm on my street that South American Palm Weevils had infested. The dead, or dying trees, are dangerous. What a story we tell today, with accompanying photographs. Read and look on.

Walking with my wife along Meade Ave. in University Heights, I told her about the restaurant that Canadian officials closed for accepting dog photos instead of vaccination verifications for SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19. Wanting to confirm country, I asked Annie to stop at cross-street Georgia, where I pulled out iPhone 13 Pro and web-searched. If not for that 30 seconds delay, we would have missed the disaster that had occurred at the corner. She saw the aftermath and called me to look.

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We End Twenty-Twenty-One with an Electric Story

The last post of the year fulfills one of my personal resolutions for 2021: Publish something here every day, and I have. The process proved beneficial for honing storytelling, which often constructed around one (or more) of my photographs. Rarely did I sit down to write with clear topic in mind; often the prose unfolded as a storytelling process anchored, sometimes loosely, by the illustration.

Similarly, my continual need to have something to write about encouraged me to look for objects to be topics, improving my photographic craft, too. I lack the sense of composition and style necessary to be a professional shooter. My eyes instead see stories in the things I capture. I stare in awe at the pros producing photos as art; I can’t.

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Whoa, What’s That?

Mental note: Pay attention. Observe. Don’t assume. Now for an admission: I made a misidentification. On Nov. 25, 2020, I used a commercial sign to illustrate an analysis about SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns precipitating permanent pub and restaurant closures in San Diego. I thought an “a” had dropped off from “Eat’s”, on signage pointing to a presumedly closed eatery down an industrial alley/street in Hillcrest.

As the Featured Image reveals, looking from the other side, the correct spelling is “Eli’s”, referring to Eli Vigderson’s European Car Repairs. Part of the “l” has fallen away. What I thought was a “t” is instead a full letter and part of another. I got to wondering about the sign, after posting “Got Mini?” two days ago; the roadster was parked at an auto shop.

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Got Mini?

A rear-window sticker asked that question, and I mentally lamented answering no. While walking through San Diego’s Hillcrest district, I passed the vehicle parked at Eli Vigderson’s European Car Repairs, which is across the street from Better Buzz Coffee on University Avenue. The auto shop is nearby the Eat’s sign that I used to illustrate a Nov. 25, 2020 story assessing the shocking number of restaurants and pubs permanently closed during California’s lockdowns meant to curb SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 infections.

Hillcrest is so grim, and also such a street photography opportunity, that I typically carry Leica Q2 Monochrom, which captured the Featured Image on Nov. 10, 2021. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 200, 1/800 sec, 28mm; 11:15 a.m. PST.

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The Sedan of Many Colors

I see this car along streets all over University Heights—Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Monroe (East and West sides of Park Blvd.), among others. Finding parking spaces where you live can be challenging, and whoever drives this vehicle is willing to walk a fair number of blocks to secure a spot.

Surely other residents are compelled to park far and away, but I wouldn’t know since so many autos look alike. The Hummer first sighted in February 2021 (and many times in various places, since) is an example. Then we have this multi-colored sedan, which most distinctive hue (pink hood and trunk) my Featured Image only hints at. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/2, ISO 100, 1/6400 sec, 28mm; 2:23 p.m. PDT; Leica Q2.

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The Hummer Metaphor

San Diego changes around me, particularly from the cost-of-living increases brought by the ever-growing emigration of high-tech workers escaping Northern California; they’re well-paid and find here comparatively affordable rents and home prices—all of which rise as more Googler-types relocate. SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns set them free to work from anywhere there is reliable Internet.

So I was only modestly surprised to see a Hummer parked off of Lincoln in the University Heights neighborhood on Feb. 21, 2021. What amazed me more, when arriving here in October 2007, was the number of Hummers seen seemingly everywhere. You could have played an adapted Punch Buggy—and lost—for the few non-military Hummers traveling about the Washington, D.C. metro area that we left nearly 14 years ago. In San Diego, the contrast was stark, and I wondered why all the gas guzzlers given stereotypes about carbon-aware, environmentally-focused California culture. Should I answer status symbol? The late-2008 economic collapse purged the oversize vehicles from local roadways. Who could afford higher monthly payments or gasoline for a roadster rated city driving of 13 miles to-the-gallon?  By mid-2009, their numbers had diminished to near nothing; that I observed. Eventually, as the economy recovered, based on increasing sightings, various Jeep models replaced the Hummers as all-around utility vehicles.