Tag: California Living

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To Whom Do These Belong?

For three days last week, we watched seemingly good personal belongings appear along an alley in my San Diego neighborhood of University Heights. The frequent deposits of stuff seemed like someone being evicted or the result of some relational breakup.

Night before, police cars filled the same alleyway, and a helicopter circled about with bullhorn blaring about the search for a five-foot, seven-inch white male. Could the events be connected? Unconfirmed local gossip put the gent inside a convenience store, where—armed—he was apprehended the following day, about when stuff started stacking up.

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Mutt Masterpiece(s)

This afternoon, while walking along an alley in our neighborhood of University Heights, my wife expressed delight seeing some dog art hanging from a fence door. I initially passed by the display, then thought that her reaction deserved acknowledgement.

So I pulled out Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and took four quickies of varying compositions. The Featured Image is the best for presenting singly. Vitals: f/1.7, ISO 12, 1/1050 sec, 23mm (film equivalent); 2:18 p.m. PDT.

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A Pair of Redheads Visit

The parrots sure are squawking this week, typically starting in the hours following sunrise and again before sunset. The closest coastal community to University Heights is 12 kilometers (7.5 miles)—less as the bird flies; Ocean Beach is better known habitat for the exotic fliers, so their presence is surprising but definitely welcome.

Late last month, I felt quite lucky to get photos of the birds on a neighbor’s roof. Today, a parrot pair presented in a palm that I happened to be nearby and angled into the morning sun. I pulled out Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, set the camera to 10x zoom, and started shooting. The Featured Image and companions are the result.

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Sunset Sky

This evening, I turned Leica Q2 Monochrom West to catch the setting sun sky. I wondered what would come out of a black-and-white shot and what could be made during post-production. The Featured Image is the result. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 200, 1/100 sec, 28mm; 6:49 p.m. PDT.

I am no landscape photographer, just someone having fun with a camera—and marking a personally meaningful moment. The view is from the front steps to our apartment building and the sky visible from my home office.

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You Can Be Too Popular

If buzz is the measure of success, Fujifilm X100VI is camera of the year. Reviewers swoon, sales soar, and an order backlog means some people will wait until summer to get one—if not longer. The fixed-lens compact’s predecessor has been hard to come by for ages, in part because of adoption and hype by social media influencers.

The same crowd is gaga for the sixth shooter in the series. For the record, I wouldn’t buy one—and content creator crazies rank as my top reason. I love this series of cameras and owned several of them, starting with the original, X100, back in the ancient year of 2011. I also acquired later variants X100T and X100F. But something about the thing being a fad—and Fuji catering to the clamoring mob—kills the allure.

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For Burgers, Cross the Street

Two days a week, a food truck selling—you guessed it—vegan street food sets up on the North Park side of Texas. Across El Cajon Blvd on the University Heights side of the street is McDonald’s for anyone craving carb-and-protein-rich alternatives, like Big Mac.

I have yet to get a good shot of the truck, mainly because of vehicular obstructions. The sign has been challenging, too, but I got a singular opportunity on Dec. 8, 2023. The Featured Image comes from Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/1.7, ISO 100, 1/5000 sec, 28mm; 11:57 a.m. PST.

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Super Tuesday 2024

Across San Diego County, more than 145 drop boxes are placed to receive ballots, which California mailed to all registered voters. Today, the state held primary elections, including President of the United States. Fifteen other states commenced primaries on this Super Tuesday.

My wife and I unexpectedly used a drop box, rather than continue our customary practice of voting in person. Annie felt poorly, and I am juggling family matters. We don’t expect Dad to live through the week. But he is still conscious and cognizant, receives visitors (whoa, the county sheriff, among many others), or makes and receive phone calls. But Dad’s strength and vitality ebb away, and his decline increases. My sister was right urging us both to fly to Maine—she from Florida—over the weekend of Feb. 16, 2024.

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Tree Sign

While walking along Madison, just into North Park, my wife pointed out what looked like a branch placed atop a street-sweeping sign, today. She thought kids, then changed her mind on further investigation. A tree had grown up the metal post and come out on the back side.

This was a resilient, living thing—and another example of how conducive is San Diego’s year-round summer climate and fertile soil to growing seemingly anything at any time.

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The Correct Answer Is…

“I don’t know, let me get back to you on that”. The question: What is causing the unusually rainy (or snowy) weather in SoCal? When drought conditions gripped California, pundits blamed Climate Change. Now that torrential precipitation falls, doomsayers also blame Climate Change. You got to love stupidity. They can’t know!

A smart scientist would give some version of the proposed answer in the previous paragraph. Genius would make a hypothesis and begin collecting data to prove or disprove it. Occam’s Razor suggests starting with weather-influencing factors that are atypical and possibly convergent: El Niño and the approaching Solar Maximum of the typical 11-year Solar Cycle.

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California Contraband

Time is way overdue for me to return to a topic started Dec. 23, 2021, when ordering lightbulbs. The Philips LEDs could not be shipped to California by Amazon. Apparently some bulbs are state sanctioned, while others are considered to be hazardous to human health (what isn’t in the Golden State) and thus prohibited.

I eventually found approved Philips LEDs and ordered two variations from separate sellers. Opening the boxes, the 14-watters stated that they were “certified to California Title 20”. As for the others, please take a close look at the Featured Image: “Not for sale in California”. Yikes! I was an unintentional lawbreaker.

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Coin Collection

While waiting outside the Smart & Final for my wife, who was grocery shopping (bless her!), I hung out in the parking lot by the wall where, on the other side, homeless folk sometimes hang out. On the ledge, I came upon a small collection of coins.

My question: Did some good Samaritan leave loose change for the unhoused (hate that term) to find, or were the coins perhaps gathered and forgotten? Either, or neither, could be true.

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Seriously Spiked

Nothing about the Featured Image really works. Depth of field is too shallow. Overall quality is too noisy. Composition is cluttered. Light and shadows contrast too much.

But busyness also shows off Southern California climate and diversity: The funny spiked thing, maple leaves, palm trees, sunny skies and wide street—on Dec. 17, 2023. The photo also reminds that even a premiere full-frame camera, Leica Q2, will produce a shot someone might presume comes from a smartphone’s small sensor.