Tag: events

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‘We Don’t Socialize on Leash’

About two weeks ago, as I approached the barber for my bi-monthly trim, two adults, child, and dog pranced around in front of the adjacent grocery. The woman is sister to the owner and the little girl either belongs to her or the brother—my apologies for not knowing which. The doggie’s owner is the barber’s tenant living in an alley apartment. Their infectious happiness lifted the entire block’s emotional atmosphere.

But then the dark cloud came. In the bike lane, a woman approached, running behind another smallish dog. The little girl walked towards the newcomers, for a moment of meet-and-greet fido fun. Then came the tersely-emphasized putdown: “We don’t socialize on leash“. I turned to the store owner’s sister with a shrug, uplifted palms, and WTF expression. She similarly acknowledged.

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Praising the 135mm

In a post dateline eight days ago, Phoblographer publisher Chris Gampat explains “What You Should Know Before Buying a 135mm Lens“. He describes my favorite Prime focal length: “a magical wonder for many photographers”; “optically speaking, no one looks bad on the other end of this lens”; “notoriously hard to get in focus”; and “render[s] super tight if you don’t have a lot of room”. Also calling 135mm a “pain”, he acknowledges: “I’ll admit they can create beautiful photos”.

If shooting an interchangeable lens camera, rather than fixed-28mm Leica Q2, I absolutely would favor 135mm. Honestly, I might go 85mm for close spaces but otherwise mainly use the longer focal length. I love 135mm.

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Bluegrass and Monochrome

The third of four Friday live music concerts filled Old Trolley Barn Park this evening in my San Diego neighborhood of University Heights. Bluegrass greeted descending dusk as I arrived packing Leica Q2 Monochrom. I captured crowd shots—three, and share two.

As an afterthought, I pulled out iPhone 13 Pro for a single color composition, which I chose for the Featured Image. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 200, 1/99 sec, 77mm; 7:37 p.m. PDT.

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Spidey Steaks

As I write, Preview Night is coming to a close at San Diego Comic-Con, which returns for a full festival following a two-year hiatus in response to SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19. The virus overshadows the show nevertheless. Attendees must wear face masks or other protective covering and provide proof of vaccination or negative Coronavirus test within 72 hours.

Interestingly, the popular culture event implemented those rules before recent rise in COVID-19 infections mainly caused by the BA.5 variant. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention puts SD County in a high-risk category, although deaths aren’t dramatically rising nor are hospitals overwhelmed. Case fatality rate is 0.64 percent, while most people infected show slight to no symptoms. Hey, just saying.

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I Know What Grandma Would Say To This

She would start by quoting Proverbs 16:18. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling”. Then she would more provocatively cite 1 John 2:16,17 because, well, grandma isn’t intimidated by how other people might react.

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever”.

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Comic-Con’s Crazy COVID Conniption

To close out the month, and first half of the year, we connect the somewhat distant past with the not-so-far-off future. San Diego Comic Con returns July 21-24, 2022 with Preview Night on the 20th. The show floor, or break-out sessions, will look nothing like the Featured Image, taken seven years ago.

SDCC apparently didn’t get the memo that SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 is endemic and no longer pandemic. Locally, people move freely about without being required to wear masks, be tested, or verify vax status. Based on the official tally, the cumulative-calculated case fatality rate in San Diego County is 0.64 percent. Meaning: Your chance of surviving Coronavirus is better than 99 percent, while more than 85 percent of those infected likely show no symptoms.

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The Players

Friends invited me to attend Spirit West Coast at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in 2008. I couldn’t guess what to expect—and, whoa, what a surprise. The atmosphere felt good and the overall ambience refreshed and enlivened. Christian musicians. Families. Young adults. All having fun at a festival where there was no alcohol or illegal substances. I was surprised. Transfixed.

I attended the following year, too. But those days are gone. The music festival no longer comes to San Diego County.

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A Sign is 25

I can’t imagine how our family still resides in the village of University Heights, which is where we settled upon arriving in San Diego nearly 15 years ago. But here we remain, even as rising rental fees and soaring property values make the area unbearably costly. Exit strategy has been my priority for some time, at least since our decision not to buy the Schoolhouse five years ago. As homeowners, we would have been more natural members of the community.

Still, my wife and I briefly joined today’s block party—along Park Blvd between Adams and Madison—celebrating 25 years of the neighborhood’s iconic sign, which you can see in the Featured Image, taken using Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 100, 1/80 sec, 28mm; 4:41 p.m. PDT. The event officially started at Five.

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The Gathering

Sometimes, like now, I miss using a telephoto or zoom lens. Tonight, while looking over neglected, archived RAW files, I came across a set from a Sep. 28, 2008 evangelical gathering. Problem: I don’t recall what it was or where was the San Diego County venue. Similarly, I can’t identify any of the people portrayed in the three portraits that you see in this post.

The Featured Image and companions come from Nikon D90 and 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED-IF AF-S VR DX Zoom-Nikkor lens. Vitals for the first: f/5.6, ISO 800, 1/200 sec, 130mm; 10:55 a.m. PDT. I suspect, but can’t say, that the gentleman is a preacher and the lady is his wife. But, again, and apologies, I don’t remember.

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The Omicron Variant

This post’s title, which also names the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2) strain currently causing a global healthcare scare, would be better for a thriller-genre book or film about viral terrorism.

Cue the movie trailer: Six survivors. Keanu Reeves. Daniel Craig. Angelina Jolie. Regé-Jean Page. Kelly Marie Tran. And the esteemed Charlton Heston (appearing as a 3-D hologram). The Omicron Variant. The premise is so frightening that the screenwriters have each gotten three COVID-19 booster shots. You, too, will never think the same way about vaccines—and who gets them when supplies are lacking and the HAZMAT-suited stack body bags in front of your house. Oh, did we forget to mention that they’re empty and waiting to be filled—when your, ah, quarantine is over. The Omicron Variant. Who will survive viral armageddon?

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I Got the Golden Ticket

My wife and I cannot find an escape destination from SoCal. The SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 pandemic proved to be massive interference—from “stay-at-home” shutdowns to insanely rising house prices as newfound work-from-homers fled the cities for more affordable areas that we also considered. Perhaps we were too compliant Californians and locked down when getting ahead of the escaping herd would have made more sense. But we still search, with hopes of vamoosing this year.

That raises question: Will I be around for San Diego Comic-Con Special Edition, which is scheduled for Thanksgiving Weekend? I ask because—oh my fraking luck—the SDCC overlords blessed me (“praise be“, as they say on Handmaid’s Tale) with opportunity to buy a pass during open registration today. How could I refuse?

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Superhero Thanksgiving Weekend

Save the time! Tomorrow at 11 a.m. PDT, registration starts for Comic-Con Special Edition, which takes place Nov. 26-28, 2021 at the San Diego Convention Center. The homage to geek culture will be a smaller event than the typical July gathering, which was canceled this year and last because of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions.

The latter still applies. Attendees, vendors, and any one else must “wear an approved face covering regardless of vaccination status”, according to the organizer. “Face coverings should completely cover the nose and mouth, fit snugly against the sides of the face, and not have any gaps”. Well, won’t that make a mess of costumes. In that spirit, I would love to see a group of vampires protesting the mandate—because they can’t suck blood while wearing masks. Or maybe someone should show up wearing Guy Fawkes mask.