Tag: holidays

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Daughter and Mother

Why wait for Mother’s Day (May 12, 2024) to celebrate mom? While rummaging through Google Photos, I happened upon a portrait of my sister Nan with our most beloved parent. Date and locale is unknown to me, but presumably sis could identify both.

I had some fun with the Featured Image. One of Google Photo’s mischievous editing options is something called “Color Pop”. You can see how everything around the women becomes monochrome. But not without imperfections. Look at mom’s left hand and some fingers on her right hand. Color is gone.

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Pretty Poppy

The calendar hanging on our refrigerator correctly designates April 22 as Earth Day. I consider the celebration to be a year-long event. Our celestial home deserves more than 24 hours out of the 8,760 during a typical year.

So, commemorating today before you do tomorrow, I present the Featured Image, taken because of the California Poppy’s color. Unfortunately, breeze blew by just as I clicked the camera’s shutter, so point of focus isn’t exactly where intended but close enough.

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Cancelling Christ Feels Familiar

If you’ve seen this sign before on my website somewhere, do tell me. I can’t find it. Because I so meant to share the message nearly four years ago (June 26, 2020). The United States was in turmoil, with SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 restrictions making most everyone stay in and widespread looting, protests, and riots pulling people out onto the streets.

Do you remember the chaos, and rampant cancellation? You know: anyone who dared to defy the social media mob’s cries for equity, justice, and racial identity—all while fostering division and segregation that contradicted the presumed purpose of progressives. Black lives mattered, and including any other group(s) made you a racist.

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A Chilling Color Conversion

Yesterday, I used Samsung Photo Assist on Galaxy S24 Ultra to colorize a blurry black-and-white portrait from the 1950s. Today, we transform a sharp shot taken using an exceptional camera: Leica Q2 Monochrom. To see the original, click through to “Ghosts Light Up the Dark“, Sept. 30, 2023.

I kind of like what the auto-AI enhancement tool has done to the Featured Image. Do you? Remember: All done on the smartphone, with little effort on my part. Neither clarity nor detail was compromised during the conversion, something I wondered about.

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Misfit Inflatables

Christmas may be oh-so last year, but some of my San Diego neighbors let the holiday spirit linger on their lawns. Today, I came across some inflatables that are familiar and memorable—from stop-motion special “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, which first aired on television in December 1964.

Abominable looms large over a collection of misfit toys; somewhat cut-off, gold-digger Yukon Cornelius stands behind the snow monster. Creatures, people, and things that don’t fit in is the underlying theme of the perennially-broadcast holiday classic. Festive decorations are misfit, too, with Christmas past and their summer-like setting. Nuclear winter would have to come before snow fell in this part of Southern California.

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Less is More Christmas Decor

Wow, we had thunderstorms overnight, as heavy rains pounded San Diego County. I love it, but expected a drab, dreary day today. Oh, no! The clouds parted to blue skies and some sun. Air temp touched 15 degrees Celsius (61 Fahrenheit) but seemed warmer when walking under the yellow rays.

My wife and I stepped out a few times to relish the crisp air and sidewalks refreshed by nature’s hand. Californians are absolutely dog crazy. The mutts pee everywhere, without restraint. Because rain is so infrequent, dry urine pollutes surfaces. You will never see me sit against a tree, as such. Yuck.

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Rest in Peace, Santa

There is moaning and wailing at the North Pool tonight. Who will drive the sleigh and deliver presents to all the good boys and girls (if there are any) on Christmas Eve? Santa somehow got himself tangled in a sticky web and a spider sucked all the fluids and organs out of his body. Chris Kringle is crumpled.

I used Leica Q2 to capture the tragic Featured Image today. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/640 sec, 28mm; 9:37 a.m. PST. My wife and I came upon Santa’s remains in the Campus-North perpendicular alley that is parallel to Meade in San Diego neighborhood University Heights.

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You Do Know That Spook Day Has Come and Gone?

Call me a nasty nitpicker. Go ahead, I won’t be offended. You won’t trigger me. I won’t cower and cry: “You make me feel afraid”, like words are acts of violence. By the way, are you as bothered as I by people who do respond in such a way? The described reaction is the epitome of narcissism—of me first behavior.

Oh, and what is my nitpick? The Halloween sign in the Featured Image, which I captured on Dec. 4, 2023 about an event that occurred more than a month earlier. The poster hangs on the playground fence of Garfield Elementary, which is located in San Diego neighborhood North Park. Maybe the sign should come down, rather than taunt kids with the promise of something that ain’t happening because it already has. Hey, just saying.

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Pretty, Yes, But What About the Electric Utility Bill?

I want the Featured Image to better, but the discards from last night’s Christmas decor photo walk are worse. This house has beckoned my camera for years. The property, on Florida near Howard here in University Heights, is brazenly lit every December. I must return and seek skills redemption.

Vitals, aperture manually set: f/1.7, ISO 1000, 1/15 sec, 28mm; 7:33 p.m. PST; Leica Q2.

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Witchy Where?

What’s the remedy when a photo doesn’t come out as expected? Experimentation is one answer. When shooting Halloween decor on Oct. 31, 2023, I was sure the eye would follow the line of witches hats—and/or their shadows on the sidewalk. But the late afternoon sun, shining behind me from the West, glared and the hats lacked the contrast to stand out against the busy background of grass, houses, and street.

Tonight, for the first time, I fired up Analog Efex Pro 3, which is part of the DxO Nik Collection. Mucking around, I came across Camera profile Multilens 1, which separated the photo into three panels. A few perspective adjustments later and separation moves the eyes left to right, drawing more attention to the flow of witchy wear. The effect is a workaround. I remain dissatisfied with the result, but use the circumstance to show off the editing tool.

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Pet Perhaps?

Who is this mysterious Pookie? I want to know. Surely the name refers to an animal. In summer 2020, I saw black cat Cocoa in the yard behind the fence where is this sign. Oh, so you aren’t confused, since San Diego is three summers long, I refer to the “mid” season. We’re in late summer now, with warmer-than-typical temperatures: 29 degrees Celsius (85 F) yesterday and 27 C (80 F) today and dry; low teens humidity.

For the Featured Image, I used Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra; today. Portrait mode produces bokeh—not sure if the blur is optical, digitally enhanced, or both. Vitals: f/1.7, ISO 10, 1/240 sec, 23mm (film equivalent); 10:21 a.m. PDT.