Tag: iPhone XS

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The Cats of University Heights: Romper

Happy Caturday! On June 27, 2021, my wife joined me walking by where I had seen Harvey nine days earlier. Annie would enjoy visiting the ginger, and I hoped for daylight, rather than twilight, portrait. Instead, a lively kitten, wearing a bell collar, frolicked from under a parked car. He was most energetic and, as such, proved to be a photographic challenge.

The rascal divided his attention between us and two bags of food garbage that somebody left on the sidewalk beside a nearby dumpster. He played, rather than rummaged, about them—upon which he rolled about marking his scent. But he also appeared interested in something, which could have been bugs lured to the refuse. Cats hunt.

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Fill `Er Up

Maybe you heard how high are gas prices in California compared to most other states. The Featured Image attests to the gouging that we experience at the pumps. In a nice twist, and keeping with the Cal progressive push for equity, all grades cost the same. Well, if you’ve got to pay more, all the same is a small, but not meaningless, consolation.

Alas, the equity price hike didn’t last long. Hours later, regular grade sold for $4.06 a gallon. Now there’s a tactic for making you feel good about the high cost of gasoline. Four bucks six cents seems so reasonable when you could pay $4.83 more. (Wink. Wink.)

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The Cats of University Heights: Sweetie

On the same block where live (self-relocated) Reddy and his (self-adopted) mate Zero, my wife and I spied a striking Tortoiseshell today. The kitty unsuccessfully tried to come over a wooden gate for pats, which would have allowed me to read her name tag, as well. The tortie returned to a door step, where I got an acceptable portrait by peeking around a fence from an adjacent apartment building parking lot.

I used iPhone XS to capture the Featured Image, which is nearly a 100-percent crop. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/156 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 4:16 p.m. PDT. While seemingly a contrite choice, this beauty earns nickname Sweetie for colors that remind me of a chocolate-covered peanut butter cup (e.g. Reese’s).

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Vintage 1970s, Do You Think?

While walking along the alley separating Cleveland and Maryland in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood, my wife and I came upon an abandoned gas stove that oh-so reminded me of one my parents used during my middle school years. You might think that someone put out this thing for trash pick up. Oh no, some scavenger surely will snag the range—for repurposing or perhaps dismantling for parts. Little left in the alleys, outside of the actual garbage bins, is wasted. The appliance is a lucky rummager’s treasure.

Annie and I both stopped for photos. The companion closeup is mine, but she did better for the full-on shot. My composition of the entire stove looks straight on and is dull. Hers, the Featured Image, is more dimensional. Vitals, for the first: f/1.8, ISO 25, 1/789 sec, 26mm (film equivalent); 9:50 a.m. PDT. For the other, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/200 sec, 28mm; 9:50 a.m. She used iPhone XS and I used Leica Q2.

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Decisions, Decisions

On June 15, 2021, California will largely reopen—fifteen months after Governor Gavin Newsom shut down most businesses and institutions, also instructing citizens to stay at home, in an attempt to slow spread of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19. This sidewalk sentiment seems oh-so appropriate for near-normalcy returning. Granted, inflation rises, the housing market is insanely competitive, supply shortages increase cost for goods like lumber, and many reopening businesses struggle to hire enough employees—among other oddities. So normal isn’t nearly enough.

Newsom will free Californians four days before the traditionally celebrated Freedom Day/Emancipation Day—also known as Juneteenth. How ironic—or arrogantly preemptive—is that? But he is not relinquishing the emergency powers used to close down the state. How will that decision affect his chances during the special recall election that could, in a few months, remove him as governor? Surely some people will respect his maintaining authority, while others will say that he oversteps his gubernatorial powers. We’ll see soon enough.

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‘This is the Ugliest Hat I’ve Seen in My Life’

For only the second time since the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns started 15 months ago, today my wife and I ventured to the local IKEA—a previously frequent haunt. Stark, barren, warehouse atmosphere sank both our moods. The place felt less like lively, stylish Scandinavian showcase of tasteful, affordable household furnishings and more like an apocalyptic wasteland.

Somewhere in the storage section, alongside various-sized blue and yellow-accented polypropylene bags and totes, I came upon the strangest thing: Heavily-logoed bucket hats made out of the same material. I remember wearing that style as a kid—and it was a favorite among the fishermen in Dad’s Allagash hunting parties. Suddenly, bucket hats are fashion-chic—a trend loosely taking hold in 2020 but exploding this year as people emerge from COVID confinement and return to something resembling normalcy.

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The Cats of University Heights: Bear

This fine feline reminds me so much of our lost Kuma that I spent the better part of an hour comparing photos. Resemblance there is, but nothing more. Our part Maine Coon disappeared on Jan. 15, 2012, and we believe that a coyote got him because city workers found his collar in a nearby canyon fifteen days later.

My daughter chose Kuma, which means bear in Japanese. Hence my choice of nickname for his doppelgänger. On May 22, 2021, as my wife and I crossed Madison moving South along Mississippi, Bear moved just enough behind glass to catch my attention. While the late-afternoon sun illuminated the cat well enough for a portrait, he sat back to me. So Annie and I continued walking, then I stopped and reversed direction for a photo. But he still faced inward, so I started away—then one-eightied once more. As I momentarily stood, iPhone XS ready, Bear turned—and posed! I gulped and wondered: Does he recognize me? Is that Kuma?

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The Swarm

This afternoon, while walking and talking to my sister who lives in Florida, I came across bees buzzing around a front yard along Mississippi between Mission and Monroe here in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood. I excused myself briefly and shot a short video using iPhone XS.

Strange thing, when finished I observed the insects swarming about the next property. That kind of deflated my working presumption of a disturbed nearby hive. So I snagged another short video, followed by the Featured Image taken using Leica Q2.

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The Cats of University Heights: Schroeder

The series‘ 399th feline is also the 63rd seen on Alabama between boundaries Adams and Lincoln. Why baffles me. But that works out to 16 percent of the total. Louisiana sightings rise, likewise Madison, but far fewer than the other street.

My wife and I happened upon Schroeder in the alley between Alabama and Mississippi just as his owner popped open a gate looking for him. He resides in the same home as Peanut and Rocky—and the mighty Monkey before he passed away three years ago.

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Bee Better

This is an odd post: Disappointing photos. Today, while waiting for my wife to fetch me from the ophthalmologist, I stopped to gawk at bees busily bouncing about flowers for nectar. Hundreds of them gathered and proved no threat to me as I closed in and captured 20 shots, using iPhone XS.

Grumble. Can the Apple cameras do no better than these, which are the best of a bad lot? I experimented with standard and Portrait modes—and all the pics look artificial at best, and not sharp enough at worst.

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The Cats of University Heights: Mr. Frankie

While walking along Louisiana Street and talking to my sister in Florida (yes, the state), I spied a woman with a leashed orange kitty up ahead. Sis got the “call you back in 2 minutes” request; I moved along and asked permission to take photos of two-year-old Mr. Frankie. He posed between leash-pulls, trying to chase a butterfly, and I used iPhone XS to make his portraits. Vitals for the Featured Image and companion: f/1.8, ISO 25, 1/3086 sec, 26mm (film equivalent); 9:51 a.m. PDT, today.

Bunch of cats live on that one block, currently: AngeloDaniel Tiger, Darth Mew, FluffyHuck, Peach, and Pepto—that I know of. Possibly passed away, moved away, or kept indoors: GingerJedi, Milo, and Princess Leia. Some of these, or others, come by to visit Mr. Frankie, outside his home—and some territorial squabbling occurs among them, his owner says.

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A Tree Grows

When looking through Nokia N95 photos to illustrate the previous post, I happened upon a palm portrait that my wife, Anne Wilcox, made using the cameraphone on Sept. 14, 2008. I startled seeing how much shorter was the tree then than I remember seeing recently. So, today, I ambled over to the corner of Adams and North, in my San Diego neighborhood of University Heights, for a fresh pic.

The Featured Image shows how the palm has risen since she shot it (left). Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, 6mm; 4:10 p.m. PDT. I used iPhone XS for the taller tree (right). Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 25, 1/1992 sec, 26mm (film equivalent); 1:25 p.m.