Tag: Leica Q2

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The Stranger

This afternoon, after I crossed back into University Heights, carrying bananas in one hand, someone called from behind me. I turned to see a bearded fellow who had seen my strapped, slung-back Leica Q2. He asked if I would take his photograph—because he was interested in modeling. Ah, okay.

I responded cautiously, but welcomingly, because that’s the kind of delaying ruse a thief might use. But he seemed to be genuine enough, there was good distance between us, and I was situationally aware of his movements and my exit options along an extremely familiar route.

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Party Like Your Life Depends On It

Of all the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 oddities that I have seen, this sign might be strangest and yet most appropriate—punctuated commentary, whether or not the intention. The balloons suggest a birthday party, possibly for kids. You are welcome but be prepared for the consequences, especially if masks aren’t required. Meaning: You’re responsible for you.

I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image, today. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/400 sec, 28mm; 10:25 a.m. PST. Location: Somewhere along Maryland Street in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood.

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The Cats of University Heights: Kittens

While walking along Mississippi Street, between El Cajon and Meade, today, I spotted a four-to-six-week-old kitten scurrying among an apartment building’s greenery then passing through the lattice panels beneath a corner cottage. Not long later, the tyke looked out suspiciously long enough for me to approach and capture the Featured Image, using iPhone 13 Pro. Do you see the rascal? Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 32, 1/2273 sec, 77mm; 12:02 p.m. PST.

When the shorthair vamoosed, so did I—only to see an adult black across the manicured space of an adjacent apartment building. The mom, perhaps? She hung out closer to the alley, so I walked around for a look (and some portraits).

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Bearly Sitting

Somebody give that bear a sobriety test. He looks stuffed—or should I say stiffed—limberly and gleefully slumped in the chair. The evidence of his overnight binge is gone, cleared out by someone collecting bottles and cans for cash recyclable redemption.

I passed by the oversized plushie along Panorama Drive in San Diego’s University Heights district. The walker in front of me grabbed a folding chair, smiling over her find and to me praising its good quality. She should expect no less from where are some of the community’s finest, and presumably wealthiest, homes. Giveaways here aren’t junk.

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Two Years with Leica Q2

On the last day of 2019, UPS delivered Leica Q2, which would replace the original model that I acquired in May 2017. I was wholly satisfied with the Q, but the allure of higher resolution (47.3 megapixels vs 24MP) and weather sealing led to a sudden sale; Craigslisting two cameras, including the Q, covered the purchase price.

If being psychic, and foreseeing what 2020 would bring, I likely would have stuck with the Q for awhile longer. A series of oppressive and overly-restrictive governor-ordered lockdowns imposed in attempts to curb the COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2) made for a difficult street shooting year. With most of California shut down for so much of 2020—and citizens ordered to simply stay home—the Q2 was largely relegated to shooting alleys, empty storefronts, and cats.

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The Cats of University Heights: Smokey (Maine Coon)

What a surprise! Today, when walking along Alabama, on a grocery run to Smart and Final, my wife and I met a gentleman and his two-year-old Maine Coon. While the gentle giant likely lives somewhere else in the neighborhood (I forgot to ask where), sighting location makes him the seventy-ninth kitty observed on the street between boundaries Adams and Lincoln.

Five features physically define Maine Coons: Ear tuffs and points, facial structure, fur coat, paws (big), and size (huge)—the latter they tend to reach at around age five or so. Smokey is classically Coon by all appearances, and I am not surprised: His owner says that the cat comes from Russia, because finding a purebred locally is challenging.

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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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In the Dumpster

End of year is a good time to take out the trash, so to speak, to clear out the past and prepare for the future—opportunity to start Jan. 1, 2022 fresh and tidy. That’s where I am on this wet Wednesday evening. But what if you literally can’t take out the garbage, as is the case for many San Diego County residents? Teamsters Local 542 is on strike with Republic Services, which my landlord unfortunately uses.

The Featured Image, taken today with iPhone 13 Pro, is outside the apartment building where we live. (Vitals: f/1.5, ISO 50, 1/2994 sec, 26mm; 11:22 a.m. PST.) I would like to thank my immediate neighbors for not massively overflowing the dumpster. You might think, looking at the pile, that I am being facetious. Not so. The sentiment is sincerely expressed. Stacks of bags and refuse elsewhere exponentially exceed this modest mess. My fellow residents show remarkable restraint.

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‘Growing with Passion’

Whenever walking by this mural, I often regret not photographing the lively, colorful Yipao Coffee outdoor café that once occupied this location. More importantly: What the place displaced—trees and lush green space that the (permanently closed) florist had used. Hence the irony, if you don’t see it yet, of “growing with passion”; because all that remains is dirt, on top of which vehicles park. Nothing green grows, nor the vitality of human interaction.

In late June 2018, I shared about the departure of Florabella, which had to abandon its 24-year commercial space after the landlord informed the owner that rent would triple effective July 1. I wondered: What will replace the florist? Well, Yipao took up residence in the not-long-later clearcut corner area. Interesting aside: John Adams disappeared and was discovered to be accidentally locked inside the closed floral shop, which Yipao used; perhaps for storage. He is among the “Cats of University Heights“; June 2019.

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The Cats of University Heights: Cinnamon

For reasons, I can’t guess, most of the kitties seen along Cleveland Avenue and profiled in this series are gone. Let’s review them. Those known to have moved away: Fresh; Levi; Mika; MiniMisty; and Pepe. Likely moved: Black; Black and WhiteLeery; and MellowNot seen recently: CloverLiloPepper; and SleepyStatus unknown: Bell; Hunter; and MandyMissing: Fess (sad story). Special mention: Roly Poly; (second cat to appear in the series; presumed moved); Priscilla (who disappeared before the series started). Still resident: Tortie. That’s only one for certain among 21, plus our newest inductee.

I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image on Dec. 23, 2021. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6. ISO 100, 1/80 sec, 28mm; 9:08 am. PST. For color, this fine feline earns nickname Cinnamon