Tag: Leica Q2

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The Cats of University Heights: Mocha

On the Alabama side of the alley shared with Mississippi, Goose surprised by pussyfooting along a roof and fence before entering eves of a carport. The sighting was chance, as my wife and I walked that way seeking shade. But he wasn’t alone. Goose pursued a stunning shorthair seeking distance in what appeared to be an odd territorial skirmish—strange since he lives elsewhere on the block.

I hadn’t encountered the newcomer before that day, Aug. 4, 2021, or since. Because of the side of alley seen, he (or she) becomes the seventy-first Alabama Street cat—and I wouldn’t be shocked to discover that the beastie belongs somewhere else. For rich fur color, the Siamese earns nickname Mocha.

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The Music Box

This must rank as the strangest thing seen in any University Heights yard—and I wonder what is the backstory. Is a harp inside the crate? Was an instrument delivered or waits pick up? Could the rustic box be placed as a lawn ornament, recognizing that no rain is expected to fall in San Diego for months? Surely even empty the wooden container is valuable—for collectible vintage, shipping usability, or both.

My wife and I passed by the crate, earlier today, while walking along Mission near Florida. Later, I left her at our apartment and returned to shoot the Featured Image and companion—both using Leica Q2. Vitals for the first, aperture manually set for both: f/4, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, 28mm; 9:36 a.m. PDT.

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Goldie is Gone

From the title, you would think this post is about the pictured kitty. Rather, he is launchpad for a discourse about San Diego real estate. Let’s start with Goldie, whom I profiled as part of my “Cats of University Heights” series in September 2017. The Featured Image is the last portrait I made of him, using Leica Q2, on June 26, 2021. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, 28mm; 5:26 p.m. PDT.

I continued to see Goldie inside his yard for several more weeks, and I initially thought nothing about there being, as late as early August, no visible activity at the house whatsoever. The place was fairly quiet before the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns brought many parents home and kept kids out of school. My wife and I delighted seeing the youngsters playing outside the home. Then they disappeared, which I attributed to the local, year-round public elementary school reopening.

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Parlez-vous Français?

I shot the Featured Image for two reasons: Surprise to find a French preschool on Park Blvd in downtown University Heights; reminiscence—our daughter nearly attended a public French immersion school when we lived in Maryland. I have often wondered why she failed to make the cut. Could it be that she would enter as a first-grader instead of a kindergartener? Because: She was first on the waiting list, and the administration told us that admission was almost a certainty—some student(s) either dropping out or not showing up were frequent occurrences.

The kids learned English and French side-by-side in a program that lasted through eighth grade. Had Molly been accepted, and had she stayed, our family’s destiny would have changed. We would have unlikely left the Washington, D.C. area and moved across country to San Diego.

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A Fitting Tribute

The only constant on my street is the rap-rap-racket of new construction—in the alley across the way and a few blocks further where an eight-story multi-residence will fill the space where once stood a church that distributed food to the needy most Fridays. Silent: Birds, squirrels, and other wildlife that lived in the majestic palm that city contractors fell four weeks ago. South American Palm Weevils destroyed the frond crown, killing the tree and posing risk of further infestation along the block.

I don’t know the motivation, but today my neighbor, who lives in the house closest to where the palm stood, planted a collection of succulents where would be the stump (assuming it was covered over rather than removed). People place, or plant, flowers at gravesites—and that’s certainly how I see the location where once towered a mighty wildlife habitat.

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The Cats of University Heights: Spalding

Could San Diego’s housing market be slowing down? Countywide, the median home price dropped by $19,250 to (cough, cough) $730,500 month-on-month in July. Oh, I just quake with excitement. In context of this information, I was curious to look at a property, located where Georgia Street and Spalding Place meet, discovered on Zillow yesterday. On Aug. 7, 2021, the sellers lopped off $50,000 from the asking price. Whip out your checkbook! The residence now lists for $1.149 million. That’s not a location where I would expect to see something selling for so much; hence, my nosiness.

The three-bedroom, three-bathroom, 1,630-foot Craftsman sits on Georgia but I approached from cross-street Spalding, which explains my nickname given to the handsome black seen there. I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image and companion, today. Vitals, aperture manually set for both: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/320 sec, 28mm; 9:56 a.m. PDT. The other: f/8, ISO 100, 1/160 sec, 28mm; 9:58 a.m.

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The Incident in University Heights

When working with other journalists, I always advise: “Write what you know to be true”—or, lifting Star Trek lingo, obey the “Prime Directive“. That brief introduction frames what follows based on what I directly heard, observed, and photographed.

Our story starts some minutes around 11 a.m. PDT today, when emergency vehicles roar down the street where we live and others nearby. A police helicopter begins circling overhead, announcing search for a suspect, with his description, and instruction to call 911 if seen. I look out my window, to see police officers standing over someone handcuffed and facedown on the pavement—the Featured Image, captured at 11:06 a.m. Vitals: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/500 sec, 28mm; all photos aperture manually set, from Leica Q2. Interesting aside: The takedown happens where once stood the block’s majestic palm tree, before being cut down nearly four weeks ago.

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‘Run for Your Life!’

I don’t often get a chance to shoot the sign in Hillcrest—dangers of standing in traffic being one reason, when trying to get good vantage point. But coincidental opportunity presented on July 18, 2021 during the San Diego Half Marathon. We needed something from the pet store located on Washington Street; my wife dropped me there, and I walked over to University Ave. for a lively jaunt home. Timing with the event was happenstance.

On the other side of Fifth, I used Leica Q2 to capture four shots in fairly rapid succession. I chose and cropped the Featured Image for the juxtaposition of bicycle pusher, runners, and walkers—and to remind that the camera can produce super-sharp photos. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/400 sec, 28mm; 9:51 a.m. PDT.

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Coon and Ghost are Homeless

If only SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 eviction moratoriums applied to feral felines, the habitat of Coon and Ghost would not have been utterly destroyed. The luscious, and humungous, yard they shared was intact a few days ago—my wife and I can’t recall if Tuesday or Wednesday (today is the only Friday the 13th of the year). This morning, we peaked in—shocked to see nearly complete clearcutting.

The saga starts as we walked along the alley separating Alabama and Florida. As we moved down the block between Monroe and Madison, I saw a kitty beyond the cross street going towards Adams. From the coloration, and our recently seeing Pace (pronounced paw-chay, according to his owner) in the vicinity, I assumed it must be the aged Norwegian Forest Cat. Oddly, though, the animal disappeared and reappeared, as if going into and out of different backyards along the alley.