Tag: nature photography

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Sapphire Showers Duranta

I let Google Photos stylize the Featured Image, which is composed as shot. You won’t see saturation like this naturally presenting in nature. This is what happens when some form of artificial intelligence does the job that you should do for yourself. I would never edit like this but must acknowledge to not disliking the photo, which isn’t the same as liking it.

Once again, Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra rises to the occasion. Vitals: f/1.7, ISO 50, 1/120 sec, 23mm (film equivalent); 11:50 a.m. PDT, Aug. 18, 2023.

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Hidden Bunch

I occasionally share some of the things people put out in San Diego alleys, like the Apple PowerMac G3 (circa 1999), art gallery, big face clockfamily room, profane hatrustic mirrorrusty typewriterSeventies stovesnowboarding boots, solid wood dresserVictorian-style sofa, or Vitamaster Slendercycle—to name but a few.

But humans aren’t alone; nature puts out a few surprising finds, too—as the Featured Image demonstrates. These tempting grapes grow along a fence in an alley whose location I choose to withhold other than to say somewhere in University Heights. Interestingly, some vines have riper ones than others.

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Strikingly Stylized

Android users should always back up their pics to Google Photos, and I do. This evening, rather unexpectedly, the service presented a stylized rendition of the Mimosa pom-pom that I shared on day taken: July 22, 2023.

Is this artificial intelligence’s idea of pretty? To my tastes, the Featured Image is way oversaturated. For sure, pink pops—and all the colors of everything blurred behind. I don’t dislike the rendering, or you wouldn’t see it to offer opinion. But I am not loving it either.

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Mimosa Moment

While strolling South along Maryland in my neighborhood of University Heights, today, I stopped to regard pink-and-white pom-pom flowers that blossom from Mimosa, which is also known as Persian Silk tree. I used Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra‘s Portrait mode to shoot the Featured Image. Vitals: f/1.7, ISO 10, 1/750 sec, 23mm (film equivalent); 11:20 a.m. PDT.

Trader Joe’s was my final destination, but I had ulterior motive. A few days earlier, I discovered that one neighbor’s house is for sale. I worried why. She grew up in UH, played in the canyons nearby, and graduated from San Diego High School. She lives in a generational home—one of just a few remaining here. She wasn’t there, but I got the skinny from someone else living nearby.

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Soaring Sunflower

In the same spot—seemingly so—as the “September Sunflower“, another rises but turned 180 degrees (e.g., facing the opposite direction). The Featured Image comes from Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, composed as shot using the 50-megapixel option (200MP is another). Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 10, 1/800 sec, 23mm; 4:06 p.m. PDT, July 16, 2023.

The captured detail is absolutely impressive. Zoom in and judge for yourself. I wonder why carry a fancy camera like my Leica Q2 when the smartphone delivers surprisingly high IQ (image quality).

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Weep Not, Mourning Dove

Along Louisiana, between Madison and Monroe, in San Diego neighborhood University Heights, my wife stopped our afternoon walk to point out Mourning Doves gathered in a tree—perhaps 10 or more fluttered about. How unexpected.

While I clumsily pulled out Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, all flew off because of the action. But one bird returned long enough for a 10x-zoom closeup that is the Featured Image. Vitals: f/4.9, ISO 50, 1/800 sec, 230mm (film equivalent); 3:54 p.m. PDT.

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Rustic Rose

Walking along Campus Ave., yesterday, here in San Diego neighborhood of University Heights, a few properties past the Schoolhouse, I came upon some roses of similar—if not the same—variety as the ones shared with you a few weeks ago. I thought: They’re white. I’m carrying Leica Q2 Monochrom. Why not?

The Featured Image is the original, edited to taste but composed as shot. The companion is a close crop so you can see just how amazing is the dazzling detail that this camera can capture. Focus is spot on where I wanted it.

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Mommy Monarch

According to one of my neighbors, who tends a butterfly garden in her front yard, a female Monarch lays eggs on milkweed. As such, the mom-to-be stayed still long enough for me to shoot six shots, the last being the Featured Image.

This one is composed as captured and as produced by Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. Meaning: No post-production. Vitals: f/4.9, ISO 50, 1/850 sec, 230mm (film equivalent); 11:25 a.m. PDT, today.

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Runny Bunny

Walking home from Trader Joe’s this afternoon, I passed a rabbit hanging out on the lawn where Kitty used to go. (One of the “Cats of University Heights“, the tuxedo vanished in September 2021.) The bunny seemed quite content until I reached for Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra; he hoped off and stopped behind the gate leading into the backyard.

The smartphone may not produce the sharpest photos, but they’re good enough, particularly considering the benefit: Massive 10x optical zoom in a device carried in my pocket; no bulky, costly expensive camera gear required.

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You Fill Up My Senses

For a seeming paradise environment, San Diego air fills with bad smells: chemical (mostly from pesticides); exhaust (mostly from construction machinery and vehicles); rotting food (from compost and garbage containers); skunky stink (from pot smokers); and urine (from the homeless), among many others. (Got an hour to read? I can give a fuller list.)

So it was a surprise, and relief, when my wife and I hit a sweet smelling zone while walking on May 26, 2023. The Featured Image shows why: Hedge of Honeysuckle. Thank you, neighbor, whomever you are! At a time when more residences erect fortress fences around their properties, someone else chooses a natural barrier that delights the senses—eyes along with the nose.

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‘Feed Me! Please?’

The fine family that owns ginger cat Daniel Tiger also keeps three chickens. Typically, a jar of feed is placed in a caddy on the fence so that neighbors can greet and treat the birds. But, today, when my wife and I walked by, the glass wasn’t half full, so to speak, but empty. We had nothing to share, and, oh, did the hens want some.

When we slipped out of the apartment between loads of washed and drying laundry, I left behind Leica Q2. To capture the moment, I relied on Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, choosing the Portrait mode that creates bokeh—or the illusion of blurred background.

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For the Love of Ducks

I don’t know San Diego’s Balboa Park well enough to identify the Featured Image‘s exact location. Metadata and Google Maps indicate the Lily Pond, so let’s assume that to be correct.

The ducks made quite the splash when I came upon them on April 20, 2023. I used Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra to shoot the quackers. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 50, 1/2000 sec, 70mm (film equivalent); 4:08 p.m. PDT.