Tag: people

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The Pusher and the Biker

Four days ago, I came across Chris Gampat‘s The Phoblographer commentary “Manual Mode Is Overrated: A Popular, Unpopular Opinion“. Conceding that I am amateur at best, my tendency is to shoot semi-automatic by presetting aperture and fiddling with other settings only when necessity arises.

Chris tramps through several examples of missed opportunities. From the lede paragraph: “You raise the camera to shoot, very sure that you’ve got the decisive moment. But when you chimp the LCD screen, you notice the screen is pure white. Because you were in manual mode, your camera couldn’t adapt and you lost the moment. Had the camera been constantly adjusting the exposure itself, you would’ve probably captured the moment”. Okay, I might have some experience with that.

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The Players

Friends invited me to attend Spirit West Coast at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in 2008. I couldn’t guess what to expect—and, whoa, what a surprise. The atmosphere felt good and the overall ambience refreshed and enlivened. Christian musicians. Families. Young adults. All having fun at a festival where there was no alcohol or illegal substances. I was surprised. Transfixed.

I attended the following year, too. But those days are gone. The music festival no longer comes to San Diego County.

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Who’s the Fairest of Them All?

When my wife and I set out for a morning walk today, we passed by the same mirrors from whence came my selfie yesterday. She stopped for one, too, and I captured the Featured Image; discretely with iPhone 13 Pro. Vitals: f/1.5, ISO 50, 1/1901 sec, 26mm; 10:26 a.m. PDT.

Annie tends to shoot portrait orientation, and she has a great eye for composition. More than 99-percent of the time, I choose landscape. You could count on one hand my number of vertical shots since acquiring Leica Q2 on the last day of 2019.

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Me in the Mirror

I am not one to take selfies but an odd opportunity presented today and the result is better than my expectation. While walking along the alley separating Alabama and Florida, in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood, I came upon discarded mirrors between cross-streets Adams and Madison. Initially, I shot sideways, capturing car reflections across the way.

My journey continued. But along Adams and the next parallel alley, I encountered a nasty wind. Chilled, I chose to retrace my warmer path. That brought me back to the mirrors, which pitted, scratched state made me stop and ponder taking a shot from the hip, which I did after manually setting the aperture on Leica Q2.

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He Knows No Limit

I can’t explain why the Featured Image appeals to me. Maybe the gent’s mouth caught in speaking motion is reason combined with tilt of head, necklaces hung around neck, and one presented in hand. Is he selling the beaded strings? Seeking donations? I want to know.

The moment is from the Labor Day Parade on Sept. 5, 2005 in Kensington, Md. I used Canon EOS 20D for the portrait, which is composed as shot. Vitals: f/10, ISO 400, 1/500 sec, 40mm; 10:26 a.m. EDT.

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A Sign is 25

I can’t imagine how our family still resides in the village of University Heights, which is where we settled upon arriving in San Diego nearly 15 years ago. But here we remain, even as rising rental fees and soaring property values make the area unbearably costly. Exit strategy has been my priority for some time, at least since our decision not to buy the Schoolhouse five years ago. As homeowners, we would have been more natural members of the community.

Still, my wife and I briefly joined today’s block party—along Park Blvd between Adams and Madison—celebrating 25 years of the neighborhood’s iconic sign, which you can see in the Featured Image, taken using Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 100, 1/80 sec, 28mm; 4:41 p.m. PDT. The event officially started at Five.

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The Nikon Shooter

The day is June 10, 2006. I drive my daughter and friend to the mall in Columbia, Md. when we unexpectedly come upon the Festival of Arts event, where cardboard boat races are underway. I pack Nikon D200, which comes out to shoot some of the activities, including the Featured Image. If I recollect rightly, the portrait is not one previously shared. Vitals: f/6.3, ISO 100, 1/160 sec, 200mm; 1:07 p.m. EDT.

The Nikon shooter evokes a bygone photographic era, before the ascent of mirrorless cameras displaced digital SLRs. Yes, professionals still use them, but a journey to any photo forum reveals a massive migration to smaller bodies and more compact lenses.

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The Ready Man

As my wife and I walked up Madison Avenue from the overlook, we passed a man gardening in a yard. “I’m Ready” came a voice behind us. We turned, and he motioned to my camera, which I pulled around. He posed, and I clicked the shutter for a single shot. We exchanged smiles, and I offered thanks. Sometime in the future, I must go back for his name.

The Featured Image comes from Leica Q2 Monochrom. I had planned to complete an errand in Hillcrest, where I usually shoot black and white rather than color. But the day was so pretty after several drizzling overcast and being with my wife was so lovely that I walked with Annie about University Heights instead.

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For Their Grandma

While walking across the Vermont Street Bridge, which separates University Heights from Hillcrest, I came upon three women—two of which posed for the other. I gladly waited. When I passed, one of the ladies asked me to take a photo of all three. Of course. She handed me an iPhone, and the trio huddled together.

We then talked for as much as 10 minutes (I really should shut up), and they told me about their reminiscing adventure. Sixty years ago—a number/timeframe repeated several times—they would visit their grandmother, who lived on Johnson Street, which is on the UH side of the bridge. The then-girls were from Northern California, and their mom would “ship” them down to San Diego whenever another “was born”.

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Dad and Daughter

When looking over old photos, I often wonder: Where are folks now? Consider the Featured Image, captured on April 17, 2004 during a fundraiser at Rockview Elementary in Kensington, Md. How has this father aged in the nearly 18 years since? What kind of woman has his little girl grown up to be?

I wasn’t acquainted with either of them, which was the case for most people photographed that day. The Canon EOS Digital Rebel was a new toy and my first dSLR. So immersed in work, I didn’t spend enough time at my daughter’s school to get to know many parents or their kids. My wife was involved enough, though.