Tag: photography

Read More

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.

Read More

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: Daniel 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.

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Leery

I continue to review older, unpublished photos and reconsider some of them for the series. The Featured Image, captured on June 28, 2017 using Leica Q, earns a place after I played around with several cropped compositions. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 4:45 p.m. PDT. Nickname: Leery.

I don’t even recall taking this one but see why the rejection. Nearly four years later, subtle improvements in my craft and adapted attitudes about what makes an acceptable portrait lead me to look differently at the grey being partially obscured. The foliage, grass, and shadows are emotional elements—immediately transportive for anyone whose house and yard looked anything similar. Something else appealing: The scene doesn’t look, or feel, anything like San Diego—no cactus, palm trees, or succulents.

Read More

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.

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Spooky

Since seeing this black on Oct. 19, 2019, I have watched for a reappearance. Call me unlucky, for there being none; the Featured Image isn’t the desired portrait; profile view is okay but barely. I used iPhone XS to make the moment, which location isn’t shared because of the visible address number. Neighbors deserve some respect of privacy. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/1261 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 5:18 p.m. PDT.

The shorthair earns nickname Spooky, for Halloween Cat color and nearby holiday decorations. Spooky is the sixty-fifth feline seen behind door or window.

Read More

How I use a Camera Differently Than a Smartphone

On March 16, 2021, approaching the Vermont Street Bridge, I stopped for a single shot using Leica Q2 Monochrom. When wielding the camera, or my regular (e.g. color sensor) Q2, my habit is this: Stop, compose, capture one or two photos—single more likely, as is the case with the Featured Image. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/400 sec, 28mm; 11:21 a.m. PDT.

When handling iPhone XS, I point and shoot, with little to no regard for composition—typically taking four to six shots, minimum. One reason: The display isn’t easy enough to see in the bright San Diego sunlight. Additionally, when there is motion, such as a frisky feline for my “Cats of University Heights” series, the smartphone proves more able, because of its smaller size but big screen for fast, on-the-fly composition.

Read More

An Early Easter Bouquet

Palm Sunday is unseasonably toasty here in San Diego. As I write, the official temperature is 27 degrees Celsius (81 F)—and that’s the forecast high, which means more sizzle to come by early afternoon. As I walked along Madison—between Alabama and Mississippi in University Heights—orange and yellow flowers beckoned my attention. At first, I passed by, then turned back for a quick shot, using Leica Q2. The Featured Image is the first of four captures and best composition. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/2000 sec, 28mm; 10:13 a.m. PDT.

As I lay low for the final photo, an older fellow walking a dog asked, as he passed: “Have you got good Macro on that camera?” I replied affirmatively—even though not using the mode right then. Vitals for that shot, which is cropped: f/8, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, 28mm; 10:14 a.m.

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: BonBon

As the 400th profile approaches (you’re reading number 395), I once again consider retiring the series, which started on Oct. 17, 2016 with expectation that there couldn’t be more than 30 cats in a neighborhood dominated by dog owners. I figured making a month of posts, perhaps six weeks, and no more. Here we are still, today, nearly four-and-a-half years later.

Sometime in 2019, along Florida between Madison and Monroe, I started seeing a white sunning in a window several afternoons a week. Numerous is the number of times I stopped to take a photo but refrained, thinking the kitty might be Sugar, whose portrait was captured in July 2018. The newcomer lives in the same building but never presented enough identifying detail—spot on forehead and tiger-striped tail—or lack thereof. That is until Jan. 22, 2021: No markings, different cat.

Read More

Don’t You Mean Four Bucks?

Someone tell me where Joe Wallace lives, because I want to go there. Yesterday morning, I read his Wall Street Journal story, “Leap in Gas Prices Puts $3 a Gallon in Sight“, in state of disbelief. In sight, as in coming? Because here in San Diego, that reference means looking back. We passed three bucks a gallon well more than a month ago. In fact, before President Executive Order killed off the Keystone Pipeline, the price had been $2.86 for months—and that was up 30 cents from Summer 2020—at my local economy filling station.

“Gasoline prices at pumps in the U.S. hit an average of $2.88 a gallon over the past week, according to the AAA”, Joe writes. “In California, the most expensive market, average prices stand at $3.88, according to AAA”. Hours later, I shot the Featured Image, with Leica Q2 Monochrom, specifically to illustrate this essay. Granted, Chevron charges more than many competitors but not outrageously greater than the $3.88 at nearby Valero. 

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Amanda Too

Beauty Amanda was a fixture along Meade between Florida and Mississippi through the end of 2018. Then she disappeared about the same time as the owners of LilyTiger, Persepolis, and Sebastian moved away. Since she frequently visited the home—and the residents gave her another name—I assumed they took her, too.

But then, on Dec. 28, 2019, a grey looking like her—but missing collar with distinctive purple name tag—appeared on a property at the corner of Alabama and Meade. I used iPhone XS to shoot several portraits, editing the Featured Image but refraining from publishing. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/1089 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 2:08 p.m. PST.