Tag: photography

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The Cats of University Heights: Fluffy

For reasons that must make sense to someone in city planning, a bike lane is in early stages of construction down Meade in my neighborhood going out to North Park. Traffic is rerouted from Alabama and Louisiana, as road crews work on some kind of traffic circle(s)—among several forthcoming “traffic calming measures”, according to project coordinators.

“The Georgia-Meade Bikeway will run along Georgia Street between Robinson Avenue and Howard Avenue, shift to Howard Avenue for one block, and continue on Florida Street to Meade Avenue”, explains the project page. “The bikeway will run along Meade Avenue between Park Boulevard and Fairmount Avenue”. Crews started digging up the intersection at Alabama around Christmas 2019 and are expected to continue working for six months locally. The entire thing is planned to be completed in 2022.

What does any of this have to do with our Caturday tabby?

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Flickr a Week 2: ‘Antwerp’

What can you say about a photo that has more than 400,000 views? Koen Jacobs specializes in “urban and street photography”, and he’s an art form—or so says me. I came to his Photostream by way of image “The Underpass“, which I later learned, from his website, was chosen as the cover for musician/director Rafa Russo single “You Crossed My Mind”.

So-o-o-o, quite coincidentally, and surprisingly, something else: I prepared the first Flickr-a-Week posts in late December 2019. On the same day I finished this one, the 19th, the image-sharing service picked the “Top 25 Photos on Flickr in 2019 From Around The World“. Koen’s “undeniable dilemma” made the list. Oh my!

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The Cats of University Heights: Ranger

Perhaps two years ago (if not longer), I spotted this lush longhair sitting upon a roof. His owner said that he frequently goes there. Of course, I would forget his name, minutes after she told me. Even so, a really good portrait opportunity didn’t come until June 19, 2019, when, at 3:50 p.m. PDT, I captured the Featured Image using Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/350 sec, 63mm.

I sometimes see the tabby roaming among houses along his street or crossing Monroe to visit Twilight. Six months of waiting, hoping to see his owner and ask again for a name, time is come to call him something and add his furriness to the series. Ranger is good moniker for now. BTW, he is second of two consecutive cats presented living on the same Campus Avenue block. The first: Kip. Happy Caturday!

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The Cats of University Heights: Kip

Our New Year’s kitty, Gem, is the last subject photographed with my beloved Leica Q. We follow him (or her) with the first photograph from Leica Q2, which replaces the returned-for-refund Sigma fp that—had shooting experience been different—would have supplanted the Q.

Nicknamed Kip, which is British slang for nap, this ginger is the first of two from the same block of Campus Avenue and fifty-third featured from behind window or door. She looks cozy, eh? I shot the Featured Image at 8:41 a.m. PST, today. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/1000 sec, 28mm.

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The Cats of University Heights: Gem

The fourth New Years kitty to appear in the series shares the distinction with Storm (2019), Norman (2018), and Chub (2017). I chose the black and white, because of his (or her) fleeting resemblance to  Mr. Kitty, who disappeared nearly five months ago. His owner still searches for him.

I nickname the furball Gem, for being an unexpected find and in hopes the Mr. Kitty is one day found. Gem joins only five other felines featured from Panorama Drive: Brick, Hawk, Herbie, The Love Bug, Roadie, and Poinsettia. The Featured Image is the second of three taken—and they are the last photos from Leica Q, which I retired yesterday and posted for sale on Craigslist. Today, I start shooting with successor Q2. Photo vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 3:28 p.m. PST, Dec. 30, 2019.

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Flickr a Week 1: ‘Fairfield House 1078 D’

The new series starts with a gorgeous, prairie landscape taken by Jim Choate on May 13, 2017. He explains about capturing the moment: “What a lucky evening. I had spent several hours on backroads south of The Dalles, Oregon, unsuccessfully looking for photo opportunities, when I turned a corner and unexpectedly came across the lovely and often-photographed abandoned Fairfield house. The day had been dreary, gray, and drizzly, but the clouds in the West cleared for about 15 minutes while I took this photo”.

Jim’s perseverance preserves something that no one else can ever see. “This homestead burned to the ground in July [2018] in a huge prairie fire that devastated 78,000 acres”, he explains, referring to the Substation Fire. “Oregon lost one its most famous and loved abandoned places”.

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Introducing ‘Flickr a Week’

On Jan. 1, 2015, I started ambitious publishing project “Flickr a Day“: One image, from a different photographer, each and every day. Curating compositions proved to be an engaging educational exercise that I like to think (somewhat) improved my tradecraft. But the process also consumed more time than expected. For purpose of respecting copyrights, I only chose Creative Commons-licensed pics, but many of the best were All Rights Reserved.

Five years later, time is long past to revive a project that I immensely enjoyed compiling and hopefully some people enjoyed viewing. Like the original concept, one Creative Commons-licensed photo from a single shooter will be shared once, with some background—and, where appropriate, additional storytelling—about both. But unlike 2015, 2020 will be less frequent: Twice weekly; occasionally something extra to mark current events or special occasions.

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The Cats of University Heights: Sparkle

The last in a trio of window watchers—and fifty-second for the series—comes as a surprise to me, since it’s coincidence rather than advance planning. This gorgeous longhair, whom I nickname Sparkle, joins Squint and Poinsettia. She appeared along Campus, between Meade and Monroe, on Dec. 11, 2019. I captured the Featured Image, using Sigma fp and 45mm F2.8 DG DN | C lens. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, 45mm; 3:06 p.m. PST.

The cropped portrait is a compromise composition, to remove the building number. In post-production, I emphasized highlights, increased whites, but pulled back shadows, using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic.

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Some Sigma fp Continuing First Impressions

I am not exactly loving Sigma fp with 45mm F2.8 DG DN | C kit lens. Steve Huff’s glowing hands-on review compelled me to buy the diminutive full-frame shooter and sell overly-large Fujifilm GFX 50R. The compact camera checked off many of the benefits I sought in replacing the Fuji medium-format beast—or so seemed the case based on his reactions, and a few other early adopters.

Steve’s January 2010 Leica X1 review inspired me to purchase that camera, too. Much as the image quality and manual controls appealed, the X1 didn’t work well for me, and I sold it six months later. In retrospect, I should have remembered mainly why: Backside LCD as primary means for framing and focusing subjects. I much prefer, really require, an integrated optical or digital viewfinder. In the bright San Diego sunlight, handling Sigma fp, I struggle to compose photos, like Leica X1. Manual dials are gone, as well, and they are greatly longed for.

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San Diego Snowman Dresses Up

What a difference that three weeks make. On Dec. 1, 2019, I shared “San Diego Snowman” adorning a home along Maryland Street, here in the community of University Heights. Since, my walking path deliberately passed by, as I looked for something to return: His black hat that I recall topping his rock-for-brains head before heavy rains pelted Southern California and presumably washed it away. I hadn’t mentioned his missing adornment for concern it was imagined; a false memory.

But look at him now! Stoneman is dapper wearing the topper, scarf, and something else: Smile replacing frown. He’s happier perhaps for Christmas being three days away. I am overjoyed to snag a portrait of his fine wear before rains return, starting overnight.