Tag: San Diego

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The Haunted Dollhouse

If this scene is to scale, you should be very concerned about the size of the spirits hanging around your place. The question: Are bigger ghosts merely more menacing or do they pose greater threat to the living?

I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image and companion on Oct. 16, 2021. Vitals for both, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/30 sec, 28mm; 2:56 p.m. PDT. Whoa, look at that shutter speed and no camera shake—although in this instance a little motion blur would add appropriate ambiance.

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Stuffed Buddies

I should have taken photos of these two plushies back when they had more color—before searing San Diego sun and two recent torrential rainstorms weathered them. The pair adorned this yard for months. Faded and ragged from the elements, they appear in black and white, which best presents them.

The Featured Image comes from Leica Q2 Monochrom on Oct. 15, 2021. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/640 sec, 28mm; 12:39 p.m. PDT. Coincidentally, porker Hamlet used to live in the same residence. After Hammy’s family moved away, new renters brought a dog and kitty nicknamed Breezy, who joined my “Cats of University Heights” series in March.

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The Cats of University Heights: Gypsy

On this date five years ago, the series started with a kitty nicknamed Scruffy—seen once and never again. A few months earlier, surgery in both eyes recovered my vision, remarkably also making it better than anytime earlier my life. Adjusting to a new way of seeing and also wanting to improve my photography skills, I chose cats as objects for my camera (and smartphone).

But I expected the project to be short-lived. As stated on Oct. 17, 2016: “I begin a new series that ends when the photos are all used”, thinking something like 30 days at most, given the pics already taken and the few additional to follow—because in a community dominated by dogs surely few cats could be found. Obviously, I was gravely mistaken; happily, if you prefer.

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Pumpkin Mountain

The iPhone 13 Pro camera system surprisingly satisfies—more than any other smartphone to bless my grubby fingers. I am loving the ultra-wide (13mm) and telephoto (77mm) lenses, along with RAW capture capabilities. Shots are sharper than I would ever expect from a device with relatively small sensor and which primary function is not photography.

All combined, the 13 Pro is creative fun—and that’s from my only surface skimming the sea of benefits. The Featured Image is example, with distortion from the ultra-wide lens adding character to an otherwise mundane scene. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/122 sec, 13mm; 1:01 p.m. PDT, yesterday.

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The Big ‘Little Library’

I cannot rightly express my surprise while walking along Campus Avenue close to cross-street Monroe on Oct. 5, 2021. In the distance, a decorated utility box beckoned attention. The things are all about University Heights, but all others are plain grey. Shape and overall size were right for what I expected to find, but something else waited: A “LittleFreeLibrary”.

The Featured Image gives some perspective of dimensions set against the Ford Super Duty truck for comparison. Vitals, aperture manually set for all: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/800 sec, 28mm; 12:59 p.m. PDT.

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The Benefits are Mutual

Along Mission Avenue, which cuts through University Heights East of Park Blvd, someone placed an appropriate sign for the many residents walking their dogs. The message could be interpreted as a politer way of saying “Don’t let your animal poo on my property” but I see something else: Too many mutt owners stroll the sidewalks, leashed dogs pulled along by one hand, with eyes glued to a smartphone held in the other. Frak, yeah. Play with your woof-woof.

San Diego is like so much of California: Dog-loving. There are special beaches and parks for the beasties to run about. They are walked all times of day or night, and I often see one person with three or more mutts. At least these people are more likely to engage their leashed charges than a cellular device.

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The Cats of University Heights: A.C.

The seventy-seventh feline found behind door or window made a single appearance on Sept. 14, 2021. I hadn’t seen the beastie before that day and not since. While good at spotting furballs, I am not knowledgeable about cat breeds. If my online sleuthing is accurate, you are looking at the series‘ first American Curl.

I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image and iPhone XS for the companion, along Louisiana approaching Adams. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 12:25 p.m. PDT. The other: f/2.4, ISO 25, 1/149 sec, 52mm; 12:25 p.m.

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There’s No Vaxx for That

During last year’s SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns, electric scooters nearly disappeared from San Diego streets. But as the pandemic becomes endemic, and activity approaches some semblance of normalcy, the two-wheel rentals return.

If SARS-CoV-2 could be a metaphor, first electric bikes, then scooters, suddenly were everywhere three years ago. County-wide, communities had no natural immunity (e.g. ordinances) to prevent the e-rides from clogging sidewalks or from masses of people zipping about—jeopardizing themselves and other citizens. City councils imposed restrictions to, ah, flatten the curve—to prevent quite literally the flattening of some riders. But the scooters spread unchecked until COVID-19 lockdowns crushed the scourge.

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The Cats of University Heights: Jewel

The cruelty to the kitty backlog of still-to-be-published profiles: We skip to the front of the queue a tabby observed today—on Alabama, making this fine feline the seventy-fifth seen on the street since the series started five years ago this month.

Honey and Phil both live (if they still do) nearby where I passed by the tiger-stripe on my way to the Smart and Final (shopping for frozen tri-colored peppers, but none were available). I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/80 sec, 28mm; 4:06 p.m. PDT.

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Where Lightning Strikes

Last night’s thunderstorms brought 524 “cloud-to-ground lightning” strikes throughout San Diego County for the “24 hours ending at 7 a.m. [PDT] today”, according to the National Weather Service. I saw evidence of one on Louisiana Street between Meade and Monroe, not far from where live Angelo and Huck—both of which were profiled in my “Cats of University Heights” series. According to the closest-living neighbor, the strike, which sent portion of a palm tree to blaze, occurred around 8 p.m. Not long later, fire crews extinguished the flames.

The Featured Image is the unbecoming first photo from iPhone 13 Pro, which arrived from Apple on Sept. 24, 2021. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 25, 1/2597 sec, 77mm; 10:24 a.m., today. Scaring and some charing is visible below the frond top. The device’s telephoto lens proved its worth.