Tag: San Diego

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Another Stand Off!

What’s up with my passing by feline territorial skirmishes? There was Ash and Bandit in late May 2021 and now Goose (left) and Jasmine, which respective yards are separated by an apartment building parking lot. All four animals are profiled in my “Cats of University Heights” series.

My wife and I came upon the pair, yowling and tensing forward or retreating outside Goose’s home. That’s right, Jasmine was the aggressor. But sometime later, after I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image, she backed through the fence and he pursued. Somebody pulled up and parked a car, which broke the territorial tension.

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Birds in a Tree (Hey, It’s Art!)

I rarely walk along Georgia Street between El Cajon and Meade but traipsed there today, hoping to see either Husky or Romper—both profiled in my “Cats of University Heights” series after separate sightings. Approaching El Cajon, I came upon the oddest thing: a metal mobile hanging from a tree alongside the outside wall of a commercial building. I wondered: Why here? Home decoration makes sense, but before a facade of bricks? How odd. That said, what’s more appropriate than birds in a tree?

Location presented excellent opportunity to capture mobile and The Boulevard sign in the background. The Featured Image, which is composed as shot, comes from Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/4, ISO 100, 1/640 sec, 28mm; 3:41 p.m. PDT. In post-production, I experimented with several different lighting scenarios—one that silhouettes tree and metallic birds—before choosing the one you see.

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The Photographer’s Friend

I am reluctant to post pics of myself, but this one presents opportunity to pay photographic homage to my wife, who captured the Featured Image using her iPhone XS. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 25, 1/1748 sec, 26mm (film equivalent); 1:01 p.m. PDT, today. Thank-you, Annie.

We walked by the house where live Bruce (pictured) and Guido, both of which are profiled in my “Cats of University Heights” series, and the fluffier feline came on to the sidewalk to visit.

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The Palm Falls

My day started with resolve not to document destruction of the majestic palm infested with South American Palm Weevils—across the street from my home office window. But my wife and I watched the preparation stage, which was the city towing a pickup truck, baring Washington State plates, parked directly beneath the block’s major wildlife habitat.

Soon after, we heard the surprising sound of a chainsaw but could see no lift raised high so that a cutter could sever fronds from the palm’s crown. From a different window, Annie spotted someone working the base of the tree and a rope tied to the top. Then we realized: Rather than the more typical cut-from-the-top-down method, the men approached the project like lumberjacks would back home in Maine.

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A Bird Poses

I don’t typically shoot bird portraits—yet here is another within three days (remember the seagull). But an unexpected opportunity presented early this evening. As my wife and I walked along Mississippi Street, between Monroe and Meade, in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood, we came upon a wayward dove (correct my identification if mistaken). It made no attempt to fly off as Annie passed, so I stopped and pulled around Leica Q2.

As the shutter clicked for the first of two shots, I realized that while the electronic viewfinder presented a green outlined box indicating focus the bird was blurry. Ditto for the second (half-press), so with the dove staying still, I turned the camera’s manual focus ring and produced the Featured Image (do click the link see this one bigger).

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A Tree’s Reprieve

The majestic palm infested with South American Palm Weevils did not come down today as planned. Tree cutters arrived around 7 a.m. PDT—four vehicles, which included lift and shredder. But the workers met an obstacle—a lone car curbed below the palm and smack beneath the sign warning: “No Parking, Tree Removal, 7-19-21, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.” Two hours later, with no one come to move the auto and tow-truck unavailable, the frustrated tree-cutter chief abandoned the project for another. He told me that his crew couldn’t return any sooner than Wednesday (July 21), because of other commitments.

When departing, he removed the signs, which is why you don’t see any in the Featured Image taken at 11:10 a.m., using iPhone XS. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 25, 1/2257 sec, 26mm (film equivalent). When I returned from a walk, about 12:30 p.m., someone had placed new “No Parking” signs for the 22nd.

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A Beloved Tree’s Last Day

One of our apartment’s main benefits: Abundance of urban wildlife visible from expansive windows. Directly across the street from my home office is a magnificent palm tree that is the block’s primary animal habitat. Dozens of birds, of various ilks, fly up into crevices throughout daylight hours all year long. Remember: San Diego is a climate of three Summer seasons: Early, Mid, and Late. Squirrels scurry up the trunk, chasing one another. Who knows what else lives there? Tomorrow, the city plans to remove the tree. I understand the reason but hate it.

According to University California San Diego, invasive, deadly South American Palm Weevils were “first detected in March 2016″—that’s locally. But agricultural experts identified the beetles’ encroachment along the Mexican border five years earlier. The insects essentially infest the heart of the palm crown, destroying it. The bad news from arborists Coastal Tree Care: “When left undetected, this damage is irreversible and will leave you with no choice but to remove your palm trees”. Judging from the topless trees I see in some of the canyons, and the speed with which the weevils appear to spread, infected trees must be destroyed as soon as they show symptoms. A month ago, the palm across the street looked normally healthy. No longer.

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Seagull Shopper

My wife and I drove down to Westfield Mission Valley today to take advantage of an expiring coupon: One free pastry from Panera. She chose the Kitchen Sink Cookie—so large two hands are required to hold it. Walking, while she consumed, we encountered a seagull so squawky that it more or less honked like a goose. The thing prattled about looking for food, presumably, making no attempt to fly off as shoppers passed by. I wondered if he might be wing-injured. Annie wanted to share some cookie but rightly worried that the one sweet thing wouldn’t be good food for the other sweet thing. Yeah, we found the bird endearing as it weaved about shoppers.

I brought Leica Q2 Monochrom to the mall and used the camera to capture the Featured Image. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/320 sec, 28mm; 2:32 p.m. PDT. We briefly continued, then I stopped and asked Annie if she minded my going back for more photos. Happily munching, she motioned me on. As I approached, a couple with a stroller stopped to gawk at the bird, seemingly unaware that they had cornered the thing between a store’s window and sidewalk sign. The gull’s only escape route was inside the shop, and that is where it briefly fled.

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Pumpkin Patch

Remember the neighbor’s house with the towering sunflower? Their luscious garden spills onto the sidewalk. Looks at the pumpkins! I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image on  July 13, 2021. Vitals, aperture manually […]

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Cactus Blooms

I don’t recall where in University Heights—along Campus, perhaps—is this prickly bouquet. The Featured Image, and only shot taken, comes from Leica Q2 on June 28, 2021. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/1000 […]

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The Cats of University Heights: Honcho

When first approaching this kitty, I thought he might be Ginger, who was profiled in the series three years ago. Both appeared along Louisiana Street on either side of Meade—towards El Cajon for the newcomer and closer to Monroe for the other. While the faces bear some similarity, fur markings and tails differ enough for separate identification.

The feline walked uncharacteristically slow—sign of older age—but with sure-footed commanding charisma and presence. That’s why I chose nickname Honcho. I used iPhone XS to capture the Featured Image, today, at 10:57 a.m. PDT. After he swaggered past, Honcho ducked between a hedge and cottage exterior wall. I returned just after six this evening, when many cats would be out and about as sunset approached. He surprised by being still huddled up in the same safe spot. I wouldn’t have seen him if not knowing to look.

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Return to Sender

I couldn’t expect this. The Postal Convenience Center, located at the corner of El Cajon and Louisiana in San Diego’s University Heights district, is closed—looks like forever. I made the discovery when out for a leisurely walk this afternoon. Signs posted in the windows state: “We Have Moved” and directs customers to 4075 Park Blvd, where their mail will be forwarded. The location is a UPS Store.

A second-hand source says this: The proprietors learned last month that the block of properties has new owners, who will redevelop it. Efforts to continue operations of a business reportedly opened in 1987 ran aground; I don’t know specifics but can guess costs of relocation and starting over on short notice. Postal Convenience Center served locals—many of them likely lost in any lengthy restart. The establishment hasn’t moved, if I am rightly informed. It’s gone for good.