Tag: San Diego

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A Day at the (Pacific) Beach

My wife and I hauled off to the closest tourist beach earlier today; one of her favorite bead stores had advertised a sale. While she shopped, I walked down the Pacific Beach boardwalk. At 11:11 a.m. PDT, I came upon a blonde, back turned, tapping on a smartphone. Her shapely thighs, wavy hair, and posture beckoned for a spontaneous, stealth shot (no face). I grabbed the Fujifilm X100F, right-shoulder slung on the ONA Lima strap, and framed the moment—when she shifted position and turned to face me just as I clicked the shutter. Did she psychically feel the camera?

The close-cropped “Accidental Portrait” is the result. That’s the PB pier off to the right, BTW. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/11, ISO 200, +0.33 ev, 1/250 sec, 23mm. All color photos in this post were purposely shot with Classic Chrome film simulation but accidentally with the positive value exposure compensation. 

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Knick-Knacks Paddywack

My mom was in the hospital earlier this week—and not for the first time in recent months. On March 29, 2017, I walked about the neighborhood while chatting with her on iPhone 7 Plus; left hand to left ear. Over my right shoulder, from the ONA Lima strap hung the Fujifilm X100F, which I am loving for its convenience, easy-carrying, and one-handed operation.

While ambling up a steep street, I spotted a cute arrangement of child collectibles nestled under a tree. Without interrupting the conversation, I pulled off the lens cap, spun the aperture ring from f/11 to Auto, turned on the camera, and clicked the shutter with my right hand—crouching down for better perspective as I looked through the optical viewfinder. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Riley

About 18 hours ago, my wife and I walked to the mailbox on Park Blvd., then down from Monroe towards Meade. A few doors before the pie shop on the corner, Annie spotted an orange-and-white furball in an apartment courtyard. There we met Riley and owner Kim, who occasionally takes him out for supervised romps. He is a San Diego shelter cat, who was an estimated four years-old when she adopted him nine years ago. He wasn’t neutered beforehand, and Kim remarked on the animal’s street-savvy ways and rippling muscles. Accustomed to foraging, Riley would burrow into garbage bags scrounging for food if left unattended. Every once and awhile, the old habit returns.

I shot 14 pics of the male marauder, choosing Featured Image in part for the unexpected companion—calico Woo, who I hadn’t seen in the courtyard for nearly six months. This capture comes from the apartment complex’s back area—somewhere I wouldn’t otherwise go if not invited by a resident. You see a crop from the Fujifilm X100F, set to Classic Chrome film simulation. Vitals: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/250 sec, 23mm; 12:23 p.m. PDT. 

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Flamingos, Giraffes, and Koala Bears

Today, the Wilcox couple visited San Diego Zoo for the first time in nearly 10 years living in Southern California, after signing up for a year’s membership. Annie had been to the animal habitat once before, in 1987, with her dad.

His passing, two months ago, is mixed blessing. We have time to be tourists, and in ways we wouldn’t have chanced previously. One, or both, of us stayed close by—particularly during the last 18 months of Bob’s life. We relocated from the Washington, DC area in October 2007 to enable him to live independently in his own apartment. Needs grew more demanding during the last two years, as his energy and mobility, but not mental acuity, diminished. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Veruca

Last night, a calico that I had been looking for since Oct. 29, 2016 finally appeared—about the same time of day and different location on her owner’s porch. I shot the Featured Image at 6:52 p.m. PDT; 10 minutes before sunset. The portrait is straight from the Fujifilm X100F; no post-processing (and big file at 13MB). Vitals, with Velvia film simulation: f/2, ISO 200, 1/90 sec, 23mm.

I met the couple who owns “Veruca”—or “Rukie”; the name will mean something to anyone who is familiar with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. She is five years old and not a big eater, despite from some vantage points appearing to be overstuffed. One of the caretakers calls her voluptuous.

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The Cats of University Heights: Ash

Yes, you are experiencing déjà vu. We have been to this yard before—three times in six days. The furballs are resident pets of the “Wildlife Habitat”, as an official sign states. They must have a time-sharing arrangement, as cats are quite territorial. While walking to The Hub, my wife and I spotted Ash (his real name) around 1:20 p.m. PDT today. I observed the other two, Sebastian and Booger, in mid-morning and late-afternoon, respectively, on different days. The Maine Coon is about two years old and vision-impaired.

I captured the moment using Fujifilm X100F, with Velvia film simulation. Both pics are crops—the Featured Image 100 percent. That one is Anne’s preferred composition, and the other (below the fold) is mine. In both, the framing attempts to use the stones to lead the eye to the kitty. I shot the first photos with aperture manually set to f/8; they didn’t make the cut because Ash was turned away nibbling a plant. The keepers are auto-everything—and meant to see how well the camera handles contrasting light (in the yard) and shadows (where is the cat). Except for slight straightening and the aforementioned cropping, the two portraits are not tweaked for light or color, beyond what the camera does. 

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Caturday Centered

Time comes to revisit a couple of furballs from my “Cats of University Heights” series: BiscuitFrenemy, and Slumber. As an unabashed amateur photographer, I tend to avoid putting the capture’s subject in the centerfield. But sometimes, there is no other choice or such placement pleases the eye—so I believe (gulp) about these two portraits. Both animals live on different blocks along Maryland Ave.

The Featured Image gives better view of the black cat who is Morla the tortoise’s front-yard companion. The fence leads the eye down to the feline, which offset dinosaur adds character to the yard. The JPEG is straightened but otherwise as shot today using the Fujifilm X100F, with Velvia film simulation applied in camera. Vitals: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/420 sec, 23mm; 9:38 a.m. PDT. 

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Sign of the Times

Two weeks ago, while walking around Hillcrest, my wife and I briefly stopped by the local, massive, used bookstore. To my surprise, the place was three-quarters emptied and going out of business. Yikes! I hadn’t shopped there for nearly a year, when purchasing a paperback for myself later given to my father-in-law. While 5th Avenue Books is gone, online counterpart Schrader’s Books will continue selling used titles through Amazon. As someone who almost exclusively reads ebooks, I occasionally—but, honestly, rarely—shopped out-of-prints not available in digital format, almost always finding the sought-after read.

That last purchase: The Past Through Tomorrow by Robert A. Heinlein, an old-time favorite selling for three bucks. When I first bought the anthology in high school, it came as a set with two other titles: Stranger in a Strange Land and Time Enough for Love. During the last year of my father-in-law’s life, reading became his main recreation. I donated the Heinlein title to that cause. Following the 95 year-old’s death nine weeks ago, I reclaimed the book to read and as remembrance. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Booger

Late yesterday afternoon, as I walked home from Trader Joe’s, I sighted a short-haired tabby in the same yard where Sebastian slept on the Ides of March. The cat came up a side alley, and I worried he might skitter away. So I got off a quick shot, forgetting that the Fujifilm X100F was set to Acros film simulation. I desperately changed to Velvia and auto-everything. Problem: The sun shone sharply over the animal to the camera. Rays are visible in the first shots. The cropped Featured Image is better-balanced from my getting down lower to the sidewalk, my using the left hand as make-shift hood, and the kitty moving to where the house blocked glare.

Vitals for the color pic: f/3.6, ISO 200, 1/125 sec, 23mm. Black and white (which is below the fold): f/5, ISO 200, 1/125 sec, 23mm. The sun situation actually adds character to the B&W photo. If not for the plastic containers, the portrait could be from days gone-by. Time taken: 5:37 p.m. PDT and a minute later for the color capture.

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The Cats of University Heights: Spot

For several days in May 2014, a daring but skittish kitty skirted around my father-in-law’s apartment complex on Campus near Madison. I never managed to capture his image—he always ran from me. But the furball tolerated my wife, who snagged several photos, from which comes the first in this series snapped by someone other than me.

I cropped a vertical shot to make the Featured Image. Look for the original below the fold. Annie captured the moment on the 9th of the month at 6:21 p.m. PDT, using the HTC One M8 smartphone. Vitals: f/2, ISO 125, 1/302 sec, 3.82mm. I shot Farfisa, who also appears in this series, with the M8 as well, but in April 2014. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Sebastian

This morning, my wife and I jaunted down Maryland Ave., on our way to The Hub for groceries. Nearly to the Washington Street bridge, in a yard with “Wildlife Habitat” sign, and lush foliage, Anne spotted a furball belly up. I shot several back-to portraits, using the Fujifilm X100F. When we returned, the feline had flipped around my way.

The Featured Image is Annie’s preferred crop. The other, below the fold is mine. Vitals on the first: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/450 sec, 23mm. The other: f/8, ISO  200, 1/280 sec, 23mm. Time on both: 10:38 a.m. PDT, using Velvia film simulation.