Our July entries end with the first of three consecutive photos found using the same search term as the self-title: “The Spectator“, which German-based Marco Nürnberger captured on Feb. 17, 2017, using Nikon D7100 and […]
This morning, my wife and I scampered down an alley behind North Ave., between Madison and Monroe, to look at new construction—a rapidly rising multi-unit building that replaces what was once a charming house with lovely yards front and back; before bulldozers leveled the lot.To our delight, further along, we discovered a suburban-style lettuce patch that someone is growing in a carport. How clever!
Like the Urban Pumpkin, the leafy plantation joins an explosion of garden projects throughout San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood. This summer’s sowings are unlike anything that I have seen in nearly 13 years living here. Could it be that people stuck at home because of the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19—pandemic are using the time to garden? Perhaps some people (rightly) worry about supply-chain disruptions and food shortages savaging the country later in the year. Whatever the reason(s), inventive green thumbs are hard at work growing crops in unexpected places.
My wife and I walk around our neighborhood and go to the grocery store but not much elsewhere. That’s the state of our lives, and that of many other Californians, since Governor Gavin Newsom essentially closed down the state on March 19, 2020. Subsequently, “shelter-in-place” and social distancing orders worked, or seemed to, and spread of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19—subsided. In June, California started to earnestly reopen, with restrictions placed to prevent resurgence.
But the pandemic savagely surged, shifting from older citizens to younger ones: People under the age of 40 account for about half of all new confirmed cases. One week ago, Newsom ordered partial reclosing, while Los Angeles and San Diego school districts jointly announced that kids would not return to classes as planned; for the foreseeable future, they will be instructed over the Internet.
Day 217 of my 2015 series went to Pedro Ribeiro Simões for “Finally The Expected Photographer Arrived“. He returns with self-titled “Talking“, captured on August 15 of that year using Leica M9. Half-decade later, actively posting to Flickr, which he joined in June 2005, Pedro still shoots with the same rangefinder. Vitals: ISO 640, 1/180 sec, 50mm. Pedro’s moment is the Saint Clair garden, Lisbon, Portugal—the city and country where the economist resides.
The street shot takes the Sunday spot for punchy contrast, vivid colors, and what it represents in 2020: The past. Mask-wearing and “social distancing” drastically change how citizens interact in public. Imagine, for example, six-feet separating each person seated. We won’t see scenes like this one for some time.
Yesterday, which was when I captured the Featured Image, Los Angeles and San Diego school districts announced that students would not return to classrooms next month as previously planned. Kids will study online instead, as they had been since late March when Governor Gavin Newsom essentially closed California in response to the so-called pandemic. Also yesterday, he issued new orders that start a second statewide shutdown. Most indoor activities are prohibited; no more church services, shopping mall extravaganzas, zoo visits, gym exercising, barber haircutting, restaurant eating, or bar hoping—among many other activities and the business operations providing them.
There is nothing like the art of understatement. From the LA-SD joint statement: “This announcement represents a significant disappointment for the many thousands of teachers, administrators, and support staff, who were looking forward to welcoming students back in August. It is obviously an even greater disappointment to the many parents who are anxious for their students to resume their education. Most of all, this decision will impact our students in ways that researchers will take years to understand”.
Humans aren’t alone emerging from the the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19—pandemic lockdown. After a kind of drought, I suddenly see more kitties—three of them yesterday morning, all along Mississippi between Howard and Lincoln: This fine Tuxedo, another, and a ginger. But I failed to get portraits of the others, seen on another block; if lucky, perhaps we’ll meet again sometime soon.
This fine feline earns nickname Foxtrot, in part for how he (or she) foot-stepped its approach to me and my wife. I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 8:55 a.m. PDT.
Today, while walking with my wife along Meade Avenue in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood, I was reminded about the food giveaway still going on at Garfield Elementary. Four full cartoons of skim milk littered the sidewalk and, later, a twist-tied bag containing unopened cereal and other sugary breakfast eats that would appeal to children.
In mid-March, California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the closure of most businesses and all schools. While the state is now reopening and adults return to work, kids remain home—many with parents who are still furloughed or fired. San Diego County’s unemployment rate is a staggering 15 percent, up from about 3.5 percent before the lockdown precipitated by the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19—pandemic. Select schools offer free food to needy families, and they are many.
The entry previously planned for today is now queued for mid-July, which reveals just how far in advance posts are prepared. I made the change around 9 p.m. PDT last evening, to make place for a provocative and timely street portrait by Miki Jourdan. Reason: Protests, riots, looting, and property destruction are underway in major metropolitans across the United States; Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, and Washington, DC are among them. City-wide curfew is underway in LA, as I write, while Minnesota’s governor has mobilized the National Guard to the Twin Cities.
The incendiary that set the country ablaze was the death of George Floyd, an African-American man arrested six days ago for allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 bill and who died in police custody, while Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin placed his knee on the victim’s neck. The tinder is much more than racial tension; many millions of Americans already are frustrated by “stay-at-home” and “social distancing” orders; closing of most businesses and all schools; cancellation of many summer events; and sudden, explosive unemployment—sacrifices meant to slow spread of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19. What had been economic and viral pandemics adds another: violence.
I rarely have reason to go to the local US Post Office—even less so during a pandemic—but there was need today and the weather was fine for walking. The journey made me wonder about the organization’s creed: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds”. Yes, but what about swift retrieval of outgoing mail?
As you can see from the Featured Image and its companion, the boxes outside the building were overstuffed—like they hadn’t been emptied for days. This at 3:52 p.m. PDT, when I clickity-clicked Leica Q2, and nearly an hour after the most recent scheduled emptying. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 28mm. The other is same except for 1/160 sec. I prefer the second shot, which deliberately crops out the bird poop. But its inclusion, in the first, adds ambience of neglect.
The so-called “traffic calming measures” along Meade Ave. at Alabama and Louisiana are nearly complete. I will be sorry to see the “road closed” signs come down—and I won’t be alone. California schools and many local businesses (still) are shut because of the COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2) pandemic. Semi-blocked Alabama—and to lesser degree Louisiana—is a makeshift cul-de-sac where kids bike, run about, and skateboard. Soon, the party’s over, following nearly six month’s construction.
As of this week, all 50 US states are partially to semi-completely reopened. Meanwhile, the Novel Coronavirus rages on. According to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, there are, as I write, nearly 5 million confirmed cases (4,996,472) in 188 countries and 328,115 reported deaths. Soon to be 100,000 of the dead are from the United States (93,439 currently).
Strange the things you see every day and ignore until the unexpected occurrence draws your attention. Last week, for reasons I won’t bother guessing, YouTube’s algorithm recommended video “I Bought An Airstream! Tiny Home Project” by vlogger Monica Church. Bored, I watched—and, admittedly, intrigued.
Yesterday, while walking along the alley behind Coronavirus-closed LeStat’s, I walked by the Airstream perennially parked there and took fresh notice. With the “shelter-in-place” orders still shuttering most businesses, but restrictions marginally lifting in California, the area was deserted—and I had been looking for something, anything, reasonable to photograph. Out came the Leica Q2.
Times are tough for small businesses that thrive on person-to-person contact, courtesy of stay-at-home orders closing commercial operations and schools. California Governor Gavin Newsom has outlined a four-stage reopening ramp-up to semi-normalcy. Nail salons are relegated to the third phase. Psychics, too, perhaps?
How unfortunate, because reliable fortune-telling should be in big-time demand during the pandemic. If I were this soothsayer, who should be able to see the way without my saying, Zoom would be the remote-conferencing choice rather than FaceTime. Gather together a family and offer a group discount, or employees from a (supposedly) temporarily closed business. They have questions, and you have answers!