Tag: street photography

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Sign of Our Pandemic Times

The Featured Image is rather ho-hum by itself but is something much more when given context. Plural perhaps is better: contexts. First: The window is adjacent to another, presumably in the same apartment, where I saw Kip, who was profiled in my “Cats of University Heights” series just after the new year. I have seen the kitty several time since and have come to look for him (or her), which is how the fashioned-sign caught my attention.

Second: California, like the majority of US states, is locked down. Most businesses and all schools are closed. Citizens are ordered to stay at home and “shelter in place“. Keeping people apart is a desperate attempt to slow spread (e.g. “flatten the curve“) of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19. That lone—or better stated lonely—”Hi” reaches out from isolation to the few wanderers traversing the seemingly post-apocalyptic street below. Some residents still walk their dogs or go out for fresh air or to exercise.

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The Cats of University Heights: Pebbles

I sometimes wonder if assigning a number would be best when an animal’s real name is unknown. Cat 1, or 12, or 149. My made-up choice won’t be right and might even offend the beastie’s owner should he or she see the profile. Setting, or perceived character, often determines my choice, which in this instance is Pebbles. I suppose Woody would work, too. Chipper and Rocky already have been used—moniker and real, respectively—and Stone or Stoner seem inappropriate.

While my wife and I walked up Madison, on March 28, 2020, Pebbles appeared from behind some shrubs, strutting deliberately to a determined destination. We were midway between Cleveland and Maryland on the opposite side of the street; I crossed in time to snag three quick snaps using iPhone XS. Turns out the tabby had some, ah, business to do in the wood chips. I stopped shooting soon as that activity became apparent.

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I Wonder Which Will Flatten First: Us or the Curve?

Today, the global number of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2), also known as COVID-19, infections topped 1 million and 50,000 deaths. As I write, based on data collated by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University: 1,015,709 confirmed cases; 211,615 recovered; 53,069 dead.

One month ago, there were eight reported Novel Coronavirus cases in the United States. This moment, according to John Hopkins: 245,213. The dramatic rise is part increased testing, part exponential community spread of the virus. This USA Today headline, regarding April 1, makes the point better than I could: “More than 1,000 in US die in a single day from Coronavirus, doubling the worst daily death toll of the flu”. That number doesn’t include collateral casualties—people who, being treated for something else, might otherwise have lived if not for overwhelmed hospitals in hot zones like New York.

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The Cats of University Heights: Tang

Walking outdoors is challenging, with so many businesses shut down, and, as such, a large number of San Diegians trying to “shelter in place” but, understandably, going out with their dogs or to grab some fresh air/exercise. The other order for the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2), also known as COVID-19, pandemic: “social distancing“, which for the Wilcox family means mostly walking in alleys behind streets, where fewer people go and making space from them is much easier than would be along cramped sidewalks—or even stepping into bike lanes.

Unsurprisingly, I am discovering a fresh batch of indoor kitties looking out onto the alleys. That brings us to the third consecutive feline that is behind window or door and was seen along/behind Alabama Street—sixtieth and forty-ninth, respectively, for the series to date. On March 22, 2020, I spotted the cat on the stretch between Madison and Mission.

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The Cats of University Heights: Mustachio

The Alabama (number forty-eighth) and behind window or door (fifty-ninth) kitty run continues with the second of three—and maybe four. This handsome second-floor looker earns nickname Mustachio, for what should be obvious reason. While first-in-the-set Mercy looked out onto Alabama, this beastie has a view of the alley from an apartment building on the street.

On March 3, 2020, I spotted Mustachio watching workmen renovate a building on the other side of the alley and facing Mississippi. I used iPhone XS to capture the Featured Image at 11:24 a.m. PST. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/781 sec, 52mm (film equivalent).

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Flickr a Week 13: ‘La Rambla Ice Cream’

Stop if you are easily tempted by icy, smooth, sugary sweets. Close your eyes! Rick Schwartz captured self-titled “La Rambla Ice Cream” on Oct.27, 2018. Is your mouth watering yet?

Rick, who chimes “Through images, I see”, made the moment using Sony α7R III and FE 85mm F1.8 lens. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 1250, 1/500 sec, 85mm. The portrait takes the week for bokeh, character, color, and composition.

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The Cats of University Heights: Mercy

Our fifty-eighth kitty looking out window (or door) also is the forty-seventh seen on Alabama—and first in a series of three (or four) from the street; all of them behind glass (or screen), too.

I used iPhone XS to capture the Featured Image, on March 19, 2020, between Adams and Madison. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/1083 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 11:20 a.m. PDT. The nickname comes from my reaction to seeing the Tuxedo peering out from behind a closed window with bars. “Have mercy, and pardon this poor prisoner!”

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Flickr a Week 12a: ‘The Starting Grid’

Vroom, the race is on, in self-titled “The Starting Grid“, which Dennis Freeland captured on July 13, 2016, using Olympus OM-D E-M10. Vitals (incomplete): ISO 1250, 1/1600 sec. “If my time comes for a scooter, I will have a camera built in”, he chimes. Sentiment I share, if, and hopefully never.

The street shot is a no-brainer choice for our Sunday spot. This is a moment that could only work in black and white; colors would distract from the three gents. I got to ask about the last: Why is he considerably younger? His presence gives more sense of a race than would a trio of geezers riding about. Why does the lead rider look so miserable? The answer to these and other questions is the kind of storytelling that this series seeks to spotlight with each and every selection.

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The Cats of University Heights: Digger

My wife and I continue to take guarded walks, mostly along neighborhood alleys, as we attempt to practice so-called “social distancing” behavior whenever taking relief from our otherwise apartment lockdown. Actually, Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered all 40-million Californians to “stay at home“—a desperate strategy to slow spread of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2), better known as COVID-19. Today, as we crossed Mission Ave., I spotted a black shorthair digging into a lawn. Hence, the nickname.

The home is next door to the place where lives Luna. Presumably, Digger is a relatively new resident—as the property where she foraged sold last year. Annie and I had a look during an Open House—not that we had interest in buying beyond our means, which describes, or perhaps described, most every property in San Diego (before contagion-containing tactics devastated the U.S. economy, among other nations).

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Something Stinks Here

There are the photo opportunities that you frustratingly miss, those you purposely pass on, and the ones you use for illustration—even when they’re make-do. That’s the context for our Featured Image, shot today using iPhone XS. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 69, 1/1689 sec, 26mm (film equivalent); 10:05 a.m. PDT. Now comes some explanation.

In response to the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19pandemic, federal and state officials have issued orders for citizens to “shelter in place“. Most businesses considered to be non-essential are closed; schools are, too. Staying home is fine most of the time, but some healthy outdoor activity is nevertheless necessary for the Wilcox family’s well-being. Turns out that walks are considered to be safe enough—and my wife and I continue to take them, mindful to try and keep the recommended six feet away from passersby (mostly dog walkers). At 8:50 a.m. PDT, we met someone, or I should say something, that we surely wanted to keep distance from: A skunk scurrying down the Meade Ave. sidewalk approaching us.

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The Cats of University Heights: Shelter

A week ago, the World Health Organization (finally) declared SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19—a pandemic. Next Day, President Trump declared a national emergency. Here in California, most bars, eateries, K-12 schools, shops, and universities are indefinitely closed, while residents are ordered to stay home—a tactic meant to “flatten the curve” of the contagion’s spread. Reasoning: If people avoid one another (so-called “social distancing”), fewer folks will be sick at once. Otherwise, with a nearly 20-percent medical intervention rate, Novel Coronavirus would, or likely still will, overwhelm hospitals. In San Diego, for example, there are not enough beds for the expected number of people desperately in need of invasive care.

Walks are considered safe enough, and my wife and I continue them. If you must “shelter in place“, ocean breezes and sunshine are Southern California comforts that invigorate mental and physical well-being. We might as well take advantage of what the cost of living pays for—while we still can (gulp, considering the economic pandemic also underway). As long as we can still get out, I’ll be on the lookout for fresh felines to add to this series. Hence: The fifty-seventh window watcher, which I saw on March 14, 2020 along Campus between Meade and Monroe.