Tag: urban photography

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The Sun’s Sidewalk Art

On my 8-kilometer (5-mile) walk home from the dentist today, bike rack shadows seemed so perfectly placed for a quick photo using iPhone XS. Composed and presented as shot, the Featured Image comes from El Cajon Blvd near Aragon Drive in San Diego community College Area. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 25, 1/2833 sec, 26mm (film equivalent); 10:47 a.m. PST.

A few blocks beyond, I saw someone’s personal belongings being moved from a building to the sidewalk. I wondered if the individual(s) had been evicted, when approaching seeing two cop cars and several officers. Many homeless folks encamp in that area, too. What I observed and heard: A healthy-looking, bossy black woman closing on a white policeman and demanding: “Put me in the car and let’s go”. She sure didn’t have that worn, living-on-the-street appearance. The lady was clean, neat, and articulate.

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Before Meade’s Traffic Circles

I continue to review past photos of San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood for their personal, nostalgic value. Many were edited around the time captured—like the Featured Image, using Leica M10 and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens—but not published. Until now. Vitals, aperture unknown: ISO 100, 1/2000 sec, 50mm; 5:08 p.m. PDT, May 26, 2018.

The view is from cross-street Georgia; Florida is at the bottom of the hill. Beyond is Alabama, where currently there is a so-called “traffic calming measure” (e.g. circle), supporting the forthcoming regional bikeway. Mississippi follows, then Louisiana (where three years later there is another calming measure). At the stoplight is Texas, where across starts North Park, which name is rudely etched into the two circles on the UH side. That’s but one of the obstructions’ unintended consequences.

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The Halloween House

Continuing the walk down nostalgia lane, in my San Diego neighborhood, we go out of season—back before SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns tempered some holiday decorating. I used Leica Q to capture […]

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The Traffic Circle of Unintended Consequences

As summer began last year, I started seeing some strange change in driving behavior—where my neighbors slowed down and rolled through Stop signs rather than stopping their vehicles. Initially, I attributed the disrespectful and dangerous practice to SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. Many people weren’t working, or if doing so from their residence, and traffic was considerably lighter than usual.

But as San Diego reopened (before later closing again), the no-stopping continued and I recognized the real cause to be something else that is far more disturbing. The Stop-sign roll-throughs started not long after the city opened the first so-called traffic calming measure at Alabama and Meade in University Heights. Where once were Stop signs, the city has placed circles at four-ways where drivers now slow and yield. I first observed the slowing behavior at posted Stops along Meade at Campus and also Cleveland. Coincidence? I think not.

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Nature Shaves the Bearded Tree

Over the past year or so, I regret not having taken photos of trees that were unceremoniously and needlessly cut down. There is a relentless culling that makes no sense when Southern California society obsesses about Climate Change. Aren’t carbon-dioxide-breathers that exhale oxygen good for the health of the planet and everything living on it? Ah, yeah. So why mercilessly hack them to pieces?

Another tree in my San Diego neighborhood of University Heights is in peril of being chopped down—but unlike the others maybe for legitimate safety reasons. Few months ago, during heavy rains and winds, some of the dead fronds covering the trunk ripped away about fourth-tenths the distance to the top. Overnight and throughout this brisk Monday, winds raged 48-64 kilometers per hour (30-40 mph) with fairly consistent gusts to 97 kph (60 mph). The few fallen fronds are now many, exposing the trunk. When viewed a half-block or more away, the top portion of the tree leans from the section laid mostly bare.

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Flickr a Week 45a: ‘Welcome to Paradise’

Two years ago today, the Northern California town of Paradise largely burned to the ground during the raging Camp Fire, which destroyed in excess of 18,000 structures and displaced more than 26,000 people. Ninety-percent of the community’s residents have fled, and the majority won’t return anytime soon; if ever.

There are several documentaries about the disaster. Tonight, National Geographic will air my pick for best: Ron Howard film “Rebuilding Paradise“, which my wife and I rented and watched about four months ago. The doc tells the story of those who stayed.

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Delivery Door Art?

Surely you’ve come across something and wondered: “How long has that been there?” That is the question I asked on Oct. 6, 2020, while walking down the alley behind Kairoa Brewing Co., which is located along the main commercial area of San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood. The Featured Image is what I saw on the establishment’s rear door, where I presume supplies are unloaded. What does that image bring to your mind?

For me, the goats (or are they rams) immediately flash subliminal recollection, but not something precisely recalled. Looking at the beasts—bathed in blood red, so to speak, with their pointy horns—elicits creepy feeling that I have seen them before. In a horror movie perhaps—something like a “Constantine” or one of the three original “The Omen” films (1976, 1978, 1981). But somewhere. You do know that, biblically and mythologically, goats are associated with symbols of the devil?

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Flickr a Week 39: ‘Money and Run’

For this week, we revisit two photographers profiled in my 2015 series—and purely by coincidence. I deliberately don’t look back for good shooters but freshly search for noteworthy images; seems like cheating if I cull from the 365 entries from five years ago. However, before using anything new that tickles my eyes (and hopefully yours), I search my site to make sure there is no accidental duplication; that’s when I occasionally discover some shooter from five years ago.

We start with Raul Lieberwirth, whose “Glowing Mouth” was “Flickr a Day 208”. He returns with self-titled “Money and Run“, which he captured on July 28, 2012, using Canon EOS 5D Mark II and EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens. Vitals: f/18, ISO 100, 25 sec, 24mm.

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Flickr a Week 34: ‘Mel’s Drive-In’

For the previous 33 weeks, I wondered what photo from Thomas Hawk would make the series—something that was inevitable; more when than if. I figured that the time would come when I’d know the one, and self-titled “Mel’s Drive-In” is it. What a splendid shot by every meaningful measure, but same could be said of anything in his Photostream. Funny, though, the eatery is in Florida and not California, where Thomas lives, and was location for film “American Graffiti” that so prominently made Mel’s an essential element of the story.

He captured the moment on July 14, 2019, using Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM lens. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 2500, 1/400 sec, 24mm.

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Why Watermelon?

As I crossed the Vermont Street Bridge from San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood to Hillcrest today, something strange stopped my morning walk. Why was there cut-up watermelon? Was it left for someone—perhaps the homeless gent wrapped in a blanket, lying still, and (likely) sleeping on the sidewalk outside the structure’s entrance? Was it a flavorless, abandoned breakfast? The slices looked fairly fresh and no flies swarmed about. So free from wildlife and human attention, the makeshift meal could have been the final feast of the apocalypse.

Update, June 19, 2020: Call me clueless! This morning, I showed the photo to my wife, who scolded: “You do know that there’s a stereotype about black people eating watermelon?” That’s news to me. “I love watermelon, and I don’t understand why there’s some kind of negative stereotype about it”. She, and me, is hyper-aware, given three weeks of protests about racism in America.

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Flickr a Week 16: ‘Overwhelming Life’

We present another portrait that, like “Willing Prisoner“, was taken in one context but is appropriate for another. Duke Yeh captured self-titled “Overwhelming Life” on Jan. 29, 2018, using Fujifilm X100F. About the photo, he says: “Whispering under his breath, I couldn’t capture what the gentleman was saying. But surely his posture says it all”.

The subject’s “life complexity at a glance” sadly suits the current global crisis, where the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19pandemic has shattered economies, driven a wedge between people (“social distancing” and “shelter-in-place” orders), isolated entire nations (government-imposed quarantines), and turned cities into scenes from post-apocalyptic movies. Then there are the millions infected, ill, or deceased.