Tag: urban photography

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The Haunted Dollhouse

If this scene is to scale, you should be very concerned about the size of the spirits hanging around your place. The question: Are bigger ghosts merely more menacing or do they pose greater threat to the living?

I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image and companion on Oct. 16, 2021. Vitals for both, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/30 sec, 28mm; 2:56 p.m. PDT. Whoa, look at that shutter speed and no camera shake—although in this instance a little motion blur would add appropriate ambiance.

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Stuffed Buddies

I should have taken photos of these two plushies back when they had more color—before searing San Diego sun and two recent torrential rainstorms weathered them. The pair adorned this yard for months. Faded and ragged from the elements, they appear in black and white, which best presents them.

The Featured Image comes from Leica Q2 Monochrom on Oct. 15, 2021. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/640 sec, 28mm; 12:39 p.m. PDT. Coincidentally, porker Hamlet used to live in the same residence. After Hammy’s family moved away, new renters brought a dog and kitty nicknamed Breezy, who joined my “Cats of University Heights” series in March.

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Pumpkin Mountain

The iPhone 13 Pro camera system surprisingly satisfies—more than any other smartphone to bless my grubby fingers. I am loving the ultra-wide (13mm) and telephoto (77mm) lenses, along with RAW capture capabilities. Shots are sharper than I would ever expect from a device with relatively small sensor and which primary function is not photography.

All combined, the 13 Pro is creative fun—and that’s from my only surface skimming the sea of benefits. The Featured Image is example, with distortion from the ultra-wide lens adding character to an otherwise mundane scene. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/122 sec, 13mm; 1:01 p.m. PDT, yesterday.

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The Big ‘Little Library’

I cannot rightly express my surprise while walking along Campus Avenue close to cross-street Monroe on Oct. 5, 2021. In the distance, a decorated utility box beckoned attention. The things are all about University Heights, but all others are plain grey. Shape and overall size were right for what I expected to find, but something else waited: A “LittleFreeLibrary”.

The Featured Image gives some perspective of dimensions set against the Ford Super Duty truck for comparison. Vitals, aperture manually set for all: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/800 sec, 28mm; 12:59 p.m. PDT.

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The Better Sentiment

For more than a year, a handmade “Black Lives Matter” sign beckoned from the window where Shy typically sunned. My “Cats of University Heights” series profiled the kitty in February 2019. I don’t support the slogan, because BLM refers to an organization with political and social ambitions that are in many respects incongruous with righting the country’s perceived and real racial wrongs. What appears to be a grassroots group, particularly portrayed during 2020’s racial riots and protests, is something else.

Capital Research Center, which tracks non-profits, their organizational structures, and funding, provides insight in two-part exposé: “The Organizational Restructuring of Black Lives Matter: Movement for Black Lives” and “The Organizational Restructuring of Black Lives Matter: BLM Global Network Foundation“—both from April 29 of this year. Fueled by corporate and other donations following the death of George Floyd while in police custody, the organization raised $90 million last year.

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Cluck, Cluck

When my wife and I walk past the home of Daniel Tiger, we sometimes hear chickens—could be along the side of the building or perhaps the backyard. Today, we saw one of them pecking about the frontage. I pulled out iPhone 13 Pro for some fast shots—and, of course, the bird repeatedly turned back-to as I clicked the electronic shutter.

The Featured Image is one two usable head-in-view portraits. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/122 sec, 77mm; 9:46 a.m. PDT. The telephoto range of the third lens is a welcome change over earlier models’ 52mm. Before going out, in camera settings, I flipped the switch enabling Apple ProRAW, expecting that would be the format for today’s captures. Nope. Unbeknownst to me, the user must tap RAW on the touchscreen to truly turn on the feature. Frak.

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Where Lightning Strikes

Last night’s thunderstorms brought 524 “cloud-to-ground lightning” strikes throughout San Diego County for the “24 hours ending at 7 a.m. [PDT] today”, according to the National Weather Service. I saw evidence of one on Louisiana Street between Meade and Monroe, not far from where live Angelo and Huck—both of which were profiled in my “Cats of University Heights” series. According to the closest-living neighbor, the strike, which sent portion of a palm tree to blaze, occurred around 8 p.m. Not long later, fire crews extinguished the flames.

The Featured Image is the unbecoming first photo from iPhone 13 Pro, which arrived from Apple on Sept. 24, 2021. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 25, 1/2597 sec, 77mm; 10:24 a.m., today. Scaring and some charing is visible below the frond top. The device’s telephoto lens proved its worth.

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Bouncy Ball

I made two meaningless discoveries along Alabama Street between Madison and Mission, today: The hanging kiddie swing is gone; a child’s ball remains, but the bouncy wasn’t there yesterday. Earlier this month, toys disappeared from the front yard of the house where once lived black kitty Petri and his owner; last week a “For Rent” sign hung from the fence. So I strongly suspected that the family had moved on. Confirmed.

The ball lay on the grassy knoll between sidewalk and street before the property where once resided Giotto and where I more recently photographed Sundown. All three animals are profiled in my “Cats of University Heights” series.

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Patriotic Motif or Something Else?

During the same walk that I photographed Crepe Myrtle blossoms, on Aug. 25, 2021, a seemingly patriotic-painted utility box caught my attention at 54th and El Cajon Blvd. While I used iPhone XS to make several shots, a gentlemen coming down the sidewalk asked about my interest in the thing—surprised and maybe a bit amused. Easy explanation: Walking home from the dentist, I saw something interesting.

As I separated from him at brisk pace, because my wife waited for me several blocks farther along, he politely yelled: “Welcome to my neighborhood!” I turned back and thanked him with wave and smile. If only more people in San Diego were so friendly.

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You Can’t Call 911

This payphone is one of many things out of place along University Avenue in downtown Hillcrest. At my request, today, Annie dropped me in the San Diego neighborhood when she went out on an errand. I walked home, for a change in scenery. Eh, what a change.

As I stood at the stoplight, waiting to cross Sixth Avenue, something tumbled end over end over University and landed in the gutter across the way. Then a skinny, shirtless, suntanned dude strutted across the street—haughty and boisterous. He picked up what looked like a metal pipe or handle and began twirling it combat-style. I pushed the walk button to cross University rather than Sixth.