Tag: urban photography

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The Unhappy Meal

Before June 17, 2022, I hadn’t been inside a McDonald’s since before SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, on March 11, 2020. My daughter needed a ride, and on on the way back to her residence she asked for fast food. I grumbled and pulled into McD’s.

Whoa, what happened to prices? The current $5.99 for a Quarter Pounder is about a buck less when I last bought a combo meal, which is now $10.49 for a burger, fries, and drink.

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The Pusher and the Biker

Four days ago, I came across Chris Gampat‘s The Phoblographer commentary “Manual Mode Is Overrated: A Popular, Unpopular Opinion“. Conceding that I am amateur at best, my tendency is to shoot semi-automatic by presetting aperture and fiddling with other settings only when necessity arises.

Chris tramps through several examples of missed opportunities. From the lede paragraph: “You raise the camera to shoot, very sure that you’ve got the decisive moment. But when you chimp the LCD screen, you notice the screen is pure white. Because you were in manual mode, your camera couldn’t adapt and you lost the moment. Had the camera been constantly adjusting the exposure itself, you would’ve probably captured the moment”. Okay, I might have some experience with that.

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Teachable Murals

If there were alternate realities, in another my wife and I would have purchased what we call the Schoolhouse nearly five years ago. Location, nearby Alice Birney Elementary, was one of the appealing attributes—that and misguided speculation San Diego would never allow any type of overdevelopment nearby the kids.

A block-long, multi-residence high-rise is under construction across from the school and SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 restrictions kept away students for more than a year. Both are ambience-killers. We’re better off with the decision made in this reality.

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A Good Reason to Work From Home

At one of the pricer area filling stations, located where Fourth and Washington meet in San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood, the price of gasoline approaches mountaineering heights. Grab your gear and head for the summit of cash required to fill the tank. For context, rounding to the nearest buck, customers paid $6.60 per gallon on May 27, 2022 and $4.94 on Oct. 15, 2021 at this location.

On the same day as the Featured Image, June 8, 2022, at my University Heights-located Valero, I filled up a half-tank for 30 bucks at $6.09 a gallon around Noon. Lady driving an Acura in the queue before my car paid $69 and some change. When I drove past a few hours later, posted price had jumped to $6.16.

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The Cats of University Heights: Fabby

The ninety-second feline found behind door or window made an unexpected, and singular, appearance along the alley between Florida and Alabama, which makes the putty the eighty-ninth from the latter of the two streets to appear in the series. Perhaps I will see her again, but so far not since April 30, 2022.

I shot portraits using iPhone Pro 13 and Leica Q2, but the handset’s telephoto lens produced the better (e.g. larger-size subject) Featured Image. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 32, 1/602 sec, 77mm; 9:58 a.m. PDT.

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The Shredded Republic

For this Memorial Day we present a solemn sentiment reflecting the tattered state of the Republic, which is shorn to pieces by cultural and political strife. At no time since my first eligible-to-vote Presidential election have I seen such fractious and contentious state of the electorate or the representatives in Washington, D.C.

Worst of all is my profession. The Fourth Estate has abandoned its duty to protect the public interest. Subjective reporting and editorialization define modern journalism. The Fifth Estate, which includes new media and online informational utilities (e.g., Facebook, Google, Twitter, and the like), is worse because of rampant censorship. Patronizing tactics choose for you, because presumably you’re not smart enough to sift fact from fiction. I would mind less if professional news gatherers reported responsibly more.

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The More You Pay, The More You Will Pay

Funny the things you long for. On Oct. 15, 2021, I shared a photo showing the cost of gasoline as $4.94 a gallon (rounded up) at the Fourth and University Shell station in Hillcrest. Fast forward to today and you pay $6.60 per gallon (again, rounded up). That $1.66 more than the old price—high for the time—seems oh-so affordable now. By the way, cost is 33 percent more than before.

Several large hospitals surround the station, and I got to ask: Is this why medical services—like ambulance—cost so much in San Diego? Yeah, the question is facetious. That said, unless the arm is severed and shooting blood, wrap a tourniquet and drive yourself to Emergency—and hope none of the doctors and nurses treating you filled up at this Shell. Somebody has to pay, and that could be you. Yuck. Yuck.

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Where Have All The Flowers Gone?

Last week, my wife and I drove out to La Mesa, Calif. to reminiscently walk around Grossmont Center, hoping to beat planned changes that could close many of the stores. Eleven months ago, Federal Realty Investment Trust announced acquiring controlling interest in the outdoor shopping mall from San Diego’s Cushman family. But the new owner won’t become sole proprietor for another three years, which will present a “unique opportunity providing an unencumbered ‘blank canvas’ for redevelopment”.

To my relief, most of the long-time tenants remain, even Barnes and Noble—a marvel of retail survival in the era of Amazon electronic and print book online sales dominance. But missing is what I photographically looked for: Flower beds down the center way separating stores. I clearly remember them, if nowhere else, near the Walmart.

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Better Bee Reading

Outside the “1917 House“, where also is the little homes collection, my wife and I came upon something new: cute book-sharing repository. Unlike others around our neighborhood of University Heights, this one doesn’t bear a LittleFreeLibrary label. I’m good what that distinction. This thing is fresh and oh-so Spring. Correction: Early Summer, in San Diego. (The other two seasons are Mid Summer and Late Summer. I know, I know, you don’t have to say it.)

During post-production, I recomposed the Featured Image to give more space to the honeysuckle, which sweet succumbing scent is such a relief from toxic construction dust and stink weed smoke (the latter disgusts my nostrils). Aroma and ambience make Birds, Bees, and Books an appealing pitstop. But do watch out for the stinging insects buzzing by searching for nectar.

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Chopped Before Its Time

While walking West on Monroe Avenue, in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood, my wife and I could hear tree cutting as we approached cross-street Georgia. Sure enough, to our left, going towards Mission, a work crew cut and carted two palms. We had to investigate.

As you can see from the Featured Image and companions, all captured using Leica Q2, an extremely healthy-looking palm top is lifted and dumped. I wondered why and what was chopped. Annie and I walk down this street somewhat regularly, not recalling any recent road signs or other indications that the city would destroy more trees.

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Bitter Blue

Earlier today, I came upon a notice warning that my hosting software is using an outdated, meaning unsupported, PHP version. Updating fatally crashed the site—so severely that I couldn’t access via tried-and-true Recovery Mode. Hours later, after reverting versions, the site came back to life. A single plugin presumably toasted everything. With the offender disabled, I will try the newer PHP once again.

But first, I had better fulfill my daily posting goal, which is how we come to the simple Featured Image, which I captured using Leica Q2 on May 13, 2022. I stopped for no particular reason before the flowers, along a sidewalk somewhere near where San Diego neighborhoods North Park and University Heights meet.

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‘Free! To Good Homes!’

Somewhere in my San Diego neighborhood, I passed by these giveaways that aren’t for just anyone. Read the sign. Does your residence rise to the high bar set by “Good Homes” with an exclamation? I couldn’t take anything being among the many unworthy.

There are the makings of a good home, singular, for someone starting out in a first rental, particularly a studio. That’s who would be most worthy recipient. What first furnishings: Sofa, storage rack, pillows, VHS player, cleaning supplies, and more.