Tag: urban photography

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Birds in a Tree (Hey, It’s Art!)

I rarely walk along Georgia Street between El Cajon and Meade but traipsed there today, hoping to see either Husky or Romper—both profiled in my “Cats of University Heights” series after separate sightings. Approaching El Cajon, I came upon the oddest thing: a metal mobile hanging from a tree alongside the outside wall of a commercial building. I wondered: Why here? Home decoration makes sense, but before a facade of bricks? How odd. That said, what’s more appropriate than birds in a tree?

Location presented excellent opportunity to capture mobile and The Boulevard sign in the background. The Featured Image, which is composed as shot, comes from Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/4, ISO 100, 1/640 sec, 28mm; 3:41 p.m. PDT. In post-production, I experimented with several different lighting scenarios—one that silhouettes tree and metallic birds—before choosing the one you see.

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The Palm Falls

My day started with resolve not to document destruction of the majestic palm infested with South American Palm Weevils—across the street from my home office window. But my wife and I watched the preparation stage, which was the city towing a pickup truck, baring Washington State plates, parked directly beneath the block’s major wildlife habitat.

Soon after, we heard the surprising sound of a chainsaw but could see no lift raised high so that a cutter could sever fronds from the palm’s crown. From a different window, Annie spotted someone working the base of the tree and a rope tied to the top. Then we realized: Rather than the more typical cut-from-the-top-down method, the men approached the project like lumberjacks would back home in Maine.

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Seagull Shopper

My wife and I drove down to Westfield Mission Valley today to take advantage of an expiring coupon: One free pastry from Panera. She chose the Kitchen Sink Cookie—so large two hands are required to hold it. Walking, while she consumed, we encountered a seagull so squawky that it more or less honked like a goose. The thing prattled about looking for food, presumably, making no attempt to fly off as shoppers passed by. I wondered if he might be wing-injured. Annie wanted to share some cookie but rightly worried that the one sweet thing wouldn’t be good food for the other sweet thing. Yeah, we found the bird endearing as it weaved about shoppers.

I brought Leica Q2 Monochrom to the mall and used the camera to capture the Featured Image. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/320 sec, 28mm; 2:32 p.m. PDT. We briefly continued, then I stopped and asked Annie if she minded my going back for more photos. Happily munching, she motioned me on. As I approached, a couple with a stroller stopped to gawk at the bird, seemingly unaware that they had cornered the thing between a store’s window and sidewalk sign. The gull’s only escape route was inside the shop, and that is where it briefly fled.

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Return to Sender

I couldn’t expect this. The Postal Convenience Center, located at the corner of El Cajon and Louisiana in San Diego’s University Heights district, is closed—looks like forever. I made the discovery when out for a leisurely walk this afternoon. Signs posted in the windows state: “We Have Moved” and directs customers to 4075 Park Blvd, where their mail will be forwarded. The location is a UPS Store.

A second-hand source says this: The proprietors learned last month that the block of properties has new owners, who will redevelop it. Efforts to continue operations of a business reportedly opened in 1987 ran aground; I don’t know specifics but can guess costs of relocation and starting over on short notice. Postal Convenience Center served locals—many of them likely lost in any lengthy restart. The establishment hasn’t moved, if I am rightly informed. It’s gone for good. 

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Grapes, Anyone?

Walking about my San Diego neighborhood, I see food growing everywhere—on personal property and in public places. Take your pick: Apples, avocados, grapefruits, lemons, lettuce, oranges, pomegranates, pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, and watermelons—to name a few. Yesterday’s grape sighting adds to the list, but with surprise. I frequently walk by the location, several times a week for at least 10 years. How could I possibly have missed seeing clusters during past growing seasons?

I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image—and companions that are presented to provide some locational context. Vitals for the first, aperture manually set for all: f/4, ISO 100, 1/400 sec, 28mm; 1:04 p.m. PDT, yesterday. You really want to click the link and zoom in.

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Fill `Er Up

Maybe you heard how high are gas prices in California compared to most other states. The Featured Image attests to the gouging that we experience at the pumps. In a nice twist, and keeping with the Cal progressive push for equity, all grades cost the same. Well, if you’ve got to pay more, all the same is a small, but not meaningless, consolation.

Alas, the equity price hike didn’t last long. Hours later, regular grade sold for $4.06 a gallon. Now there’s a tactic for making you feel good about the high cost of gasoline. Four bucks six cents seems so reasonable when you could pay $4.83 more. (Wink. Wink.)

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‘Not Politically Correct’

Yesterday, as my wife and I walked along the alley separating Louisiana and Mississippi, between Meade and Monroe, she stopped, then said: it’s “not politically correct”, referring to a framed poster that I hadn’t seen. People put out giveaways all the time, and art ranks low on my interest meter; hence my blind disregard for an object worth inspection. Not only is her statement accurate, it could explain why someone discarded the thing. With all the hubbub about systemic racism, the caricatures could offend someone. Perhaps raised awareness led the owner to let go the wall hanging. Click through to the Featured Image, and you tell me.

I used Leica Q2 to make the moment, choosing to leave the framed poster leaning as we found it, rather than repositioning for the shot. Composition intentionally reveals some of the alley, for context. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/4.5, ISO 100, 1/500 sec, 28mm; 9:29 a.m PDT.

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The Patriotic Palm

The menacing palm is suddenly sort of cheerful—and patriotic. He’s dressed as Uncle Sam for forthcoming Fourth of July; and early about it (I love the bowtie). But there’s still some ghastly about his face—and the outstretched arms are grabby. Considering that Sammy is a symbol representing the Federal Government, the decorative grimly tree is something of an appropriate metaphor for gruesome, grubby Washington, D.C. bureaucracy (insert your choice of branch(es) or agency here).

I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image, which is composed as shot. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/1600 sec, 28mm; 11:38 a.m. PDT, today. I debated about going back for full sunlit illumination but in the end decided that the shadow cast creates illusion of a ghostly body. Hehe. Uncle Sam rises from the grave!

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Vintage 1970s, Do You Think?

While walking along the alley separating Cleveland and Maryland in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood, my wife and I came upon an abandoned gas stove that oh-so reminded me of one my parents used during my middle school years. You might think that someone put out this thing for trash pick up. Oh no, some scavenger surely will snag the range—for repurposing or perhaps dismantling for parts. Little left in the alleys, outside of the actual garbage bins, is wasted. The appliance is a lucky rummager’s treasure.

Annie and I both stopped for photos. The companion closeup is mine, but she did better for the full-on shot. My composition of the entire stove looks straight on and is dull. Hers, the Featured Image, is more dimensional. Vitals, for the first: f/1.8, ISO 25, 1/789 sec, 26mm (film equivalent); 9:50 a.m. PDT. For the other, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/200 sec, 28mm; 9:50 a.m. She used iPhone XS and I used Leica Q2.