Category: Photo

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The Cats of University Heights: Peohe

Near the neighborhood’s southern boundary, I made a new feline friend, while learning a valuable lesson about identification. Yesterday, as I walked home from Smart & Final, along Mississippi Street, I spotted a kitty nestled beside a porch. Seemingly glowing eyes glared back against black mat in the distance. As I stooped low to capture a photo using iPhone X, the beastie trotted across the driveway to the sidewalk. From the name on the collar, I had just made acquaintance with Daisy.

She rolled around on the cement, relishing pats and marking scent on my hands and legs with her head. Not long later, the cat’s master came home—and, of course, the animal would step into the driveway in front of the vehicle. Behind the wheel, the woman explained that this frequently happens; toot of the horn scooted Daisy to safety. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Mr. Kitty

Alabama Street serves up more felines; I discovered two more on the same block yesterday. I’ve got another two on hold, hoping to get their names from their caretakers. The first of four, therefore, is Mr. Kitty—and, yes, that’s his name. The owner and I spoke briefly as he walked out to his car. Poor Mr. Kitty was rescued from a garbage dumpster! His estimated age is eight months.

Turns out he is house/yard mate with Itchy Valentino, who sat on the sidewalk grooming when I approached. The vet says Itchy will always have the skin condition that makes his fur look a bit thin (and ragged), the owner explained. Maybe, but the medicine must be doing something, because his coat looks fuller to me; his owner agreed. 

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Nature’s Drones

The sign beats any holiday decoration. In a city where there are three seasons—early, mid, and late summer—flutterbies are welcome year `round. I have seen a fair number of Monarchs and the Cabbage variety this month. Even on this last day.

The sign adorns a lovely house, with manicured-plant yard and occasionally playing kids, at North and Monroe Avenues here in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Maxine

No feline to appear in this series has history like today’s beauty, whom I first heard about six years ago. When coming or going with long-lost Kuma, through our back gate into the alley, I often chatted with Maxine’s owner. He rode an adult-size tricycle and loved to talk about his cats. These companions meant much to him.

Younger than me, he was effervescent, despite diminishing vitality from illness. Some people, by just looking at them, you know they peer down the tunnel to the end of the line. One day passed by, and he didn’t. He was absent for a few days longer. Then forever. 

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Cat on a Cold Tin Roof

Fog had settled onto the neighborhood by 1 a.m. PST, I observed before nestling into bed. The cloud is still there as I write, just after eight, and something else: The furball nicknamed Tiger from my Cats of University Heights series sits on our car.

He is a neighborhood roamer, and unmistakably identifiable from similarly-striped beasties I see hereabouts. I couldn’t resist shooting several portraits of the feline as he groomed, through my office window using Leica Q—different compositions and apertures, switching between auto and manual focus modes. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Guido

As I explained yesterday when profiling Tarry, there is an abundance of tiger tabbies between Madison and Meade along Alabama, Georgia, and Florida streets. Some are distinguishable from the others, like Itchy Valentino, overly large Peso, or an oldster for his slow, maudlin stride. Others are not.

Turns out three of them live in the same residence on Monroe Ave. I introduced you to one, Bruce, on May 10, 2017. At the time, I nicknamed him Loyal, which turns out to be quite appropriate (skip ahead to paragraph five for reasons why). Since moving to University Heights East (from West), I have seen Bruce’s buddy, Guido, on the property where both live, or the sidewalk in front. I shot numerous candids over several weeks, but withheld writing until knowing his name. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Tarry

There are so many tiger tabbies on the East side of Park Blvd., I struggle to tell one from another—and that complicates profiling them. For now, location is best way to avoid duplications.

On Nov. 17, 2017, at 4:34 p.m. PST, while walking down Florida Street from El Cajon Blvd. towards Meade, I spotted the kitty who earns nickname Tarry—because she clearly waited for someone. The furball looked from ledge to apartment courtyard as if in anticipation of a human going out, or perhaps coming to let her in. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Bella

For the second time in three days, I saw someone walking a leashed-kitty down Alabama Street. The previous occassion, passing by on my bike without camera or smartphone, no photo was possible. But this morning, I hauled out for an early-sun jaunt, with Leica Q in tow.

Just beyond Madison, approaching Mission, I came upon a woman walking her slim, quickly-striding cat. I asked to shoot pics of the beastie—Bella. She was more than willing and didn’t seem to mind my lying down on the street and sidewalk; she apologized about the shorthair moving so quickly. I observed great determination and will in the pace. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Hanoi

This series strives to profile each cat once—and, occasionally, uncertainty looms about one being the same as another. Take Hanoi (his real name), whose color and markings are similiar to the kitty I call Bell. There would be little doubt, if not for fairly close proximity of their sightings.

Bell debuted on Nov. 17, 2016, from a photo captured on June 28, 2014. I often would see the kitty in the alley behind our apartment alongside Kuma’s Ledge, where Maryland Court ends. The three year-old portrait was shot at the corner of Cleveland and Monroe Avenues, however.  

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Hippies on a Budget

This morning, as my wife and I walked down Florida Street, between El Cajon and Polk, on our way to the Sprout’s market, we approached an aged Volkswagen minibus. As we passed by, Anne joked: “Hippies on a budget!” That was enough for me to stop, go back, and capture some quick shots with iPhone X.

The Featured Image was first one taken and chosen because the license plate isn’t clearly visible. Besides, I like the perspective, which over-emphasizes the Bug’s flat snout. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 20, 1/1389 sec, 4mm; 8:52 a.m. PST. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Chunk

When dissatisfied with a kitty portrait, I typically will wait for another shooting opportunity. Exceptions are often like today’s Featured Image: Unlikely future sighting—as must be presumed from the doorway locale. This is not an animal I expect to see prowling the street, despite the food dish down the alleyway, where a black cat ate but skittered away before I could capture the moment. That’s about as much outdoors to be expected.

No offense intended towards the owner—and as caretaker of a fat ginger, none would be—this cat is the first chubby tortoiseshell that I have ever seen. Torties tend to be lean (and even mean). The furball watched me go by from a residence nearby Florida and Howard Avenue, which approach the outer edge of the neighborhood where it meets adjacent Hillcrest.