Category: Photo

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The Cats of University Heights: Sky

Along Lincoln Ave., near Vermont Street, a black shorthair stared out a window as I passed on April 2, 2018. The beastie is the twenty-second to appear in the series from behind a window. The beauty that I nickname Sky (can you guess why) is either the thirteenth or fourteenth Halloween cat, depending on whether or not Betty and Betty, Too are the same animals. The others: Black, FangFarfisa, Frenemy, MikaPee-Pee, PeoheSiestaSkull, Token, and Wink.

I captured the Featured Image using Leica M (Typ 262) and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/4.8, ISO 200, 1/250 sec, 50mm; 10:33 a.m. PDT. The companion photo is the uncropped original. 

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The Cats of University Heights: STAR

This beautiful kitten earns nickname Blend for being somewhat camouflage-colored against an area in the neighborhood known as the Point. My wife and I encountered her quite unexpectedly on April 10, 2018, frolicking about and seeking attentive pats, which you can see Anne giving in the Featured Image and its companion.

We were both concerned about the calico’s interest in the canyon below. Anne and I have often joked about scaling down the hill to Wendy’s for a burger; the fast food place looks so close. There be coyotes, which wouldn’t bother us but could make a snack of our new-found friend. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Gracie

My wife and I unexpectedly encountered two 18-year-old felines on the same afternoon, April 12, 2018. The first, Precious, lives on Alabama Street. Anne called my attention to the other, on Louisiana between Madison and Monroe; I crossed the street to capture the moment—and unexpectedly meet her owners. Her name, Gracie, comes from the Bible. Appropriately, perhaps, her owner choosing it is called Kitty.

Gracie came to her owners as a pregnant stray, who would bear four kittens. The married couple of five years (at the time) kept the momma—and from the litter one male, who later died. He was a brat, whose misbehavior led her to be somewhat shy and reclusive. But after his untimely passing, she found herself, warming greatly to her caretakers.

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The Cats of University Heights: Precious

We welcome this fine Caturday with the first of two 18-year-old kitties met on the same day, April 12, 2018. Precious resides next to Smokey, who lives, or did, next to Monkey, before his recent passingLaramie and Lupe are across the street. Those are real names all. Holiday is the other furball from the same block of Alabama. Precious is the seventeenth furball featured in the series from this street.

Her home is undergoing renovations, which presented uncharacteristic sighting opportunity. The owner explained that Precious typically suns behind a grated security door, which makes her difficult to see from outside. But with the enclosure temporarily removed, she sunned in the open doorway while he talked to construction workers. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Cali

Along Golden Gate between Cleveland and Maryland Avenues, on April 8, 2018, my wife and I met two kitties that appeared to be companions. I nicknamed the other Bushy. A neighbor says, and I can’t confirm, this lovely calico is Cali.

The shorthair was friendly enough with the neighbor—and her dog Shelly—but kept distance from me. I used Leica Q to capture the Featured Image and its companion, 8:29 and 8:37 a.m. PDT, respectively. Vitals for the first, aperture manually set: f/4, ISO 100, 1/500 sec, 28mm. The second is same, except for shutter speed: 1/400 sec. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Bushy

The day after seeing E.T. (for Exotic Tail), my wife and I returned to the same place, as I sought another portrait and maybe a name (from the owner). The kitty slept far back in a driveway, and unaccessible. We later came upon two other furballs, along Golden Gate between Cleveland and Maryland Avenues. The first is another tiger tabby with fluffy tail. What a lucky segue. I nickname him Bushy.

The other cat, a calico, will be the series’ next profile. Bushy kept his distance, flanking from the bushes along several houses, while his companion was fairly friendly. 

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The Cats of University Heights: E.T.

As my wife and I approached the Adams Ave. overlook on April 7, 2018, she spotted a beautiful, bushy-tail tabby skulking behind two cars parked before the canyon. The furball then lay low beneath one of the vehicles, barely visible in the shadows. I have only ever seen one other cat, Grand, in this location— most recently in July 2017.

I am a deliberate shooter, who typically captures an average three photos per subject. But in this instance—laying down on the ground wearing sunglasses and manually focusing Leica M (Typ 262) on a darkened subject—I shot blindly about a dozen-and-a-half portraits from two vantage points while turning the focus ring (and adjusting the aperture). Among them, only one is truly worthy, while denying you glimpse of the magnificent tail (sorry about that). 

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The Cats of University Heights: Torbie

The series serves up more tortitude, with, like Lucy, another tortoiseshell seen on Georgia between Meade and Monroe. Dancer is another from the street, but closer to Mission; ChunkSunshine, and Tortie live elsewhere in the neighborhood. Earning nickname Torbie, for what appear to be some tabby-like features, the feline is the twenty-first featured behind a window.

We acknowledged one another on April 4, 2018, at 9:26 a.m. PDT, as I walked by. I used Leica M (Typ 262) and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens to capture the Featured Image. Vitals, for the heavily-edited crop: f/4.8, ISO 200, 1/350 sec, 50mm. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Lucy

Nearby the same building where, on Georgia at Monroe, I met Peso in May 2017, another kitty greeted me and my wife on April 2, 2018. As I knelt down to snap some portraits, a woman walking by with a child said that “her name is Lucy”. I had not encountered the long-hair tortoiseshell before—and doing so suddenly caused concern that I hadn’t seen Peso for several months. I do hope that he is okay.

Lucy gave grovely meows but never approached Anne or I—that day or April 4, when I captured the Featured Image, using Leica M (Typ 262) and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/11, ISO 200, 1/45 sec, 50mm; 4:30 p.m. PDT. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Desire

Five minutes afer seeing Snow looking out from inside an apartment on Louisiana Street, my wife and I encountered another window watcher—twentieth for the series—at the corner of Mississippi and Monroe, on March 19, 2018.

I shot the Featured Image, chosen purely for cropped composition, at 3:12 p.m. PDT, using iPhone X. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/371 sec, 6mm. The companion, captured on April 2 at 6:18 p.m. with Leica M (Typ 262) and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens, is more color accurate and intimate; you wouldn’t know from the vantage point that the cat looks out from a second-floor window. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/4.8, ISO 200, 1/90 sec, 50mm.