Category: Photo

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Ohana

Some people are so rude—and I refer to myself. On Jan. 13, 2018, as my wife and I walked along Mississippi Street between Meade and Monroe, we spotted a pretty, grey kitty about half-way down the block. As we approached, the shorthair moved around a car in the street, later going back to the sidewalk, then passing through the door-fence bars into a yard. I took out Leica Q and started snapping portraits.

About three minutes after the photo shooting started, with a dog barking loudly inside the house, a man came out to see what caused the ruckus. I explained, although with camera in hand my purpose was obvious. He shouted—to get above the barking—that the beastie was “the neighbor’s cat”. Someone perhaps more polite would have stopped there, to give the gent relief from the yapper inside the house. But I pressed, asking for a name. “Hanna!” he yelled. I thanked him and moved along. Yes, but is that with an “h” at the end? If only I could have read the collar tag.

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Boss

Construction crews return to ripping up our street—so they can place new water (and possibly sewage) pipes—following a three-day break (for the weekend and Martin Luther King Jr. holiday). During December, the contracted company worked on Louisiana, which is where I met this fine feline, on Jan. 14, 2018, appropriately cowering behind one of the many, remaining Burtech signs.

But I am fairly sure we had a near encounter the previous evening. Returning home with Pizza Hut pie, driving up Monroe from Texas Street, I passed a Tuxedo-like kitty, with massive white ruff, sitting upright, beyond a parked car, slightly in the roadway, across from Louisiana. I watch my speed in the neighborhood for a reason: kids and cats. My wife got an earful about the strange sighting while enjoying a mouthful of cheesy crust, zesty tomato sauce, and bountiful toppings (Super Supreme without black olives, baby).

Read More

Afternoon Walkabout

I spent the day cooped up, with windows shut, consoling our unsettled cats and waiting for the plumber to arrive. Normally, there is fresh air flowing, but we wisely chose to keep out jackhammering noise and airborne debris coming from the street, which is being dug up to put in new water pipes.

The plumber and construction crews completed their tasks within minutes of one another, freeing me to take a later-day long walk. Trudging up Meade Ave. from Alabama Street, I finally stopped and used Leica Q to make a portrait of a sign seen many times. Vitals for the Featured Image, aperture manually set (for bokeh): f/2, ISO 100, 1/500 sec, 28mm; 4:07 p.m. PST. In editing with Adobe Photoshop Classic CC, I tweaked exposure, slightly boosted vibrancy, and aggressively drew out highlights. 

Read More

The (Honorary) Cats of University Heights: Buddies

For the third time since this series started in October 2016, kitties living just outside the neighborhood boundaries participate. My wife and I met the first, nicknamed Chill, on Arizona Street—same as the two you see in the Featured Image. Texas separates University Heights from North Park, and Arizona is one street beyond. The other honorary furball, Sammy—and that’s her real name—lives across Washington Street in Hillcrest at DC Computers. Yep, she is the shop cat.

Sometimes exceptions must be made, but rarely—why this is only the third among 131 postings. I found the cats and their (presumably) owner’s house too quaint to resist. That said, had the pair been another street beyond Texas, they wouldn’t make the cut. Lucky for them, too, that it’s the slowest sightings time of year. 

Read More

Leica Q is an Experience

I am, on a good day, an adequate amateur photographer. My technique isn’t professional, nor do I have an artisan’s astute eye for composition. I am okay in every measurable, meaningful way. But what I lack in skill, I compensate with enthusiasm.

Photography is fun for me—and I am an original digital shooter, going back 20 years. Anyone remember the crappy Sony Mavica that saved photos to floppy disks? I owned one, in the late 1990s. My first camera of consequence was the Canon PowerShot S20, the first commercially available digital compact to top 3 megapixels; I used it to document Steve Jobs introducing Apple Store, in May 2001.

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Charm

How much for that pretty kitty in the window? About 30 minutes after sunset today, my wife and I went out for a spontaneous late-afternoon walk, where she spotted this tip-top Tuxedo looking out, along Meade Ave. between Alabama and Florida. The series features nine kitties sitting inside windows, staring out: CoolCurious, Glass, KitSeeker, StarStill, Twain, and Watcher. Another, Burglar, climbs into one.

I did not bring Leica Q, unfortunately; iPhone X struggled in the descending dusk, getting some benefit from the sunset’s lingering glow cast against the glass. Vitals, for the Featured Image: f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/4 sec, 4mm; 5:17 p.m. PST. However, I contend that the EXIF is wrong. I tapped the 2X icon for the f/2.4 second lens, and this portrait, and another, absolutely are zoomed compared to the first, which I am certain was f/1.8. Sigh. the photo is noisy, which is most evident at full view; Leica capture wouldn’t have been. 

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Tom

Meet the second New Years furball to appear in this series. Chub was the first, at the start of 2017. Eighty-four more felines joined him, before the year closed out with Bright. I expect a lull now, if winter sightings follow the previous pattern.

My wife spotted our first fellow of 2018 right after we visited with Panda, who lives on the same block along Mississippi Street. We had looked in on her many times, when walking to the grocery store, but not until the morning of Dec. 29, 2017 did she skirt out under the fence onto the sidewalk seeking attention. Oh, she got plenty. 

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Bright

On Dec. 19, 2017, as my wife and I walked down Adams Ave., from Park Blvd. towards Georgia, she spotted movement a few doors down from Sunshine‘s place. A lanky, tuxedo cautiously navigated its way from property to property.

As previously expressed, that’s a dangerous area for person or beast. The intersection behind leads into a business district of bars, where too many people impatiently drive searching for parking. The cat meandered a safe path far back from the sidewalk, along buildings, through hedges, and across driveways. 

Read More

Tent City

From the Adams Ave. overlook, seen across the canyon to the backside of Franciscan Way, a tented home hugs the hillside. In early Summer, My wife and I walked through the multi-level dwelling during one of its countless Open Houses over the course of many, many months. The overly-expansive layout, square-footage (3,860), and $1.7 million asking price were reasons for our disinterest—and perhaps many other people. There is a pending sale, as of the week before Christmas, for $1.55M, which explains the extermination rig.

Californians tent homes to fumigate, which is common practice before a new sale closes. Think of it as a temporary tent city for vermin, before insecticide snuffs them out. Funny thing, tent city also refers to where groups of the downtown homeless gather together. If neighborhood banter on the NextDoor social network is revealing, there are many University Heights residents who view indigents as vermin they would like to eliminate

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Lupe

Meet Lupe, who lives in the same home as Laramie and on the same block as Smokey and Monkey. What is it with the letter L in the household? The family also owns dog Lincoln. Hehe. One of my high school classmates had seven siblings—and all eight kids had names beginning with G. L works for me!

On some mornings, I see Lupe sleeping  on a chair in the yard. The Featured Image, captured on Dec. 3, 2017 at 9:08 a.m. PST, using iPhone X, puts him on the porch. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/510 sec, 6mm. The companion photo is a contrast in timing and lighting—bright sunlight versus darkening dusk. The smartphone could never have produced usable portrait. 

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Laramie

If this series had a motto—or perhaps, better stated, an unbreakable rule—it would be: “One cat, one time”. Each furball is profiled once. The problem: Sometimes there is uncertainty, and occasionally I will chance repeats. Hanoi and Bell may be one in the same, although I put the odds of not at 70-30. I am less confident about Betty and Betty Too or Stalker and Twilight. Odds are more like fifty-fifty, with proximity of sightings majorly causing uncertainty. In preparing this post, and reexamining photos, I see a common curvature to the two Bettys’ tails that increases the likelihood of a goof.

That introduction brings us to Laramie (his real name) and my big question: Is he the same feline as the one nicknamed Spry, whom my wife and I observed in the alley behind Alabama on June 13, 2017? Out on the street-side of the same block, where also Smokey and Monkey live, resides another ravishing grey; his housemate will be the next kitty to join the series. The cats were seen so close, could be. 

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Burglar

Our newest addition to the series verifies the not-so-old-adage that the best camera is the one with you. Because of the shocking number of Alabama kitty sightings, I now regularly include the street in my regular walking route, looking for more. Few days back, as dusk settled into night, I barely made out a white cat with orange markings sitting in a yard; photo wanted. But as I approached the fence, a dog barked from inside the house. There really wasn’t enough light to use iPhone X, anyway, so I gave up.

Twice yesterday, I walked by the property, hoping to see the beastie again. On the second go, the furball approached from the cross street strutting quickly down the sidewalk my way. Paying no attention to me, the kitty scooted into a yard. By the time I came up to the corner of the fence, iPhone X already out and camera app open, the cat had reached the house and started climbing up the side of the building to a window ledge—or so it seemed. I wrongly assumed that the meowing feline asked to be let in. Failing to understand what was transpiring, I missed the perfect shot—or series of them. Nevertheless I got something memorable, because of the smartphone’s camera.