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My Leica M (Typ 262) Adventure Begins

I am no fan of Daylight Saving Time, which commenced today. Grumble. But warm breeze and sunlight pouring through billowing clouds, following heavy rains, made me want to walk—and carry along the Leica M (Typ 262); I need to practice manual focusing on the camera, which has been in my possession for a scant three days.

While the rangefinder pleases, a few gripes are unavoidable: Either my focusing skills are really bad, or the Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens that came with the Oberwerth Set isn’t as sharp as the Summilux 28mm f/1.7 lens built into Leica Q. The aperture ring is a bit too smooth for me, such that I inadvertently change the f-stop when moving the manual focus knob. Someday, soon hopefully, muscle memory will keep stray fingers off the Summarit lens. What did I say about the importance of practice? Eh? 

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The Cats of University Heights: Bob

The morning is unusually cloudy and damp here in San Diego as this otherwise fine Caturday unfolds. Meet Bob (real name), whom I encountered on March 7, 2018 along Cliff Street, where he lives. Initially, I thought he was the putty-tat I call Finny, from nearby Adams Ave., but closer photo inspection reveals they are not the same animal.

A woman taking her daughter to school gave me Bob’s name, and she said that he belongs to one of her neighbors. He surely is a friendly puss. Bengal Abby also lives somewhere on the street. She will appear in the series when I finally capture a portrait worthy of her beauty. Currently, I am zero for four attempts. 

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Rangefinder Revelry

Yesterday, before 10 a.m. PST, UPS delivered a package from Leica Store Miami containing the M (Typ 262) digital camera, Summarit-M 50mm f/2.4 lens, limited-edition Oberwerth bag, and two SD card holders—one black, the other cognac. My main interest is the rangefinder and 50mm glass. The Oberwerth Set, if you can still find it, is entry into the M system for essentially the lens free with cost of the camera. The Miami shop sent the last kit available, at least presently.

With no immediate plans to part with my beloved Leica Q, I will expand my photographic horizons by reducing technology. While the M262 is full frame, the camera also is in many respects no frills. There is no autofocus, live view, wired ports, or wireless connectivity. I’ll be screwing off the bottom plate to remove the storage card to transfer photos to my MacBook Pro. The menu system is two main pages plus one. The M262 is all about manual settings from dials, except ISO, which I typically leave on auto anyway. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Charlie (the Third)

Add another furball to the number of Alabama Street sighted, and profiled; I have seen four or five others, which will appear when there are portraits captured. Charlie (name on tag) is the fifteenth featured in this series between neighborhood boundaries Adams and Lincoln. On no other street are there so many beasties, and for reasons I cannot explain. Those profiled (so far): Bella, Burglar, Cal, Goldie, Itchy Valentino, Laramie, LupeMr. Kitty, MonkeyNine, Penny, Smokey, Tipsy, and Willow. Monkey passed away on Feb. 24, 2018. 🙁

Charlie presents a quandary for titling this post, being the third cat with that name.  Three alike in the list of past putty-tats could cause confusion among them. Hence, “the third” added in parenthesis, and “Too” to the previous one.

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San Diego Bike Invasion

Like mushrooms suddenly appearing after the rain, ride-sharing bicycles are popping up all around my neighborhood (University Heights East) as well as North Park—and from two separate providers: LimeBike and Ofo. The sightings started several weeks ago, one or two, here or there. Now these things are absolutely everywhere!

The Featured Image makes the point. In the foreground, at Alabama and Madison, two Ofos are parked, while across the way—go ahead, count `em—another four can be seen. Out of view are two more further along towards Adams Ave. Photo vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/500 sec, 28mm; 8:31 a.m. PST, today. 

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Goodbye, Monkey

The day after we rented our apartment on the East side of Park Blvd., I encountered a friendly feline sitting in what would eventually be our parking space. There was something warmly foreshadowing about his presence, soon after emerging from under the gate leading inside the complex’s courtyard. I wrongly assumed he lived here. But Monkey’s home was the second house away.

He appeared in my “Cats of University Heights” series on Oct. 10, 2017. The Featured Image and its companions, shot with Leica Q on the Ninth, didn’t make the post. Vitals for the first: f/1.7, ISO 1250, 1/250 sec, 28mm; 6:38 p.m. PST. The other two are same except for ISO 3200. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Penny

Another day, another Alabama kitty. They’re backing up, as I seek better portraits of other recently sighted furballs. Penny (her real name) is the fourteenth feline featured in the series from the street. The others (so far): Bella, Burglar, Cal, Goldie, Itchy Valentino, Laramie, LupeMr. Kitty, MonkeyNine, Smokey, Tipsy, and Willow.

Penny is kind of a courtyard cat. She doesn’t venture into the apartment building’s public area, but she does occasionally look out from the window onto a large tree that attracts birds. Smokey, who lives two houses away, is a common (and beloved) trespasser. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Mew

Tuxedos sure are popular in the neighborhood. Meet the twenty-secondnth to appear in the series, which follows a reclassification allowing kitties with more mixed black-and-white coats. Yesterday, while walking along Florida from Meade to Mission, I heard meowing—the tenor like a feline asking to be let in. I unintentionally passed by the sound, then backtracked, finding the shorthair, who earns nickname Mew, peering down cement steps.

Looking up at the kitty, I felt a pang. While one is safe, another is not. On Feb. 16, 2018, according to a post on NextDoor, a Tuxedo was hit and killed by a vehicle at Cleveland Ave. and Washington Street. Unless some beastie wandered many blocks, the Tuxedo is unlikely to be one previously profiled: Black and White, Boss, BrightBuddiesCal, Captain BlackbeardCharm, Curious, FraidyFresh, JellicleLola, Mittens, NinePatience, PepePoser, Sammy, SpotSeer, and Tux

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The Cats of University Heights: Zander

For some odd reason, there is an increasing number of kitty-in-the-window sightings, recently, so expect several more ahead. We celebrate Caturday with this handsome black that looked out onto Meade Ave. between Alabama and Florida streets as I walked by this morning.

I hesitated to attempt a portrait, because of the greenery before the glass and my inability to manually focus. I had an ophthalmologist appointment yesterday, and my shooting eye (left) isn’t quite recovered from the dilation (hence, vision not normally sharp yet). But, what the Hell? I had Leica Q with me for a reason

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You’re Never Too Old

While walking this morning—for fresh air and exercise on a promised 20-degree celsius day—I passed a couple and dog sitting on a patio, along Mission Cliffs. The woman’s blue, highlighted hair rapped my attention. She is one among several matronly, grey-haired ladies I have seen colored this way. Is that a style now?

I passed, paused, and after a minute mustering courage turned around, approached, and asked to take their portrait. Because of a fence, and distance to the two, I couldn’t capture closeup as would be my preference. Her hair and accompanying scarf and his eyeglasses—pretty much everything about them—stylishly appealed to me. I pulled up Leica Q, and they posed.

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The Cats of University Heights: Tipsy

Where do they come from—all these putty-tats on Alabama? I have spent more time walking along Campus, Cleveland, or Maryland, for example, and they can’t, combined, match the number of beasties living on—like the Lynyrd Skynyrd song—”Sweet Home Alabama”. Meet the thirteenth cat from the street to appear in the series; there are four others that I have sighted but not presented, for poor photographs or none yet made. Surely, there are more.

The others (so far): Bella, Burglar, Cal, Goldie, Itchy Valentino, Laramie, LupeMr. Kitty, MonkeyNine, Smokey, and Willow. The newest member of the SHA Club earns nickname Tipsy, because the tip of her tail is bent as if it had been broken but healed crooked. She wore a striking pink collar but without ID tag (damn it). Tipsy and I visited yesterday morning, about midway between Mission and Madison.