Tag: animals

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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.

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The Cats of University Heights: Reddy

After days of sun and unseasonably mild (and dry) weather, clouds blanket San Diego this morning. Overcast skies are excellent photography weather, and I just had to take a cat walk (accompanied by my beautiful wife). Along Georgia Street, between Adams and Madison, Anne spotted a fluffly ginger-light—tan, if you ask me—rolling around a lawn. Just then, the owner parked his vehicle, and by the looks of dress and carry-alls, he had returned from the gym.

He told us about Reddy—a one-eyed, 10 year-old male without a tail. The family found him as a kitten, with apparent injury that later required his tail to be amputated. Reddy lost his eye years later, when wearing a collar. Something caught on a fence—and, well, let’s spare the gruesome details. But suffice to say he notched the second of two lives, and, you know, he can’t afford to lose any more body parts. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Brawn

Dec. 10, 2017, as I walked down Louisiana, a handsome orange tabby presented himself—somewhere between Madison and Monroe, perhaps beyond. I thought at first that he might be a similarly colored cat spotted on the same street seven months ago. But on close inspection, differences are clear enough, and the animals displayed different temperament: One was friendly, the other standoffish.

I nickname this husky, handsome shorthair: Brawn. We never got close. I shot the Featured Image, which is cropped about 100 percent, using iPhone X. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/216 sec, 6mm; 2:47 p.m. PST.

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The Cats of University Heights: Frolic

Along Alabama Street—on the same block where live Goldie, Itchy Valentino, Mr. Kitty, and Nine—there plays a a lovely feline that I started watching closely last month. The first photographs were okay, but not great. I returned repeatedly, hoping for a better set and to discover the animal’s name. I got the first, on Dec. 3, 2017, but not the second.

I dub the shorthair: Frolic, for how quickly he gets around. The cat is energetic and playful; I wish he would spend less time on the side of the street and meandering around parked cars. The Featured Image, shot with iPhone X, is first in a series leading up to the big portrait. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/120 sec, 6mm; 11:59 a.m. PST. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Twain

I greatly respect people who keep their blinds drawn open. That’s how we live. Pretty much anyone can see in any of our windows anytime of day or night—not that I invite you to step up and gawk. What’s the point of all that glass if you can’t look out or let the outside in (eh, like sunlight)? This series features a number of felines sitting inside windows, staring out: CoolCurious, Glass, KitSeeker, StarStill, and Watcher.

Open blinds reveal, in the windows’s lower right side, a handsome tiger sitting on a cat tree. Another relaxes on the sofa. Their owners earn my praise for enabling the furballs to look out. Good for them! 

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The Cats of University Heights: Sunshine

Few neighborhood intersections could be more dangerous to people, or to animals, than where Adams Ave. and Park Blvd meet. So I was surprised to discover a kitty nearby there on Dec. 5, 2017. As my wife and I walked by, I heard meowing—then stopped and stepped back to see a long-hair tortoiseshell rustling before a closed door to be let in. I pulled out iPhone X and knelt down to take some quick photos; she scurried to us across the walkway to the sidewalk seeking pats and attention.

I nickname the feline Sunshine, for being such a ray of delight; she also reminds me of our Cali. The cat moved around so much, and in contrasting areas of shade and light, that capturing good portraits proved challenging. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Aqua

I sometimes wonder what people think about me strolling around the neighborhood and peering into people’s yards—looking for cats, of course. Recently, while chatting with the cashier at Healthy Heights Pets Market, other customers came in and I decided best to excuse myself and let her serve them. We had a good conversation about journalism and writing; she offered her name, as did I. One of the other shoppers said, referring to me: “The photographer”. Yikes! Recognized and categorized.

Yesterday afternoon, while walking along Mississippi Street towards Mission, I spied a pretty kitty sitting on grass behind a white picket fence. I pulled out iPhone X and snapped a shot from standing, approaching position—in case she scattered, which will happen depending on the furball’s temperament. I crouched down to shoot through the fence. Then a SUV horn bellowed behind me. I had stepped backward into the driveway, just as someone else wanted to pull in. Apologizing, I scooted out of the way and continued capturing portraits. Deliberate decision was made to hang around: Perhaps the person could tell me the animal’s name. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Panda

For the second consecutive day, I saw a cat on the same block along Mississippi Street—beyond Howard. The first, Peohe, is a big, black, friendly fluffball. The other is Panda (yes, her real name). She so reminds me of Luna, whom my wife and I would see in the yard of a house on North Avenue., near where it meets Meade. She disappeared 18 months or so ago, and I was sorry to never have taken her portrait. Panda is as close as this series will get to her.

I used iPhone X to capture the Featured Image and its companion, yesterday. I got down on one knee and shot through the openings between the property-fence’s slats. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 40, .97 ev, 1/60 sec, 6mm; 4:25 p.m. PST. Other is the same, except for ISO 32. 

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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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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.