Tag: Cats of University Heights

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Levi

Do you remember Pepe, whom this series featured on March 9, 2017? Tonight, while out walking and chatting with some of our great neighbors, I met his housemate, Levi. His owner described him months ago, and I had been on the lookout since for the “shy” shelter cat who is about four years old. Levi came to his owners with a heart murmur and some uncertain problem with his hind end. He often leans forward when sitting and resists being held. I shot a dozen portraits, choosing this one for how he pushes up on his forelegs and for the personality that his mesmerizing eyes express.

Levi lives next door to my neighborhood favorite, Fess, a handsome, cunning Maine Coon. I look for him any time passing his house. Sadly, my other favorite, The Colonel, is gone. The majestic longhair succumbed to “the cancer”, his owner told me last month. I will feature the family’s new cat, Charlie, soon as he lets me make a good portrait. 

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Still

On June 30, 2017, at 9:44 a.m., as I walked down the alley at Adams Ave. behind Park Blvd. and between North Ave., something statuesque caught my attention. The furball stood so still, I wondered if she might be a stuffed animal. But when I once changed position for closer capture, her head moved to follow. Google Pixel XL made the moment—and a difficult shot for the autofocus system through glass and mesh screen. Vitals: f/2, ISO 55, 1/461 sec, 4.67mm.

There is something savagely voyeuristic shooting outside a window into a residence, even though, as you can see, not much more than a few obvious desk-top items and the cat are visible. There is always risk of reprisal, as a misunderstanding neighbor storms out confrontationally. Fortunately, all was peaceful. 

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Betty Too

This series seeks to promote one feline on one day and never again. But sometimes uncertainty lurks like a furball under a car, which brings us to what could be a repeat. I give the odds as 50-50 that today’s beastie is Betty, but I’m betting not or there wouldn’t be a featured shot. I met her on Nov. 11, 2016, in the alley behind North Ave. closer to Madison. She rolled around, grubbing attention from a neighbor who knew her.

The cat I call Betty Too (just in case they’re the same) was spotted on June 29, 2017, in a gated apartment courtyard opening into the same alley but closer to Monroe—street at the other end. I had walked down searching for a black cat that crossed the alley; hence how I saw this other blackie, way inside beyond the locked door-gate. I never did find the other one. Betty Too came up to visit, but she couldn’t get pats through the grates. Sorry `bout that, kitty. Like Betty, she is black, was sighted off the North alley, and wears a blue color. What are the chances they’re the same? 

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Spry

In the alley beyond Alabama going towards Park Blvd., about midway between Monroe and Meade, I spotted a lanky, grey short-hair sprawled on the pavement; June 13, 2017. She slipped away as my wife and I approached, among cars against a garage, resisting me and the Leica Q. The Featured Image shows her hanging on the fence, at least a six-footer and taller than me, following a dramatic leap. She balanced there long enough for four clicks of the shutter. This is the third shot.

Once again, the mirrorless camera’s 28mm, f/1.7 Summilux lens and 24-megapixel full-frame sensor deliver super sharp detail enough for a close-crop. Vitals: f/8, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 6:36 p.m. PDT. 

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Stride

Two mornings ago—Memorial Day—my wife and I walked down Campus between Monroe and Meade, when she spotted a grey and white crossing the street. Whoa, two new sightings on the same block about 18 hours apart. The other: Siamese seen at dusk on May 28th. I also ambled to the other sidewalk, and there captured a series of sequential stride shots as the feline approached before turning into a yard (Featured Image). The other is below the fold. Vitals, respectively: f/1.7, ISO 100, 1/800 sec, 28mm; 11:04 a.m. PDT and f/1.7, ISO 100, 1/1000 sec, 28mm; 11:03 a.m. PDT. Both are crops.

For a compact camera with fixed lens, the Leica Q‘s focus and shutter response is fast. Easily, the entire series of shots as the cat approached is useable. The morning was overcast, which I consider to be perfect photography weather. At f/1.7, shutter speed was plenty fast enough to stop motion. Both pics are crops, BTW.

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Dusk

One of Leica Q’s best benefits is its dual-focus system: auto and manual—the latter of which uses a mechanism similar to the German camera maker’s pricey rangefinders. There is a dedicated focus ring and adjustment knob around the lens, which when activated, cause the electronic viewfinder to magnify the shooting subject and present visual cue—green “peaking“—when in focus. This feature is particularly handy because: the lens is wide-angle (28mm); the f/1.7 Summilux glass and 24-megapixel full-frame sensor capture so much detail that cropping-in can replace a telephoto; but when shooting wide, with multiple objects, the auto-focus system can hone in on the wrong one.

On May 28, 2017, as I walked down Campus, midway between Meade and Monroe, I spotted a Siamese not seen before. I lay down on the sidewalk to capture the moment. Since the kitty was so still, I took a few extra seconds to switch to manual focus. Interestingly, as dusk settled, none of the auto-focus shots were right. The Featured Image is spot on the cat, in this close crop. The original, which is below the fold, gives actual perspective and illustrates how much detail the Leica Q captures. Vitals: f/1.7, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, 28mm. Time: 7:12 p.m. PDT, about 40 minutes before sunset.

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Peso

I am a pitiful Southern Californian resident—for not speaking, or reading, a word of Spanish. Fortunately, Google gave my linguistic handicap a little boost yesterday evening, when encountering the large-pawed beast who is our featured feline this cool Caturday. Walking down Monroe from Park Blvd. towards Texas Street, I heard a furball meowing on the other side of a tall hedge at Georgia. I rounded the corner and peaked inside. The beastie came running out on the sidewalk to greet me.

The number of owned street cats without collars surprises me, but this friendly brute was an exception. As he rolled around for pats, I looked at his tag, which gave a phone number followed by “Gracias” on one side and “Mellamo Peso” on the other. I may be ditz-for-non-English-language brain but nevertheless recognize “Thank You”. But the other, I assumed was a first and last name, or perhaps a nickname. I whipped out iPhone 7 Plus and Googled “Mellamo”, only to discover that it means “my name is”. That caused me to resume petting with one hand and lifting the tag with the other; maybe I misread, because who calls their cat Peso? Crazy thing, makes sense. He is one big boy, and the name translates to “weight” (or so says Google). He is Maine Coon size but leaner. 

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Fraidy

A combination of circumstances complicated capturing today’s featured feline. On May 20, 2017, early evening, I walked down Mission Cliffs towards Trolley Barn Park, where movie “ET: The Extraterrestrial” would be shown on a humungous air-inflated screen. At Park Blvd., a skittish kitty skirted across my way around a parked car. I got down low and looked for the flighty beast. Problem: I couldn’t make out anything in the viewfinder. Either the Diopter Adjustment knob easily moves out of place, or (more likely) my vision changes throughout the day. So I shot blind so to speak.

The other problem is about software intelligence. I switched everything to auto, to compensate for the viewfinder problem. But the Leica Q didn’t adjust the settings for my shooting situation. The cat briskly moved to my flank across a front yard to a second car (the Featured Image) then over another lawn and onto the sidewalk, trotting away. Vitals: f/1.7, ISO 100, 1/80 sec, 28mm; 7:32 p.m. PDT. Many of the other shots are 1/60 sec. Auto-set higher ISO and faster shutter would have made a better moment. There are reasons why the camera has manual controls. But blinded, I didn’t see what needed correction.