Tag: iPhone X

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My Personal Tech Kit 2018

I am a big believer in change, as being beneficial, and I will occassionally switch computing platforms to shake up habits and my digital lifestyle. Watching Google’s advances with Assistant, and anticipating release of a new Pixel Chromebook, I expected to swap out my Apple gear before end of the year. But that isn’t the case. I start 2018 pretty much as I did 2017—looking at that bitten-fruit logo on my major personal devices.

There is the 15.4-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar that I purchased during the last week of November 2016. The other three gadgets released last year and replace like gear: Apple Watch Series 3 LTE (Stainless Steel); iPad Pro 10.5 LTE; iPhone X. Additionally, there is an Apple TV 4K in the living room. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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: Willow

Along Alabama Street—on the same block where live Goldie, Itchy Valentino, Mr. Kitty, and Nine—there plays 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 dubbed the shorthair: Frolic, for how quickly she gets around (On Feb. 19, 2018, I met the owner and learned her real name: Willow). The cat is energetic and playful; I wish she 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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iPhone X is a Surprisingly Super Shooter

Approaching rush hour on 805 marks my walk along Adams Ave. above to Pet Me Please, where I learned a valuable lesson. Always call ahead. I used Siri to check normal business hours, but there were none. A sign on the door announced that the shop would be (uncharacteristically) closed today because of the “Lilac wildfire“. Well, frak me. At least I got some good exercise and shot of slowing traffic.

I captured the Featured Image at 3:16 p.m. PST, through a small opening in the overpass bridge chain-link fence, using iPhone X. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/810 sec, 6mm. The image is an auto-generated HDR composite.

Tech reviewers rave about Pixel 2 XL’s photographic charms; they can have Google’s smartphone. I am wholly impressed with Apple’s tenth anniversary handset, which is a suprisingly super shooter compared to my (now discarded) 7 Plus—or any other cellular mobile to find its way into my grubby paws. 

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Fallen Fronds

Late yesterday afternoon, I walked over to University Heights West to survey the wind damage around our old place. Palm fronds littered roads and sidewalks pretty much everywhere. Strong Santa Ana winds, unusual for this time of year, roared through San Diego County, driving raging wildfires north of the city.

At the corner of Cleveland and Monroe Avenues is a massive-trunk palm tree that dominates the intersection and much of the street. As I walked up, a young woman had just finished collecting the fallen fronds. She was being neighborly, by picking up debris that littered sidewalk and street. But taking risk. Even when winds aren’t roaring that tree drops chunks.