Tag: Leica Q

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Cali Squirrel Watches

I was mistaken when stating, before we moved into our new apartment, that cats Cali and Neko wouldn’t have as much to eyeball compared to the vantage down the alley from our previous second-floor view. They spend more time at the windows watching birds and other wildlife and less demanding our attention as relief from boredom.

In the front room, along the wrap-around windows, three Katris sets make a cat walk where Cali fixates over a squirrel that lives in a tree just outside. I could reach out and touch the leaves if not for the screen being there (thankfully). The view from my office looks out onto the same street. There sits my Belham Living Everett Mission Writing Desk, which hutch makes a great perch for the animals. Cali will run between rooms when the squirrel moves. She’s a smart one. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Tiger

Alabama, along a two-block stretch, delivers yet another friendly feline. These sightings surprise because the street, like a few others in the neighborhood, has no utility poles. Their absence immensely diminishes the presence of birds, which would otherwise perch on the wires. If there is so little prey, why are there so many predators? Even well-fed cats hunt and kill. It’s their nature. (Update: Not only are there birds but more squirrels than is typical; asked and answered.)

On no other street to either side of Park Blvd. have I seen more furballs than Alabama. Among the recent sightings: Goldie, GreyItchy Valentino (yes, real name), and Nine. In the alley behind: Spry. Several others will join the series when I get better portraits of them. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Smokey

Seven minutes after sunset, 6:32 p.m. PDT, on Oct. 7, 2017, I encountered yet another feline on Alabama, close to Meade. The kitty isn’t the first smokey grey in the series, but he is distinguished by having the color as name.

Mystery: The increasing number of cats recently seen on or around that street. Why here? Also from Alabama: Goldie, Itchy Valentino (yes, real name), and Nine. In the alley behind: Spry. On Meade or Monroe, respectively, close to the cross-street: Amanda and Loyal.

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The Cats of University Heights: Dancer

Yesterday, while walking up Mission Ave. towards Park Blvd., I watched a lanky tortoiseshell cross Georgia and gracefully go into an apartment complex parking lot. Her pace was slow and precise, and slim shape and long legs reminded me of a human dancer. Hence, the nickname she receives.

By the time I reached the parking spaces, the shorthair had gone into the building’s courtyard. As I knelt down with the Leica Q, she turned to see me and then strolled back. I almost gave this kitty nickname Kneady, or Kneedy. She received pats and attention for more than 10 minutes; when twice I knelt down on a knee, she stepped in close, put her front paws on my thigh, and kneaded. I got the sense she could be a real lap cat. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Mittens

Texas Street, which leads down into Mission Valley, demarcates one of my neighborhood’s major borders. A few homes back from the throughway, as I walked to Pizza Hut along Meade, a pretty tuxedo kitty greeted me on Oct. 2, 2017. She was so friendly that getting good portraits was next to impossible. Hence the odd selection presented.

We visited for a few minutes before I crossed Texas and started strutting up the steep incline beyond. Then I changed my mind and aborted plans to fetch a $6 three-topping medium pie special. I walked back towards the furball, who had remained on the sidewalk. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Crystal

Around the neighborhood, there are numerous nook-and-crany streets that dead into one of the canyons. Last night, I walked down several of them, for the first time in months, seeing a meandering, slow-moving siamese in one of the yards along Proctor Place.

The kitty approached me, initially. But when kneeling down to shoot, over a low-lying brick wall, I inadvertently nudged a green grated-metal door, which creaked. The furball stopped, but did not rush away. Rather, the kitty slowly strolled across the yard to an open security door and vanished. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Charlie, Too

On Sept. 27, 2017, for the second evening in a row, I observed a lean, orange furball in a yard on Campus Ave. between Meade and Monroe. Our first meeting was at 7:04 p.m. PDT—or nearly 30 minutes after sunset—when iPhone 7 Plus proved ineffective producing anything less than photos so overly-noisy that they could stand-in for bad impressionist painting knock-offs. Eh, no, to your question about there being some cool, new iOS 11 camera filter at work. Oh I wish!

The next sighting was earlier, 6:51 p.m. PDT for the Featured Image, but captured with the esteemed Leica Q about 14 minutes after sunset. Once again, the 28mm f/1.7 Summilux lens and 24-megapixel full-frame sensor delivered magnificently. This first pic is all about bokeh and narrow depth of field that draws the eye to the kitty’s face and head, which detail is super sharp. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/1.7, ISO 500, 1/60 sec, 28mm. That’s my wife petting him, BTW. 

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Home Buying Lessons from the Schoolhouse

Aug. 18, 2017. I travel back to San Diego after visiting my niece in Long Beach. Meanwhile, two blocks from our apartment, my wife attends an Open House for a cute, Spanish-style property listed for $586,000. Anne tells the seller’s real estate agent that we can’t afford to buy the place—an effective diversionary tactic. But the 900-square-footer is within our means, and we will nearly come to own it.

This is my story of wanting and walking away. I take with me disheartening lessons about the home real estate market. 

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Brownout!

They say timing is everything—good for comedy, bad for anything else. Yesterday, 10 minutes into recording a scheduled 2 p.m. PDT podcast, where I was the guest, the tone of palm tree-cutting/pruning outside changed from steadily annoying roaring to pitching alarming grinding. Simultaneously, and in near-perfect rhythm,  the lamp light by my desk started flickering. “Uh-oh”, I thought. “Somebody nicked a power cable”.

Skype skidded to a stop, as the electrical disruption reset the AT&T U-verse modem, which could no longer get enough juice to function. The lamp stayed on but dimly. Major appliances, the refrigerator being principal among them, went off. Out on the street, overly-excited neighbors blabbered so loudly that their combined voices matched the decibel range of the now silenced tree cutter. I had already worried that the sawing would become unwanted ambient background noise on the recording. Ugh, now this. 

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Work in Progress

Here in University Heights, at the corner of Cleveland and Meade Avenues, is American Market. Next month, the Wilcox family celebrates 10 years living in the neighborhood, and the one-stop shop has been a fixture […]

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The Cats of University Heights: Nine

Meet the third furball seen on Sept. 5, 2017, along the same Alabama block, between Adams and Madison. While Itchy Valentino hid under a car, Goldie howled at the tuxedo, who is ninth of that color-combo featured in this series, since its start 11 months ago.

The beastie had no collar, so I picked an arguably unimaginative name suited to the number of tuxedos. The others: Fraidy, JelliclePatience, PepePoser, Sammy, Spot, and Tux. I shot the Featured Image—and its companion—using Leica Q at 8:40 a.m. PDT. Vitals are identical for each, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 28mm. Both are crops, but neither is retouched.