Category: Critters

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The Cats of University Heights: Quizzical

While walking down Mission, today, I heard constant meowing across the street and wondered: Where? How’s an apartment’s second floor balcony. Closing in, I pleaded with the kitty not to jump. Surely my human talk was gibberish at best.

That said, my approach silenced the shorthair, who cocked its head and posed. Several times—almost like I had been beckoned to come and shoot portraits. Cue the Twilight Zone music for the episode about mind-reading cats.

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Lonely Locust

We take yet another break from the New Vision Christian Fellowship building destruction (and replacement). Dual problems plague us this evening: ants and uncharacteristically unavailable Internet access. To save time and keep posting simple, please regard this locust (not a grasshopper, right?) seen on Sept. 20, 2022.

I used Leica Q2‘s Macro mode, which is activated by turning a ring around the f/1.7 Summilux lens, to capture the Featured Image. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, 28mm; 6:16 p.m. PDT.

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The Cats of University Heights: Tracker

When seeing this tabby, I assumed that it must be either Defender or Dodger, both of which were photographed within territorial vicinity. But markings are distinctly different. Unfortunately, I couldn’t approach close enough to read name on the tag.

My wife and I encountered the shorthair in the alley separating Campus and North. I shot portraits using iPhone 13 Pro and Leica Q2; the Featured Image comes from the camera. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/80 sec, 28mm; 6:14 p.m. PDT, Sept. 11, 2022.

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The Cats of University Heights: Nugget

Look who came to visit as my wife and I walked to Smart & Final today. This friendly fella is the ninety-third putty-tat found along Alabama between boundaries Adams and Lincoln. Nearly six years into the series, I cannot answer why so many kitties are from the one street.

I used iPhone 13 Pro to capture the Featured Image and companion. Vitals: f/1.5, ISO 50, 1/1100 sec, 26mm; 10:20 a.m. PDT. The other is same but 1/1079 sec.

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The Cats of University Heights: Homey

Why would anyone own a camera? I ask because of my unexpected experience this evening with Night Mode when shooting iPhone 13 Pro. A day filled with distraction, including an ant attack on our kitties’ food dishes, disrupted my normal walking routine. Around 8:30 p.m. PDT, I slipped out for fresh air and quick jaunt.

Twelve minutes later, along Texas Street, I passed by a cat curled up on steps before a home’s security door. I kept walking, then turned back. The sleeper was quite illuminated, under the porch light, which created possibly satisfying portrait. When I pressed the shutter button, a countdown timer appeared on the screen. That’s new, I thought, not knowing that Night Mode automatically activates and behaves such.

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The Meowers of Bark Boulevard

Hurricane Kay brought nominal relief, on Sept. 8, 2022, as it skirted along the Pacific coastline of Baja California and San Diego County. Cloud cover made muggy air and peak temperature of 32.7 Celsius (91 F) more tolerable. My wife and I took advantage, setting out on a mid-morning walk. While trudging down a side alley perpendicular to Mississippi Street, we came upon a mural that I hadn’t seen before.

We had passed by Bark Boulevard, which fronts El Cajon Blvd, often enough. The family-owned business provides doggy daycare and overnight boarding services—hence the name. So I was surprised to see some homage to cats, along the back.

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The Cats of University Heights: Retro

This morning, I saw someone walking a small dog—until my wife corrected: “No, that’s a cat!” Seconds later, a second kitty appeared—the ever-frolicking Mittens, who energetically engaged the other, which welcomed the play.

Retro (real name) is well-acquainted with Mittens, who has grown into quite the stunning shorthair, since joining the series in March 2022. The two often engage through a window, making something special today’s prancing about.

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The Cats of University Heights: August

The month ends with a namesake. Not knowing whether she was adopting a male or female kitten, the caretaker chose something gender-neutral—later learning she had a she. For our series, the putty’s portrait languished nearly seven months for the arrival of today, when August could appear in August.

I used iPhone 13 Pro to capture the Featured Image on Feb. 3, 2022. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 80, 1/120 sec, 77mm; 12:05 p.m. PST. August is the ninety-first Alabama Street cat between boundaries Adams and Lincoln. She also is the one-hundred-first feline found behind either window or door.

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The Gardener and Her Friend

A neighbor looks on Ash, one of the “Cats of University Heights“, who has come for some affection. He isn’t her kitty, but she knows him well. The homeowners, husband and wife, keep a beautiful butterfly garden, about which Monarchs are commonplace. Perhaps you recall the chalked “caterpillar crossing” on their sidewalk, a few months back.

The Featured Image is memorable for timing: Jan. 20, 2020. Days later, China locked down Wuhan to combat what would come to be called SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2) that manifests as disease COVID-19. The photo marks a moment of normalcy before a global response closed businesses and ordered citizens to shelter in place. Who could guess what would be?

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The Cats of University Heights: Lanky

In the alley behind Alabama, but clearly living opposite off of Florida, a tabby waited next to a fence on Aug. 16, 2022. She approached and passed, more disturbed by my pulling out iPhone 13 Pro than interested in visiting me. Some kitties are attention-seekers; not this one.

The Featured Image captures the first sighting and the companion going by to the apartment building where she presumably lives. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 32, 1/255 sec, 77mm; 9:47 a.m. PDT. The other is same but 1/99 sec.

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Lunch Break!

Before SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns temporarily closed San Diego Zoo and precipitated price increases, my wife and I frequently walked about there. Those days are gone.

But remembering is good. On Aug. 15, 2019, when I captured the Featured Image, the economy was robust, inflation nominal, interest rates low, and Donald Trump the unbeatable candidate for the 2020 Presidential Election. Wow, three years ago feels like decades passed—measured by how much is upended. Global recession advances. Inflation roars. Interest rates rise. And the gaffe-prone Joe Biden is president (and the nation’s, ah, senile grandpa). Oh, yeah, who could forget the Russian-Ukraine war, U.S.-China tensions about Taiwan, or famine affecting millions of people.