Category: Critters

Read More

Another Stand Off!

What’s up with my passing by feline territorial skirmishes? There was Ash and Bandit in late May 2021 and now Goose (left) and Jasmine, which respective yards are separated by an apartment building parking lot. All four animals are profiled in my “Cats of University Heights” series.

My wife and I came upon the pair, yowling and tensing forward or retreating outside Goose’s home. That’s right, Jasmine was the aggressor. But sometime later, after I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image, she backed through the fence and he pursued. Somebody pulled up and parked a car, which broke the territorial tension.

Read More

The Photographer’s Friend

I am reluctant to post pics of myself, but this one presents opportunity to pay photographic homage to my wife, who captured the Featured Image using her iPhone XS. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 25, 1/1748 sec, 26mm (film equivalent); 1:01 p.m. PDT, today. Thank-you, Annie.

We walked by the house where live Bruce (pictured) and Guido, both of which are profiled in my “Cats of University Heights” series, and the fluffier feline came on to the sidewalk to visit.

Read More

A Bird Poses

I don’t typically shoot bird portraits—yet here is another within three days (remember the seagull). But an unexpected opportunity presented early this evening. As my wife and I walked along Mississippi Street, between Monroe and Meade, in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood, we came upon a wayward dove (correct my identification if mistaken). It made no attempt to fly off as Annie passed, so I stopped and pulled around Leica Q2.

As the shutter clicked for the first of two shots, I realized that while the electronic viewfinder presented a green outlined box indicating focus the bird was blurry. Ditto for the second (half-press), so with the dove staying still, I turned the camera’s manual focus ring and produced the Featured Image (do click the link see this one bigger).

Read More

Seagull Shopper

My wife and I drove down to Westfield Mission Valley today to take advantage of an expiring coupon: One free pastry from Panera. She chose the Kitchen Sink Cookie—so large two hands are required to hold it. Walking, while she consumed, we encountered a seagull so squawky that it more or less honked like a goose. The thing prattled about looking for food, presumably, making no attempt to fly off as shoppers passed by. I wondered if he might be wing-injured. Annie wanted to share some cookie but rightly worried that the one sweet thing wouldn’t be good food for the other sweet thing. Yeah, we found the bird endearing as it weaved about shoppers.

I brought Leica Q2 Monochrom to the mall and used the camera to capture the Featured Image. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/320 sec, 28mm; 2:32 p.m. PDT. We briefly continued, then I stopped and asked Annie if she minded my going back for more photos. Happily munching, she motioned me on. As I approached, a couple with a stroller stopped to gawk at the bird, seemingly unaware that they had cornered the thing between a store’s window and sidewalk sign. The gull’s only escape route was inside the shop, and that is where it briefly fled.

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Loki

A few weeks ago, my wife made acquaintance with one of two black putty-tats that live in the same house. I started looking for him and twice saw a shorthair cross the street and jump a fence into a neighbor’s yard. Based on that behavior, he was most likely Loki (I don’t know the other’s name). But on neither instance did I see him upon reaching the location.

Three days ago, as Annie and I approached site of the previous sightings, Loki cautiously crept into the street with nose to the asphalt. There he stopped and sniffed a dead squirrel. Annie stayed on the opposite side of the street, which I crossed bringing me close to the fence. About that time a car came along and the cat fled to safety between two parked vehicles. Then he saw me and surprisingly visited.

Read More

Bunny Beware

I invested considerably longer time than typical editing and recomposing the Featured Image. The foreground lawn was flush with sunlight, while the bunny sat stilly in the shadows. The crop puts the rabbit lower in the frame than my preference but better presents ambient lighting—that is within my arguably limited Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic skills.

The portrait comes from Leica Q2, today, along Mississippi Street between Adams and Madison in San Diego’s University Heights district. During our previous 13 years living here, cottontail sightings were rare occurrences. But something is different in 2021—my wife or I see the little hoppers fairly frequently and not at expected early or late day. Surprising timestamp for the photo: 9:24 a.m. PDT. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/200 sec, 28mm.

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Honcho

When first approaching this kitty, I thought he might be Ginger, who was profiled in the series three years ago. Both appeared along Louisiana Street on either side of Meade—towards El Cajon for the newcomer and closer to Monroe for the other. While the faces bear some similarity, fur markings and tails differ enough for separate identification.

The feline walked uncharacteristically slow—sign of older age—but with sure-footed commanding charisma and presence. That’s why I chose nickname Honcho. I used iPhone XS to capture the Featured Image, today, at 10:57 a.m. PDT. After he swaggered past, Honcho ducked between a hedge and cottage exterior wall. I returned just after six this evening, when many cats would be out and about as sunset approached. He surprised by being still huddled up in the same safe spot. I wouldn’t have seen him if not knowing to look.

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Posy

The sixty-eighth Alabama Street kitty—this one between Howard and Polk—is also the seventy-second seen behind door or window. The Featured Image and companion won’t win awards for composition, but, hey, you work with what you got—and I had seconds to shoot both portraits because of parking cars. Vitals, same for both, aperture manually set: f/4.5, ISO 100, 1/640 sec, 28mm; 9:50 a.m. PDT, June 30, 2021. I captured a photo of Noir, hours later, along the parallel Florida.

This fine feline earns nickname Posy for the natural bouquet of flowers running up the side of the apartment building. The first crop shows off them more, while the other gives greater attention to Posy. Both come from Leica Q2.

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Noir

Perhaps on some future day, when I walk down Florida between Meade and Mission, this black shorthair will present for better portrait than the Featured Image. None of the four shots, taken at different approaching distances, is truly sharp. Besides, all the clutter distracts from the subject so much that this edit is 100-percent desaturated.

The portrait disappointingly comes from Leica Q2, which I shouldn’t expect to make up for my shooter shortcomings every time. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 500, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 4:38 p.m. PDT, June 30, 2021. This fine feline earns nickname Noir because of its classic posture (befitting monochrome) and for fur color; the word is French for black.

Read More

The Cats of University Heights: Romper

Happy Caturday! On June 27, 2021, my wife joined me walking by where I had seen Husky nine days earlier. Annie would enjoy visiting the ginger, and I hoped for daylight, rather than twilight, portrait. Instead, a lively kitten, wearing a bell collar, frolicked from under a parked car. He was most energetic and, as such, proved to be a photographic challenge.

The rascal divided his attention between us and two bags of food garbage that somebody left on the sidewalk beside a nearby dumpster. He played, rather than rummaged, about them—upon which he rolled about marking his scent. But he also appeared interested in something, which could have been bugs lured to the refuse. Cats hunt.

Read More

Neko in the Blades

We let outside one of our two cats for romps in the apartment building courtyard. Neko is older, slower, and too big to fit under the front gate. Cali is younger, quicker, and skinny enough to squeeze through in pursuit of birds or squirrels. He asks to go outdoors, she doesn’t (thankfully). Today, Neko played hide-and-seek, so to speak, among the center area greenery. I happened to be carrying Leica Q2, because we (Annie and me) had prepped for a neighborhood walk before letting the fluffball walkabout; supervised, as usual.

The Featured Image is nearly a 100-percent crop. Yep, the camera captures loads of detail—and I can trust the autofocus, even shooting through foliage. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/320 sec, 28mm; 1:43 p.m. PDT.