Category: Photo

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The Cats of University Heights: Zero

Three years ago today, I started this series with photo of an apparent stray nicknamed Scruffy. In a neighborhood with a bazillion dog walkers, I expected to exhaust the potential population of felines within 30 days—perhaps a few weeks longer, if lucky. How many cats could there possibly be in woof-woof paradise? Thirty-six months later, not only is this thing still going but should I choose to continue (maybe to that) a backlog of unpublished kitty portraits waits on camera(s) and computer. Quite deliberately, Zero’s profile is 300th; but I waited too long to tell his story and that of his mates.

Our tale begins on July 12, 2019, when, while walking along Georgia Street, I spotted a sleeping, sunning ginger who looked lots like Reddy—and on the wrong side of Madison, which is treacherous for people to cross let alone animals. So I purposely returned over the next several days to see; one week later, he appeared, along with two other beasties.

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The Cats of University Heights: Spunky

I can’t say why—because the composition, presented as shot, demands recropping—but this portrait appeals to me as is; oh-kay, I tweaked highlights and brilliance, but little else. Something from the backlog of unpublished profiles should go first, and I typically wait to get the real name when the beastie wears collar and tag. For now, I’ll call the kitty Spunky and move him (or her) to front of queue.

We briefly crossed paths on Oct. 9, 2019 along Lincoln, where it parallels Washington, which the Vermont Bridge crosses over. Along the same street stretch, which is a boundary between the neighborhood and another (Hillcrest), you might also see: CoolDainty, Glass, KittyLittle Miss, or Sky. The Featured Image comes from iPhone XS. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/144 sec, 52mm; 3:55 p.m. PDT.

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The Cats of University Heights: Chums

Among the 298 profiles in the series, nine others feature multiple animals. This one should show three beasties, but I only snatched shots of two. Barely. On June 18, 2019. The group hasn’t presented since, so after long delay—and dashed hopes of getting names from their tags as well as better portraits—here we are.

They’re preceded by (listed alphabetically, rather than chronologically):  Bonded Pair, BuddiesFerals, FriendsGazers, Georgia TwainMates, Siamese Twins, and Twain.

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The Cats of University Heights: Kitty (Oh, Boy)

The house,  editorial style for this series is one animal name, single-use only. But that approach stumbles when repeats appear—owner-given, not something I made up when not knowing the real one. Consider Charlies One, Two, Three, and Four as nomenclature nightmare examples. That brings us to our second Kitty, and gender switcheroo—the other being female.

I met Kitty and his owner on Sept. 9, 2019, while walking along Lincoln, between Maryland and Vermont, from the grocery store. He has been with her for about three years—and, if I rightly recall, the Tuxedo was abandoned by someone (or some family) who moved out of the neighborhood. Funny how these cat sightings are: I began this series around the same time the owner started caring for Kitty, and I have walked by the property many dozens of times since without seeing him. No wonder the number of furballs is seemingly constant.

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The Cats of University Heights: Namaste

On Sept. 11, 2019, setting out for a reminiscent walk recollecting the national calamity 18 years earlier, I consciously chose to leave behind a digital camera. The decision meant unexpectedly using iPhone XS to take portraits of Namaste, stretched out and shaded under a car. Grumble. I have returned since, several times, but the kitty hasn’t re-presented for better-quality shot.

According to Wikipedia, Namaste is a Hindu greeting, meaning: “I bow to the divine in you”. And, yes, that is the kitty’s real name, as reported by the owner who put the animal’s age at about one year. Namaste lives along Adams Ave., nearby E.T. and the now-deceased Alfredo and Shadow. Vitals for the Featured Image: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/489 sec, 52mm; 9:34 a.m. PDT. Other is the same, except for 1/484 sec.

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The Cats of University Heights: Pedro

Few felines in this series are as naturally, muscularly large as Pedro (real name). Peso is another. The forty-fifth Alabama kitty among the 295 profiles posted since the series start three years ago, Pedro lives in the same apartment complex as Penny. I am aware of five other furballs residing there—none featured. Yet.

Some late afternoons, Pedro’s owner lets the shorthair romp supervised about the building’s center courtyard, up the steps, and along the second-floor walkway. I captured the Featured Image and companion on Aug. 31, 2019, using iPhone XS. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/72 sec, 52mm; 4:57 p.m. PDT. The second is same but 1/96 sec and 5 p.m.

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The Cats of University Heights: Jedi

Amassing a backlog of unpublished kitty pics isn’t all bad. Delay posting the Featured Image generated opportunity to add some unexpected, and opportune, companions—all captured using iPhone XS. Vitals for the first, from July 3, 2019: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/197 sec, 52mm; 5:30 p.m. PDT. (Metadata records 6mm, but I now state film equivalent.)

Initially, I thought the black and white might be Boss, who lives on the same block of Louisiana. Fleeting sightings followed before one quite unexpected on September 3. As my wife and I walked along, Darth Mew ambled up purring and demanding attention. Presumably, he is companion to Princess Leia, who also resides on the street. He left us and moved unthreateningly into the driveway of the apartment building where lives the shorthair beastie, who hissed at the intruder.

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The Cats of University Heights: Steppy

Way, way, way behind with photographed furballs, my slow catchup begins with a Tuxedo sighted in the alley between Louisiana and Mississippi on Aug. 17, 2019. I haven’t seen the beastie since, but there is plenty of evidence: Cat scratcher put out in the morning and food/water dishes in the afternoon. As acceptable as the iPhone XS-snapped Featured Image is, a camera-captured portrait should be so much better. So I will keep looking.

I nickname the kitty Steppy, for location seen. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/165 sec, 52mm; 5:39 p.m. PDT. Metadata records 6mm, but I henceforth will state film-equivalent for Apple device shots.

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San Diego River, Mission Valley

While walking home from UltraStar Cinema in Mission Valley, after watching “Ad Astra” on opening day, I crossed over San Diego River along Mission Center Road. Ripples upon the water delighted my eyes, which demanded capturing the moment, and I did using iPhone XS.

The film, starring Brad Pitt and directed by James Gray, is in essence about the consequences of solitary living—astronaut Roy McBride, his hero father Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones), or all the living creatures (including humans) of Planet Earth. Somehow, looking down the river—even with the roar of Friday afternoon rush hour behind me—I experienced a moment of welcome solitude, ennobled by having just seen “Ad Astra”. Hence, the Featured Image and its companion.

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The Cats of University Heights: Zephyr

Later the same day—Aug. 11, 2019—that I met Dragon, another black and white presented, but blocks away, along Monroe between Campus and North. Zephyr (real name) is a friendly, seven year-old shorthair that I hadn’t seen before that sunny Sunday afternoon.

The Featured Image, and its companion, come from iPhone XS, which increasingly gets more usage than ever did Google Pixel 3 XL when I owned one. I carry a real camera less often, too. Vitals for the first portrait, using the secondary lens: f/2.4, ISO 40, 1/122 sec, 6mm; 4:14 p.m. PDT. The other: f/1.8, ISO 25, 1/1916 sec, 4.25mm; 4:13 p.m. Both pics are cropped 3:2.

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The Cats of University Heights: Sentry

About an hour before sunset, on Aug. 6, 2019, my wife and I spotted an orange tabby comically placed—or so it seemed to my dry, wry sense of humor. I snapped a quick pic using iPhone XS, and we moved along, as to not disturb the sleeper. Eight days later, the kitty opportunely presented in the same place; this time I carried along Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens, which produced the Featured Image (warning: 20MB file). Vitals, aperture and shutter speed manually set: f/8, ISO 500, 1/125 sec, 63mm; 4:34 p.m. PDT.

If somebody was supposed to be on guard duty, he shouldn’t siesta on the job. Hehe. For reasons hopefully obvious, the shorthair earns nickname Sentry. We saw him on Madison near the corner of Cleveland.

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Be Blue, Buggy

There is something oh-so-stereotypical about 1960s-70s Volkswagens and Southern California. For sure, vintage VWs are commonly sighted, and weather is one reason. With so much sun and so little rain to accommodate them, Cal cars […]