Category: Fuji

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The Cats of University Heights: Savvy

I first observed this beauty sometime in late February or early March 2019—and a fair number of times since but more frequently during the past month, when being accustomed to my presence she started approaching for pats as I walked by. On November 6, I carried along Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens, which I sold nine days ago. Vitals for the Featured Image, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/160 sec, 63mm; 8:40 a.m. PST.

Because she sits before a building’s street number, I won’t identify the street—for her safety and privacy of whomever the owner might be—other than that she lives somewhere on the West side of Park Blvd. (That’s a sizable number of possible apartments or homes. Don’t bother being a sleuth.) The frisky feline earns nickname Savvy for apparently being—and let’s hope that she is—street smart.

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The Cats of University Heights: Dash

I can’t recall exactly where in the neighborhood lives this tabby. Maybe Madison, approaching The Point, but there is no record, which typically would be a phone photo to GPS-identify location. There isn’t one. The feisty, focused feline moved along too quickly pursuing something. Many months later, my memory fades. I do recall passing posting a profile, in hopes of a better portrait and identification (from collar and name tag). Waiting is over.

I captured the Featured Image (warning: 18MB file) on June 23, 2019 using Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens, which I sold last week. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/150 sec, 63mm; 12:19 p.m. PDT. The cat earns nickname Dash, for his (or her) speedy departure and chase—given the foliage and time of day, lizard likely.

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The Cats of University Heights: Meadow

Happy Thanksgiving! Our series returns with a many months-old portrait that is outdated. The kitten is an adult now—still quite frisky, quick-footed, and playful enough that I can’t capture a moment better than this one. So here we are, near the end of November, presenting a Featured Image from Feb. 25, 2019.

The feline frolics around where can be found Blue, Blue Two, Chub, and Valentine. The kitty earns nickname Meadow, for the lush greenery that surrounds it. The photo comes from Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens, which I sold last week. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/105 sec, 63mm; 11:09 a.m. PST.

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Hey, Let’s Throw Some Dirt Bikes in Back and Go Ridin’

For about a week last month, I passed by this truck parked on the adjacent street from our apartment. San Diego has a 72-hour limit for staying in one location, and the day I captured the Featured Image, the city’s parking patrol had placed a pink warning notice on the windshield. Since, the vehicle is off-street outside a nearby apartment building.

Vintage vehicles are quite common in Southern California, which sunny climate extends their potential lifespans compared to states like, say, Maine or Virginia, where harsh humidity or precipitation are aging elements. Consider this other long-lifer, a Rambler remembered with kitty Nelson from my “Cats of University Heights” series in December 2017. Months later, someone placed a “for sale” sign in the rear window. In another universe, an alternate version of me bought that classic.

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Fly Away, Fujifilm GFX 50R

Yesterday, I sold my medium-format camera to a fascinating Millennial living in Oceanside, Calif., where we met at his family’s small business to complete the transaction, which included my receiving a 2020 wall calendar with illustrative photos that he had taken (oh, they’re impressive). Yep. My Fujifilm GFX 50R is gone.

I had considered letting go the digicam for some time, reluctantly. While the 50R’s image quality is magnificent, the massive camera and attached Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens often scares off animals or intimidates people (e.g., I get suspicious reactions). Time had long-ago come to go discreet, for the street.

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Hat Tip to Leica Q

For weeks, I have walked by this hat hanging from a tree along Alabama Street in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood. Finally, today, while out and about with Leica Q, I stopped for a shot. The Featured Image is a near 100-percent crop of the companion photo, which is composed as captured. I drew out highlights, but made no other edits. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/1600 sec, 28mm; 2:27 p.m. PST.

The hat, whether original or cropped, shows the fantastic detail that the Q’s f/1.7 Summilux lens and full-frame sensor combo captures. Beautiful Bokeh, too. The Leica continues to satisfy, more than 30 months later. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Hero

This profile breaks a steadfast rule: Only spotlight felines that live in the neighborhood; those that move away or pass away are ineligible from participating in the series. Problem: The ginger was a resident when I captured the Featured Image, on July 19, 2019, using Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens. His family relocated before I could clear enough of the backlog of photographed, but unpublished, kitties.

Because the beastie was frenemy with Zero, and is missed by the black, he earns exemption and nickname Hero. He lived on Georgia, between Madison and Monroe, in an apartment building across the street from Zero and the new home of Reddy, whose current caretaker has renamed Jinx. Photo vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/240 sec, 63mm; 3:54 p.m.

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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: 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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Making Monarch Moments

Surely weather is major explanation: Monarchs are uncharacteristically present this summer. I see more around University Heights than any year since moving our family to San Diego in October 2007. I wondered while walking around the neighborhood: How effective a photographic tool could be Fujifilm GFX 50R for capturing butterflies? After all, composing is deliberate rather than quick, and the Fujinon GF63mmF.28 R WR lens isn’t specifically designed for macro (e.g. close-up) work. I have experimentally used the oversized camera as a street shooter—since acquiring it in February 2019 to replace my Leica M10, which a Mexican wedding photographer purchased from me late last year.

The massive medium-format sensor collects heaps of data, which makes shooting with a 50mm-equivalent prime lens surprisingly satisfying. In post-production, I can crop in close, retaining amazing detail—something that the Featured Image and first companion demonstrate. The 50R is able enough, and more. Question answered.

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The Cats of University Heights: Misty

Our landlord is imposing a 4.1-percent rent increase, about which we gripe but probably shouldn’t—given that the 2-bedroom trend in San Diego is a ridiculous 16.6 percent. Timing is opportunity to reconsider options, so my wife and I are exploring them. One of the initially more appealing apartments is on Cleveland, south of Meade, and would reduce our yearly housing cost by $3,000. In the online listing’s photos, a cat approaches the back door. Annie and I saw the fluffball waiting at the front door, seemingly greeting us, as we walked by the place on Aug. 4, 2019. Assuming that the animal’s owner likely will leave the neighborhood soon, since the apartment is supposed to be available on September 1, I pushed the profile ahead of others.

Once again, I used Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens to make the moment, which required some careful editing and thoughtful composition. Initially, I cropped so that the door and windows could be seen, which put the feline low down. The Featured Image is somewhat disrupted by the foreground fence but works better by bringing the beastie more to eye level, which—for want of a better word—creates more immediacy. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 63mm; 10:11 a.m. PDT.