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The Cats of University Heights: Rocky

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Our second feline, following Jake, in the impromptu harnessed series is Rocky. I had heard about the Tortoiseshell and her house companion more than a year ago. But the 18-month- old rescues were indoor kitties. Yesterday, the owner brought out both for some supervised front lawn romping while wearing harnesses; it’s training for when leashes follow. BTW, unbelievably, Rocky is our thirty-fourth feline from Alabama Street, between neighborhood boundaries Adams and Lincoln.

You will meet Rocky’s buddy Peanut in the next profile. Both are rescue cats, and their adopted mom went with the intention of taking home one (Peanut) but couldn’t leave behind the other when learning that they had bonded while living at the shelter. Read More

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The Cats of University Heights: Jake

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For our last Caturday on Standard Time, before clocks jump (grumble, grumble) one hour ahead, we start an impromptu series of three harnessed felines. Two of them will lead us back to Alabama, where, for reasons that defy logic, more furballs have been seen than on any other street. But first we turn North—not the direction, but the avenue—between Madison and Monroe.

On March 7, 2019, while walking by where once lived Charlie and The Colonel, across the street I saw someone walking a handsome beastie. Of course, such sighting demanded investigation. I introduced myself to the friendly gent and met his beloved pet Jake. The kitty usually gets some out-in-the-yard supervised time; the harness and leash are the new thing, and Jake showed some resistance but not overt unwillingness to being outdoors this way. Read More

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The Cats of University Heights: Sphynx

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Break out the sunscreen! Before someone is burned! On February 28, 2019, while walking up Monroe Avenue—somewhere between Cleveland and Park—I spotted a hairless kitty, which is nicknamed for its breed. The putty-tat is the thirty-eighth to appear in the series behind glass (or screen).

I used Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens to capture the Featured Image and its companion; sun burst from behind a cloud for the second. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 500, 1/4000 sec, 63mm; 1:47 p.m. PST. The other is same, except ISO 640 and one minute later. While I walked, the shutter speed dial changed from Auto—probably from the camera rubbing against my hip. Read More

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The Cats of University Heights: Noble

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Along a stretch of Mission Avenue not far from the temporarily closed Valero gas station, on Feb. 26, 2019, I spotted a black-and-white that waited nobly statuesque along a door step—hence the nickname. The kitty stayed still for several portraits, including the Featured Image and its companion—both taken using Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens. Vitals for the first, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/200 sec, 63mm; 10:43 a.m. PST.

Spring foliage is lush all around San Diego because of ongoing heavy rains. The second photo is cropped to capture a different moment—of untypically brash green growth that elsewhere in the county could in autumn become dry tinder that feeds ravaging wildfires. Vitals are same, except 1/170 sec. Read More

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Lupe’s Last Day

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This afternoon, a real estate agent trapped Lupe, who was featured—along with companion Laramie—in my “Cats of University Heights” series (December 2017). Two weeks ago today, the animals’ owner left the pair behind, when he moved out of state. The gent rented the property that the three shared, along with two dogs, for 17 years. To her credit, the agent selling the place stepped up to assure the outdoor kitties would find a new home. (The guy also left behind goldfish, which a fourth grade school teacher adopted for her class.)

My feelings are deeply mixed about trapping and removing Laramie and Lupe. While walking down Alabama Street this morning, I spoke with neighbors worried about the abandons. One asked about adopting them. Another and I discussed the realistic possibility about caring for the pair as community cats—fed and kept in familiar territory. That would be my preference, although it is likely unrealistic. In my conversations with the realtor, who has been in contact with rescue groups, the animals’ future is tenuous if deemed to be unadoptable. They might not be put down, so to speak, but they could be put away in a feral colony. Neither belongs there, and I don’t believe Lupe would fare well. Read More

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They Missed One!

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Had the sign also stated “No Photography”, you likely wouldn’t be reading this text or looking at the Featured Image (warning: 20MB file), which I captured today using Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens. Strangely, I initially stopped—along Polk between Florida and Georgia in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood—because of the door, which color and wooden texture appealed to me. The sign merely made a reason to capture the moment. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/70 sec, 63mm; 9:25 a.m. PST

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The Cats of University Heights: Alley

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We end the second month of 2019 with what is questionably the thirty-third feline featured from Alabama. I first spotted this kitty more than four months ago—and several times since—before finally capturing a satisfactory portrait on February 12. The tabby occasionally hangs out between two buildings on Alabama and when approached always goes into the alley behind and across the way—hence the nickname (think alley cat) and use of questionably, since the beastie could live somewhere on Mississippi. That said, I have never seen Alley anywhere else. Interestingly, the cat repeatedly goes to the same spot to sit and stare at a wooden structure with no discernable openings to indicate something—such as another furball—is on the other side. Are there ghosts, perhaps? 😉

The Featured Image, which is close-cropped, comes from Fujifilm GFX 50R with Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens attached. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 100, 1/120 sec, 63mm; 1:51 p.m. PST. Read More

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Trick of Perspective

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Our kitties Cali and Neko share space on his favorite blankie, in a rare moment of territorial sharing earlier today. I pulled Google Pixel 3 XL from my jeans pocket, and snapped four quick portraits. The Featured Image is the final one, recropped 3:2 but otherwise unaltered. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 106, 1/120 sec, 4.44mm; 2:21 p.m. PST.

The ginger is considerably larger than the tortoiseshell, but you might think differently from the photo.

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The Cats of University Heights: Sly

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Dare I present another Alabama Street cat? The thirty-second? Recently, I have expanded my feline photo walks into rarely traversed parts of the neighborhood—like the many dead-end roadways—desperately searching for someplace that can match Alabama’s kitty sightings. Nowhere comes close, and I still cannot explain why.

That said, today’s beastie, whom I nickname Sly, was long sought after—and perhaps only a saddening situation could reveal him (or her). Late-summer 2018, I caught a brief look at the animal as it slinked down apartment complex stairs next door to where live Laramie and Lupe. While presenting glimpses a couple more times, the Siamese proved to be too skittish and quick-moving for my camera. Until yesterday.  Read More

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Boatload of Trouble

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Since starting the “Cats in University Heights” series in October 2016, no one has objected to my photographing their animals—until today. In fact, some neighbors have asked me to include their pets. The story: As I approached the multi-family dwelling where Blue and Valentine—both nicknames—reside, a skinny and frisky shorthair walked down the sidewalk alongside a nearby open-fenced yard. As I approached, the putty-tat retreated to the grass. From there, another feline moved my way, and I started clicking the shutter of Fujifilm GFX 50R, with attached Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens.

“Why are you taking pictures of my cats?” a woman calmly, but firmly, asked from behind a home’s security door. She didn’t step out onto the porch, and I couldn’t see her even while looking straight on from the sidewalk. I explained about my photographic project that started two-and-a-half years ago. My demeanour was friendly then, and when asking the name of the kitty whose portraits I had just taken. Gaping silence followed. “It’s okay, you don’t have to tell me”, I interjected, trying to diffuse any tension.  Read More

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The Cats of University Heights: Starlet

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What a surprise! Yesterday, while walking along Mission Cliff Drive, I spotted what would be the fifth feline profiled from the street. The others: Aylin, CupcakeFraidy, and Tabby. Being so skinny, the lush longhair looked like a stray. But that impression evaporated with presentation of the bushy—and clearly manicured—tail. This lovely belongs to someone.

The kitty was cautious, not offish, but definitely kept back from any approach. As such, the Featured Image and companion are both close crops. I captured the pair using Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens. I had manually set aperture before going out and accidentally knocked the shutter speed dial from auto to 1/4000. Yikes! Vitals for both: f/5.6, ISO 1000, 1/4000 sec, 63mm; 11:01 a.m. PST.  Read More