Tag: animals

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The Cats of University Heights: Speckle

Call me surprised for finding another Alabama cat—fifty-fourth seen between boundaries Adams and Lincoln. I don’t walk down the street significantly more often than others, so the number of beasties baffles me. The ginger and I met in the parking lot of the same building where lives Mercy.

The shorthair earns nickname Speckle, for the dash of white in the center of its M-mark—as you can see from the Featured Image and companion, which I captured using iPhone XS on Sept. 8, 2020. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 25, 1/597 sec, 26mm (film equivalent); 9:54 a.m. PDT. The other is f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/193 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 9:55 a.m.

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The Cats of University Heights: Frosty

As I write, the official temperature outside, based on GPS location, is 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius)—and aren’t we lucky: Only 94 F (34 C) inside the apartment. No sensible person in the temperate, San Diego coastal region uses an air conditioner; we live about 10-minute drive to the ocean but even this far away the sea breeze is fairly constant. Not today! Suddenly AC sure seems like a great relief.

On more pleasing Aug. 29, 2020, as my wife and I walked along New Jersey, a handsome Snowshoe Siamese strolled along a front yard. Of course, Leica Q2 was back at the flat. The Featured Image, captured using iPhone XS, would retain greater detail if taken with the camera. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/322 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 9:13 a.m. PDT.

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The Cats of University Heights: Chancy

Six weeks or so ago, my wife spotted what presumably is a Russian Blue sleeping along a second-floor balcony railing in the alley between Alabama and Florida. She walked there seeking shade from the ridiculously-named BLVD North Park further along. I joined her on occasional saunters, hoping to photograph the kitty—doing so on several walk-bys, but always with the beastie back to me. Finally, on Aug. 16, 2020, we had a meeting of the eyes, so to speak, that produced the Featured Image captured using iPhone XS. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/355 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 8:53 a.m. PDT.

The shorthair earns nickname Chancy for railing risk-taking and for the first sighting, which was purely by chance.

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The Cats of University Heights: Cocoa, Too

With each week in 2020 lasting lifetimes—and the ongoing chaos that pandemic, politics, and protests present—we need some furry relief. Pardon me. Did I neglect to mention the racial riots? What a year. Please release some of your stress by gawking at the second Cocoa to appear in our series. The first, whom we met in April 2017 and wanders West of Park Blvd, bears some resemblance to Burglar, who lives on the East side.

I encountered the beautiful black on July 26 along Alabama—making her, gasp, the fifty-third profile for the street between boundaries Adams and Lincoln. The cat’s owner, who was working in the yard where I saw Burglar in December 2017, told me her name—after I shot the Featured Image and companion using Leica Q2.

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The Cats of University Heights: Snowy

We celebrate International Cat Day with an odd find from Aug. 1, 2020: Snowy, who lives within a block of Benny and John Adams and like them wears a GPS collar. Nowhere else have I seen furballs so outfitted and must wonder: Why these three neighbors?

Snowy (yep, real name) bears some resemblance to poor Maeven, who was killed by a coyote last month. 🙁 I offered condolences to his owner on Nextdoor not long before I quit again; so I am no longer cat connected there.

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The Cats of University Heights: Alvin and LB

On Christmas Day 2016, I met Comet, Herman, RomanWillow, and their owner as she let the kitties run about for a few hours. The woman had lived in a studio apartment for 19 years. But a few months later, she and her pets were gone. The property owner decided to renovate the entire complex, ahead of haughty rent increases. That’s the sad state of San Diego affordable housing: Tenants paying less are evicted before improvements are made to woo residents willing to pay much more.

Three-and-a-half years would pass before I would see any felines frolicking about the same open courtyard: June 20, 2020. My wife and I spotted the shorthairs as we walked by. I stopped for some quick shots, using Leica Q2, before chatting with the owner, who said the Siamese is Alvin, and he calls the Russian Blue LB. Vitals for the Featured Image, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 250, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 9:36 a.m. PDT. In my rush to capture the moment before the cats moved—and they did seconds later—I failed to see the open mail box door encroaching on the frame; removing it majorly determined the edited composition.

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The Cats of University Heights: Rebel

The fifty-third kitty seen behind door or window appeared as my wife and I walked along Mission, between Georgia and Park, on July 17, 2020. Vitals for the Featured Image: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/452 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 9:17 a.m. PDT. On inspection, at home, I immediately liked the composition of the iPhone XS shot but not the “Black Lives Matter” sign above him. No amount of cropping could satisfy more—in fact less.

The problem? This series isn’t political, nor is it meant to be. Black Lives Matter isn’t just a slogan—it refers to an organization with political ambitions. For reasons too numerous for the tone of a furry feline profile, BLM is polarizing—or at least in this neighborhood. Since the riots started at the end of May, I have seen an undeniable pattern emerge across University Heights: Signs and posters in windows supporting BLM or American flags hanging outside homes—but not both. Citizens choose to voice whom or what they support by the icon displayed; for some people, that’s nothing whatsoever.

So after careful consideration, fourteen days later, with the qualifications explained above, please allow me to introduce to the series the ginger that I nickname Rebel.

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The Cats of University Heights: Hope

SInce shooting the Featured Image and its companion on Oct. 3, 2017, I have long considered adding the tabby to the series but refrained. The mesh on the patio that turned it into a catio obscured too much, particularly given distance away. But like Candor, the kitty earns a place, on reconsideration; he (or she) is the third presented catio cat (King and Jester are the others).

The furball earns nickname Hope, for longing look and my hoping that the beastie still lives in the apartment (unlikely), which is along Carmelina Drive and behind Old Trolley Barn Park. I used Leica Q and iPhone 7 Plus to capture both portraits, respectively. Vitals for the first: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, 28mm; 10:08 a.m. PDT. The other: f/2.8, ISO 20, 1/297 sec, 6.6mm; 10:04 a.m.

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The Cats of University Heights: Candor

To the present, we bring the past—and a portrait taken about three-and-a-half months after the series began, in October 2016. I am reviewing and reconsidering discarded kitty pics. The Featured Image, captured on Jan. 31, 2017 using iPhone 7 Plus, is among them. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 20, 1/1808 sec, 6.6mm; 1:31 p.m. PST.

I saw the feline, nicknamed Candor for no particular reason, once and never again—along Madison between Campus and North. He (or she) is the fifty-second profiled furball seen behind either window or door.