Tag: animals

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The Cats of University Heights: Tango

On April 17, 2021, as my wife and I walked westward along Meade, approaching North, an orange tabby moved up the steps and onto the porch of the property where lives Captain Blackbeard. The cat door that lets Blackie come and go responds to his microchip. The interloper could make no unwanted entrance. As we drew near, the kitty, earning nickname Tango, skirted under a parked car in the driveway—where I captured the Featured Image using Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/2500 sec, 28mm; 10:51 a.m. PDT.

Among the edits, done in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic, I reduced the intensity of green in the grass, which otherwise distracted from Tango rather than color-complemented his fur coat.

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The Cats of University Heights: Majestic

For about two months, I have watched for a feline to appear in a second-floor cat tree. Among the handful of sightings, glass glare from the morning sun made any meaningful portrait majorly difficult to capture. What luck! On April 27, 2021, the beastie materialized in a different window, which also was free from obstruction below. For fixed, rapt gaze, and proud posture, the orange tiger-stripe earns nickname Majestic.

I captured the Featured Image using Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/640 sec, 28mm; 9:30 a.m. PDT. Majestic, who is the sixty-sixth kitty seen behind door or window, overlooks the alley separating Alabama and Mississippi between Meade and Monroe.

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The Cats of University Heights: Annie

Aged Annie joins the series as the 400th profile since number one on Oct. 17, 2016. I first photographed her on Oct. 7, 2020, but the Featured Image is from Jan. 24, 2021—same day that I shot fallen fronds from the slightly-shaved Bearded Tree, which is now gone. I delayed posting her portrait, hoping to also add her housemate, who is let out (and brought inside) earlier in the morning than I typically meander by the property. The other cat also hides from me among the parked cars.

But considering this milestone post, and deciding which kitty to mark it, sweet, slow Annie had to be the one. Both beasts live on Alabama, making her the 64th featured from the street between boundaries Adams and Lincoln. She resides on the same block as Bella, Fuki, Mane, Mitsie, Mustachio, Peanut, Penny, Rocky, and Schroeder.

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The Cats of University Heights: Schroeder

The series‘ 399th feline is also the 63rd seen on Alabama between boundaries Adams and Lincoln. Why baffles me. But that works out to 16 percent of the total. Louisiana sightings rise, likewise Madison, but far fewer than the other street.

My wife and I happened upon Schroeder in the alley between Alabama and Mississippi just as his owner popped open a gate looking for him. He resides in the same home as Peanut and Rocky—and the mighty Monkey before he passed away three years ago.

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The Cats of University Heights: Mr. Frankie

While walking along Louisiana Street and talking to my sister in Florida (yes, the state), I spied a woman with a leashed orange kitty up ahead. Sis got the “call you back in 2 minutes” request; I moved along and asked permission to take photos of two-year-old Mr. Frankie. He posed between leash-pulls, trying to chase a butterfly, and I used iPhone XS to make his portraits. Vitals for the Featured Image and companion: f/1.8, ISO 25, 1/3086 sec, 26mm (film equivalent); 9:51 a.m. PDT, today.

Bunch of cats live on that one block, currently: AngeloDaniel Tiger, Darth Mew, FluffyHuck, Peach, and Pepto—that I know of. Possibly passed away, moved away, or kept indoors: GingerJedi, Milo, and Princess Leia. Some of these, or others, come by to visit Mr. Frankie, outside his home—and some territorial squabbling occurs among them, his owner says.

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The Cats of University Heights: Leery

I continue to review older, unpublished photos and reconsider some of them for the series. The Featured Image, captured on June 28, 2017 using Leica Q, earns a place after I played around with several cropped compositions. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 4:45 p.m. PDT. Nickname: Leery.

I don’t even recall taking this one but see why the rejection. Nearly four years later, subtle improvements in my craft and adapted attitudes about what makes an acceptable portrait lead me to look differently at the grey being partially obscured. The foliage, grass, and shadows are emotional elements—immediately transportive for anyone whose house and yard looked anything similar. Something else appealing: The scene doesn’t look, or feel, anything like San Diego—no cactus, palm trees, or succulents.

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The Cats of University Heights: Spooky

Since seeing this black on Oct. 19, 2019, I have watched for a reappearance. Call me unlucky, for there being none; the Featured Image isn’t the desired portrait; profile view is okay but barely. I used iPhone XS to make the moment, which location isn’t shared because of the visible address number. Neighbors deserve some respect of privacy. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/1261 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 5:18 p.m. PDT.

The shorthair earns nickname Spooky, for Halloween Cat color and nearby holiday decorations. Spooky is the sixty-fifth feline seen behind door or window.

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The Cats of University Heights: BonBon

As the 400th profile approaches (you’re reading number 395), I once again consider retiring the series, which started on Oct. 17, 2016 with expectation that there couldn’t be more than 30 cats in a neighborhood dominated by dog owners. I figured making a month of posts, perhaps six weeks, and no more. Here we are still, today, nearly four-and-a-half years later.

Sometime in 2019, along Florida between Madison and Monroe, I started seeing a white sunning in a window several afternoons a week. Numerous is the number of times I stopped to take a photo but refrained, thinking the kitty might be Sugar, whose portrait was captured in July 2018. The newcomer lives in the same building but never presented enough identifying detail—spot on forehead and tiger-striped tail—or lack thereof. That is until Jan. 22, 2021: No markings, different cat.

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The Cats of University Heights: Amanda Too

Beauty Amanda was a fixture along Meade between Florida and Mississippi through the end of 2018. Then she disappeared about the same time as the owners of LilyTiger, Persepolis, and Sebastian moved away. Since she frequently visited the home—and the residents gave her another name—I assumed they took her, too.

But then, on Dec. 28, 2019, a grey looking like her—but missing collar with distinctive purple name tag—appeared on a property at the corner of Alabama and Meade. I used iPhone XS to shoot several portraits, editing the Featured Image but refraining from publishing. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/1089 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 2:08 p.m. PST.

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The Cats of University Heights: Gallant

Along Cleveland Ave. on Valentine’s Day 2021, my wife and I spotted a harnessed black-fur outside one of the street’s larger-looking single-family homes. No leash was apparent, but there was an open front door, and—not meaning to snoop—through which we caught glimpse of an older couple watching Sunday morning television. We hadn’t seen the brightly-green-garmented beastie before and not since.

I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image, which is cropped nearly 100 percent. Vitals, aperture oddly set: f/5, ISO 100, 1/500 sec, 28mm; 9:25 a.m. PST. For no particular reason other than intuition, I nickname this fine feline Gallant.

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The Cats of University Heights: Mane

We return to Alabama for the sixty-first kitty from the street, between boundaries Adams and Lincoln. This magnificent ginger is also sixty-third seen behind door or window. The longhair is third, following Goose and Olive, of five newcomers on the same block. And, finally, the cat resides in the apartment directly below the flat where once lived Holiday (family moved away). For fabulous ruff, the animal earns nickname Mane.

I first spotted the beauty on Sept. 7, 2020, sitting on a cat tree looking out an open window. But I couldn’t produce a portrait on that day or others; unsatisfactory lighting is reason. Then, unexpectedly, on Feb. 18, 2021, Mane appeared in a side window, while workers whacked to pieces a beautiful palm tree in front of the building. The Featured Image comes from Leica Q2. In post-production, I used DxO ViewPoint 3 to align the lines. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/1250 sec, 28mm; 11:33 a.m. PST.