Tag: animals

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The Cats of University Heights: Gypsy

On this date five years ago, the series started with a kitty nicknamed Scruffy—seen once and never again. A few months earlier, surgery in both eyes recovered my vision, remarkably also making it better than anytime earlier my life. Adjusting to a new way of seeing and also wanting to improve my photography skills, I chose cats as objects for my camera (and smartphone).

But I expected the project to be short-lived. As stated on Oct. 17, 2016: “I begin a new series that ends when the photos are all used”, thinking something like 30 days at most, given the pics already taken and the few additional to follow—because in a community dominated by dogs surely few cats could be found. Obviously, I was gravely mistaken; happily, if you prefer.

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Putty Pairs

While looking for kitties to profile in my “Cats of University Heights” series, I occasionally come upon some hanging out together—as is the case with the Featured Image, captured on Sep. 25, 2021. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 125, 1/125 sec, 28mm, 10:26 a.m. PDT. Daniel Tiger approaches Darth Mew. The cartoon character-named orange lives on Louisiana, while the Star Wars black often hangs out there.

A better pairing with Darth Mew is the photo essay accompanying Jedi (a nickname). The others are less friendly: A stand-off with Ash and Bandit—and another between Goose and Jasmine. They all share territory and are not housemates.

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Cluck, Cluck

When my wife and I walk past the home of Daniel Tiger, we sometimes hear chickens—could be along the side of the building or perhaps the backyard. Today, we saw one of them pecking about the frontage. I pulled out iPhone 13 Pro for some fast shots—and, of course, the bird repeatedly turned back-to as I clicked the electronic shutter.

The Featured Image is one two usable head-in-view portraits. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/122 sec, 77mm; 9:46 a.m. PDT. The telephoto range of the third lens is a welcome change over earlier models’ 52mm. Before going out, in camera settings, I flipped the switch enabling Apple ProRAW, expecting that would be the format for today’s captures. Nope. Unbeknownst to me, the user must tap RAW on the touchscreen to truly turn on the feature. Frak.

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The Cats of University Heights: A.C.

The seventy-seventh feline found behind door or window made a single appearance on Sept. 14, 2021. I hadn’t seen the beastie before that day and not since. While good at spotting furballs, I am not knowledgeable about cat breeds. If my online sleuthing is accurate, you are looking at the series‘ first American Curl.

I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image and iPhone XS for the companion, along Louisiana approaching Adams. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 12:25 p.m. PDT. The other: f/2.4, ISO 25, 1/149 sec, 52mm; 12:25 p.m.

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The Cats of University Heights: Jewel

The cruelty to the kitty backlog of still-to-be-published profiles: We skip to the front of the queue a tabby observed today—on Alabama, making this fine feline the seventy-fifth seen on the street since the series started five years ago this month.

Honey and Phil both live (if they still do) nearby where I passed by the tiger-stripe on my way to the Smart and Final (shopping for frozen tri-colored peppers, but none were available). I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/80 sec, 28mm; 4:06 p.m. PDT.

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The Cats of University Heights: Cutie

This series started on Oct. 17, 2016—as a whim. Not long before, I had surgery that recovered my eyesight and I also sought to improve my photographic skills. The two things combined into a quest to spot neighborhood kitties and to compose their portraits. I figured 30 days would be enough time, because how many cats could there be in dog-loving San Diego?

Still relatively early on, December 24 of that year, my wife and I came upon a woof-woof and meow-meow looking out a bay window. Nickname Watcher, the feline would be the first featured behind glass or screen—and by no means the last. On Sept. 26, 2021, I observed a different furball nestled inside the same window, making her the seventy-sixth seen as such.

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The Cats of University Heights: Droopy

We stay on Alabama for the seventy-fourth feline featured from the street between boundaries Adams and Lincoln; also the seventy-fifth looking out door or window. This tired, sunning shorthair earns nickname Droopy.

I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image on Aug. 4, 2021. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/640 sec, 28mm; 10:15 a.m. PDT.

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The Hitchcockian Moment

I count more than 70 birds in the Featured Image, captured by Leica Q2 on Sept. 25, 2021. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/640 sec, 28mm; 3:20 p.m. PDT. I came upon them while walking along Adams Ave. at Boundary Street on my way to Pet Me Please in Normal Heights. What you don’t see: There were even more of them across the way—the majority on a roof ledge and utility pole wires.

The previous afternoon, unseasonably torrential rains and thunderstorms roared through San Diego County. Flood warning alerts pinged my iPhone XS every few minutes. The official precipitation total here in University heights: 1.4 cm (.56 inches) at 5:15 p.m., after about an hour of heavy rainfall. The next morning, crows and pigeons pecked all about from fresh food washed into clumps and (presumably) fallen from trees (e.g., fruit, insects, and more).

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The Cats of University Heights: Ozzie

I met the seventy-third Alabama Street kitty, Ozzie, with his sister Delilah, while they were leash-walked by their friendly owners, on Sept. 5, 2021. I used iPhone XS to capture the Featured Image. Vitals:  f/1.8, ISO 25, 1/305 sec, 26mm; 9:25 a.m. PDT.

About a dozen other cats live on the same block—that I am aware. Some are yet to be photographed and, thus, are not profiled in the series.

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The Cats of University Heights: Delilah

Where do all these Alabama animals come from? Meet Delilah, the seventy-second kitty profiled from the street since the series started in October 2016. I happened upon a friendly couple leash-walking Delilah and her brother Ozzie on Sept. 5, 2021. Across the way lives Samba, who gets similarly supervised jaunts.

I used iPhone XS to capture the Featured Image. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/266 sec, 52mm; 9:24 a.m. PDT.

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Kitty is Missing!

I am sentimental abut the animals appearing in my “Cats of University Heights” series and feel fondness for their owners when privileged enough to meet them. Two days ago, after photographing the Alfa Romeo parked on Lincoln, I walked by a house where lives a handsome Tuxedo who was profiled in September 2019. Where’s Kitty? I asked myself, strangely not seeing him sunning on the sidewalk or sleeping on his couch on the porch. This afternoon, I ambled past and saw something startling where he might normally be: On a box a homemade sign stating that “Kitty is missing! Have you seen him?” Oh, how I wish.

His owner is a delightful woman in her Seventies who lives in the house her grandmother bought about a hundred years ago. Generational homes are an increasing rarity—as are people who grew up in the neighborhood. She used to play in the canyons and graduated from San Diego High School. The lady is a gem and kitty was her treasure. I will update this post after speaking with her sometime soon. She’s in my heart tonight.

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The Cats of University Heights: Cookie

A backlog of kitties—three from Alabama Street—must wait, as this striking shorthair leaps to the front of the waiting queue. My wife and I spotted the black and white late morning today; he (or she) joins just five beasties seen along Mission Cliff Drive (in this instance near Park Blvd): Aylin, CupcakeFraidy, Starlet, and Tabby.

I shot three portraits before an approaching dog walker scared off the cat. The Featured Image and companion are the first and last taken—using Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set for both: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/400 sec, 28mm; 10:57 a.m. PDT. The other is same but 1/800 sec, one-minute later. I am surprised to discover that among the 427 previous profiles, no beastie is called Cookie. It’s a nickname now—chocolate with white filling. Yum!