Tag: Cats of University Heights

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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: Daniel 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I continue to review older, unpublished photos and reconsider some of them for the series.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.

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The Cats of University Heights: Curly

Along Madison, not far from Mississippi, my wife and I unexpectedly encountered a tabby with stubby, twisty tail on Jan. 24, 2021. Name tag identified the chub of love as Curly, which makes sense to me. We had not seen the feisty feline before that day and not since.

I used iPhone XS to capture the Featured Image and companion. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/390 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 10:21 a.m. PST. The other is the same but 1/387 sec. The second shot gives a little better sense of the tail, but not as good as the photo I chose not to publish—a rear shot that unflatteringly reveals a bit too much of Curly’s bum.

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The Cats of University Heights: Aisho

Seventeen year-old Aisho (real name) is surprisingly spry, considering his advanced years. Along Maryland near Madison, I passed the ginger and his owner as she chatted with another neighbor on March 4, 2021. I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image at 10:58 a.m. PST. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/400 sec, 28mm.

For people who have trouble pronouncing or remembering his name, Aisho also goes by Mr. Jones.

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The Cats of University Heights: Alcatraz

Along Madison near Park Blvd, I observed a fine black-and-white shorthair looking out from an apartment window on Jan. 17, 2021. I snapped a couple of shots and planned to add the animal to the series. He reappeared scrunched in front of the same blinds on several subsequent occasions but never with light as right for a portrait.

Then came the unexpected meeting: February 26, the cat romped about on the same property, nearby sidewalk, and parked cars. He sure looked like an escapee to me, which is why the nickname Alcatraz—for the infamous California prison from which no one (supposedly) successfully made a break and lived.

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The Cats of University Heights: Breezy

Outside the house where Hamlet the pig and his family used to live, a young kitty pranced over to my wife and I on Jan. 26, 2021. We had seen (and heard) the shorthair in a window on several previous days’ walk-bys. She seemed beyond excitement to be outside, which suggests to me a temporary escape from indoor living.

The Featured Image and companion come from iPhone XS, which I will choose over my camera when a cat is moving about quickly or coming over to me and rubbing my legs. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/406 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 11:01 a.m. PST. The other is the same but 1/372 sec and a few seconds later. The grey Calico earns nickname Breezy for the lightly-windy day and how she breezed by us.

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The Cats of University Heights: Olive, Too

Our sixtieth feline from Alabama Street, between boundaries Adams and Lincoln, is the second Olive to appear in the series. In the Featured Image, her brother Goose is to the lower right. She sits on the railing where I last photographed Lupe before she and her bondmate Laramie were abandoned by a previous tenant (both were later adopted into a new home).

The portrait comes from Leica Q2, on Feb. 3, 2021. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/4, ISO 200, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 4:54 p.m. PST.