Tag: Cats of University Heights

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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.

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The Cats of University Heights: Friday

Fifty-one: The number of felines found on Alabama between boundaries Adams and Lincoln, since the first three—Anthony, Goldie, and Itchy Valentino—appeared along a single block on the same day: Sept. 5, 2017. The black also is sixty-third seen behind door or window, since the series started in October 2016. Confession: This handsome shorthair lives in a house that, being a whisk beyond Lincoln going towards University Ave., could classify as North Park. Welcome to boundary-bending Caturday!

Not very original, Friday is the beastie’s nickname—chosen for the day of the week for June 19, 2020. I captured portraits using Leica Q2 and iPhone XS but chose the Featured Image from the smartphone shots rather than the camera. Better composition, aided from the secondary lens, is main reason. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/232 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 9:20 a.m. PDT.

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The Cats of University Heights: Foxtrot

Humans aren’t alone emerging from the the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19pandemic lockdown. After a kind of drought, I suddenly see more kitties—three of them yesterday morning, all along Mississippi between Howard and Lincoln: This fine Tuxedo, another, and a ginger. But I failed to get portraits of the others, seen on another block; if lucky, perhaps we’ll meet again sometime soon.

This fine feline earns nickname Foxtrot, in part for how he (or she) foot-stepped its approach to me and my wife. I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 8:55 a.m. PDT.

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The Cats of University Heights: Scamper

On May 29, 2020, as my wife and I walked through the perpendicular alley shortcutting between Campus and North, someone opening a garage door startled a ginger, which scampered (hence the nickname) away, with great stride and speed along the buildings and into a yard facing Meade. We circled around and found the kitty grooming, which he stopped long enough for a pose. I had hoped for a better photo on another day, but the skinny kitty hasn’t presented opportunity. The one you got is better than none.

I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image, which is more notable for the surroundings than cat portraiture. That’s the compromise I make using a camera with fixed, wide-angle lens. Cropping-in is no substitute for a telephoto (my favorite focal-length is 135mm prime, for whatever that information is worth to you). Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/160 sec, 28mm; 4:34 p.m. PDT.

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The Cats of University Heights: Velvet

I first photographed this kitty on Oct. 1, 2019, lying belly up and not distinguishable beyond being bundles of fluff from a distance. Not until May 10, 2020 did this fine feline present for suitable portraiture. Thank you, very much. Sixty-second seen behind window or door, the fluffball earns nickname Velvet for its fur coat.

I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image, along North between Madison and Monroe. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/200 sec, 28mm; 10:05 a.m. PDT.

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The Cats of University Heights: Lily

This morning, while we walked along Meade, my wife spotted a grey kitty across the street, nearby a gent whom we had spoken to once many moons ago. Turns out, the slender beauty belongs to him. Meet 13 year-old Lily, who appeared in nearly the same spot as Mittens in October 2017.

I used iPhone XS to capture the Featured Image and its companion. Both portraits are composed as shot. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 25, 1/1282 sec, 26mm (film equivalent); 9:24 a.m. PDT. The other is same except for 1/1136 sec.

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The Cats of University Heights: Bella, Too

Who would have guessed? Another Bella lives on Alabama—and about a block separates the kitties. The new gal is the fiftieth feline seen on the street, between boundaries Adams and Lincoln; her namesake was profiled in November 2017. Bella, Too lives in the same apartment complex as Penny and where once resided Pedro; he has gone to live with his owner’s parents, whose place provides more run-around space.

The pretty Tuxedo is 15 years old, curious, and energetic. Problem: She recently started having sporadic seizures, that increased from one every few weeks to about every day. Preliminary diagnosis: Brain tumor. I could see during my conversation with her dad how much the affliction bothers him. Which leads into a strange side benefit to the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—aka COVID-19—lockdown: Working from home means he can monitor her condition, and (my words, not his) maybe ensure she lives longer.

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The Cats of University Heights: Dusky

Not long after the series featured Steppy seven months ago, I observed his buddy nearby. But Spring 2020 would come before I snagged even a remotely usable portrait. Look carefully at the Featured Image, and you will discern a second cat on the can; the beasties await their supper on April 7. Pardon the mess, which includes strewn wet food cans; heavy rains fell that day and the previous one. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/392 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 4:59 p.m. PDT; iPhone XS.

The black earns nickname Dusky for color and early darkening of the late-afternoon sky stemming from imposing storm clouds on March 31, when I used Leica Q2 to capture the companion. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/11, ISO 200, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 5:04 p.m.