Tag: Cats of University Heights

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The Cats of University Heights: Steppy

Way, way, way behind with photographed furballs, my slow catchup begins with a Tuxedo sighted in the alley between Louisiana and Mississippi on Aug. 17, 2019. I haven’t seen the beastie since, but there is plenty of evidence: Cat scratcher put out in the morning and food/water dishes in the afternoon. As acceptable as the iPhone XS-snapped Featured Image is, a camera-captured portrait should be so much better. So I will keep looking.

I nickname the kitty Steppy, for location seen. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/165 sec, 52mm; 5:39 p.m. PDT. Metadata records 6mm, but I henceforth will state film-equivalent for Apple device shots.

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The Cats of University Heights: Zephyr

Later the same day—Aug. 11, 2019—that I met Dragon, another black and white presented, but blocks away, along Monroe between Campus and North. Zephyr (real name) is a friendly, seven year-old shorthair that I hadn’t seen before that sunny Sunday afternoon.

The Featured Image, and its companion, come from iPhone XS, which increasingly gets more usage than ever did Google Pixel 3 XL when I owned one. I carry a real camera less often, too. Vitals for the first portrait, using the secondary lens: f/2.4, ISO 40, 1/122 sec, 6mm; 4:14 p.m. PDT. The other: f/1.8, ISO 25, 1/1916 sec, 4.25mm; 4:13 p.m. Both pics are cropped 3:2.

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The Cats of University Heights: Sentry

About an hour before sunset, on Aug. 6, 2019, my wife and I spotted an orange tabby comically placed—or so it seemed to my dry, wry sense of humor. I snapped a quick pic using iPhone XS, and we moved along, as to not disturb the sleeper. Eight days later, the kitty opportunely presented in the same place; this time I carried along Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens, which produced the Featured Image (warning: 20MB file). Vitals, aperture and shutter speed manually set: f/8, ISO 500, 1/125 sec, 63mm; 4:34 p.m. PDT.

If somebody was supposed to be on guard duty, he shouldn’t siesta on the job. Hehe. For reasons hopefully obvious, the shorthair earns nickname Sentry. We saw him on Madison near the corner of Cleveland.

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The Cats of University Heights: Leo

Sign of the unpublished kitties backlog: Moments made using Pixel 3 XL, which I sold to a surfer two months ago. The Google device is praised by gadget reviewers for its image quality—something that initially impressed me. But over time, I saw that the artificial intelligence used to enhance photos made them look, well, artificial. I am more satisfied with the consistently more-realistic pics produced by iPhone XS. But that’s topic for further exploration on another day.

For this fine Friday, let me introduce you to Leo (yep, real name), who lives on Mississippi between Madison and Monroe. He’s a rascal, known to traverse his home’s roof. Mmm, by climbing a tree, perhaps? I only have seen the blackie once, but his owner and I frequently chat. I captured Featured Image on April 13, 2019 at 10:47 a.m. PDT. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 52, 1/2347 sec, 4.44mm.

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The Cats of University Heights: Dragon

As my wife and I strolled down Campus on Aug. 11, 2019, a shorthair sighting drew us down memory lane. Two years earlier—almost to the day—I watched stagers unloading furniture for placement inside the property for sale on the corner, at Meade. The following evening, Aug. 15, 2017, feral kittens presented half-a-block away; the next night, neighborhood teens trapped/rescued them and their momma. Two weeks later, Annie and I made an accepted offer to buy what we called the Schoolhouse, because of its proximity to Birney Elementary. We withdrew weeks later.

Seeing the black and white by a sidewalk tree at the Schoolhouse property line surely surprised. I initially thought that he might be Captain Blackbeard, who lives another block down Meade at North. But close examination of facial markings, similar as they seem, show subtle but distinct differences.

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The Cats of University Heights: Sable

Meet the forty-fourth feline featured from Alabama street, between boundaries Adams and Polk—and, unexpectedly, third seen at the same property. (Sprout and Zeppelin Pom Pom are the others.) My wife caught glimpse of the blackie as we walked to Smart and Final for groceries on Aug. 12, 2019. Coming up with new nicknames for so many kitties, whenever the real ones aren’t known, gets harder as we go along. I dub this one Sable, for the dark-colored coat.

The Featured Image comes from iPhone XS. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/160 sec, 6mm; 9:11 a.m. PDT. Photo is lightly edited.

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The Cats of University Heights: Jester

Oddly, I have a backlog of kitties; suddenly sightings are numerous. A few are different furballs in the same location—like the fine specimen spotted in the same catio as King. Someone else might say that his majesty needs a queen, but I say a jester—hence the nickname.

I used iPhone XS to capture the Featured Image, which is about a 100-percent crop. In Apple Photos, I first edited then applied the Vivid Cool filter. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/94 sec, 6mm; 5:10 p.m., July 24, 2019. I have returned since, hoping to snag a better portrait with the camera. But on subsequent occasions, Jester reclined on the second level, which is obscured by vines.

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The Cats of University Heights: Topper

Google Pixel 3 XL may be gone, replaced by Apple iPhone XS, but some kitty portraits remain from the device to be added to the series. Simple reason: Backlog of sighted, and photographed, furballs. Where do they all come from? I snagged the Featured Image on May 28, 2019, along Louisiana approaching Adams from Madison. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 78, 1/7813 sec, 4.44mm; 4:04 p.m. PDT. The portrait is heavily edited, such as pulling back contrast, enhancing highlights, and cropping in a way that preserves some semblance of streaming sunlight.

I initially passed by the blackie, because of its distance up the stairs and concerns about shooting into the bright, afternoon sun. But backtracking, I snapped four quickies, choosing to use the one where the shorthair looks down at me. For position sitting, the beastie earns nickname Topper.

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The Cats of University Heights: Misty

Our landlord is imposing a 4.1-percent rent increase, about which we gripe but probably shouldn’t—given that the 2-bedroom trend in San Diego is a ridiculous 16.6 percent. Timing is opportunity to reconsider options, so my wife and I are exploring them. One of the initially more appealing apartments is on Cleveland, south of Meade, and would reduce our yearly housing cost by $3,000. In the online listing’s photos, a cat approaches the back door. Annie and I saw the fluffball waiting at the front door, seemingly greeting us, as we walked by the place on Aug. 4, 2019. Assuming that the animal’s owner likely will leave the neighborhood soon, since the apartment is supposed to be available on September 1, I pushed the profile ahead of others.

Once again, I used Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens to make the moment, which required some careful editing and thoughtful composition. Initially, I cropped so that the door and windows could be seen, which put the feline low down. The Featured Image is somewhat disrupted by the foreground fence but works better by bringing the beastie more to eye level, which—for want of a better word—creates more immediacy. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 63mm; 10:11 a.m. PDT.

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The Cats of University Heights: Gucci

The Alabama cats are back, with the forty-third profiled from the street between boundaries Adams and Lincoln. There is a cache of kittens that may soon be included, should I get photos, that are being fostered across the street from where I saw this black. She earns nickname Diamond, for rarity of sightings.

I first observed the shorthair nearly a year ago, occasionally since—and always fleetingly, mornings when people leave for work. The kitty would disappear down nearby apartment complex steps, where also goes Sly. On July 31, 2019, Diamond made an unexpected afternoon appearance, poking through the fence surrounding the house where lived Laramie and Lupe before they were abandoned and later rescued. The beastie dug into foliage and dirt, for something, before laying out in unexpected repose. Oh, how I wanted to read the name tag, but close approach wasn’t happening.

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The Cats of University Heights: Lively

A couple doors down from Cricket‘s house, my wife and I encountered a lively kitten on July 29, 2019. Hence, the nickname. Hanoi and Maxine reside close by, and near the sighting—along Maryland between Madison and Monroe—a car hit Kuma as he crossed the street to Annie; Sept. 15, 2011. The bastard driver didn’t stop, but our Maine Coon survived.

We observed Lively from a distance, and I stopped with Fujifilm GFX 50R and Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens to shoot what would be the Featured Image (warning: 15MB file). Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/300 sec. 63mm; 9:34 a.m. PDT. The cropped composition isn’t preferred, but it removes a distracting Stop sign to the left of the tabby’s head.

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The Cats of University Heights: Cricket

About a half-block from where I saw Glow, a relatively new neighborhood resident lives at the corner of Maryland and Monroe. The house sold to new owners a few months ago, and some renovation followed—including the clearing of sidewalk-side foliage rising up a vertical protective wall along Monroe that obscured the backyard. The space attracted crickets, which until October 2017, during some evenings, I collected for our cats Cali and Neko to chase and eat inside our apartment; at the time, we lived around the corner on Cleveland. With the recent changes, I would be surprised if the insects gather there any longer.

The forty-eighth kitty in the series looking out from behind window or door was a sentimental sighting—for all the time that I spent skulking about the sidewalk and wall in the dark, with a flashlight and couple of plastic containers with lids. Surely, then, I needn’t explain this fine feline’s nickname.