Tag: Cats of University Heights

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The Cats of University Heights: Veruca

Last night, a calico that I had been looking for since Oct. 29, 2016 finally appeared—about the same time of day and different location on her owner’s porch. I shot the Featured Image at 6:52 p.m. PDT; 10 minutes before sunset. The portrait is straight from the Fujifilm X100F; no post-processing (and big file at 13MB). Vitals, with Velvia film simulation: f/2, ISO 200, 1/90 sec, 23mm.

I met the couple who owns “Veruca”—or “Rukie”; the name will mean something to anyone who is familiar with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. She is five years old and not a big eater, despite from some vantage points appearing to be overstuffed. One of the caretakers calls her voluptuous.

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The Cats of University Heights: Ash

Yes, you are experiencing déjà vu. We have been to this yard before—three times in six days. The furballs are resident pets of the “Wildlife Habitat”, as an official sign states. They must have a time-sharing arrangement, as cats are quite territorial. While walking to The Hub, my wife and I spotted Ash (his real name) around 1:20 p.m. PDT today. I observed the other two, Sebastian and Booger, in mid-morning and late-afternoon, respectively, on different days. The Maine Coon is about two years old and vision-impaired.

I captured the moment using Fujifilm X100F, with Velvia film simulation. Both pics are crops—the Featured Image 100 percent. That one is Anne’s preferred composition, and the other (below the fold) is mine. In both, the framing attempts to use the stones to lead the eye to the kitty. I shot the first photos with aperture manually set to f/8; they didn’t make the cut because Ash was turned away nibbling a plant. The keepers are auto-everything—and meant to see how well the camera handles contrasting light (in the yard) and shadows (where is the cat). Except for slight straightening and the aforementioned cropping, the two portraits are not tweaked for light or color, beyond what the camera does. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Booger

Late yesterday afternoon, as I walked home from Trader Joe’s, I sighted a short-haired tabby in the same yard where Sebastian slept on the Ides of March. The cat came up a side alley, and I worried he might skitter away. So I got off a quick shot, forgetting that the Fujifilm X100F was set to Acros film simulation. I desperately changed to Velvia and auto-everything. Problem: The sun shone sharply over the animal to the camera. Rays are visible in the first shots. The cropped Featured Image is better-balanced from my getting down lower to the sidewalk, my using the left hand as make-shift hood, and the kitty moving to where the house blocked glare.

Vitals for the color pic: f/3.6, ISO 200, 1/125 sec, 23mm. Black and white (which is below the fold): f/5, ISO 200, 1/125 sec, 23mm. The sun situation actually adds character to the B&W photo. If not for the plastic containers, the portrait could be from days gone-by. Time taken: 5:37 p.m. PDT and a minute later for the color capture.

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The Cats of University Heights: Spot

For several days in May 2014, a daring but skittish kitty skirted around my father-in-law’s apartment complex on Campus near Madison. I never managed to capture his image—he always ran from me. But the furball tolerated my wife, who snagged several photos, from which comes the first in this series snapped by someone other than me.

I cropped a vertical shot to make the Featured Image. Look for the original below the fold. Annie captured the moment on the 9th of the month at 6:21 p.m. PDT, using the HTC One M8 smartphone. Vitals: f/2, ISO 125, 1/302 sec, 3.82mm. I shot Farfisa, who also appears in this series, with the M8 as well, but in April 2014. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Sebastian

This morning, my wife and I jaunted down Maryland Ave., on our way to The Hub for groceries. Nearly to the Washington Street bridge, in a yard with “Wildlife Habitat” sign, and lush foliage, Anne spotted a furball belly up. I shot several back-to portraits, using the Fujifilm X100F. When we returned, the feline had flipped around my way.

The Featured Image is Annie’s preferred crop. The other, below the fold is mine. Vitals on the first: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/450 sec, 23mm. The other: f/8, ISO  200, 1/280 sec, 23mm. Time on both: 10:38 a.m. PDT, using Velvia film simulation. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Twilight

The Fujifilm X100F and I are still getting acquainted, bringing big digital lifestyle change: always-carry. The compact camera is lightweight and unobtrusive attached to ONA Lima strap, such that I sling it and bring it with ease and capture the moment where iPhone 7 Plus would miss. I only lugged larger Fuji X-T1 when planning to use it, thus making the Apple smartphone my primary street camera. That all changed February 28. The new digicam, with its 24.3-megapixel APS-C sensor and fixed f/2 lens, is classic—for style and shooting. I previously owned the original and preceding T model.

Rushing out for a twilight walk on March 9, I spotted, not for the first time, a tiger-striped cat in the yard at Campus and Monroe. Our eyes met yet again, around the same time of day; he lurked where he had several weeks before, cast in the shadows. I shot Featured Image at 6:09 p.m. PST—about 20 minutes after sunset. Except for straightening, the JPEG is unaltered from the X100F. Vitals: f/2, ISO 3200, 1/26 sec, 23mm. Despite its f/1.8 aperture, based on past efforts, iPhone 7 Plus would have botched the shot—or using flash to set focus, scared off the feline.

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The Cats of University Heights: Kit

On, Jan. 30, 2017, as my wife and I walked down the alley behind Campus Ave. approaching Madison, we spotted a frisky young kitty in a window. No way could we resist stopping to say hello to this cutie, whom I nickname Kit. I shot a half-dozen quickies using iPhone 7 Plus. I little-bit blame the bright, blinding sun for obscuring my vision and obliterating the screen for the Featured Image‘s weak composition.

The second photo gives better perspective of the window. Vitals for the closeup:  f/1.8, ISO 20, 1/833 sec, 3.99mm. The other is same except for shutter: 1/791 sec. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Watson

Oh how he has grown! My wife and I met this fine feline and his owner several years ago, when he was a spry, scurrying, skinny kitten. The setting sun so camouflaged the short-hair that, initially, I missed him while shooting Nimbus in the adjacent alley on Jan. 14, 2017. What luck! Two portraits for the time of one!

The ginger is Watson, but let’s nickname him Cherub to match the lawn decor. The Featured Image and its companion are one in the same. The first is close-cropped, and both are straightened and edited; cropping gets me out of the picture—literally! That ain’t an apparition reflecting from the window. It’s me! The reflection is creepy, considering I shot across the yard from the sidewalk. To confirm: That’s not the face of someone sitting inside. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Nimbus

My wife and I are busy bees, following the death of her dad last week. We’re cleaning out his apartment, which is as much the contents of a life—for the meaning they represent. Following some chores at home, on Jan. 14, 2017, we walked down Cleveland Ave. to Van Buren to circle back on Campus to Bob’s place. Ahead on the cross-street, white fur flashed running towards us before disappearing down an alley.

Meet the frisky feline I nicknamed Shy. He rolled around like a kitty wanting attention but deliberately kept far away from getting it. I shot the Featured Image, and its companion, at 4:35 p.m. PST, using iPhone 7 Plus second camera, to zoom. Both are straightened and tweaked. Vitals for the first: f/2.8, ISO 20, 1/235 sec, 6.6mm. The other is same except for shutter: 1/257 sec.