Tag: Cats of University Heights

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The Cats of University Heights: BeBe

Grey May descended yesterday, as persistent clouds preceded expected weekend rains. As my wife and I trudged up Maryland Ave., not far beyond Morla the tortoise’s house—but across the street—Anne spied in an alley a cat perched by a woman sitting on a ledge talking to another neighbor. The lady explained that the all-outdoor furball responds to name BeBe, or nothing. The animal’s mother is a feral grey tiger-stripe that no longer breeds (she was fixed). The daughter had one litter before her operation.

BeBe accepts food and attention from people whom she knows. As I am a stranger, she shot round a car when I approached. But she stayed to the side rather than scurry beneath, allowing me a dozen shots while not moving too close to her. Vantage point is important. I like to get down low, and she let me. The Featured Image is last among the 12, captured using the Fujifilm X-T1 and XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS kit lens at 4:56 p.m. PDT, with Classic Chrome simulation set. Vitals: f/4, ISO 200, 1/140 sec, 55mm. The portrait is straightened and cropped but not enhanced. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Cocoa

As my wife and I walked up Maryland Ave. late yesterday afternoon, something hiding in the flowers caught my attention—and I missed the perfect portrait when the meower came out to greet us. The Featured Image isn’t from the feline’s first approach but second, when she temporarily moved up the steps, before coming back to the street for more pats. Vitals: f/3.6, ISO 200, 1/1700 sec, 35.6mm. I captured the moment using the Fujifilm X-T1 and XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS kit lens at 5:59 p.m. PDT, with Classic Chrome simulation set.

The day marked the first return to service for the digital camera. I boxed up the X-T1 and posted for sale on Craigslist twenty-nine days ago, after seeing selling prices for new hadn’t budged from $1,699—despite release of the X-T2. I decided to recover some of my investment, being satisfied enough with the Fuji X100F received on February 28th. About an hour-and-a-half before our couple’s walk, a potential buyer from Orange County contacted me. He wondered about the X-T1’s condition and probed on price, seeing as mine was so high ($1,100 in prime condition). He surprised me. The bottom had fallen, and I hadn’t seen: Adorama, Amazon, and B&H all are discounting the mirrorless-and-lens kit by $500. As such, no one, if anyone, would buy from me for even $900. It’s pointless giving up so much value; it’s a wonderful shooter. I unboxed the kit, attached Hard Graft Atelier Hang Camera Strap, and updated the body’s firmware to version 5.10. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Bonde

What could the owners possibly call this fine specimen? My nickname comes from our chance encounter, as I almost missed the kitty while walking down Monroe Ave. nearby North. The furball crouched just outside an open door, from which I could hear the television inside. I shot six photos at three different manually set apertures, using the Fujifilm X100F, with Velvia film simulation. I chose not to approach and risk causing a scaredy-cat calamity. The Featured Image is a 75-percent crop. Vitals: f/4, ISO 200, 1/105 sec, 23mm; 6:38 p.m. PDT.

I recognize the house, BTW. My wife and I walked through it in 2016, or perhaps the year before, when up for sale. Guess that means a new cat moved into the neighborhood—and I remain surprised finding more to add to this series

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The Cats of University Heights: Mellow

On the same block where is the three-legged Bengal, Mini, whom visited with my wife and I yesterday, and where was the hit-and-run tiger-tabby last week, there lives a Calico—or so we learned while walking down Cleveland Ave. this afternoon. She earns nickname Mellow, for letting me shoot so many photos over the course of three minutes. I tried various vantage points, seeking memorable composition, and the closest came in post-production cropping.

Like other recent captures, I used the Fujifilm X100F, with Velvia film simulation—perfect choice for the lingering lush green and red foliage following unusually heavy winter rains. Featured Image vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/280 sec, 23mm; 4:10 p.m. PDT. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Riley

About 18 hours ago, my wife and I walked to the mailbox on Park Blvd., then down from Monroe towards Meade. A few doors before the pie shop on the corner, Annie spotted an orange-and-white furball in an apartment courtyard. There we met Riley and owner Kim, who occasionally takes him out for supervised romps. He is a San Diego shelter cat, who was an estimated four years-old when she adopted him nine years ago. He wasn’t neutered beforehand, and Kim remarked on the animal’s street-savvy ways and rippling muscles. Accustomed to foraging, Riley would burrow into garbage bags scrounging for food if left unattended. Every once and awhile, the old habit returns.

I shot 14 pics of the male marauder, choosing Featured Image in part for the unexpected companion—calico Woo, who I hadn’t seen in the courtyard for nearly six months. This capture comes from the apartment complex’s back area—somewhere I wouldn’t otherwise go if not invited by a resident. You see a crop from the Fujifilm X100F, set to Classic Chrome film simulation. Vitals: f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/250 sec, 23mm; 12:23 p.m. PDT. 

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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.