Tag: Cats of University Heights

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The Cats of University Heights: Carrot

As my wife and I walked along Georgia yesterday, two kitties presented from different buildings looking out at birds. I could only get a portrait of the second, somewhere between Howard and either Polk or Lincoln—not sure which. As usual, I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image, at 9:29 a.m. PDT. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/640 sec, 28mm.

This fine feline earns nickname Carrot for the orange patches—particularly on the head. His (or her) portrait is a compromised crop, for: the poorly-placed palm trees grudgingly used to frame the photo; the management company sign removed by recomposition. Carrot is the series‘ seventy-first cat seen behind door or window.

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The Cats of University Heights: Husky

Last night, approaching El Cajon from Georgia—on my way to shoot The Boulevard sign—I passed by a ginger lounging upon grass. He came out to visit, during which time I unsuccessfully tried to capture several good portraits; sun set 15 minutes earlier, and I needed more ambient light, or narrower aperture, for less noise and wider depth of field.

Only after the kitty got his fill of pats and returned to the property from whence he came could I get something usable. The angle makes the cat look unflatteringly flabby, when he is furry and fit; big paws reveal a naturally husky boy; hence, the nickname. I manually focused Leica Q2 to take the Featured Image. Vitals, aperture and shutter speed manually set: f/1.7, ISO 6400, 1/250 sec, 28mm; 8:14 p.m. PDT.

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The Cats of University Heights: Plush

I strongly debated whether or not to include this kitty, who looked onto the alley separating Louisiana and Mississippi between El Cajon and Meade. But lighting was optimal on the grey’s perch and unlikely to ever be better; the Featured Image is about as good as I’ll ever get. And the face is so damn cute, this sweetie could be a stuffed animal. Hence, nickname Plush. You will want to click through and enlarge the photo; sometimes not-so-good portraiture is good enough because the subject is so becoming.

Plush is the series‘ seventieth cat sitting behind door or window. The cropped, and aggressively edited, portrait comes from Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 100, 1/640 sec, 28mm, 9:27 a.m. PDT, June 14, 2021.

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The Cats of University Heights: Wary

Along several streets on the East side of Park Blvd., a neighbor has posted photo and description of a skinny—observably emaciated—grey female wearing a collar and bell. The person hopes to catch the presumably lost, or abandoned, kitty and take her to the animal shelter or vet for microchip scan that might identify—and possibly help locate—the owner(s).

So, as the sun started sinking below the horizon, I moseyed over for a late-day walk—during what is typically an active time for cats. I passed Reddy sitting in front of his new, self-adopted home on Georgia. Moments earlier, I came upon a tan-and-white shorthair between Meade and Mission. My raising Leica Q2 to shoot put the animal in trepidation stance. The Featured Image is the first of three taken and the only one usable. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/2.8, ISO 500, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 7:47 p.m. PDT.

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The Cats of University Heights: Bear

This fine feline reminds me so much of our lost Kuma that I spent the better part of an hour comparing photos. Resemblance there is, but nothing more. Our part Maine Coon disappeared on Jan. 15, 2012, and we believe that a coyote got him because city workers found his collar in a nearby canyon fifteen days later.

My daughter chose Kuma, which means bear in Japanese. Hence my choice of nickname for his doppelgänger. On May 22, 2021, as my wife and I crossed Madison moving South along Mississippi, Bear moved just enough behind glass to catch my attention. While the late-afternoon sun illuminated the cat well enough for a portrait, he sat back to me. So Annie and I continued walking, then I stopped and reversed direction for a photo. But he still faced inward, so I started away—then one-eightied once more. As I momentarily stood, iPhone XS ready, Bear turned—and posed! I gulped and wondered: Does he recognize me? Is that Kuma?

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The Cats of University Heights: Jasmine

Feline identification can be tricky. I would under any other circumstance state with certainty that this kitty is Guido, who lives a half-block down, across the street, and around the corner with Bruce and Little. I spent better part of an hour comparing his photos to those of this tabby—and the shorthairs sure look alike to me. Except they cannot be. I frequently see the tiger-stripe where she is supposed to be—romping outside the home that she shares with Annie. If I really have confused them, some day a new portrait will replace this one.

Jasmine, who is about four years old, is the sixty-seventh cat from Alabama Street between boundaries Adams and Lincoln. That works out to 16.5 percent of the series‘ 406 profiles. I am baffled about why so many. Numbers creep up for Louisiana and Madison, but they lag far behind—and there are at least three other putty-tats on Jasmine’s block of which I am aware (seen briefly while trying over several weeks to get a good shot of her).

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The Cats of University Heights: Joy

While walking with my wife along Mission Ave. between Alabama and Mississippi, on May 12, 2021, I spotted a black bird-watching from the semi-seclusion of a home’s attached planter. I shot several portraits using iPhone XS and Leica Q2, and the Featured Image comes from the camera. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/500 sec, 12:51 p.m. PDT.

Call me befuddled trying to come up with yet another nickname appropriate for a Halloween Cat. Let’s go with Joy, because the shorthair seemed so content where it relaxed and observed.

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The Cats of University Heights: Smooth

What the whiskers? In the same second-floor window where I saw yesterday’s grey tiger-stripe, Suave, today an orange tabby looked out. Am I being gaslighted by frisky felines? If not for photographic evidence that the two are similar-looking but different colors, maybe would be the answer.

I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/400 sec, 28mm; 9:53 a.m. PDT. The sixty-eighth cat behind door or window and the sixty-sixth seen along Alabama Street earns nickname Smooth. Think smooth operator for the tomfoolery.

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The Cats of University Heights: Suave

The sixty-seventh feline found behind window or door is also the sixty-fifth Alabama Street cat—looking out from a second floor apartment located between El Cajon and Meade. I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image, yesterday. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/320 sec, 28mm; 9:15 a.m. PDT.

The tabby earns nickname Suave, for poise, posture, and presence.

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The Cats of University Heights: Tango

On April 17, 2021, as my wife and I walked westward along Meade, approaching North, an orange tabby moved up the steps and onto the porch of the property where lives Captain Blackbeard. The cat door that lets Blackie come and go responds to his microchip. The interloper could make no unwanted entrance. As we drew near, the kitty, earning nickname Tango, skirted under a parked car in the driveway—where I captured the Featured Image using Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/2500 sec, 28mm; 10:51 a.m. PDT.

Among the edits, done in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic, I reduced the intensity of green in the grass, which otherwise distracted from Tango rather than color-complemented his fur coat.

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The Cats of University Heights: Majestic

For about two months, I have watched for a feline to appear in a second-floor cat tree. Among the handful of sightings, glass glare from the morning sun made any meaningful portrait majorly difficult to capture. What luck! On April 27, 2021, the beastie materialized in a different window, which also was free from obstruction below. For fixed, rapt gaze, and proud posture, the orange tiger-stripe earns nickname Majestic.

I captured the Featured Image using Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/640 sec, 28mm; 9:30 a.m. PDT. Majestic, who is the sixty-sixth kitty seen behind door or window, overlooks the alley separating Alabama and Mississippi between Meade and Monroe.

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The Cats of University Heights: Annie

Aged Annie joins the series as the 400th profile since number one on Oct. 17, 2016. I first photographed her on Oct. 7, 2020, but the Featured Image is from Jan. 24, 2021—same day that I shot fallen fronds from the slightly-shaved Bearded Tree, which is now gone. I delayed posting her portrait, hoping to also add her housemate, who is let out (and brought inside) earlier in the morning than I typically meander by the property. The other cat also hides from me among the parked cars.

But considering this milestone post, and deciding which kitty to mark it, sweet, slow Annie had to be the one. Both beasts live on Alabama, making her the 64th featured from the street between boundaries Adams and Lincoln. She resides on the same block as Bella, Fuki, Mane, Mitsie, Mustachio, Peanut, Penny, Rocky, and Schroeder.