Tag: Cats of University Heights

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The Cats of University Heights: Fraidy

A combination of circumstances complicated capturing today’s featured feline. On May 20, 2017, early evening, I walked down Mission Cliff towards Trolley Barn Park, where movie “ET: The Extraterrestrial” would be shown on a humongous air-inflated screen. At Park Blvd., a skittish kitty skirted across my way around a parked car. I got down low and looked for the flighty beast. Problem: I couldn’t make out anything in the viewfinder. The Diopter Adjustment knob moved out of place, so I shot blind so to speak.

The other problem is about software intelligence. I switched everything to auto, to compensate for the viewfinder problem. But the Leica Q didn’t adjust the settings for my shooting situation. The cat briskly moved to my flank across a front yard to a second car (the Featured Image) then over another lawn and onto the sidewalk, trotting away. Vitals: f/1.7, ISO 100, 1/80 sec, 28mm; 7:32 p.m. PDT. Many of the other shots are 1/60 sec. Auto-set higher ISO and faster shutter would have made a better moment. There are reasons why the camera has manual controls. But blinded, I didn’t see what needed correction. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Haiku

What a surprise. Nearly across the street from where I spotted the Tortoiseshell for the first time on May 15, 2017, a grey and white tiger-tabby greeted my Mrs. and me four days later. We visited the ever-friendly Haiku (real name) where Cleveland Ave. meets Golden Gate. I shot the Featured Image using Leica Q. I cropped the original DNG, for composition, before exporting the JPEG from Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. Vitals: f/7.1, ISO 100, 1/100 sec, 28mm; 9:13 a.m. PDT. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Tortie

I am amazed whenever discovering a never-before-sighted furball so close-by to my apartment. This tortoiseshell made my acquaintance from a distance late-afternoon May 15, 2017—one block away, on Cleveland just past Madison before the overlook. She sat on a doorstep waiting for someone to let her in. From the empty driveway, it’s a guess the owner hadn’t come home from a day at the job.

The Featured Image is the second-to-last of 13 captures, and I debated about choosing this one because the kitty’s distinctive bob-tail is obscured by bushes. I captured the moment at 5:35 p.m. PDT, using Leica Q. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/800 sec, 28mm. The pic is close-cropped from the original, which shows the yard and the next (I shot from the sidewalk). 

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The Cats of University Heights: Bruce

Last week, driving up Texas Street—one of the neighborhood’s major boundaries—road work compelled my wife and I to go home by way of Monroe instead of Madison. I sat in the passenger’s seat; a woman walking a dog accompanied by a cat riveted my attention. At home, soon as Anne pulled over, parked, and stepped out of the Honda Fit, I slipped into the driver’s seat and sped away to capture a portrait of the handsome, fluffer-tail cat walking the dog on Monroe. Of course, after pulling to the curb, and walking about several streets, I couldn’t find the beast—or his owner. But the Fujifilm X100F was ready.

Ten minutes later, I abandoned the hunt and started to drive home. Damn, I had gone one block too far and passed a doorway just in time to see the dog-walker, her mutt (that’s affectionately meant), and the feline disappear into an apartment (or perhaps duplex). I noted the building’s address number and nearest cross-street (Alabama) for future scouting. Last night, on my second day twlight’s attempt looking, I spotted the handsome furball waiting for his master’s return. Oh yeah! 

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The Cats of University Heights: Fang

You don’t see them here, but this feline hissed and bared teeth as I safely shot her portrait from the sidewalk, with fence and some distance between us. Meet one black cat that maybe could bring bad luck if crossing your path. Hehe. I spotted the feisty furball yesterday morning, on Maryland Ave. somewhere beyond Meade.

Note: Date and timestamp in the metadata are both wrong, being incorrectly set in the camera—the interesting Leica Q, which ISO had been preset for low-light on another day (I should have checked and changed before shooting). Vitals: f/16, ISO 3200, 1/2500 sec, 28mm; 9:19 a.m. PDT. The Featured Image was cropped and converted, but not otherwise edited, from DNG to JPEG. 

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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