Tag: iPhone XS

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The Cats of University Heights: Schroeder

The series‘ 399th feline is also the 63rd seen on Alabama between boundaries Adams and Lincoln. Why baffles me. But that works out to 16 percent of the total. Louisiana sightings rise, likewise Madison, but far fewer than the other street.

My wife and I happened upon Schroeder in the alley between Alabama and Mississippi just as his owner popped open a gate looking for him. He resides in the same home as Peanut and Rocky—and the mighty Monkey before he passed away three years ago.

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Bee Better

This is an odd post: Disappointing photos. Today, while waiting for my wife to fetch me from the ophthalmologist, I stopped to gawk at bees busily bouncing about flowers for nectar. Hundreds of them gathered and proved no threat to me as I closed in and captured 20 shots, using iPhone XS.

Grumble. Can the Apple cameras do no better than these, which are the best of a bad lot? I experimented with standard and Portrait modes—and all the pics look artificial at best, and not sharp enough at worst.

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The Cats of University Heights: Mr. Frankie

While walking along Louisiana Street and talking to my sister in Florida (yes, the state), I spied a woman with a leashed orange kitty up ahead. Sis got the “call you back in 2 minutes” request; I moved along and asked permission to take photos of two-year-old Mr. Frankie. He posed between leash-pulls, trying to chase a butterfly, and I used iPhone XS to make his portraits. Vitals for the Featured Image and companion: f/1.8, ISO 25, 1/3086 sec, 26mm (film equivalent); 9:51 a.m. PDT, today.

Bunch of cats live on that one block, currently: Daniel Tiger, Darth Mew, FluffyHuck, Peach, and Pepto—that I know of. Possibly passed away, moved away, or kept indoors: GingerJedi, Milo, and Princess Leia. Some of these, or others, come by to visit Mr. Frankie, outside his home—and some territorial squabbling occurs among them, his owner says.

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A Tree Grows

When looking through Nokia N95 photos to illustrate the previous post, I happened upon a palm portrait that my wife, Anne Wilcox, made using the cameraphone on Sept. 14, 2008. I startled seeing how much shorter was the tree then than I remember seeing recently. So, today, I ambled over to the corner of Adams and North, in my San Diego neighborhood of University Heights, for a fresh pic.

The Featured Image shows how the palm has risen since she shot it (left). Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, 6mm; 4:10 p.m. PDT. I used iPhone XS for the taller tree (right). Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 25, 1/1992 sec, 26mm (film equivalent); 1:25 p.m.

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The Cats of University Heights: Spooky

Since seeing this black on Oct. 19, 2019, I have watched for a reappearance. Call me unlucky, for there being none; the Featured Image isn’t the desired portrait; profile view is okay but barely. I used iPhone XS to make the moment, which location isn’t shared because of the visible address number. Neighbors deserve some respect of privacy. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/1261 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 5:18 p.m. PDT.

The shorthair earns nickname Spooky, for Halloween Cat color and nearby holiday decorations. Spooky is the sixty-fifth feline seen behind door or window.

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The Cats of University Heights: BonBon

As the 400th profile approaches (you’re reading number 395), I once again consider retiring the series, which started on Oct. 17, 2016 with expectation that there couldn’t be more than 30 cats in a neighborhood dominated by dog owners. I figured making a month of posts, perhaps six weeks, and no more. Here we are still, today, nearly four-and-a-half years later.

Sometime in 2019, along Florida between Madison and Monroe, I started seeing a white sunning in a window several afternoons a week. Numerous is the number of times I stopped to take a photo but refrained, thinking the kitty might be Sugar, whose portrait was captured in July 2018. The newcomer lives in the same building but never presented enough identifying detail—spot on forehead and tiger-striped tail—or lack thereof. That is until Jan. 22, 2021: No markings, different cat.

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Don’t You Mean Four Bucks?

Someone tell me where Joe Wallace lives, because I want to go there. Yesterday morning, I read his Wall Street Journal story, “Leap in Gas Prices Puts $3 a Gallon in Sight“, in state of disbelief. In sight, as in coming? Because here in San Diego, that reference means looking back. We passed three bucks a gallon well more than a month ago. In fact, before President Executive Order killed off the Keystone Pipeline, the price had been $2.86 for months—and that was up 30 cents from Summer 2020—at my local economy filling station.

“Gasoline prices at pumps in the U.S. hit an average of $2.88 a gallon over the past week, according to the AAA”, Joe writes. “In California, the most expensive market, average prices stand at $3.88, according to AAA”. Hours later, I shot the Featured Image, with Leica Q2 Monochrom, specifically to illustrate this essay. Granted, Chevron charges more than many competitors but not outrageously greater than the $3.88 at nearby Valero. 

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The Cats of University Heights: Amanda Too

Beauty Amanda was a fixture along Meade between Florida and Mississippi through the end of 2018. Then she disappeared about the same time as the owners of LilyTiger, Persepolis, and Sebastian moved away. Since she frequently visited the home—and the residents gave her another name—I assumed they took her, too.

But then, on Dec. 28, 2019, a grey looking like her—but missing collar with distinctive purple name tag—appeared on a property at the corner of Alabama and Meade. I used iPhone XS to shoot several portraits, editing the Featured Image but refraining from publishing. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/1089 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 2:08 p.m. PST.

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The Cats of University Heights: Curly

Along Madison, not far from Mississippi, my wife and I unexpectedly encountered a tabby with stubby, twisty tail on Jan. 24, 2021. Name tag identified the chub of love as Curly, which makes sense to me. We had not seen the feisty feline before that day and not since.

I used iPhone XS to capture the Featured Image and companion. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/390 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 10:21 a.m. PST. The other is the same but 1/387 sec. The second shot gives a little better sense of the tail, but not as good as the photo I chose not to publish—a rear shot that unflatteringly reveals a bit too much of Curly’s bum.

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A Plea for Continued Relevance

On March 1, 2021, as I walked along University Ave. in San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood, a huge banner beckoned my attention. I frequently see signs like this in apartment and house windows but nothing this large nor with Still added. I used iPhone XS to snap the companion to the Featured Image, which I captured the next day with Leica Q2 Monochrom. Vitals for the smartphone shot, which is composed as taken: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/761 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 9:05 a.m. PST. For the camera, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 200, 1/400 sec, 28mm; 10:27 a.m.

Why is such a banner, with Still added, seen as necessary? The trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin is underway in Minneapolis. He is implicated in the death of George Floyd, whose alleged homicide sparked racial riots and protests in the city and across the country—with loud voices crying “defund the police” and “no justice, no peace”. Nearly ten months later, Americans have largely stopped rallying for racial reckoning—and the organization that gathered them before isn’t yet, if it ever will, marshaling masses together. Black lives still matter, but the movement apparently does not.

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The Cats of University Heights: Alcatraz

Along Madison near Park Blvd, I observed a fine black-and-white shorthair looking out from an apartment window on Jan. 17, 2021. I snapped a couple of shots and planned to add the animal to the series. He reappeared scrunched in front of the same blinds on several subsequent occasions but never with light as right for a portrait.

Then came the unexpected meeting: February 26, the cat romped about on the same property, nearby sidewalk, and parked cars. He sure looked like an escapee to me, which is why the nickname Alcatraz—for the infamous California prison from which no one (supposedly) successfully made a break and lived.