Tag: San Diego

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The Cats of University Heights: Hope

SInce shooting the Featured Image and its companion on Oct. 3, 2017, I have long considered adding the tabby to the series but refrained. The mesh on the patio that turned it into a catio obscured too much, particularly given distance away. But like Candor, the kitty earns a place, on reconsideration; he (or she) is the third presented catio cat (King and Jester are the others).

The furball earns nickname Hope, for longing look and my hoping that the beastie still lives in the apartment (unlikely), which is along Carmelina Drive and behind Old Trolley Barn Park. I used Leica Q and iPhone 7 Plus to capture both portraits, respectively. Vitals for the first: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, 28mm; 10:08 a.m. PDT. The other: f/2.8, ISO 20, 1/297 sec, 6.6mm; 10:04 a.m.

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The Cats of University Heights: Candor

To the present, we bring the past—and a portrait taken about three-and-a-half months after the series began, in October 2016. I am reviewing and reconsidering discarded kitty pics. The Featured Image, captured on Jan. 31, 2017 using iPhone 7 Plus, is among them. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 20, 1/1808 sec, 6.6mm; 1:31 p.m. PST.

I saw the feline, nicknamed Candor for no particular reason, once and never again—along Madison between Campus and North. He (or she) is the fifty-second profiled furball seen behind either window or door.

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The Cats of University Heights: Friday

Fifty-one: The number of felines found on Alabama between boundaries Adams and Lincoln, since the first three—Anthony, Goldie, and Itchy Valentino—appeared along a single block on the same day: Sept. 5, 2017. The black also is sixty-third seen behind door or window, since the series started in October 2016. Confession: This handsome shorthair lives in a house that, being a whisk beyond Lincoln going towards University Ave., could classify as North Park. Welcome to boundary-bending Caturday!

Not very original, Friday is the beastie’s nickname—chosen for the day of the week for June 19, 2020. I captured portraits using Leica Q2 and iPhone XS but chose the Featured Image from the smartphone shots rather than the camera. Better composition, aided from the secondary lens, is main reason. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/232 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 9:20 a.m. PDT.

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The Cats of University Heights: Foxtrot

Humans aren’t alone emerging from the the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—also known as COVID-19pandemic lockdown. After a kind of drought, I suddenly see more kitties—three of them yesterday morning, all along Mississippi between Howard and Lincoln: This fine Tuxedo, another, and a ginger. But I failed to get portraits of the others, seen on another block; if lucky, perhaps we’ll meet again sometime soon.

This fine feline earns nickname Foxtrot, in part for how he (or she) foot-stepped its approach to me and my wife. I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 8:55 a.m. PDT.

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Why Watermelon?

As I crossed the Vermont Street Bridge from San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood to Hillcrest today, something strange stopped my morning walk. Why was there cut-up watermelon? Was it left for someone—perhaps the homeless gent wrapped in a blanket, lying still, and (likely) sleeping on the sidewalk outside the structure’s entrance? Was it a flavorless, abandoned breakfast? The slices looked fairly fresh and no flies swarmed about. So free from wildlife and human attention, the makeshift meal could have been the final feast of the apocalypse.

Update, June 19, 2020: Call me clueless! This morning, I showed the photo to my wife, who scolded: “You do know that there’s a stereotype about black people eating watermelon?” That’s news to me. “I love watermelon, and I don’t understand why there’s some kind of negative stereotype about it”. She, and me, is hyper-aware, given three weeks of protests about racism in America.

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The Cats of University Heights: Scamper

On May 29, 2020, as my wife and I walked through the perpendicular alley shortcutting between Campus and North, someone opening a garage door startled a ginger, which scampered (hence the nickname) away, with great stride and speed along the buildings and into a yard facing Meade. We circled around and found the kitty grooming, which he stopped long enough for a pose. I had hoped for a better photo on another day, but the skinny kitty hasn’t presented opportunity. The one you got is better than none.

I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image, which is more notable for the surroundings than cat portraiture. That’s the compromise I make using a camera with fixed, wide-angle lens. Cropping-in is no substitute for a telephoto (my favorite focal-length is 135mm prime, for whatever that information is worth to you). Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/160 sec, 28mm; 4:34 p.m. PDT.

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The Incident on Cleveland Avenue

The overflowing mailboxes outside the US Post Office in Hillcrest seemed afternoon walk-reward enough until I came upon the ruckus along Cleveland Ave. between Tyler and Van Buren, which are in University Heights. As I approached from Washington Street, my eyes couldn’t reconcile a black mass moving amoeba-like on the sidewalk nearly two blocks ahead. Closing in, a line of parked cop cars hinted to what could only be a rather large number of San Diego police officers.

Residents looked on from the sidewalk, apartment stairs, and balconies at the commotion. As one gent exited his building, I ask if he knew what happened. “A murder”, he said, “in one of the apartments”. He pointed up the street. Yikes! But further along, I observed a policeman talking to another neighbor. I asked him the same question. Someone attacked one of the officers. Possibly a homeless person, he speculated.

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Gateway to Mid-City

When the Wilcox family moved to San Diego nearly 13 years ago, we encountered many things that at first puzzled but then made sense when thinking about how Southern California is portrayed in movies and on television. About 9:30 in the evening, during our first week in the University Heights neighborhood, my daughter and I encountered the sign on El Cajon as we turned off Park and drove to a nearby 7-Eleven. Rustic! Neon! The thing brought to mind 1973 (set in `62) film “American Graffiti” and cars cruising city streets. A few lowriders would have punctuated the moment.

The sign made quite the impression, lit up at night. But I hadn’t given it much attention during daytime until last week, when my wife wanted to walk over and take some photos of the thing. She used iPhone XS. I joined in, but with Leica Q2. Strange how novelty wears off and an object that so captivated becomes little more than background blur. The Boulevard charm returned as I looked into the camera’s viewfinder.

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The Cats of University Heights: Velvet

I first photographed this kitty on Oct. 1, 2019, lying belly up and not distinguishable beyond being bundles of fluff from a distance. Not until May 10, 2020 did this fine feline present for suitable portraiture. Thank you, very much. Sixty-second seen behind window or door, the fluffball earns nickname Velvet for its fur coat.

I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image, along North between Madison and Monroe. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/200 sec, 28mm; 10:05 a.m. PDT.

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Sunflower Skies

Sunflower season returns to San Diego, and splashes of yellow reach upward everywhere. The Featured Image is unremarkably composed—and that’s being polite—but the moment means something to me nevertheless. I tried to contrast one thing […]

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The Cats of University Heights: Lily

This morning, while we walked along Meade, my wife spotted a grey kitty across the street, nearby a gent whom we had spoken to once many moons ago. Turns out, the slender beauty belongs to him. Meet 13 year-old Lily, who appeared in nearly the same spot as Mittens in October 2017.

I used iPhone XS to capture the Featured Image and its companion. Both portraits are composed as shot. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 25, 1/1282 sec, 26mm (film equivalent); 9:24 a.m. PDT. The other is same except for 1/1136 sec.