Word and Image

Posts tagged “Cat

Choices

I think in color. No black and white for me. I started in BxW. Color slide film opened my eyes to a whole new world in photography. BxW conversion is easy in Photoshop/Lightroom. Sure. I just don’t think in shades of gray. I admire those who do and who produce great images in black and white.

Single or gallery? I post multiple images these days because there are too many worthy (?) images and not enough posts. TMI. So, I lose subtlety of fine detail. It’s easy (for me) to see Elle is a great cat pic. But the water droplets or the grasshopper or the bees are harder to discern.

Sometimes I just think I must have closed my eyes and pressed the shutter. Images jump out of Lightroom to grab me. I shot that? Luck or skill, my images come from experience and experimentation. I have practiced “what if” scenarios in order to be in this place. But I readily admit I am not some landscape photographer who will patiently sit day after day until the perfect elements align. I have never, and, I never will… No one ever accused me of being patient. Me? I’m all “go!”


658,644 … and counting

Digital images. 4/16/2003. Canon G3 to 8/10/2021 Nikon Z5. I have a recorded database of nearly 700 thousand pictures/images in digital. It does not include iPhone for several thousand more. I think that this is more or less complete a complete accounting.  About 36,000 digital images a year compared to about 3,600 per year of slide film. Moreover, my digital images have increased in recent years and was paltry early on. So, I am at about 70,000 digital images a year right now. Yeah, it’s a lot. And if you are not a photo buff, it is more than enough to make your head spin. Laugh all you would like. It’s my avocation – hobby or minor occupation. Some call it an obsession. And for those who would know me – a look into the (my) mind. Luckily, the very first digital image was serviceable – David. Of late, the first image on a new memory card is of my ID – so if found, I just might get it (memory card/camera) back. And, today, 700k images later, it’s cats and flowers. Colleen has a rash and my kids are far away. Yes, that’s a pair of chopsticks in Peas’ mouth. Don’t ask.


Travelogue

Why do we travel? To get away from our own everyday routine. See something new and different. And while we are gone we seek out familiar things from home. Dinner in a Chinese restaurant… in Scotland: the food looks familiar; the dinners eat with fork and spoon, or knife; the grocery carries mustard, mayo, and Spam!; a picture to match the post card. Yes, you can go to dinner wearing a genuine Harris tweed vest. Travel is about same and, not. We have not been able to travel in a couple years – Covid. The world will be upside down a bit longer. A couple years back right at this time we were here!? It seems so long ago. So much has changed. Don’t worry, my dear, we will be back.


Weaver cat

It has been more than a year since we experienced the ravages of Covid. Can we remember? Do we? Toilet paper was in short supply. I did a little dance in the grocery aisle when TP was in stock again. We chased appointments in order to get a vaccine.

So much has happened. It’s hard to remember that so recently – it seems so long ago, now – Patch died. Colleen completed a memorial scarf/shawl with his colors – green eyes.

Patch would sit on and among Colleen’s looms. (Yes, that is plural – looms!) As a weaver cat, Patch was taught not to play with the warp and weft – threads. He was large enough to disrupt the weaving process until he was ready to move. We miss him.


oh say can you see

Déjà vu. I try to remember 9/11. Here we are. It’s a round circle. (is there any other kind?) From NYC and WTC to Afghan and back. We got our butts kicked once more. With gusto. History repeats. In the end, we!! gave arms to the Taliban. They will cherish them and “buy” our ammo. Was that the plan? Meanwhile, we donated, no gave away, a trillions dollars (with a “T”)! I guess you cannot make the same mistake twice? Afghan’s chief export is poppies.


Odd day

I was housebound and determined to have an adventure. So? Antiques! Nope. Everything is closed around here on Monday. The (poor pitiful) mangy cat awaited in front of one antique place (closed). A VIP funeral went by with a fancy glass hearst and a long parade of trailing vehicles. So famous… we could not find mention in any internet listing. Travel took us to the towns of Milford and Wyoming. Oh yeah! There’s a giant bee, much larger than the usual. It does not look like a carpenter bee. The other large bee listed is from Indonesia, nope, not that one either. ?? Dunno. My passion flower survived Barb! And Nutley? … just too cute for his own good! Gee, he makes me look like a good photographer.


Water

It is part of my life. We live near it. I have always lived near to water. Even in the Middle East, the Red Sea was moments away from me. I have a water view and the beach is less than a mile from home. Water can be subtle or bold in my images. It always adds interest. Underwater (diving), yes, but I tend to avoid the pouring rain. I’m so lucky, yes, so lucky.


It’s late

But, it’s never too late to learn a new trick. I discovered beefsteak tomatoes. Ha ha! Everyone else knows them. I am late to the party as usual. Colleen bought one. I just about let it go bad on the counter. Then, we got mozzarella. I added olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Voila! Instant revelation! I was stunned. I don’t think I ever ate a beefsteak tomato before? Or if I did, it was not a true tomato?

An aside? I shoot macro images. Sometimes it feels as though I cannot see the details the lens captures until I start editing. The details! Water droplets? Subtle and not noticeable until I enlarge the image. Yes, I feel like some images were shot with my eyes closed.

Focus? Dead on accurate – the cat (Peas) – or, it’s not a shot. You aspire to a different standard.

And that beefsteak? A simple recipe. Good lighting. Luscious color. Mmmmm….


Hopeless

It seems a lost cause to try to limit myself to one picture and one story per day. Some days have too many – stories and pics. Sorry. How about an upside down dragonfly? ?? Really?! Yup! It flopped to the deck right in front of me with a thud. Truly! It was an act I did not realize until I did the edit. Later, it flipped and flew away. Relief!

The building – it was across the street from the restaurant – beer flight – inside on the wall was a black and white photo ala this view – for $700. Nope! I’m not kidding. Sorry, I would not pay that kind of money for that kind of shot. I have too many of my own in the discard pile. Really! Balls; ya gotta have ‘em to take that shot and price it like that.

Flight time? You can order a “flight.” This allows you to taste five beers as a sampler. Fun! Yes! Colleen loves dark beer. To me they all taste the same and are bitter. She can appreciate the nuance. I appreciate that she loves the experience. I’m still struggling to appreciate the BxW building on the wall next to me.

Still life – note the flattened peaches. I did it subtly so as not to squish out the juices. That is a large tomato for scale? – or small peaches. Watermelon in the background – I am in a watermelon eating stage right now.

The cat and sunset are throw-ins. It’s the end of the day. I keep a camera at hand all over the house. Ha ha! I have enough cameras to do this. And, sometimes you get the shot because things were there at hand and jumped onto the memory card – all by themselves. Gee, I’m lucky sometimes.


Buddha

There’s a shop we visit where the owners have been retiring for about five plus years. Everything is on sale 50% off. They wanna retire. Correct prices? How about 2X mark-up at ½ off? No? Well, whatever you buy is worth whatever you are willing to pay. There is a sense of scale to what things cost. Right? They specialize in Far East art, like Buddhas. Lee asked and was told depending on the culture Buddha has a different look. Some cultures believe Buddha is slim and in others, he is fat. I never paid much mind. I have learned something new once again. My cat? It could be Ray or it could be Nutley? Either way, they are well on the way to enlightenment. Does it matter which cat posed for me? Ummmm….


Turning the page

At this point I have a goal: to teach Colleen to dive. It probably won’t happen. There are too many things going on in our lives. Once upon a time I taught Dave to dive. Jules, Dave, and I had a magical New Year’s in Saudi, where we dove and the kids did their first night dive. First time: it was a thrilling introduction and a memory we uniquely collectively share forever. For a time, I dove every weekend. I still have my dive gear and the camera housing. Likely, I will not use it again. Sad. But, I saw and recorded some amazing things – a hermit crab laying eggs? That’s not something you see – about as rare as hen’s teeth. Nowadays, in retirement, I’m shooting flowers, pets, and people. I still subscribe to a Dive magazine online – free! The photographs are stunning. It reminds me that I will probably not dive every weekend and that my photo underwater skill is static in the face of so many new developments. Wistful? No: one door opens as another closes. Change is inevitable and things never remain the same. I love my life; it rhymes with loving my wife… and cats.

Jen came up with the term ‘Bee sting’ look. Well, she taught the term to me. Purse your lips. Ok! Look. Try it! Bruce does not play along. Constipated? The generations are changing. The gen above us is gone as we will soon be. This summer’s hope is to imbue our kids with the desire to return.


Follow me

Depending on punctuation this can be a command or interrogative. To those who follow this blog, it doesn’t matter. You are already included in being notified about my posts. If someone does a basic search on WordPress, I am not immediately noticeable. ?? I don’t list myself in category or tag under “photography.” I did a casual search today and realized the omission. Now, begins the experiment to find out if this blog is noticed more. The rest – tags and category – may not have much relevance beyond letting me search for older posts. Let us see.?!


Writer’s block

I could hardly be accused of being cramped. I keep saying there are too many images  and not enough time. The cameras give me technically sound shots. I used to shoot 36 images (film) per day. Now, it can easily be 700 images (digital) in a single outing. Philosophically, less is more?! One image? Sure. But, it’s so much more illustrative (fun!) to share the backstory (ha!) on what’s doing.

Look to home when you need inspiration? My cat Feather has replaced Peas in the basket in order to occupy space and ambush Peas (in her former favorite spot). After Barb cut down my passion fruit vine, the new one and its flower is a surprise brilliant red. Sometimes things happen for a reason (photo op). Meanwhile, you will see Chestertown illustrated. It was a charming town, an over the top excellent find by Colleen, who loves history, shopping, eating, art, and above all, all things “charming.” We could not have had a better day with our clothes on. (Shhh, she wasn’t sure about the dress length; she wore shorts beneath.)


Eyes

Focus – eyes. If the eyes are in focus, just about anything else is forgiven in a portrait. The image is an edit discard if the eyes are not focused. If you stand back far enough everything looks in focus. Up close – focus is critical to the success of an image. Have I said focus is important? In a family of ten it’s important to be focused. Ha ha! I did a go around the house and got everyone’s eyes, mine included. (I chose to be upside down.) I suppose this is photo lesson 101. Focus!


How often…

… do you see eight cats sleeping simultaneously in my house? They must have been exhausted. It must have been a very busy day stalking one another, falling off the balcony, scrounging for food, and chasing all over after each other. Who knows? We do “cat count” periodically. I like to know that no cat has gone AWOL. In about 5 minutes I located them all. And, each was asleep! Really!? Peace on earth! They never sleep simultaneously. Someone is always prowling about the house. Nope. Asleep! … I have a feeling that no one sleeps tonight.


Ambush

Ambush, a game the whole family can play. Sh’t flows downhill. The big cats are picking on the little one. ?? … ‘cause they can. I am breaking them of the habit. It’s sort of working, so far. So, I came upon this scenario. Stalking. Peas was in a new cat bed. Spice and Feather were sitting 10 feet away, waiting, waiting to pounce. I broke that up. I’ll never know what might/would have happened. And, meanwhile, Ray managed to fall off the balcony when he jumped to chase a bird. We went on a merry chase to get him back into the house. There’s never a dull moment around here. And, no, I do not have a pic of the moment Ray fell off the balcony. I am not that good. I am happy I noticed he’d fallen and I will take credit for getting him back.


3%

These are random observations today. 3% is the amount of lemon juice in this container of frozen treat. Two servings at 130 cal for a total of 290 cal in the container. Yeah, do the math. And, two plus two….  Oh, 3% juice? It’s sugar water! Lemons are not naturally sweet. It’s the flower of a dill plant. Who cares? And, look at that fat ass. Sorry, not PC. The pic is to illustrate two – count ‘em – phones. Matching cheeks? Ooops! Phones? Was the daughter embarrassed? This was a random capture. So, the image left me wondering too. Sometimes things just don’t make a whole lot of sense. Tillie? Eyes torqued and tongue out? I don’t know either.


Eight

With eight cats you have a lot of photo ops. No, it is not the same as herding cats. You do have to hunt them down to shoot a picture. It’s not so hard. They tend to lounge about close to where I am working. Good! I got seven very quickly. And then, Feather? Missing. She was hiding. Cats do not come when you call or ask. I did a merry search high and low. Nope. She finally sauntered to the landing overlooking the house and waited for me to notice her. What? You, lookin’ for me? It was a lot easier when I only had to track down six cats. Fierce? No, they yawn a lot.


Different

What catches my eye? Something I have not seen. There’s plenty. … I have not seen. Key: Bees? They look like bees – humping. Bumble bee – flying into the foxglove. All the way in! Orange flower – it’s in my garden. The label (wazzit it called?) is long gone. Willow – yawning in the reflection. Hey! It was all in the same day. Lucky? Not really. I just have a camera at hand all the time. Some days you make your own luck.


How good?

I read that you should enter photo contests. There’s a long explanation/argument that it will improve your technique. Ok. I have not entered any contests. I read. And I experiment. For me it is mileage. The pleasure is mine. I am not constrained. I am free to shoot as I please. Good? Bad? The other good is about whether your work measures up. Does it matter? Yes, if you are entering contests. Win or lose means good or bad? If you lose, you did not measure up? Ha ha. Drive yourself crazy. For me it’s still mileage. I’m not winning awards but the quality keeps me happy. I do better than snapshots and less than fine art. And there is no one to tell me what art looks like. I’m / we’re having fun. Eh? (One more parenthetical thought: When I learned to ski, the instructor spent the entire lesson “hitting” on the girls. No more lessons. Mileage. I just skied and got better and better. I never won a race. But, then, that was never the point, was it?)


Black whisker

I noticed a while ago that Tillie has jet black whiskers. Why not? She’s a black cat. But, the light reflects from the whiskers and they appear white most times. I have dutifully tried to capture a picture showing the black whisker. It appears I may have been successful. For comparison, Willow is pure white with white whiskers. Do you care? The challenge was to take a photo true to life of those black whiskers. Convinced? I may yet get a better shot. It’s a work in progress.

Depending on how the light reflects, it could be black or light. It is black. The trick is in capturing the image.


Not my first time

We volunteered – rather I was Shanghaied – to help take apart and reassemble a computerized loom. Be careful what you agree to do. Be very careful!! There are a lot of moving parts. A lot! I took along blue tape and we numbered each section with matching numbers as they came apart. (The tape faced the same way and the numbers matched. Brilliant!) To be sure, the reassembly was hell. But my numbers matched despite disagreement on how it should be. READ: The numbered blue tape is immutably located! I prevailed and the job was done in mere hours. It did not rattle and there are only a couple extra bolts lying around. It could’a been worse. Yes, let me say once more, it could’a been worse. A lot! Computerized loom? I don’t know. They cost upwards the price of a small car. Me? I’ll take the car.


Mealtime

I had a baguette. So, sandwich! – Chutney, whole grain mustard, garden lettuce, ham, swiss – and a hearty appetite. To drink – lemonade and root beer. Yes, it’s a weird combo, but…  And my cat? – Spice – had her own opinion about my repast. Open wide.


Opps…oops

Digital cameras allow you to make a mistake that keeps on giving. Since August 3 of last year, for nearly eight months, I have had an erroneous setting for the ISO. Ordinarily, it is set to “Auto.” Somehow it was set to ISO 800. So, a lot of pics were taken with the wrong setting. The other parameters adjusted “automatically” and I never noticed the error till now. I only picked up my mistake because the camera used a very long shutter speed one day. Aha! Corrected! Fixed! All is right again. It only took eight months to notice. Gee!! The pizza? As long as we are talking mistakes, this shot was made after I fixed the ISO. The pizza is the error. We have a pizza chain. The pizza is nearly inedible. I kid you not. I was desperate for a “slice,” any slice. I actually went home and ate something more. To protect the name of the guilty I won’t mention the name Grotto.