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Posts tagged “Cats

Seven cats

Eight pictures six cats. We are doing a kitchen renovation. The cats are kept free and separated from the workmen. I got two or three (cats). They are spooked. Strangers! So, they hide. The others are with Colleen and want to see. They are ready to go explore the doings. Sort of. Several want out. Freedom! And Feather? She has steadfastly remained hidden under the couch since the doorbell rang.


Lately

What’s up?

Today is a series of non sequiturs. Bugs? Caterpillars? They walk into my pictures and jump onto my camera sensor on the way to my memory card. See the fine hair detail on the bug? There’s not much detail in the caterpillar. Was it me or the worm? Colleen made a cobbler from fresh picked white peaches. Yum! Cats preoccupy our attention. I am charged with getting their pictures. It’s a specialty. Cats do not pose on demand. Ever! Clouds? Lately the clouds have been distinct against a bright blue sky. Great! Flowers? Macro lens and super detail. The featured flower gives me the impression it is waiting to devour an unsuspecting bug that wanders into its maw. So many pictures so little time…


Cruisin’

I cruise the garden for photo ops. I sit and photo the dawn and dusk out my window. I get a gallery’s worth of pics. My cats are not exactly cooperative. The key is to focus on their eyes. They won’t look at me. Boring. Me?! Ha ha! Bugs come and go. They fly in and I shoot. Water? It rains and I water. It’s another opportunity. Life is pretty peaceful right now. I hope it stays that way.


Cats

There was a point where we had three sets of identical twin cats. We lost two cats in the past year – cancer and sudden death. They are not forgotten. Missed – terribly! You get over it? Not really. I miss the cats I left behind in Saudi – Lulu, Cassie, Biddie. Cats have come and gone in my life nowadays. I haunt cat rescue looking for an outsize character like Ray. The cats at home are unique characters, and all are loved. Sometimes you would think there are too many cats to keep track of. Actually, it was harder to tell the twins apart.

Patch and Willow were virtually identical. I could only tell who’s who by the behavior of each cat. The others had slightly different markings that allowed me to tell who was who but only by seeing the whole cat. Face on each twin was identical to me. For Colleen – well, a mother always knows….


Set a task

I’m retired now. I don’t want to work hard. Things just jump out sometimes. Today, I was wandering around with my macro lens. The lens restricts you to a single focal length. It is a close-up lens so the composition is different in that you are closely focused on the face. It was easy to get Nutley and Spice. They cooperate. It’s easier for them to sit than running away from me. Willow has deep set eyes. Lighting is a problem for him. Peas and Tillie are skittish. They sit still rarely and only for a few seconds at a time. They pretty much never look at my lens. That leaves Feather. She cooperates well enough if you can find her. Finally, there is Elle. She is always hiding out. Skittish and camera shy. For a very long time she ran when she saw my camera point in her direction. Now she is resigned. I think it would be easier if I had fewer cats to chase. Seven, try rounding up seven cats. Ha ha. And, who’s the favorite? We all have our preference. I love them all, but….


Drama

The good pictures “pop!” Pop? Well, they stand out. I take lots of technically sound images. The ones that stand out for me? I have no particular criteria. Like it or not. It just stands apart from the other choices. Notable! Noteworthy! And then forgotten. Not forgot but just moved to the back; there are more better images coming all the time. TMI. Who can keep up in today’s digital world? Indeed, I feel overwhelmed. Whereas I shot parsimoniously in slide film, digital is a free-for-all. It is nothing to pass thru my garden and have several hundred good images of the blossoms each day. Oh well, bugs and cats, that is my world today. Tomorrow another subject will catch my eye.  


It’s easy

Family photo. I just call. The cats obediently line up. Click. Done.

This particular time Elle led us on a merry chase. She’s smart. And quick. We eventually caught her. No one gets to decline my invitation to be in the family photo. Yeah, yeah, it ain’t perfect. The lighting is the same – flash. And the camera is on a tripod. So, except for the position of the models it should all match up pretty well. In theory?! In reality it is never quite ideal. Multiple redundant shots are used to get acceptable poses. It is good enough to pass a casual test. Alas, this image portrays our family and changes that have occurred. It’s seven cats – count ‘em. Soon enough that number may change (increase). I am feeling lucky! No doubt I feel so very fortunate to have a wonderful family.

What’s fake? The straight line? Ha ha, no. Spice and Peas are next to one another. They are arch enemies. Wrong! Colleen has identified Peas next to Feather. Shhh… I cannot tell the kids apart. Birthdays? Don’t ask.


Amalgam

A mixture or blend used more in dentistry than in everyday language. I have an amalgam of cats, characters one and all, independent, and full of possibility. I almost never get to photograph them together. Individually, they are hard enough to capture, especially Tillie. Black cats just don’t photograph well; the fur has no texture. Lighting is the key. Look at the camera; cats pretty much never look into the lens. You must position your camera in front of the cat; it works. Sphinx like? – mysterious and not allowing people to know what you are thinking. A classic pose! Why seven cats?! Well, I got snagged by kittens – in pairs – when I in the pet store to get food. It happened three, Three, THREE!!, times. We are very lucky. No, no more kittens. Ha ha. Yeah, I can do the math too. Sadly, we lost a couple along the way.

The numbers vary. We remain a merry band. I do not have a current amalgamated image. It’s bittersweet. Oh well, time to gather the crew….


Wild kingdom

Survival of the fittest, they called it on the nature programs of my youth. This was the euphemism used in the program after particularly gruesome kills in the wild. I got a “bug” cat, Nutley. He stalks, hunts, and catches. Ah, a butterfly, he bit off its wings without killing it. He pawed and soon lost curiosity. The thrill of the chase appealed to him, but, Nutley had no appetite for bugs. Tillie soon saw and was curious without any hunger. Finally, Spice – capture, kill, and eat. Her sister was curious but bore no appetite. Yeah, I watched it play out in real time. No bug for me. The cats hunt. I do not.


Rated well

I go with what strikes me as I edit. No overthinking. I just go with the gut. One star – ok, but not quite. Two star – good solid technically good. Three star – rare, it just stands out. Four and five – hardly ever.

Water is always good in a flower shot. It’s above ordinary. I don’t get water too often. Cats – my black cat is hard to image and she is hard to pin down for a focused shot of her eyes. You’d think it’s easy. I get the eyes on all my other cats. Nope! And getting texture on the fur is a challenge too. But the eyes… except, it’s nice to see the tongue. Cats do not stick out their tongue. It’s different. Worms and bugs – not so easy. I got this caterpillar by chance. I nearly missed it. It was so tiny. Focus! It’s critical. Otherwise, it’s not a shot. And the moth? Not so simple, this one was all over skittering from blossom to blossom. I stood still and just waited to shoot when it landed again. Focus, otherwise, it’s not a shot. There were a lot of “not” shots. Among thousands of shots there are only a very few rated three stars.


Sitting tight

We got seven cats and counting. Counting? Holding! No more cats. It’s a hard resolution to abide by. You have to be hardened. Cute!! The new kittens in the pet store are cute!! Don’t take my word for it… I am banned from going in the pet store. The interview: stick finger inside the cage; see who grabs on and clings; take lucky (winning) candidate home. It’s how we got three sets of twins. Ha ha. Ya can’t leave/take just one! Seven cats, characters all, it’s a madhouse of personalities. We keep going back to the pet store… cats gotta eat.


Who’s missing?

Missing? Ha ha. It’s cats and flowers. I simply have too many. Flowers are available in great quantity, too numerous to choose one above the others. Cats, I have seven. Try to herd them together. Nope, not happening. The best I can do is to get some individual shots (of the cats) and usually I will not see them all at the same time. Feather is smart enough to avoid me when she wants to hide. Smart cats? Oh, yes! May I also “point” out that the family responds to command and suggestion differently as is amply on display here. They are cooperative but can be hard to herd together too.


Icebreaker

I have a secret life. ??? I am shy. My interests are unlike most other people. In other words they find me boring or I do them. Large groups are worse. It is a lot of noise and chatter. Politics no, nope, nada – outta bounds. What? So, I just circulate the room and never say anything. No harm no foul. I enjoy my solitude with Colleen. As for the rest, they all pose when I point the camera as I document the family legacy. Who would remember the conversation anyway? The upshot: I was there: we wuz there: there is a historical record for the generations to come. Good. Boo! Negative waves! Nope, a good time was had by all… see the smiles!


Practice

I got good! Better?! New baby! This was my first try with our brand-new granddaughter. Photographically it was a success. I have learned. Hey! It’s not too late to learn. What? There are so many things to keep in mind – exposure, focus, composition, timing, etc. Whatever. As in, whatever makes you smile, is a “keeper,” a “winner.” You gotta shoot a lot of pictures to get a “keeper.”

Cats. What I learned from my cats helped me get better shots of newborn babies. ?? Cats do not pose or follow instructions. They – cats – do not smile on demand. And most importantly I learned to position my camera lens in front of the eyes instead of waiting for the cat to look at me when I called. Eye contact! Aha! Simple, ain’t it?


Choices

Everyday there are choices to be made. Pick a picture(s). Cats? Flowers? Old photos?

Old photos? Colleen has a few photos in her archive. They are scattered, disorganized, and precious. Precious few, precious photos. Old black and whites depict images of family from long ago. The folks are known and remembered. Memory fades. I hope the legacy will endure.

Or, it would be – pick a flower. I got lots. It’s like diving. I do a photo survey about twice a day on two decks. I cull out the best in my editing. My digital archive is expansive. … so many pics, so many choices… Quintessential? I’m still looking…

Cats?! Ha ha. I got seven characters. Their numbers vary. Their behaviors are sometimes quite charming. Baskets, boxes, containers? All are fair game. They patiently wait and take their turns. Cuteness reigns. We (wistfully) remember the missing (cats). This would be Feather and Nutley. Ha ha, I can count too.


Macro (lens)

It’s sort of like micro as in microscopic but it is more telephoto or close-up of near objects rather than birds in a tree. Got it? It is a 105mm lens. Portrait? Well, not really. I can focus down to within an inch of my subject… get close… closer.

Great cat photo! I was surprised. The macro lens did a better job than…? Hummingbird? I happened to have the macro lens mounted on the camera as the bird flew toward the feeder. Serendipitous! Ditto, the bee, it was in my picture from the corner of the lens/my eye as I pressed the shutter. Spontaneous capture, definitely, unplanned. No error! It was skill! Ha ha. Sometimes I just close my eyes and press the shutter. Yes!


Dead horse

Sailors were paid wages for their first month of work before it was performed. This month of pre-paid work was known as dead horse. After the first month of their voyage, seamen sometimes performed a ceremony known as Flogging the Dead Horse, to mark the ending of their owed work time.

The idiom “to beat a dead horse” originated from the fact that flogging a dead horse will not compel him to do useful work.

So, the floor is done. Fill the room. No! Don’t put all the clutter back! Ok!? So, two looms and a sewing table, I thought we had a weaving studio? What’s in your closet? I got a warping reel… and a bench. It’s a walk-in closet, gotta have a place to sit. My mess is all the travel bags on the lower left. The defect? … my narrow board, it’s tucked under the rug. Tillie (black cat) knows.

Why are flowers red? Easy – genes. But why red? Philosophical, existential? What to know? I can concentrate on flowers once more.

The window washer came. Like the einsie weinsie spider…

“Itsy Bitsy Spider”, more often recited than sung, is a finger-play rhyme for children. It tells the adventures of a Spider, named Itsy Bitsy (or Incy Wincy – more popular in England)

I have never spelled it out. Imagine that. How old am I? but itsy bitsy is the popular version….

Everyday, I learn something new….


The saga

Does my living room look less worse? Cluttered? Ha ha. The floor us complete! Awesome! We did it! Colleen would defer. But, indeed, she helped! Assembly required, we had to return everything to its place. Note: a few (only a few) things did not return.

I had saws on both decks. Thank goodness. The sawdust! See the spider webs revealed by the stray dust?! (We got lots of spiders!) I cannot be certain, but, we passed, cat inspection. Mistakes? A few. How about waiting a day for a new floor nailer? 16 gauge nails do not fit when it calls for 18 gauge. Duh?! Yeah, guilty! Not too bright! In the end…  great job, looks fantastic, I’m glad it’s done.


Puzzles!

Laying/installing floor is like a puzzle! The boards are of different length and color. You piece together a row at a time. No regrets permitted. You nail them in one row at a time forever! No gaps and no funny color patterns, it is both forgiving and precise! The cats inspect frequently. My wife – dearest understanding wife – sleeps next to a chop saw. Her underwear drawer is in our living room. As anyone knows, it takes time to put a puzzle together if one has never seen the original picture. Fun! To keep sawdust at bay I cut on the adjacent balcony deck. …except it was raining! Yes, we are sleeping in the bed while the work goes on. Did I mention, kids, don’t try this at home?


Summer flowers

I garden in containers. We get a maximum show of color for months. This year I was late because I had an injury. But we finally got things planted. I try for the usual flowers and then go for ones that are good photo subjects. Of course! Last summer I got a macro lens. Close ups! Now, we’re talking! Goose family? Pigeons? Dove? There are lots of chicken houses in DE. I was surprised to find pigeons? Huh?! I cannot find any reference to the place on the internet. Go figure. My cats are appreciative. Some red grass that I plant is fair game. Yes, my cats eat grass. No matter. I get good photo ops all summer long. I cruise the garden a couple times a day. Aside from straight on shots, I seek detail and images that are less common than catalog view. There is a flower that looks like the Rolling Stones tongue logo… I had it in my pictures last summer. So far, I have not found the flower again. But, there will be color! We will have a gorgeous garden and no one else will worry over the details. My trusty macro lens will find plenty to shoot.


Longing

Flowers, they cheer us all summer long. Peas and Tillie came last summer. Who knew? Characters! Lovable? They have a way of getting under your skin… It was pretty idyllic all last summer. Ray and Nutley came in July, 2018, not so very long ago. This woulda been his birthday. He was a little cat with such a big personality. I am glad I took so many pictures. Flowers and cats are easy subjects all summer long. Colleen spins. I long for peace and serenity to return. I remember as a kid when summer vacation stretched endlessly without a care….


Downsizing

When I said to my wife – no names please – “We need another loom, like a hole in the head.” I meant it; and, I am, indeed capable (of drilling holes in your/mine head, as a retired neurosurgeon! Later that day a large heavy box arrived. A cat tower! It’s taller than my (same, present, nut) wife. What?! Wut?!! W#$hat#$!! The cats paid no attention. We had to put them on it. No, nope, never! Yup! Since then, they have been all over it! Darn! Another piece of furniture that I have no space for! (Would this be the proverbial “dangling preposition?”

No more!? Stuff!? No more stuff? No, more stuff! What a difference a comma makes. “,” one little punctuation point. No more cats?! Another loom? They were giving it away at the Thrift Store. Yeah, $550. Ok! Price reduced! We bargained down – way way down (under $100) – the provenance? It was made in Marblehead MA. It was a therapy loom – Devereaux, for insane people in recovery rehab. Oh! How appropriate! Bookstores?! No more! We just went through our bookcases…. A ton of books lie on the floor waiting to go to donation. Go!? No!? I don’t know. Magazines find us. And, books leap into Colleen’s arms. And magazines!! Still!? Yeah, it is a cute antique loom made centuries ago. A real antique. I have no room! It’ sitting in the hall landing. Help!?


Muddled

Pictures help clear the muddled mind. It is 2017, January. Spice and Feather latched onto me at the pet food store and are now part of our family. They were so little. Were they ever so tiny? Two fit in the sink. Can you imagine? I have trouble remembering the year they arrived. Photos help.

Two egg yolks over … what? Snow geese, a first (the very first) glimpse for me. The National Enquirer, ah, shit! We are in a tunnel – driving – don’t try this at home… There is a radar detector, a GPS device, phone holder, a dried rose bud…. So, it is the new Subaru. Technology would change. Nowadays the phone is plugged into the dash and GPS comes via the car screen. I don’t speed any more – ha. No GPS, phone holder, radar detector, rose. There is a lot to be learned from a picture. And there are pictures that make you wonder, “I took that? For what?”


Update

No, no, we did not get another cat! This is a long frustrating tale of woe that has a twist and happy ending. Sort of. Back up your stuff… on your computer. Everything fails, eventually. I have had external hard drives (more than once) go south for no particular reason within the two year warranty – mostly Seagate – and I got replacement drives no questions asked. Go figure. I back up my Macbook Pro with an external drive, one only. I backed up on 4/2 and 4/5.

Apple cheerfully offered to upgrade OS from Big Sur to Monterrey for free. The upgrade downloads from the internet and then Apple installs the new OS. There was a catastrophic glitch that occurred at start-up after the upgrade. No upgrade. Complete crash. Dead! Recovery mode, I followed the steps. I loaded up the backup external drive. Disk Utility repaired the Macbook hard drive and external. The files and backup on the external disappeared. Major catastrophe! At least one year’s data just disappeared from my Macbook. Weeks! Weeks later, I recovered the external backup using Free! Recovery programs. They are free until you try to recover a file, then they cost $$.

Happy ending? After weeks, I got all the recovery backup files from Time Machine onto another external drive. Ready to recover back to 4/5? I plugged in the original external backup where the files were lost. Voila! The files were back!?? Another six hours ensued. The Mackbook was recovered to 4/5. I lost data and changes for about 20 days. Pfewf!

This was a very nasty surprise! And, it is a cautionary tale. “Backup your stuff.” Of course! I was stupid. I did not expect my back up drive to fail. Mistakes were made. I won’t do this again. My photos are backed  up on five redundant external drives of different brands. Nuts! Who knew!?

After that long tale of computer woe, it is only still spring as I write and lament. “Instant garden” in my containers does not happen without work. It costs $$$. But the color and beauty lasts for many months. It is definitely worth the effort. Each year brings new arrangements depending on what the nursery has when we visit. Marigolds are featured this year. Colleen dyes with the flowers. Last year I upgraded my macro lens. Let the photo ops begin again!