Word and Image

Posts tagged “Cats


Patch Willow, brothers. Colleen brought them from West Virginia. They did not ask and did not want to change venues. They adjusted. One day Patch went to the vet for a scheduled teeth cleaning. It went badly. Patch had a belly full of cancer. He died a short time after diagnosis. He did not suffer a lot. It is amazing how much he became part of me in only a short time. We still miss him. I am glad to be able to face loss and be able to talk about his memory.

Flowers or fish?

Would you rather…? I do not regret being in Saudi. Eh? I am glad to be home. I was homeless in a rhetorical sense for a bit. But I always seem to land on my feet. Flowers preoccupied me in the summer as never before. I got hundreds… thousands of pictures of the blossoms. Daily! Hundreds! Obsession? Compensation? Psycho? And, my/our cats. … because I could take good photographs in focus and well exposed with decent composition. Yes, all of the above. We all need an outlet? Eh? I’d rather be diving. But the price in Saudi was too steep. So, no! I am just fine here and now.

Random stroll

Did you know I have a catalog? Several. Hey hey! Ha ha!

These recent years have been dominated by cats and flowers. Travel has been restricted due to covid. It was only a short time since we got Tillie and Peas. The new macro lens made close-ups of the flowers in my garden… imagine if I had remained in Saudi. The blog would be flooded (pun) with underwater fish. Flowers or fish? Both start with an “F.”


Cat count. No, not 120 cats, just eight reside with us. It took 120 shots to get eight good ones to post today. I shoot multiples but mostly none of my cats pose on demand and mostly they ignore me and keep on sleeping where I found them.

I do a sweep several times a day to be sure all cats are accounted. They get separated from one another for different reasons. Groups gather and separate at different times. Peas is segregated otherwise she would be attacked. Hence, the bell on Feather and Spice. Mozart remains a kitty in search of a friend among cats. He craves hugs. Colleen will have to suffice. She laughs. Mo follows me wherever I go.

One more…camera

If you follow me, then you will know I am camera crazy. Colleen has looms and spinning wheels… I just have lots of cameras. They sort of accumulate. I am poor at discarding things.

Nikon Z5, mirrorless. It follows the Canon M6 II. A real DSLR, sort of. And the first images. No selfie!? Oh no! But the usual suspects… flowers and cats.

Who knew? It was a pretty inauspicious start. It was pretty much an average day – 4/23/21. But anytime you break in a new camera… let the fun begin. Are there other cameras? Sure. There is always camera lust. But I am content. No need for me to get the high-end Leica or to enter the Canon system. A lens is a lens… well, not quite. But it is the image not the camera. I simply want my equipment to work and to get the image I seek. Right tool for the right job? If you aren’t good then no amount of equipment will make up for your lack of skill.

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.

I do believe in real cameras. 148k images and counting….


Me? Bored? … more like in a rut. Same old same old… Canon EOS M6 II

I wasn’t shopping cameras? But this popped up. How’d I miss it. Mirrorless. Different. Well, different technology. Change?!

Cats? We still had Patch and Willow. We are still together. Thank goodness. The first shots? Interesting. I shoot what’s around. Us. … you can see the bookcase is finished.

Bored? Nope! Just different. Another tool for another purpose. 79k images and counting.


I never thought of Sony as a camera. They make video. But as I dove, the merits of the RX100 family – models I to VI – became apparent as a sought-after underwater camera if you did not shoot with a DSLR. My Canon G7 point and shoot dive camera has so many images that I was sure it was about to fail from all the use it had received.

September 14, 2018. New camera. Sony RX100 VI. It would have been my dive camera but I had stopped diving in 2016. An excuse? to get the camera? Nope. None. Just camera envy. 133k images later it is still in the rotation. We have taken a lot of images together. It’s not exclusive but it is still in active use.

And the first pictures?… new car, building the bookcase, selfie, flowers, cats, all the usual… from my activities and interests at that time. Who knew? A year later I would be married too!

Plus one… the last images

I am a nut! Agreed! At any given time I have four cameras in active use… at the moment. Forget the iPhone. Nikon Z5, Canon G7, Sony RX VI, Canon EOS M6II. And there were many other camera… along the way.

This post illustrates the last shots from each camera old and new. Some cameras are pretty much retired and not much in use. This is just the digital image side. There were plenty more film cameras. But I have not shot film since Dave’s graduation in 2004. That was the very last roll of slide film I shot. Just like that!… a freezer full of Ektachrome slide film sat for years… until I could bear to throw bricks (20 rolls) away. Bricks!

Some digital cameras got a lot of use… others? … not so much. Each purchase was a good idea… at the time. So far so good.

Since I shoot pretty much every day, there are a lot of images… upwards of one million digital images. Meanwhile, I am saved by Lightroom which catalogs and keeps the utter mess and confusion in some semblance of order. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ with it.

Interesting aside: it appears most of the “last” shots involved selfies or my cats. Boring?! It just falls out that way. No apologies! I got no complaints! The legacy I leave will be about the life/lives we lived.

Line up

Command! At my command, they line up and pose for the family picture.

Hey! I finally did it. Colleen did not allow me to do it sooner. Mo was too new in the household. Black cats are notoriously difficult to photograph. Tillie! The rest do what I tell them. Oh sure! Paraphrasing Roy Scheider in the movie Jaw – we’re gonna need a bigger table!

First you clear the table – it was covered in spinning materials. Then you grab each cat – easier said than done. Shoot multiples, one will surely be serviceable. Everyone objects. No one smiles – except us. Then composite. It’s seems my table is not large enough. Oh well, I guess we will need two tables for nine cats…


In lieu of a group composite shot – the table is completely covered with stuff – I hunted down each cat and got a shot. Eight cats. Yeah, nuts! They don’t take up much space. They don’t demand much. We have our own individual relationship with each. They are dependent upon us. We get lots of love and affection from them. Characters, one and all. No group shot?! We got a selfie instead. …no posing was involved with the taking of these pictures.

Lap top

Laptop? A play on words? Nope. Cat in my lap. Ha! Their closeness is apparent, and they fidget. Try and hold a squirming cat whose claws are extended. Fun!? It was a photo op I don’t usually have. Eh? Do not end a sentence with a verb or preposition?

There is little in the world better than having a cat in your lap. It’s calming. It’s better than meditation. Or did I mean mediation? No matter. Try it! I consider myself one lucky guy!


Are you/am I …composing a blog post before I shoot? Or, are my posts inspired by my shots? Hmmmmm? Chicken or the egg? Do I/you care?

You see a shot… try to capture it. Technology lets me capture much of what I see. Given enough time… good enough equipment… I can get a picture of anything. Do I give up too soon? Sure. I did not get the shot of the spider web. It would have required a macro lens and manual focus. I did not have sufficient motivation to get up… but the cats in front of my laptop…. Shoot it with … flash!

There is luck involved. For sure. Subjects do not sit around waiting for me. I have to be quick. Camera at hand, I am fortunate to snap a few shots before everything changes and the moment is gone. I miss a lot of potential shots. I get a lot of shots I did not deserve to capture.

Colleen says I write well. Do I? Or is my writing inspired by her encouragement? Or, it is my photography? Do I like photography or writing more? Chicken or the egg, again? My blog was suggested and inspired by long lost cousin Amy. We are long since out of touch. I write from the heart as was pointed out by my freshman college instructor who was seduced by my words. Interesting to know and to observe, but nothing came of it until I used words to shamelessly woo Colleen decades later. I was already an accomplished photographer then.

And now I write and photograph, or perhaps, the other way ‘round. Colleen remains my muse. I am inspired to connect with an audience I do not know. But you readers are all appreciated. I have been at this since 2011. There is a lot of water under that “bridge!” Thank you all. I toil and persevere.

Squirrels gotta eat…

…too. Bird feeders, a free meal for the… squirrels. Smart creatures, they have broken into every bird feeder we have. How? Ingenious?! Ya gotta laugh. Hey! Squirrels gotta eat too.

We have trained cats. I whistle. The musical notes beckon Nutley and Tillie to come to the door. Out they scamper to chase the squirrels to no avail. But the cats know the drill and come right to the door. The squirrels run. The cats get exercise. The birds eat. All is right with the world order. How did that squirrel get inside the metal cage? Really?!

Cardinal in flight? Try it! It ain’t easy. Purely a lucky shot. I must have had my eyes closed.


I met Colleen. I had never had a cat. Well, for about ten minutes when I was a kid in Elkins… I had a black cat named Pepper. My parents made me give it back.

But… three, five, seven, six, eight, seven, eight – cats. Colleen came with three cats. Feather and Spice came as twin Maine coons. Ray and Nutley followed when Ray latched onto my shirt at the pet store. Patch died. Tillie arrived to take Patch’s empty bowl and Peas came the next day when we found out the sister had been left behind in the pet store. Ray died. And now… tryouts… Mozart had joined the band of cats. He is on probation. Stay tuned. Colleen has doubts. He passed tryouts in the pet store. But… it is a long way to discover whether he fits into our home full of cats. Seven was a lucky number! But, I had eight bowls to feed. Somehow… But we are whole again.

Try and catch your cats. Get a picture. Yeah, right! I chased them all down. Easy and hard. But I got a shot of each, one the same day, within the same hour. It was quite the feat. They don’t exactly cooperate. No one smiles on cue. In fact, chasing them down led me on a merry chase around the house. I gotta clean. We got a lotta dust.

Eight!? It also happens to be the number of years we’ve been together…. oops, it’s nine. But, it is our anniversary, married – our fourth. Happy anniversary dear! (shhh! I almost forgot.)

Air tag

Technology. Don’t laugh. I came up with the idea because Mozart, the cat, likes to hide under things and can’t be found. I wanted to know where he was in the big house in order to protect him and the other cats from each other. Voila! Air tag!

Amazon was slow to deliver. We actually drove 100 miles to the Apple store… not really: we were passing the mall…

Brilliant!? It works. The tag chirps. I know where Mozart is withing the context of the house. It chirps. The first morning… the collar and Air tag were lying on the floor at Mozart’s feet. Good trick!

Mozart found “bird TV!” Fascinating! All the other cats shunned him. Nutley hissed. (see photo) And poor Tillie was hysterical!! As in, she jumped three feet in the air and ran! Yeah, this is going real well. (I just hate it when Colleen is right!! And, she’s always… right!)

The upshot?: Mozart never hid under anything anymore after he was released into the main house. Everyone else ran from him. Shunned. He wanders at will. Feather – she got the air tag; she’s always a fraidy cat. And, the tag was on the floor shed unceremoniously by my favorite cat. The first time it chirped when she wore it? She was insulted and had a “what the” me??? look on her face. Yeah, it’s a good trick to have a look like that on a cat. Colleen laughed out loud.

The last time I…

September 16, 2016. … the last time I dove. Underwater, Red Sea. The Red Sea dives. It was a week before I left Saudi forever. Good? What? Which? Answer: Complex. On many levels. Let me be obtuse and confusing.

As Carol says, ‘feral cats.’ Two, I had to leave them behind. Were it otherwise, I would have braved the red tape to bring Lulu and Casi home to the USA. But they were Arabic speaking cats…

The last dive shot? Hmmmm…. I have a dive log. It says 9/16/16. And my catalog? No pictures – no dive pictures for that day. What!?!! Somehow, there are – pictures of diving on that day.

The absolute last dive picture? Nudibranch, nothing special, yet, it was. Special. Last. Out with a whimper. The shrimp is almost too small to see with the naked eye! Blenny poking out of the coral? Dragon nudibranch! Hermit crab ‘en’ shell? Flying ‘whatever!!’

Oh boy, despite my failing memory, these shots are embedded…. I’ll never do it again. I was good! Oh, the skill! Wistful? Regret? Do I miss Lulu and Casi?

It was but a chapter in my life. I have moved on. You cannot go back. I am glad I have the memories. Colleen is glad I am home every night safe and snug in our bed. She worries a lot. This is one less thing to worry over.

Last picture of the last dive. Thank goodness it was a real subject and in focus.


New camera? The first thing you do? Take pictures! Duh!

It’s always exciting to try out a new camera. First the purchase was thought out – oh! the agony of the expense vs do you really need another? After you dance around the room… you shoot the room, your cats, and yourself and your darling wife. Ok!!

Would you believe this camera is in its ninth season? Nine years!?! It might just be the first camera I bought when I was with Colleen. Really!? That significant? Time passes. My last big camera purchase was three years ago. I’m itching… but the new features, the latest greatest… come with a hefty price tag. So far, I am able to admire a Porsche from afar. Fine with me. I am still content. And, Colleen remains my one and only…


I’m shy. Herding groups, directing groups, is not my specialty. (See: cats.) Everyone is good humored and used to my cajoling albeit some reluctantly. Nonetheless everyone understands the importance of documenting family. (cats excepted) I am indeed fortunate to be able to gather loved ones and get a shot – or two. The carrot is that I post them so they are shared and preserved for all. Yeah, it’s hard to herd cats.

Do what?!

I casually offered. They accepted. You learn new things every day. How about the cat tower? Hmmm… I had not thought about that nor had ever tried it. Cooperation? Hardly?!! Mike and Jen thought (innocently) they could hold all four cats for a single take. A single picture? They have seen Colleen’s pics. We did it with seven cats across the table. Easy! About 101 pictures later… They had great ideas and we improvised as we went along. Nut crackers, cat tower, oh my! Done! I’d do it again… no cats were harmed… a few scratches later…

Fill time

It is a rare day that goes by without me taking pictures. Subject? Ah! Cats and flowers… they are available and do not object too much. Seven cats – only a few are cooperative. The rest avoid me.

Take a picture just to take a picture? Umm, I consider it a challenge. Get a technically sound image with some wrinkle in detail – water – that is a bit out of the ordinary.

Busy time activity? Boredom? Warding away the doldrums of retirement? Ha! Colleen fills her time with reading. For me, there are only so many times I can hit the refresh button on the NY Times.


It’s a hobby fer cris sakes! It’s pretty simple. I shoot what is around me. Family, birds, flowers, cats…. Easy. Edit. Choose. Blog and then post. You have no doubt guessed that I have/had a lot of cameras. I do not much collect old ones. I have lost cameras in various ways. I managed to “fry” on underwater even. Note: salt water is bad for camera electronics. There are even some times when Colleen uses my camera.

Subject? The only caveat to note is that I have cameras in multiple rooms and drive with one in the pocket or on the dashboard. And, still we miss opportunities now and again.




Look up – search – “copy” on the hard drive. Hmmm. Hole in the head, not hole in the wall…. It seems that we shot a lot of group shots of our cats. Brilliant?! The years are different but seem to be annual more recently. I get the idea to do it again in November. It works. I guess I shall do it again and again. Meanwhile, the shots are ever more precious. They remind us of love found and love lost. Cats may come and go but they are ever in our hearts. We are so lucky to be together, one and all.

About a year

Three. Five. Seven. Six. Seven. Eight. Seven. We have gone thru many iterations of the number of cats in our house. Numbers five and seven were pairs. They grabbed me in the pet store and latched on to my sleeve until I relented and took them home. Yeah, softie! We lost Patch. Tillie came home until Colleen discovered the next day that Peas was her sister left behind. Eight! Following me? And, then we lost Ray. No more cats. I am used to feeding seven cats. Seven is a lucky number. Don’t ask. I have litter boxes on three levels of the house in four spots with a wooden gated barrier to separate warring factions. What have I/we done? Happy family? Oh yeah!!

Seven cats. Count ’em. Tillie and Peas got extras (pics). It’s their birthday. Our merry band has changed… wish that it weren’t so. Confusion reigns. Try to remember, who got fed, where?


Sometimes I surprise myself. I did that?!

Vent cover. I never heard of them. I took them for granted. I never look at them. You can buy them. It’s better than the old metal one. Ah! Finish?! You gotta do it yourself. Really?! I did that?! Yup! I finished it to match. Myself. Not bad. Yes, the cats were curious at every step. There is some skill involved. Ha! Undaunted. Edges, sill, vent, nail gun, oh my! Easy! Right! I gotta say… don’t try this at home. (Wink!)

I also gotta say that I took pictures as I went along. Gee, everything deserves a picture….