A picture tells a thousand words. My cats gather as we eat. They don’t like most of what it is. Too bad. It’s my lunch. Nonetheless, don’t turn your back. Personally, I do not favor having my sandwich licked by cats.
Dearest. It’s a slow day on quarantine. Good? You bet. Boring is good. No disease. It’s abstract. I choose to believe so. The map is abstract. Unfortunately, no. But, we talked of reading fantasy. Everyone has gone back to comfort foods – junk, but childhood security. Campbell’s soup? It does feel like Alice n Wonderland. Cheshire anyone? Sleeping cats, ours have a routine oblivious to the chaotic world outside. Innocence! Social distance. But, of course! Beer and spirits? Yes, to that too. We finished off the last of our personally imported Scotch straight from the distillery in Scotland. How’s that for dropping names? The beer? From Belgium imported and plucked from the sale bin at the local liquor store. Good stuff! Yes, indeed! This recalls the only French drinking song I ever learned in class: Chevalier de la table ronde. Gouton voir si le vin est bon? And so it goes… Pretty amazing! Seventh grade French -Msr. Steindler.
Note: I originally composed this post nearly two months ago. Not too much changed. It’s still apropos. What’s worse, we are now embarking on the second wave. This post is as though two months passed like it was merely yesterday. Damn!
Typically, a portrait is vertically composed. With iPhone it’s mostly? Vertical too? Most folks are too lazy to turn their phone. With a camera, the photos (portraits) are mostly horizontal. Same, you can’t be bothered to turn the camera vertically. Enough! Vertical! Horizontal! I will admit I am mostly horizontal (camera). Lazy! Guilty.
All I have around me are cats. So? You take their picture. Colleen has declined (to have her picture taken). I have lots – of pictures of the cats. Ha! Some are good. My problem? I have seven cats. Shhh… it’s two cats? Ray and Nutley? Or not.
Ray (and Nutley) sits staring at the/behind the corner hutch. He’s lost his mouse (toy) again. How? Hmmm? There’s just a small space/crack to squeeze something into that spot. But… as all good humans, I dutifully moved that heavy cabinet and lo and behold…! There were more than a dozen assorted cat toys including yarn, mice, fish, and balls. Curious cats, they were all over me as I got their possessions back. Thankful? Nope, moments later Ray lay there on his back trying to put the toys behind the cabinet. Why? He was hiding them again. Oh my! My bad! I neglected to think like a cat.
I try to take pics every day. It’s not every day I get something to post. Today? Leaving. We go. The cats stay behind. They know it when the bags come out. I could be accused of reading too much into their expression. Poor me (cat). Don’t go. They lie about the house listlessly, or perch on the bag as though that would prevent us from leaving. Either way, there’s plenty of guilt and regret. We gotta go…wish it weren’t so.
I got a new camera a while back – about a month ago – and it has supplanted my last latest greatest camera – just like that. There is a role for everything…but for now…. I used to love my big ‘ole Nikon. I do, still. It has a definite role. And, it is my “go to” serious camera. But, the images I shoot are just fine with the easier to maneuver, easier to handle, easier to reach for, more available – point and shoots. Well, mirrorless is not quite all that, but it is close enough – for now. TMI? Suffice to say that I have a new toy. It’s got my interest. I’m taking pictures again. All good – right?
Cats. Sleeping, dreaming, plotting their next round of mischief… cute. And Elle, my poor solitary kitty. She skulks. It’s her way. And I catch her. She’s okay now. I even get her out in the open occasionally. Lucky!
We make baskets (not this one). Yup! And our cats have come to enjoy sleeping in them. Some? Not all. It’s hard to know what they like. We just find them in baskets. Usually, there’s no competition. The cats are laid back. They share. No fighting, it seems everyone is mellow. And then I used the basket for the cat toys – cloth mice. And… the mice got strewn on the floor to make room for Nutley.
I turned away for a bit. Lightroom presents my library images in a viewer of 28 per screen. Hey! It’s sorting. It is easy enough to go to a single image and examine it in more detail. Lighting. With all the new light bulbs around here, the color temperature of the light I am shooting with has varied wildly. Most folks don’t notice or care about the quality of light. They get what they get and are happy enough. And iPhone and most digital cameras make it easy. Why work? I don’t (work) either. But, I notice. I suppose it is the difference between words and poetry. I get my share of duds. But, sometimes, just once in a while, it all comes together. And then, it makes me glad I try. Colleen – says Feather is my favorite cat. True enough, I hug her (Colleen, too) a lot. Is it because she’s always in my lap and I’m her favorite human? Though there are imperfections, this will be a favorite shot for a while. (Shhh… I love Colleen more than the cat.)
I like their persistence. Mr. Squirrel has not figured out how to defeat the bird feeder yet. (The cage drops down over the feeder holes.) And, the cats would dearly love to play. In this case everyone goes away without what they want. I’m not ready to feed the squirrel and the cats won’t get a squirrel either. The little birdies win, I think.
I like Black & White but I’m not going over to it anytime soon. I’m going along too fast to pause and make the adjustments on my camera. Mine is not a slow walk. I have photo shooting opportunities… maybe I should stop and smell the roses. I’m retired. What’s the rush? It’s hard. I’m too much go and not enough slow. Ok, bad rhyme.
And with all the time in the world to get it right, I still am able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I should be checking and rechecking. There would be fewer mistakes.
I make mistakes and learn from them. And when it really counts, I am ready set. Even then I can and do make multiple shots to ensure I have gotten what I envisioned. Meanwhile, I’m always learning. It’s always nice to have options.
Grab shots, where you grab the camera and don’t get a chance to really get it (the pic) because conditions are awful. But, hey! There is a completely embarrassing photo not included today. You may guess, but I have no desire to relate humor at the expense of my dear wife. (Eh? I will get to live another day.) What you get is that my cats play a game, as illustrated here. The bat their toys under the sideboard. Then, they sit and watch, patiently waiting, until mercifully my wife will go under the cabinet to retrieve their toys. Then, they promptly lose them again. Insanity! Repeat, and hope for a different result? Oh yeah!
So little time, too many images, I would post one… but who can choose? It’s like your kids. You like them all… equally. Well, no, but, you must get my point. Pick? That’s editing. I edit by gestalt now. I look over a large group and one or two stand out. Done. It’s too much to agonize over each individual and way too slow to wait for each to upload. And yet, I continue to sneak in multiples. You/I would be better served by one outstanding shot. But then again, no, maybe not.
We bought a squirrel proof bird feeder. It cost $$. Why don’t I want to feed squirrels too? I would have bought a squirrel feeder. The feeder was squirrel free until today. And it works. There is a cage that closes over the holes when the squirrel’s weight is on it. The squirrel was getting something, but not an entire meal. Seeds spilled. Some, including the squirrel buddy, chose the easier way to go, on the deck. At least in this exchange the birds get a higher percentage on the deal.
Nutley. He’s aptly named because he is – nuts. Curious… curiosity killed … cute as hell, a bit dim in the brain department. I could go on… and on. Suffice to say, he’s a special kitty…very!
Here’s a lesson. Light has color. Daylight is one color while light bulbs give you a different color. Confused? Or, don’t care? But evening light in your living room tends toward yellow. We hardly notice. Don’t mention fluorescent! Ever! It’s, by far, the worst light to shoot with color film or digital sensor. Meanwhile, here are examples. And, if you are keen to correct things, the camera will adjust by custom white balance. It’s work. Mostly, we/I won’t bother. But if you do, it does/can dramatically change the tint of your image. I only ever cared when I started diving and red is lost as you go deeper under water. But, it’s good to know. That way it’s your choice. At least it’s my choice to be lazy. Of course, you could always – flash. But that’s a whole ‘nother lesson. And, I was lazy and didn’t caption to label the different light. If you care, you would know the differences. Or, if not, be sure to ask me. 🙂
Hint: (The top picture was white balance – corrected.)
A few hundred shots later, voila! We got around to doing the annual (2nd) Xmas photo of the family. What can I say? The technique is fairly straightforward. Whistle and call out, the cats come and line up. After all I am their meal ticket. Done! …It seems that none of my cats understand much less will listen. I can’t even distract them enough to stare into my lens. I took multiple images of each cat. There was only a single frame serviceable for Elle. She was having no part, whatsoever!! We got showered and dressed… don’t ask. It’s shameless for sure. As you can see it’s quite the crew. Maybe there will be a 3rd annual, or not!?
Ok! The camera is set up to number sequence your images. Each time it hits 9999 it recycles to 0. Got it? From 2018 to 2019 about a year and a half, I got back to the same number three times. Where was I? We were leaving on a trip. Ray and Nutley forlornly watched as we left. Ian, we were in Denver. Happy day! Geese. Somewhere. Random. Image 1 to image 20,000. It was quite a journey and counting still.
Who’s cute? My cats. Cat proud? I guess. Different? Would that be pose or cat? Obtuse? Sometimes.
I ran across the kitten pictures. They were small enough to fit together into a small bathroom sink. Cute! Yes, they were. And they grew up and barely fit singly into that sink. Cute, innocent, curious, they had not yet shown their character but they were sure to become characters. About the best you hope is that they look when you call their names. They do. Cute? You bet! I like them when they are kittens. It’s why I’m forbidden to go to the pet food store. There’s always a hard luck rescue cat appealing to me.
Ordinarily, this image would not make the “cut.” But it is the last image I have of Feather and Spice together before… we went to WV for a visit. Apparently, the door to the terrace was open and all seven cats had a shot at “escape.”
“If you love something, set it free…”
Mike and Jen managed to round up five of the seven cats… no Feather or Spice. Spice showed up on the second round of searching. No Feather. We were five hundred miles from home and on the way back within the hour. We cut a very important visit short to make the dash home. I suspected that Feather would be home. She is the least likely to bolt. There were four others more likely to explore the wide wide world. Happy ending! Feather was home. Hiding. She strolled out after we made a fruitless search. She was good and ready to finally show herself. You can imagine how relieved we were. Is Feather my favorite among the seven? I guess you love all your children alike. But, there’s always a secret favorite.
… I had a better image. A white cat in the white snow, how cute! Think of the possibilities. I did not realize the potential. Oh well, I can dream about lost opportunity. Next time, perhaps I will be more alert. Hey, I almost got it. I learned my lesson. Meanwhile, I’m not sure Patch ever experienced snow. It was a first for us both.
Whenever we travel, we miss leaving our cats behind. Their quirky habits and dependency upon us have endeared them in a way that defies rational explanation. If you have a pet, you know how we feel. There was no viable path for me to bring my Middle East cats home. The internet says it can be done. Nope. It never would have been possible. Rational heads (Colleen and Farid) persuaded me to abandon my fantasy. Cats live many years. Mine were not old. I hope they have survived. Their life is/was harsh. Even now, I think of them and miss them. Look closely. There is an alpha cat. That would be Lulu. She never did accept Cassie in the house.
Banned! Ray and Nutley are delinquent cats who jump the gate and make a break for the great outdoors whenever they see an opportunity. Punishment! They were consigned to the studio and could only longingly peer out through the screen. I like the graphic. They’d rather be on the other side. But, then I wouldn’t eat in peace. Hmmm? Don’t you eat with a camera beside you?