I saw a poster in the pet shop offering to shoot cat portraits. Ha ha! Animals are not easy to photograph. You cannot talk to them and expect compliance. Cats do as they please. Mine are resigned. It was like that with my kids too. Let dad take his pictures and then maybe he will go away. My cats take no offence with my photos. Elle would run at the sight of a camera when we first met. Now she sits patiently. No harm no foul. I would like to do a portrait for you.
I’m searching for a new job. Photographer. Anyone with an iPhone is a photographer now. Need one? There are tons of poorly composed images. As in, bad composition. No matter. The tons of bad pictures make it hard to do business as a portrait photographer. You already have many many pics. The need to have a good one is much less when you consider the cost to pay for a good shot. Commercial? Not so easy either. If any of it were easy I guess there would be a great many professional photographers. I guess it’s easy enough. There are a lot of professionals. Big camera = professional? I wish. For the purchase price of a Nikon DSLR you are in! Hardly… as in nope! I fancy myself a cat portrait specialist today. They posed. Quirky, or straight on and into my camera. It works. I have better shots of cats than of my kids lately. Ha, my cats are captive and available.
There is no posing with cats. They do behaviors in their own time. Yawn or otherwise is not a thing that I can conjure. Spontaneous, it’s a fortuitous capture.
Lie still, don’t move. That works for me most of the time. I move in and shoot. They stare at me like I’m out of my mind. It works for both of us. No group shots please.
Elle, my most favorite cooperative model. She would run at the sight of a camera when we first met. Now, she’s resigned. What? Picture time? Ho hum…. She hides. I hunt her down…
Do you need a portrait? I know someone…
That rebozo? I didn’t want to let it go and get mailed without one more photo session. So!? You can never find or corral Elle. So, she’s not pictured. But like baby pictures, I posed each of the other six cats on the cloth. Three of the six yawned. I did not intend to get or expect them to yawn on cue.
I admit that I roused four from a sound nap to pose for me. Patch and Willow were curious. They were awaiting me to feed them. Hence, curiosity, but no posing. Nope. Feed me! Ray did not yawn. He was so sleepy, he just continued to snooze after I put him down. Now, I’m ready to go postal and get this rebozo on it’s journey.
Okay okay, they are not all looking into the camera. Manipulated? You bet! It took me more than 100 shots to combine and get seven cats into this picture. No cats were harmed in the filming. Two were highly reluctant. Two posed spontaneously. The last three were confused participants. One posed multiple times. In the end I have a portrait of the kids. Three sets of twins and Elle. It was easy in the end. You are looking at the final product. Someone asked me if I liked using Photoshop. No, but I do have some skills.
This was our Christmas card for this year. What will we do next year? 9..10 cats?
I got a couple shots of the kids with flowers. Classic. It’s a retrospective look. I scanned my old slides and these popped out for comment. They are like old familiar friends. I just never put them together like this. Side by side. They have stood the test of time. I liked them from the moment they were developed and I still do. Of course, the kids got old. They are still my kids…just older. Still cute. Shhh… don’t tell ‘em I said that.
Sheep and wool? Ostensibly it’s all about the fiber? The market baskets – fair trade – sold like hot cakes. Everywhere you looked someone was carrying one. We got one. They have great utilitarian use. Plus, they are good for you and for the makers. Win win. Bonus. I got a good image. This lady was just dressed this way. She wasn’t there to be picturesque.
My camera (the “big one”) took a hit in October and has been in repair for a couple months. Yeah, it was a major injury to body and lens. Major surgery was done and the cosmetic damage repaired as well. And it works like a top again. Yay!
There are questions that have no safe answer. Try, “Do I look fat in this dress, honey?” Try to answer, ‘Yes (you are),” or “No (you were, but not now).” Get my drift? I realize that there are a lot of people in my audience who are not attuned to American humor. In fact maybe I don’t have humor at all. Do you see the glass “half empty?” or “half full?”
I shot a moose once. (Yes, it’s obvious. I photographed it.) And someone in the audience asked me if I had really “shot” it. Seriously, he was very impressed (that I shot it)! No, dopey! I don’t shoot animals. I photograph, but I do not shoot. Actually, I shoot whatever is there. Get it? Well, try to understand that I am not working with a full deck and American slang humor can sail right over your head. Sorry.
As long as we are on the subject (vaguely) I was called out by my daughter. “Did you play with the puffer?” Caught! She immediately knew that the puffer was only puffed because I had provoked it. Smart cookie, that kid of mine. I deny that any fish were injured in the making of this photo. However, she contends that I have shortened its life by scaring it. Go figure!
With the very long preamble, I ask, “Do you like your photo portrait with direct or indirect gaze?” Subtle, but definitely different, it’s a matter of choice or taste. For me, I like a direct view straight on. But it’s definitely disconcerting to look straight away into someone’s eyes. It’s much more intimate. Hey! It’s a cat. Lulu’s my cat at the moment I don’t exactly ask her to look at me. I try to get her to look in my general direction and then get my camera into her face. She’s tolerant. She doesn’t get it. But she is occasionally in one place long enough for me to get a couple shots. The portrait is a success based on dead on focus on the eyes. After that composition and the rest are up to you. There are so many bad pics out there. Try harder. And it is affirmative, “a good fish photo has the eye looking toward you!” Mooses too!
Happy Birthday. I just remember the day. Eric was born on the last day of third grade for me. That would be Elkins First Ward School. Lot of memories there. I awoke and mom had delivered overnight. Dad was getting us breakfast. John and me. He had left us alone overnight. We slept and never knew it. I barely remember when John was born. All I remember is that they kept acting like I might be jealous of someone new in the house. He did not affect me in the least. We were expecting a girl (Eric). Hoping for a girl. I don’t know why. It seems ok by me that I got another brother. His name is closer to the front of the alphabet. And he got a middle name.
Me? My mother used a baby name book. She bailed at V. WXYZ not too much further to go. And no middle name. “T” it was on my birth certificate. No, I did not know till I was sixteen. My first summer job as a waiter in a camp and when they returned our birth certificates someone pointed it out. “Oh, well, I didn’t have a first name for you. So I just saved a spot.” Great story. And each brother got a letter closer to the front of the alphabet.
My mother was one of seven children. The last three were sisters. The youngest sister my dear Auntie Fu Ching told me after my mother had passed away, “Your mother lied on your birth certificate.” Huh? The older sister Emily told her she was too old to have a baby (me). So she told my mother, “Lie about your age.” Great! I have looked and I know that I am not a girl.
You’d be surprised but a lot of Chinese guys have my name. I can’t get my name alone as an identifier for email or username. The most fun I had was entering Hong Kong after I visited China. I was separated from my group and placed in a room with a very nice man with a rifle. It was clear he was guarding me. I, of course, did not have a guilty conscience. But I cooled my heels for a while. And when released (I was released with a smile) my friend informed me that the customs folks thought they had just caught one of the big drug smugglers with my same name. Geez!