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Archive for the ‘Cat’ Category

I tend to be more of a dog person than a cat person. Cats have always been somewhat mysterious creatures to me, a bit wild and uncontrollable. Nonetheless, I am usually the go-to person to watch her three cats when my neighbor and fellow photographer Cindy Dyer goes out of town.

This past weekend I watched and fed the three male cats and, as is usually the case, I attempted to take some photos of them. Cindy often manages to capture them in wonderful candid moments, but it was hard for me to get them to cooperate. I am not used to shooting indoors with limited light, so that was an additional challenge. I learned pretty quickly that the 180mm macro lens that I happened to have on my camera is not optimal for this task—it was tough to get far enough away to capture the cats’ major facial features.

Eventually I was able to capture a portrait of each of them. Queso, the orange cat who was rescued in the bushes outside of a Mexican restaurant, is the youngest one; Pixel is the one with the pixelated hair who loves to roll over to have his tummy scratched; and Lobo, the gray lone wolf of the pack, fixed me with a fierce stare when he finally let me take his picture.

I should be back to my more typical wildlife shots tomorrow in case any of you were concerned that I had abandoned my butterflies and dragonflies. I enjoy the challenge of a different set of subjects and I must admit that it was nice to shoot in the coolness of the air-conditioned indoors rather than in the hot, humid summer weather we have been experiencing.

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Queso

Pixel

Lobo

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Some very creative people must work at the local pumpkin patch at Nalls Produce Center in Alexandria, Virginia. As I wandered about, I encountered numerous mini-scenes celebrating farm life and/or Halloween.

One of my favorites featured a crazed–looking cat in overalls conversing with a cow. I also really liked the jack-o-lantern made with all natural materials. I can’t recall ever before seeing a jack-o-lantern with hair.

Halloween

Halloween

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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My long weekend of catsitting is coming to an end today, so I decided I needed to do a posting on Queso, the youngest member of the cat trio. Queso is still a kitten and is full of energy and curiosity. He loves to antagonize his two older “brothers” and will sometimes pounce on them when they least expect it.

Cindy Dyer and her husband Michael rescued Queso when they found him abandoned in the bushes outside of a Mexican restaurant. That initial experience and his orange-yellow fur caused them to name him Queso.

Tomorrow (or possibly later today), I’ll be back to my more typical wildlife and nature photos. It’s been a fun challenge this past weekend to shoot “wild” animals in an indoor setting with available light.

Queso

Queso

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Lobo is another one of the cats that I am watching this weekend. He and Pixel, the cat that I featured previously, were adopted at the same time. According to my friend Cindy Dyer, she wanted to name him “JPEG,” but her husband protested, so they settled on the name “Lobo.”

Lobo has always seemed exotic and mysterious to me, with piercing eyes that look like they could hypnotize me if I stare into them too long.

Lobo

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I am catsitting for the weekend, which means that I have three new subjects to photograph. The cats all have distinctive personalities, so I decided to post photos of them separately.

Only a photographer and graphic designer like my dear friend and mentor Cindy Dyer would name a cat “Pixel.” Of the three cats, Pixel is generally the most sedentary. He loves to sprawl out on the carpet when he is not eating. He loves to ear and was starting to turn into a Mega-Pixel before he was put on a diet.

Here are a few shots of Pixel from yesterday that capture some of his different moods. I took them indoors using available light with my Canon 24-105mm lens, a lens that I rarely use when photographing wildlife.

Pixel

Pixel

Pixel

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Do you post photos of only one particular genre or type of subject? Do you feel that you have to be specialized as a photographer? Are you afraid to post a photo that might be viewed as a cliché or hackneyed image?

This past weekend I was catsitting for a photographer friend, Cindy Dyer, who has two male cats named Pixel and Lobo. As she tells the story, she wanted to name them Pixel and JPEG, but her husband refused to let her name the cat JPEG, so she settled on Lobo.

Since I was going to be spending some quality time with the cats, I decided to take along my camera and see if I could capture a few shots of them. I quickly learned that cats are not very cooperative subjects—you can’t get them to pose when and where and how you want. I suspect that most of the best shots of cats are taken when someone catches them doing something they were doing anyways.

It was gray and overcast the day that I tried to photograph the cats, so natural light was pretty limited in the townhouse where they live. The pop-up flash was not really an option, because it produced the animal equivalent of red-eye in the one shot I attempted. I cranked up the ISO to 1600 and shot almost wide open, but even so the shutter speeds were below 1/30 of a second and many shots were blurred. In retrospect, I probably should have chosen a different lens for the task. I used my 180mm macro lens and often couldn’t get enough distance to capture even the entire head. Needless to say, I had no trouble filling the frame with my subjects.

Eventually I got some images I liked of Pixel, the striped cat, and Lobo, the gray one. I posted these images to Facebook so that Cindy and her husband could view them from Texas, where they were attending a photo workshop. In doing so, I added to the deluge of cat photos on the internet.

One of my fellow nature photographers, Walter Sanford, responded to the images with the comment, “If you persist in posting cat photos, then I’ll have to recommend the Society of Amateur Wildlife Photographers revoke your membership and ban you for life!” I’m pretty sure he was kidding, but it prompted me to think about the questions with which I opened this posting.

For me, I am on a journey into photography and I want to be free to explore and to share the results of my exploration. I don’t want to overspecialize and I don’t want to feel constrained to posting only “perfect’ images. I have no fear in posting imperfect images and have to come to appreciate the creative power of what others might view as inferior images.

So here, at last, are my shots of Lobo and Pixel—embrace the cliché and feel free to post pictures of your cats.

Lobopixel_oct_web

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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