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Posts Tagged ‘Lobo’

I am helping this weekend to take care of three cats that belong to my friend Cindy Dyer and her husband. I mention Cindy fairly often on this blog because she is a constant sources of encouragement and inspiration in my photography and has mentored me over the years—she is a freelance photographer and graphic designer. She is also an amazing gardener and most of the times when I feature flower photos, I have taken the shots in her garden.

Cindy works from home, so her three cats are used to having someone around during most of the day. Over the years I have taken care of the cats multiple times and they are relatively comfortable with my presence in the hours. That being said, each of the three cats has his own personality and shows me varying degrees of attention and affection.

I took these shots of Lobo, Pixel, and Queso yesterday afternoon when I stopped in to check on them. All three cats seemed to be evaluating me and I like the way that I was able some of their personality in these informal little portraits.

Lobo

Pixel

Queso

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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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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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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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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I am catsitting again for my neighbor and fellow blogger Cindy Dyer and her cats are amazingly photogenic.

Pixel was the most cooperative. He posed on windowsill this morning and was even willing to lift his head so that the light coming from the side would take away any shadows.

Pixel2_blog

Pixel’s brother, Lobo (Cindy was going to name him JPEG, but her husband objected), was a little less cooperative. I captured him in his favorite spot, looking down on the main entry from the second floor with his head dangling over the edge.

Lobo1_blog

The third and final cat, Zena, an older female, was even harder to photograph. She gave me a look that seemed to indicate that she was not going to put up with any nonsense from me.zena1_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I am not a cat person generally, but I am pet-sitting three cats for my friend and photography mentor, Cindy Dyer. You can read about some of the cats’ exploits on her blog.

Her striped cat is named Pixel (only a professional photographer would name a cat Pixel) and is very photogenic. Cindy featured him today in a posting entitled Happy holidays from Santa and Pixel. Here is a photo I took of him yesterday morning, with the soft light coming in from behind him.

Pixel

Pixel

Pixel’s brother is named Lobo, though he was originally going to be called JPEG until Cindy’s husband nixed the idea. He is a bit more friendly than Pixel and equally photogenic. Here is a photo of him, also from yesterday morning.

Lobo

Lobo

The third cat, an older female named Zena, is spending most of her time under the bed—she is irritated with me and seems to think that ignoring me is the best course of action.

These cats were my early morning companions today and we shared the start of a glorious Christmas day—they had their cat food and I had my coffee. Maybe I am starting to turn into a cat person.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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