I’m retired. No more hassle. I never had a boss. I was my own. Make no mistake, there were people over me with the power to steer my life. Largely, I went my own way. Better? Worse?
Enough! I got out on my terms. Luck was with me. I have an independent life. I go where I want. I do what I want. Would I do it differently?
Day job? Each day is a fortune cookie. You never know what it holds. Cats. I photograph my cats. Who cares? Who needs another cute cat picture? I don’t care either. But, it is my cat. And so, I get shots.
Rhyme or reason? I shoot with the eyes in mind. Focus. If you can get the eyes in focus… Hey! The difference between “yes” and “eyes” is the “e.” Go for it! My cats do not follow instructions. I press the shutter and hope for the best. Ha ha. It’s not quite that random, but, some days it seems that way.
I must enjoy herding cats…. One of the treasured pictures that I see among Colleen’s and Jen’s family shots is the “group shot.” The “occasion shot” seems to occur whenever there is a family gathering. Actually, mostly not. No one really is paying attention and the photo is taken somehow. But in retrospect it is laden with fond memories documenting who was alive and well at the time. So, I do my best to record the groups as they gather for the annual family reunion at the beach. Different families drift in and out of the pictures. Folks are generally cheerful about it all.
The conundrum is to catch the group in one place and time for the moments it takes to record the photograph. It is usually a group too large to focus in the frame of the image. I chose a high point – the balcony above. That way tall or short the camera will see your face. Of course, you have to look at the camera. And then redundancy is a must. Someone always has their eyes closed. Ok, shoot redundantly or be prepared to Photoshop.
By now our guests are used to this preamble to dinner. They gather cheerfully. I shoot with a remote. We hope for the best. Ah! I do use flash for a number of reasons. Success! …umm Bruce? Bruce?!?! Where’s Bruce?
I am Feather’s. I am her human. She, is, my cat. Colleen swears it. I do not deny it. We all got our favorites. (Fortunately I have only one wife.) I am “dead ham” for that thought. But seriously, I did not choose Feather. She chose me in the pet store when she sank her kitten claws into me and said I’m coming home with you.
We got a serious relationship with unconditional love. I have to give her medication. It’s liquid. She sees me coming and hides. She holds it in her mouth to spit back out as soon as I let her go. She comes and climbs on me to sit and purr forever in my lap. She forgives me when I “wallow” her. yes, she is a special cat.
Her sister is identical. I can’t tell them apart looking at their faces. I know them by their paws. I know them by their purring when either sits on my lap. Feather has a special place she has claimed. She is in my lap.
Yes, yes, I love my wife. That’s another story.
Commentary: The images? I shoot the cats with whatever camera is at hand when they are posing. They don’t pose on demand. I see them together. Or not. I focus on the eyes. A portrait is no good without good eye focus. There are exceptions. Sure. But it all starts with the eyes. And no, it is not Feather peeking at me from the corner of her eye.
We all got a favorite shirt. I am fashionably retro wearing a favorite “golf” shirt over and over. I don’t golf. It’s just a “style” of shirt. Jane must love this checked shirt. I have seen her wear it before. It has a retro look for me recalling bygone decades. Is the shirt new or old? Memory? My distinct memory of this shirt? Jane has no air conditioning in her house. It was about 90 degrees with 100% humidity and she was sitting in her living room with sweat dripping down her temple to the collar of this shirt…. We bought her a window air conditioner shortly after…
It’s a nice picture. Happy smiles. Sisters. The shirt triggers memories unseen here and a backstory unique in my own thoughts. Ponder…pondering? Is it the memory or the highlights? There is so much more to it all.
? Well, I switched over the Sony RX100 and used its electronic zoom to get in close. I don’t see a rooster every day. I settled for a sharply focused close-up. The background was not ideal. Composition was okay for the position of the bird in the image frame. It was what I could get. The bird was on the move.
I shot the next image with my Nikon Z5 and 200mm zoom. The bird is on the move rapidly out of range. You can see the motion blur. Once again, not perfect, but I came away with an image and a memory. Sometimes you know what to do and never get the chance to put the wish onto the memory card.
At this time of the year I am flowers or cats. Otherwise our daily routine is pretty ordinary. I rotate four camera near at hand. One camera sits on my desk – clouds, passersby, sunrise/sunset – waiting for images to jump onto the memory card. The other cameras get into play as the need arises to meet the situation. Macro is mostly for flowers. Otherwise the zoom helps me compose a shot and eliminate extraneous distraction. Seven cats = plenty of distraction.
It is hard to corral cats. They don’t sit too often. And closed eyes does not a photo make. This particular evening five cats were sitting still. One was asleep, another half asleep, and a third was on the move. Two, my usually most active cats, were just sitting, finally exhausted from the day’s antics. I got in close pointed the lens and zoomed in for their close-ups. Hey! It’s not easy getting a cat to look at you. I’m boring. They know it.
Vanilla. My previous shots of the passionflower were straight on vertical macro shots. I got a different view. Yay! I’m working. I’m reinventing myself. I am searching for something a bit different. It’s never too late to change. Technically good but same and albeit boring. We’ve seen it before. No problem. I did this for a couple years now. Catalog worthy images for the flower book.
It’s work in progress. For this image I was standing below the blossom. It was blooming on the deck above me. So, this was a low angle shot and landed me with a different composition than ordinary. It almost appears that the blossom was cut into two. Nope. Just a different view. Okay!
I’m in a rut. Macro flower pics are merging into one another. I need to break out of the routine shots. Face on flowers – it’s like anatomy lessons. Create. Creative. Change things up. Do something different. Art. It’s not science. It’s not clinical. Get a different viewpoint. See it! Don’t just document it. My bad. I have been in this technical loop for a couple years now. It’s nice. But it ain’t art. Think outside the box. Message: to myself for myself! Gee! Duh! Wake up!
Ummm….a slight curve, spray the flowers. Mist. It’s different. Same view but different texture. I would say focus is a key. Sharpness is good. The whole bloom is boring. Now, to break out of this tendency to just document another blossom in the garden.
Okay! … working on it. Macro changed things for me. It allowed me to focus on fine detail. But there is a lot of work to make composition more interesting. For now it has been simple anatomy lessons, a catalog, ..boring.
Cute!! It’s worth a double exclamation! Walter, the cat was one of three that came for kitten tryouts. Unusual! Usually, you don’t get to tryout a kitten. But, long story short, Walter was here on tryout to see if he was compatible with Nutley and to see if he could break Nutley out of the doldrums. Cute! Nope, failed!
Low light. I have my cameras set to auto ISO. After you get blurred shots in low light, auto ISO saves you many a time. The camera keeps the shutter fast enough to avoid blur from a slow shutter speed. Yes, “noise” in your image is the tradeoff. No, I don’t notice it enough to be bothered. It is worth the shot you get. Sharp, not blurred. Ok!