Redundant

I wanted to use “multiply redundant.” I’m not sure it’s a term or whether I made it up. The internet is not quite vague.

Portrait. Group shot. Summertime. Reunion. Colleen’s family has come to the beach annually for many many years. It is an opportunity for group shots. It is a bit easier than herding cats though all are reluctant. They are fortunately good humored about it. Redundant? Shoot early and often. Someone is always looking the other way, not smiling, got their eyes closed, or…. You take a bunch of shots and hope for a “good” one. One shot? If you take one shot, you have pretty much closed off a lot of options. It is a juggling act. The camera settings, light, focus, composition…. I got/get about 30 seconds to get a proper shot. You would think it’s magic. The come on? I share out pics to the family and they certainly appreciate the gesture. I think? To be sure they did not have on their “Sunday best” when I gathered them together. At least they all look like they know each other.

Seriously, I sigh. With passing years these group shots become ever more precious. I regret the paucity of shots with my two brothers.

Self conscious

How do you get a good family shot? Mostly people freeze up and are self-conscious as soon as they see me pick up the camera. We see Noa infrequently. When we do I have a camera in hand continuously from greeting till we say “bye.” There is no self-conscious. I am just continuously shooting. Sometimes it works. It sure did this time.

Posing immediately places pressure on your subject. They are obligated to perform. Simultaneously get three subject to pose? Oh my! But there are moments of happiness and if you are lucky it translated onto your camera sensor. I still consider it luck to draw out smiles and to get three in synch is nearly a miracle.  But I never give up trying.

My best dog

Story? Picture? Both?

Willow. My best dog. He acts/feels like a dog sometimes. He is a cat. Duh! But it feels like he reacts more like a dog ocassionally. He begs. He’s always hungry. He will come when I call. He will show up for petting. He sometimes acts more a dog than my old dog Nellie.

Mute. Willow does not speak. He squeaks. No meow. Squeak. I wonder?

The photo has sharp focus on the eyes. Good. The color cast is blue. Shade. There is a distraction in the background – black hose. Good? Sometimes it is the story? Or does the picture trigger the story?

Favorite

Cat’s outta the bag. Feather is my favorite. I have seven cats in the house. She likes me best. She likes me better than any of the others. So?! I gotta like her back. No way around it. Colleen swears she has been my cat all along. No jealousy. It’s just so. So, I like Feather.

She’s my best cat. The others don’t know.

As I have said in the past, cats don’t pose. They may sometimes stare at you. Expression? Smile? Emote? Ha! The trick? Point the camera straight into their eyes. Ah! The lens is directly on line with their gaze. It makes it appear they are paying attention to you. Ha ha! It lasts but a moment. So, shoot fast and shoot often. I got it! … my best cat!

Tight fit

No cats were injured in the making of this picture. Ha ha. Cats like to be in tight places. Sometimes. They like the coziness? I was just lucky enough to have a camera at hand. Willow posed for a few seconds more before he realized his cooperation was needed. Then, he bolted. He does not particularly like close-ups.

A grab shot is – you take what you can get. There is no time to work the scene for better composition or lighting. Go with it. Chalk it up to good humor.

How about that?!

The Gorlin sign is a medical term that indicates the ability to touch the tip of the nose or chin with the tongue. Approximately five percent of the general population can perform this act

Well, how about that? And it runs in the family! How did Jules know this? Who’d have thunk it? I wonder if Noa’s sister can do it? Questions! Full of questions today!

Harsh sunlight is always less flattering. Open shade. But sometimes you get what you get. This was a special moment. Not everyday you learn something new.

Favorite cat (?)

I got seven – cats. Pick one? Ha!

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.

Favorite

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.

Either or

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.

What?!

Selfie? Did I do this to myself to myself? Early morning? I can’t tell. But by evening I am usually showered and dressed. It looks like I still don’t have a shirt. What?

Does the picture work? Focus is ok. Soft but sharp enough. Surprise? Surprised? What? There is a story here. Who knows? It’s fun. It catches you off guard. Just move on. Not much more to report here. Laugh. Smile. It’s up to you. Critical? In almost any other context this would be in the discard pile.