Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Kitty Photo Shoot

I'm a dog person.

This past weekend I did something new. I took photos.

Of a cat.

I was cat-sitting and house-sitting for a friend. When she first asked me, I asked a few questions of my own: Is she crazy? Is the cat going to try and sit on my lap?

My friend assured me that everything would be OK, that I wouldn't even see much of the cat throughout the weekend. The first night I was there, I spent it in very light sleep. Thoughts of being clawed to a bloody mess kept me awake. You would think someone locked me in a cage with a Bengal Tiger! (I do like tigers and lions though)

I was startled each and every time she entered in the living room to go to her litter box or to eat or to just stare at me. She must've sensed my energy ripe with fear, slight disdain and mistrust of her kind. I'm not used to having an animal in the house, I was on edge when I saw movement through the side of my eye. And those eyes -- she just stared at me!

I spent the weekend watching Euronews, NYC Drive, Cash Cab, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, and River Monsters on Animal Planet. The latter three, I believe, influenced me that weekend. That and all my years of watching Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. So I set up a photo shoot. More like I stalked her with my camera.


Pet (animal, nature) photography requires a lot of patience. You may observe the creature for hours on end for that one shot. Keep any sudden movements to a minimum; you don't want to elicit an attack from the beast or scare it off. Blend into the environment so the beast will act natural. Always be ready to capture movements of the animal--grooming, yawning, hunting. Invest in a telephoto lens so that you are not intruding on the animal's environment. Manual focus is the best for capturing details of the eye, hide or paws.

Would I do this again? Yes. The camera really does take me out of the moment. Therefore, I wasn't worried about how close she came to me as I lay on the floor, remained motionless for extended periods of time and simply waited. I got a few good shots. I'll add pet photography to the portrait, art, editorial, performance and event photography at some point. Still seeking opportunities to build my photojournalism portfolio and to start sports photography. I would do future pet photography shoots in the pets home. What I won't do is take photos of pets dressed in clothes. I can't stand it. Why, why do people dress their pets?

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