Sunday, May 31, 2009

Abyssinian Kittens

Below you can see three Blue Aby and three Ruddy Aby kittens, most of whom were not the least bit interested in Ken's tease!
Background fabric for the Aby kittens: Charcoal.

Dancing Bengal

Bengal Manor Royal Kopa of Chalkmountain, is a 10 month old Brown Spotted Tabby Bengal Male, brought to me for photographs by his owner, Dana Zauf of Chalk Mountain Bengals in Glen Rose, Texas.

No matter how serious and elegant Kopa looks in the shot above, he shows he can dance with the best of them!

Kopa was photographed at TICA's 2009 Thunderkatz cat show, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on 25 April 2009.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Texas Star Bengal Kitten Shoot II

Friday, 29 May 2009, Stacy Hansen brought over to my studio six Bengal Kittens to photograph. They were all Brown Spotted Tabbies (BST), between 7 and 8 weeks of age. Interestingly, only one, "Bear" was an F2; all the rest were F1s! Not in order but in the picture above are Texas Star Red, an 8w BST F1 Bengal Male; Texas Star Hook, an 8w BST F1 Bengal Male; Texas Star Cool Cat, an 8w BST F1 Bengal Female; Texas Star Tim, an 7w BST F1 Bengal Male; Texas Star Bear, an 8w BST F2 Bengal Male; and Texas Star Junior, a 7w BST F1 Bengal Male. Christie Montgomery came over to help wrangle along with Hannah, Stacy's daughter. After the shoot, we all went out to dinner at a little neighborhood Italian restaurant, Cafe Sicilia, owned by Nico and Karin Stoman.

Background Fabric for the Bengal Kittens: Peat Moss.

Friday, May 29, 2009

et Cetera - Datura

Our good neighbors are Ralph and Arly Pineo. Arly Pineo, is a published writer, a magnificent cook and has a garden that is the envy of our community. One year she grew Daturas and told me they were poisonous. The blossom is quite beautiful, so after I took a snapshot of it, I looked it up on the web. This is what I found:

About Datura, from B and T World Seeds website,

"All species of Datura and Brugmansia contain powerful alkaloids which in sufficient quantities have the power to kill. The main alkaloids represented are Scopolamine, Hyoscyamine and Atropine. Self-experimentation is not recommended and must be strictly avoided by anyone who suffers any kind of heart condition. The effects are stimulating on the central nervous system and simultaneously depressing on the peripheral nerves. Symptoms include an increased heart rate, drying up of the mucus membranes, a dry throat and sometimes cramps. At first the effects are arousing, sometimes manifesting as uncontrolled talking or laughing, forgetfulness and indulging in senseless repetitive activities. Vivid hallucinations and delirious illusions may also occur. Occasionally the effects can produce extreme violence and destructive urges. The period of agitation is usually followed by a deep prolonged sleep accompanied with vivid dreams and hallucinations, often of a sexual nature. Upon awakening one might experience a distinct hang-over and a total lack of memory as to what actually happened during the state of altered consciousness."

NOTE: "In cases of poisoning one should induce vomiting and bowel evacuation as a first aid measure. Willow-charcoal powder can be given for detoxification."

Arly also grows a Datura which is a white version with purple edging. Very striking blossoms. I have yet to see the seed pod. In fact, Arly has a fantastic garden with shade plants in the back and sunny ones in the front. It is always a pleasure to see what is thriving.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

KOT - Cat Magazine in Poland

I have the cover for the June issue of KOT magazine! This is MoJo, an 8 week old Serval kitten brought to me by Teri Redding of JuJuKatz, some years ago. KOT is published in Poland and is a very elegant and stylish cat magazine. The staff at the magazine are wonderful and my contact there, Monika, speaks and writes amazingly good English. I just wish I could read the magazine!

"Kot" is the Polish word for cat, as you may have guessed ... and probably the only Polish word I know. Thank goodness for Monika!!

The above cover image is one of four photos of mine that the magazine used for a feature article on Savannahs. Another one was one of my personal favorites, the image below of Callie and Mary, also brought to me by Teri Redding of JuJuKats. Callie, on the bottom is one week younger than Mary, the Savannah, who is resting on her shoulders.

Thanks to KOT's interest in my work, I find myself a regular contributor to their classy magazine.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


ColoradoPixies G Jonson, a 7 month old Brown Spotted Tabby Pixie-Bob Male kitten, Breeder: Marilyn Trenk of ColoradoPixies Cattery in Chocotah, Oklahoma.

Background fabric for G Jonson: Honey.

Here is Blake holding Caprock Legends Okatoma of Red River Bobis, a 2 month old Brown Spotted Tabby Pixie-Bob Male kitten, which I submitted to Abdo Publishing for a children's book. Blake holding Okatoma was photographed at TICA's Turkish Van cat show in Waxahachie, Texas, last November, 2008. This is the shot that Abdo Publishing chose for the book to illustrate the gentleness of this breed. Plus, I think they liked the absence of Blake's front teeth! Kids should certainly identify with this image.

An older version of Caprock Legends Okatoma of Red River Bobis is shown above. Here, he is 7 months old, brought to me for photographs by Maranda Hull of Red River Bobis located in Boswell, Oklahoma. Look closely and you will see that his front paws are not touching the deck. All his balance is on his hind legs! Okatoma is a shorthaired Pixie-Bob. He was photographed this past weekend at TICA's KansasKatz cat show in Wichita, Kansas.

Background fabric for Okatoma: Peat Moss.

Above, is Norsepixiebobs Odin, a 5 month old Longhaired Brown Spotted Tabby Pixie-Bob Male kitten brought to me by Mark and Janet Arnold of Sooner Pixie-Bobs, Moore, Oklahoma. Note the polydactyl feet and the heavy brow ... a look I love in the Pixie-Bob! Odin was also photographed at the KansasKatz cat show in Wichita, Kansas.

NOTE: when photographing Pixie-Bobs, it is very important that their head is not held too high. Otherwise, the brow will not be obvious. Ken wrangles the Pixie-Bob to look just below the lens of the camera so the brow will be apparent. Breeders have told me that the Pixie-Bob should look "worried." And this kitten fits the bill. He may look unhappy but that is the effect of the brow!

Background fabric for Blake holding Okatoma as well as Odin: Claret.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

TICA KansasKatz Show - 23-24 May 2009

Here is our shooting room just outside of the showhall at the TICA KansasKatz cat show. This was the first cat show held by this club and was a success! You can see our shooting table on the right which has our Periwinkle background hung. My administrative table is at the left, just out of view and Ken's table with his cat teases is at the lower left corner.

And here we have a Pixie-Bob. A Pixie-Bob is always a Brown Spotted Tabby with ticking in between the spots. If any of you Gentle Readers are not familiar with ticking, just think of a squirrel's coat or a rabbit's. The hair shaft is banded. Above you see ColoradoPixies G Jonson, a 7 month old Brown Spotted Tabby Pixie-Bob Male, brought to us by his Breeder: Marilyn Trenk of ColoradoPixies Cattery. G Johnson has lovely eye color and striking "mascara" (the mucus membranes on his upper and lower eyelids) which are dark and set off his golden eyes. Tomorrow I'll post a shot of the back of this boy and you can see the ocelli ("Night eyes") on the back of his ears. I'll also load up a shot of a long haired Pixie-Bob and another shorthaired one.

Background fabric for G Jonson: Honey.

This was the KansasKatz Showhall before most of the exhibitors had started setting up their cages on Friday, 22 May 2009. It was in the Beech Aircraft Activity Center in Wichita, Kansas.

During the cat show, Ken and I stayed with my cousin John and his wife, Carmen, who live in Wichita. On Memorial Day, the cousins held a family reunion and I was able to see family I hadn't seen in 50 years! What a great time we had. They even came to the cat show! I'll post some pictures of that event later in the week.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's Over for the Pansies

Ken and I planted pansies last fall .. and they thrived! I photographed some and here are two shots. Unfortunately, they don't do well in the Texas heat, so we'll have to plant something else for the summer.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

More "et Cetera" ...

I absolutely adore the look of the sun coming through the sprinklers watering our front yard. Everytime they come on, I take the time to go enjoy the view. I've seen birds taking the opportunity for a fresh bath, I've seen dragonflies dart in and out of the water in the air, but most of all, I enjoy the light filtering through the water. This is what I saw this morning:

Our Blue and White Maine Coon, Zak, insists on being with his humans ... if you're at the computer, he's preening in front of your screen; and if you're taking a picture out the window, he's right there. You can see his ear at the left side of the image, above. I love this trait of Maine Coons, always wanting to be with you, "in the moment," and companionable.

So I decided to include him in the shot. Here he is, above, looking out the window to see what I found so fascinating.

And barely visible (right bottom corner), napping in our "cat window" (about 8 feet away from where Zak is looking out) is Nox, our Black British Shorthair, who could care less about the sprinklers outside!

This window is why we bought this house. I called it "the cat window" from the start. During our house hunt in 1998, when Ken was surveying the prospects with a video camera (while I held down a desk job) and playing the results of his search each evening, he found this house in a neighborhood whose hilly terrain was carved out by a brook and is totally unlike most of the Dallas/Fort Worth area, which is "pool table-flat." He strenuously persuaded me that we NEEDED to go see this house the next day at which point it had only been on the market for 24 hours.

So we did, when I got off work. Some other prospects were just leaving when we drove up. The owners of the house were into cat rescue and had cats which made them kindred souls. :) And there was a lot to like about the house itself, as well as the neighborhood. But the feature that sealed the deal for me were these windows that canted out at the bottom and created a window seat. The view from these windows looks out on the berm that is our front yard and because the house sits on a bluff, the only thing we see of our neighbors are the treetops in their yards. Long story short: I whispered to Ken that we should pay the owner his asking price and write him a deposit check on the spot. This was the house for us -- I knew it in my bones. Ken calls it my impulse purchase since I didn't even want to go see a similar house on the next corner that the realtor wanted to show us. Ha!

We moved in two weeks before we left for Florida to get married on the beach and spend a week in a beach house with some old friends. One of these friends, Kirk Wilder, called that week spent together, "The Cantebury Tales," since few of the guests at our wedding feast (Ken's words, here) knew each other, going in. So Ken, the house, my wedding, and cats are all entertwined. I'll post some pictures of the wedding on the beach later. But this morning, the view of the sprinklers in the morning with Zak right next to me is a daily reminder that life is good.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's Ken's Birthday!

And would you believe it, he's out mowing the meadow. My hero.

I took this shot as a lighting test for a sitting of a human holding their cat. But I loved the smile, so he gets his mug immortalized (if you can consider my Blog a vehicle to do that!) for the grin. :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Dracoonfly Myra

Dracoonfly Myra is a stunning Brown Classic Tabby Maine Coon Female. She has a pensive look in the above image which endears her to me, and an intelligent confidence in her closeup shot, below:

Myra's breeder is Sharon Stegall, Dracoonfly Maine Coons, and was brought to us for photographs by Marjorie and Philip Berger. I think it is easy to see when you look at Myra why many people are fascinated with the look of the Brown Tabby Maine Coon. A classic cat and a joy to look at.

UPDATE: Myra's Breeder, Sharon Stegall, wrote in the comment below, "Thanks for all the compliments to Myra! Her registered name is Dracoonfly Miramichi Special. Like all our Maine Coons, she is named after a fishing fly. A natural mother and a real sweetheart, Myra recently had a litter of 5 kittens, all brown classic tabbies like herself." You can see more Dracoonfly Maine Coons at

Background fabric color for Myra: Old Gold.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


This is Jaylin Art, a Toyger, photographed at TICA's Great Lakes Regional Awards Banquet and Cat Show in Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2007. This is a breed in development. The coat is wonderful: orange background with high contrast stripes. The breeders are working towards developing smaller, more tiger-like ears, but, as it is, the cat is beautiful and moves as though he knows it!

Background fabric for Jaylin Art: Claret.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Bengal Leap for TICA's Annual in Germany

We set up this shot about seven times with different modes (ladder, chair, Mark tossing), then the owner, Mark Pennington, ended up tossing the Bengal onto the table from one foot away while standing on a chair -- just to get the right angle. I don't know how many times Mark tossed Derringer onto the table but I was lucky that Mark was a strong man! We tried Derringer leaping from a ladder but he landed too far to the right. I didn't feel comfortable about moving the ladder farther away from the shooting table so we decided to have Mark stand on a chair instead. The image was for a graphic which advertised a big International cat show "landing" in Germany in 2006 (the TICA Annual, Hannover, Germany), see below.

In reality, the cat's head was turned too far to the rear of the table, so a head from another shot was substituted. This was the best angle I caught of the body, albeit with "feathery looking" britches! My shutter speed was 250 which links to my studio lights. I could have moved while holding the camera, but don't think so on this shot as the rosettes on the body were in focus as were the front legs. It's a problem with a very active cat, but one I was willing to live with!

Here is the final poster:
The cat is RW SGC Drinkwater Derringer of Mystre, a Brown Spotted Tabby Bengal Male, owned by Mark Pennington of Mystre Cattery in Houston, Texas, photographed in New Braunfels, Texas, at TICA's Mission City Cat Show, 3 April 2005.

Bushwah with Blue Marbles

I took this shot in April of 2000, before I even started shooting cats for a living -- I didn't have any prints for display at our first cat show, so we did a lot of light tests at home during the month before our first show in May, some of which turned out good enough to print. This was one we used for display.

This shot was taken with a 2MP Olympus. We didn't use a hairlight yet, nor did we have one. I liked the image so much because it was more about the cat's curiosity than the cat himself, and the blue glass marbles looked so cool. I had never seen any other photographer use a prop like this. The cat was our F1 Chausie (half Jungle Cat and half Abyssinian) who had more curiosity than was good for him. Ken named him Bushwah. He was so active and recalcitrant, he would have us at each other's throats -- trying to get the shot -- or ANY shot! We couldn't even use the sparkley end, or feather end, of a cat tease. He would go ballistic. Ken ended up using the handle of a cat tease just to keep him on the photo table.

In this shot, Ken stirred up the marbles and let a few drop back into the glass brick that held them. The sound was enough to get Bushwah's attention.

Backgrounds for Blue and Silver Solid and Pointed Cats ...

Backgrounds for Blue cats, Blue Pointed Cats, Silver Cats, Black Silvers, Blue or Black Smokes, etc.
From left to right, at top: Periwinkle, Charcoal, Imperial Blue; center: Teal, Caribe; bottom row: Purple, Orchid and Magenta.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Piece of Cake!

Koonary Rita, 12 week old Brown Classic Torbie Maine Coon Female; Koonary Not Rita,
12 week old Brown Classic Torbie Maine Coon Female; Koonary Scooter,
12 week old Brown Classic Tabby Maine Coon Male; and Koonary Big Boy,
12 week old Brown Classic Tabby Maine Coon Male, with their mother in the center,
Koonary Star, 3 year old Brown Classic Torbie Maine Coon Female, brought
to me by the Breeder/Owner: Christie Montgomery of Koonary Maine Coons.

"Piece of cake?" you say? The reason for this title is because this was an easy shoot. One wouldn't normally think that four kittens and the mom would be easy ... but the Maine Coon is such a delight to photograph, so receptive to our direction, and such a natural and pleasing-to-the-eye breed to look at ... that the shoot was, as they say here in the States, very easy, or -- A piece of cake! We liked this breed so much that in 2001, we got two of our own to add to the two British Shorthairs we have had as companions since 1997.

Of course, any sitting with kittens is easier when the Breeder is there and she was. Christie Montgomery has helped me in my career as a cat photographer -- she got me my first cat show in May of 2000 and has always given unselfishly of her time, support and knowledge -- in addition to being able to wrangle cats with the best of them -- and she did assist Ken in wrangling, placing a kitten here and nudging a kitten there, making sure there was no negative space between the kittens. I remain indebted to her and count myself fortunate to call her "my friend."

This Maine Coon family was photographed in my studio in Bedford on the 14th of May, 2008. The background fabric is Chocolate.

Backgrounds for Mink, Sepia, etc

Katykatz Pearls and Lace ("Lacee"), a 7 month old Seal Lynx Spotted Bengal Female, Owned by Christina and Patrick Russell

PikesPeak Don Fernando, a Chocolate Spotted Ocicat Male, Breeder: Dian Darr, PikesPeak Ocicats.

Two Bronze Egyptian Mau kittens, Breeder: Michele Stanco of Katiche Egyptian Maus.

LA, IW, SGC Bengaland Artic Hooter, Breeders: Hugh and Peggy Price, Bengaland Cattery.

LA, IW, SGC Suwannee Fudge Ripple, a Seal Mink Marbled Tabby Bengal Male, Breeder: Larry Snider of Suwanee Bengals; Owner: Bill Brown, Bagheera- Millcreek Bengals.

Backgrounds for the dilute coat colors, sepia and mink ...

Backgrounds for Silver Spotted Cats

Backgrounds for Black Silver Spotted cats .. Bengals, Egyptian Maus, etc ....

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Backgrounds for Brown Bengals

Examples of Brown Spotted Tabby Bengals on some of my backgrounds and what we've named those backgrounds.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Blue on Blue

This is our British Shorthair female, RW SGCA/GP Earendil Sky. When I first began shooting cats, we had two backgrounds of stiff plastic sheeting called Varitone: they were painted in an airbrush gradient. This one, above, was blue shading into a dark charcoal.

At the beginning of my career as a cat photographer, I needed some examples of my work to send to the Show Managers of cat shows to prove I could adequately photograph cats. Thus, I needed to create a portfolio. This shot, photographed in early 2000, was one of the shots I used. It's a little "arty" for what breeders want, which are poses that show more fully what their cat looks like and how it conforms to the breed standard. So this kind of photography doesn't do the trick for them since it is as much about background and mood as it is the cat. I loved the serenity of it and felt it captured the personality of my Brit, Sky. She was perfectly relaxed and ready to do what she does best -- to go to sleep with her head resting on her favorite pillow.

I later discovered what breeders and exhibitors at cat shows wanted in their photo shoot and have had to put these mood pieces aside, unless we have more "time than cats to shoot" at a cat show! Then I can do some more work that is as much about communicating feeling as it is about feline conformation. These kinds of shots and the action shots are the ones I love most.

As an aside, as much as we like the limbo look of the Varitone gradient backgrounds, they didn't hold up well since the cat's claws scratched or marred the painted surface. So we switched to fabric backgrounds early on and began creating our gradients with lighting.

Egyptian Mau Prancing

Cat Fancy is profiling the Egyptian Mau breed this month. In the centerfold is RW, SGC Maullenium Luke Mauwalker, a Silver Spotted Male, bred by Dot Mardulier of Maullenium. Luke has beautiful gooseberry green eyes which aren't obvious in this pose.

Here are Luke's achievements in the show ring:
TICA's Best Egyptian Mau Internationally 2006-2007
TICA SE Region's 19th Best Kitten 2006-2007
TICA SE Region's 11th Best Cat 2006-2007
TICA SE Region's 6th Best SH Cat 2006-2007
TICA SE Region's Best Egyptian Mau 2006-2007

You can see more images of Luke and more Egyptian Maus on Dot Mardulier's website:

Background fabric for Luke: Purple.

Monday, May 11, 2009

CH Snuglcoons Silver Belle and Big Bopper

Can you believe these two Maine Coons? This is a perfect pose for two cats, and they're holding it! These are two Black Silver Classic Tabby Maine Coons from Howard Allred and Debi Ayers Cattery. What models they were! Big Bopper is on the bottom with Silver Belle on top. This is one of my most favorite pictures of cats ... you can almost feel the soft fur. They are perfectly groomed, brand-spanking clean and their coats just flowed. These magnificent Maine Coons were photographed at TICA's Heart of Texas Cat Show on 11 February of 2007. When Ken "stacked" them into this pose, my jaw dropped!

But I'm not the only one who liked this shot: this very photo was published by BowTie in their magbook: Popular Cats: The Maine Coon. These are, indeed, gentle giants.

You can see more Snuglcoons Maine Coons on their website:

Background fabric for Big Bopper and Silver Belle: Imperial Blue.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Tonk

Here is GC Cecchetti Vince Young, a 2 year old Platinum Mink Tonkinese Male. He was brought to us for his photo shoot by his breeders/owners Randy and Sheri Smalts. Notice the musculature on this boy. Tonks are renown for being lovebugs -- they are active and curious cats.

You can see more of Cecchetti Tonks here:

Background fabric color for Vince: Magenta.