Thursday, May 7, 2009

Christmas Card Cats

Back in late 2001, Ken and I thought it would be a great idea to photograph our own cats and send the image out as a Christmas card that year. We created a "set" with colorful wrapped packages filled with sand (to keep them from shifting around), and then inserted one cat at a time. Little did we know how time-consuming this Christmas card would be!

First we "built" the set (keeping the cats out of the room - a difficult proposition), then put the camera on a tripod (using the Olympus C3000Z, I think) and brought in one cat at a time. We started with Sky, our Blue British Shorthair, since we thought she'd be the easiest. She was. We removed her and brought in Quin, our Black Smoke Maine Coon at the center top, who was a dream to photograph; then Nox, our Black Brit who has almost disappeared on the right side of the image. And lastly, Zak, our Blue and White Maine Coon who is the smartest one of all of them, loves to play (read Christmas ribbon) and the one who I thought might give us the hardest time. But the cats were the easiest part of all! The ribbon on the boxes lost its crispness (especially the pink one between Sky and Quin) so I found another, separated it from the background and pasted it in. I had to take parts of Nox and lighten them up as a separate layer, fuzz around the outsides and paste it back. Otherwise, Nox would look like a black blob. The tissue paper and green ribbon were put in post processing.

My main disappointment with all the work that we put into this image is that this was photographed with a 3 megapixel camera. I will never be able to enlarge this to the size I'd like it to be -- just not enough pixels.

We've been thinking about doing this again, especially since the cats are all eight years older now, but I'm not sure I want an image so close in appearance to this one -- even though it's my favorite!

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